Yasmin Nair

"The Transformative Promise of Queer Politics" in Tikkun

Filed By Yasmin Nair | July 29, 2010 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: Against Equality, Queer Politics, Radical Queers

Back in May, I was interviewed by Tikkun magazine's assistant editor Alana Yu-lan Price for a piece on contemporary queer politics. The article, "The Transformative Promise of Queer Politics," is now out on the stands and on the web, and it's an extremely interesting and nuanced perspective on the current state of movement politics.

I was especially pleased to be featured alongside some of my favorite queer thinkers and writers, like John D'Emilio, and to be able to talk about the kinds of groups that are crafting a radical queer agenda. Price succinctly describes the work being done by groups outside the mainstream LGBT movement:

Far from the modest, assimilationist agenda of D.C.-based lobby groups such as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the agenda of these small grassroots groups includes work on the interlocking issues of violence and discrimination against queer and trans people, the exploitation endured by all within the global economic system, the neoliberal drift toward the privatization of formerly public institutions and resources, the growth of the prison system and the mass incarceration of black and Latino youth, homelessness, and the criminalization of immigrants.

More after the jump.

Price discusses the limitations of the current model:

The current strategic approach of the most influential mainstream LGBT groups limits their scope and effectiveness in various ways. John D'Emilio said the movement's current focus on goals that will likely require a Supreme Court victory to achieve (marriage equality) or that require congressional action (military inclusion and national antidiscrimination legislation) renders the recent upswell in grassroots energy much less effective than it could be in affecting local institutions and laws--and less effective than it was in the Stonewall era and during the height of AIDS activism, when the focus included many locally achievable goals.

And it ends with a quote from me:

"There is something about being queer and on the left that can actually be transformative," she said. "It's not purely a personal issue around marriage, it's not simply asking for safety from the state or putting our fellow people in prison, it's not about fighting for the U.S. It includes a radical rethinking of what makes for a just world."

You can read the entire piece here.

And check out my upcoming website here:


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I like your quote. I'm out the door looking for a newsstand to catch the rest of the issue.