I was going to post about that Out magazine article about closeted Republican staffers in the village that got a few responses from a few gay blogs like Gay Patriot, Chris Crain, and Box Turtle Bulletin.
I agree with them, the article is stupid, but I don't see the bias that they did. It just seems like another pseudo-wonkish article from a gaystream publication about a situation that the author doesn't really understand, didn't really feel like researching, and didn't even have the focus to make it about one subject for a whole three pages, so he haphazardly regurgitated established narratives on a handful of related-but-not-so-related topics and called it a day.
"Out can't do politics" isn't exactly breaking news.
But what it did make me think of was the vastly different politics many of us queers have, specifically about LGBT issues, about what constitutes progress and regress and hypocrisy and someone being on "our side." We need a word to describe this ideological diversity.
Do I even need to go into how not all women are feminists, and those who are don't necessarily believe the same things regarding women's liberation? Why is it assumed, then, that every gay person is for "gay rights"? Or that every trans person is for the same sort of trans rights (I've learned my lesson on that on this site)?
It's something that comes up fairly often, sometimes from within the community, sometimes from the opposition. I don't know how many times I hear a spin-off of "Let's stop this in-fighting and focus on the real enemy," with the assumption that we all already agree on the goals of this loose band of activisms and activists known as the LGBT rights movement.
It's a queer Broderism, asking that everyone just stop fighting and agree with the speaker. The arrogance in such calls is breath-taking, but it isn't surprising considering how much tunnel-vision there is in current queer activism.
It also comes from the Right - they call us all "Radical Homosexual Activists" and assume that we're all fighting for the same "agenda." According to them, I suppose, all this in-fighting and debating, like the recent one on trans-inclusiveness regarding the ENDA, is just a ruse (set up by the HRC, probably) to make it seem as if we aren't all working from the same hive-mind to criminalize Christianity, destroy the family, and make everyone hate America.
I think those marching orders come with the microwave oven we all receive when we've been recruited into the homosexual lifestyle.
Consider this quotation from Barney Frank in the Out article:
What [Michael] Rogers does makes some Democrats squeamish, because they think no one should ever decide for someone else when he must come out of the closet. But Representative Frank is not among Rogers's detractors.
"I think what Rogers does is legitimate," Frank tells me. "I think hypocrisy is something to go after. If you had pro-life people having abortions, or if Sarah Brady had a gun, there would be no hesitation. Think of any other context in which people would be allowed to blatantly violate the public policies they advocate and say, 'I have a right to keep this secret.'"
That "hypocrisy" claim only works if we assume that being gay automatically means that someone has to support same-sex marriage, ENDA, hate crimes legislation, and whatever else appears on our list of legislative goals to check-off in order to fulfill our truncated vision of what a queer-accepting society looks like. A pro-lifer getting an abortion is a direct contradiction of her stated position; a gay state representative who voted against same-sex marriage who hasn't himself married or tried to is not such a contradiction.
But I guess we all want to get married or something. Was that also in those marching orders? My copy is too cum-stained to read.
Remember this from pro-gay-hater Janet Folger on gays from an old Republican debate?
So now Mr. Thompson wants churches, Christian day cares, the Boy Scouts and business owners who are morally opposed to homosexuality to be forced to keep homosexual activists (how else do we know they're homosexual?) on the payroll - even if it violates their conscience, purpose and children in their care. Wrong answer; sit down, Tommy.
Being out means that someone is a "homosexual activist." While I agree that expressing oneself is a form of activism, I think that in this context she's setting the bar a little low.
But again, it's not surprising if one assumes that all gay people have the same politics on gay issues. It's the same assumption those who ask for the in-fighting to stop buy into, so I can't really blame the Religious Right for believing the same thing.
For certain gay activists, it's a great way to silence dissent by pretending that the herd is going in one direction, because someone says so, and then everyone repeats that observation to marginalize those who disagree. And for anti-gay activists, it's also a convenient way to demonize an enemy by associating each individual with whatever sins one person of that "side" commits.
This is why I think a word parallel to "feminism" would be good for the LGBT rights movement. Feminists discuss women who are and aren't feminists, who subscribe to radical feminism, liberal feminism, or post-modern feminist; first-, second-, third-, or fourth-wave feminism; white, black, or latina intersectional feminism; first-world, third-world, or fourth-world feminism; intersectional or essentialist feminism.
Such a word acknowledges the gap between identity and politics and takes political and theoretical discussions to another level by making such an acknowledgment assumed and then allowing the word to spin off to recognize that there's also a wide array of agreements among certain sectors of queer communities.
Because I've been rather clumsily using the phrase "gay rights politic" to mean pretty much that up until now. But it doesn't work since even my "gay rights politic" isn't focused on "gay" at the exclusion of other queers and doesn't focus on textual "rights" at the exclusion of material needs.
I haven't come up with a good word to describe that, though. Thoughts?