What is it you want?

After the ball was over, after the break of morn, after the dancers’ leaving, after the stars were gone…it was about forty eight hours before I read my first piece of Internet verbiage about how the goal of marriage is an assimilationist one and how saddened the writer was to have her queerness coöpted.

And then my head exploded.

I’ve since encountered this idea in a few places, and my head, she will not stop exploding.

Because here is the thing: marriage is, yeah, stupid.  Marriage isn’t just the act of administratively binding your lives together; it has baggage.  Marriage is, no matter how we may queer it, still presumed to be monogamous and wholesome and financially responsible and is presumed to have procreation as its goal.  And as Mr. Kaufman said to Mr. Fisher, if you put the Mount Palomar telescope inside the Mount Wilson telescope, you could not begin to detect my interest in any of that.

This doesn’t matter.  What I can’t wrap my head around is the apparent underlying fear, that now we’re all going to be required to live straight lives plus buttsecks.  (Adjust as needed for gender.)  “We want to be allowed to move to the suburbs” isn’t the same as “we want to move to the suburbs,” and the distinction is extremely important.  Ironically, the argument that could be made to radical queers is exactly the same as the one some of us made or at least applauded in recent years, then directed at conservatives: if you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married.

What, I have asked one friend who pulled this argument on me, should be our agenda, if not these conservative things like marriage and military service, otherwise known as the ways our dehumanization has been validated?  You don’t want the government validating your kinks or your polyamory, whatever the gay rights agenda has subsumed,  it seems to me.

Queerness has to exist on the margins of something, or it isn’t fucking queer.  Better it should exist in the margins of equality, acceptance, safety.  Kvetching about having your queerness coöpted by homos who want to move to the suburbs romanticizes oppression and is an enormous insult to people who still live in fear.

There are things to hate about HRC and that whole swath of moneyed, gay, largely male, lukewarm activism, like how it has thrown, or so I am told, transfolk under the big rainbow bus.  And there is a valid and urgent queer critique of gay assimilationism, and at its heart, it is a critique of other things, probably mostly capitalism.

This ain’t it.  Locally speaking, we have marriage and we have won.  People will still hate us or even just, you know, find us annoying, and we’ll deal with that, but right now, you know what?  We got the biggest bat they use to beat us.  Marriage is ours.  Now get to the work, good queers and friends, of subverting it from within, if that’s your agenda.  Go!

    5 responses to “What is it you want?”

    1. lane says:

      … zooropa!

    2. F. P. Smearcase says:

      Your what hurts?

    3. lane says:

      ok, so here’s a real question. art/movie/queer related.

      the depiction of queer in american beauty. did that film really have one story? or was it like 5 sub-plots, like an altman film maybe.

      anyway, yeah, get married and move to the suburbs…. whadayado?

    4. swells says:

      So, so well put. As a straight-IDing, married person, I feel a little unworthy of having a position on how marriage-hatin’ gays feel about why they don’t (or shouldn’t) want marriage, but while I don’t necessarily voice it, I have never understood how there could be opposition to equal rights of any sort. For some gays to demand that all gays renounce marriage because it’s too assimilationist isn’t all THAT different from, you know, anyone telling anyone else what they should and should not be able to do. For example, I can’t imagine anything more dreadful (for myself) than joining the military, but you’re damn right I want that option open to all women and all gay people who might choose it. Thanks for expressing this so clearly.

    5. PB says:

      Amen. Amen. Amen. (this is me appropriating a religious expression of fervor though I do not actually believe)

      “It was . . . the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the area with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew . . . that there was all the difference in the world.” JK Rowling