You have the right to remain similar (or different in a way that doesn’t scare people)
One in ten driven underground, divisions getting wider. Hide your inclinations behind a straight face and a bible. Third Reich morality, and if the cap doesn’t fit, there’s a designer label for hypocrites.
-Chumbawamba, “Smash Clause 28”
I was very pleased to read Alex Gabriel's article in this week's readings, “Gay Marriage Has Its Queer Critics Too”. Gabriel explores a number of concerning elements accompanying the most recent wave of “marriage equality" campaigns, focusing as well on the rhetoric of politicians up whose agendas same-sex marriage has rapidly crept in recent years and the discourse that surrounds the homosexual subject in the context of state-observed union. Gabriel’s criticism, and visibility for this kind of criticism is crucial at the moment. Like Alex, I worry that once marriage "equality" is achieved, "all other crises will be forgotten,”.
Gabriel highlights a subject category that arises from the same-sex marriage campaign that is also worrying. In aiming to establish an “equality” between homosexual and heterosexual partnerships, the discourse usually reduces the queer relationship categories to man-man or woman-woman and those who are Down To Marry (excluding the very young, trans folk, those who eschew monogamy, the persecuted, the uncomfortable, those in straitened economic circumstances, the closeted-by-necessity, the working-class or lumpenproletariate, et al). As Gabriel writes, the implication is that to be equal is to be monogamous and to be monogamous in a way that doesn’t significantly threaten heterosexual relationship tropes. Perhaps David Cameron says more than he means to when he says that his support of same-sex marriage is born entirely of conservatism.
But the saddest part of all of this pretentiously progressive political point-scoring is what this pigeonholing does to the remainder of the queer milieu. By creating these new categories, these “equal” queers, Gabriel points out, the rest of the queer community is left behind in mainstream consciousness. The queer movement as reflected and engaged by the media (and therefore the world) has become a staggering single-issue monster, unconcerned with suicide rates of gay teens, unemployment rates of trans folk or the mutilation of intersex children. It is a comfortable, affluent, shiny-grinned queer that engages with the hetero mainstream now. That’s what politicians want, that’s what the media wants, and it’s sure as fuck what all the other straight couples want. The queer movement reduced to an attractive middle-class subculture, with all the freaks sanitised and dropped in a ditch somewhere. And churches and registry offices and branches of I-FUCKING-kea and primary school parents evenings full of charming motherfucking beige-ass queers with ambiguous haircuts. Hell, if you didn’t look twice, they could almost pass for heterosexuals.
The author would like to apologise for going on a pissed-off rant. He hates David Cameron and hopes he falls over this week.