Cross-posted from The Bilerico Project.
I’m game for this meme Courtney posted over at Feministing, where she listed the four most overrated and the four most underrated things related to feminism. What about when it comes to the queer community and politics?
Here are my lists; feel free to share yours in the comments.
- Politicians’ promises
- The gay-straight binary
- Dieting/starving/fat-shaming/being thin
- Local organizing
- People who work to prevent and ameliorate queer homelessness
- The opinions of people without a lot of money
I posted these lists at Bilerico this morning, and there were a few questions about what I meant on a couple of these items. I do have to say that writing in list form instead of my usual 2000-word essay format means that some precision will be lost. 🙂
About the gay-straight binary, I responded to a commenter:
I meant that the idea that gay people and straight people are two different camps with no overlap and no space for anyone else.
So I mean that the line isn’t as powerful and rigid as some people think it is. Bisexuality and straight dudes who give hand jobs and people whose sexuality changes over their lives and lesbians who date men occasionally and all that exists.
And about marriage:
As someone else in a committed relationship with a non-American, I’d say that I do have some investment in legal recognition of same-sex couples.[…]
But, you’re right, I do regularly denigrate the importance of marriage because I think that that’s an institution that has far too much power and that that power comes at the expense of women and people who don’t live in traditional relationships. Part of the Religious Right’s argument against same-sex marriage is that marriage is very, very important. So important, that the fact that people are divorcing more and marrying later than they were in the 1950’s (i.e., “marriage is under attack”) is supposedly responsible for increased crime, the black/white income gap, unhappiness, poverty, even the financial crisis.
I think that the gays follow by saying that marriage will be a solution to all our problems, everything from bullying in schools to HIV/AIDS to poor self-esteem among LGBT people. And it’s taken a disproportionately large amount of the resources from the movement as well.
So, when I’m saying that it’s “overrated,” I’m not saying that it’s unimportant. I’m just saying that people stress it a lot more than they should.
DOMA’s a good example. The rhetoric coming the Religious Right in support of that law was the whole “marriage is the foundation of society,” “if marriage is destroyed, Western civilization ends,” etc. Even if we were to agree that same-sex marriage is an attack on marriage, I’d still tell them to chill out, that marriage isn’t the center of the universe.
The point of posting these lists isn’t to say that I’m right and everyone else is wrong, but to get people thinking about where are priorities are and where they think they should be.