Thursday, October 9, 2008

White Gay Pornography, Marriage, and Prostitution: a preliminary statement

A commenter here recently asked me if I was being heterosexist by focusing, critically, on heterosexual pornography, mass produced by (usually) straight men for other hetero men.

So I want to be clear where I stand on a few issues taken up by the white queer and gay male communities I know of, which exist in white- and heteromale-dominated places and/or in white and male supremacist countries.

I recommend reading this excellent chapter, called "Is Gay Marriage Racist? A Conversation with Marlon M. Bailey, Priya Kandaswamy, and Mattie Udora Richardson, from a book titled That's Revolting.

On Gay Marriage:
I believe this is an issue for many liberal to progressive white gay men who "want in" to the inner circle of privileges that white heterosexual men enjoy and exploit. I am against the institution of heterosexual marriage, as it is known and manifested in white supremacist countries, because it was and is deeply misogynistic, racist, genocidal, and gynocidal, as well as hopelessly heterosexist. Societies have been organised in many ways across the globe and across time, and "heterosexuality" and "sexuality" as we now use and understand these terms, are very politically loaded, while being seen as entirely natural and God-ordained. "Sexuality", "heterosexuality", and "marriage" are social and political phenomena to the core.

On Gay Pornography:
It carries virtually all the same destructive, anti-intimate, anti-Erotic (as Audre Lorde used the term), anti-humane, anti-joyful values as the heterosexual pornography white straight male pimps (by and large) make for their brethren. Christopher Kendall has worked for many years analysing and and explaining the politics (and negative impact on gay men) of gay male pornography. That gay male pornography is white supremacist and racist should be obvious to anyone who has encountered it. That it is also male supremacist and misogynistic, to the core, should also be blatantly clear, but often isn't, because white male supremacy, as an institutionalised, enacted, enforced ideology, is so effectively invisibilised in liberal societies as "just how things are".

For more on Chris's work, click here and here.

I do not support "the work" of any corporate or less wealthy pimps. I believe they are all guilty of human rights violations against women individually and as a class, and I support them being removed from society as such, and for "johns" to be legally understood as criminals and violators of human rights. I oppose capitalists', white supremacists', and male supremacists' active commodification and sale of humanity as a collection of things to be purchased, rented, sold, or enslaved.

I fully support any prostitutes, and other people working in systems and industries of sexual, racial, and economic exploitation, organising on their own behalf, in ways they see fit, in order to be healthier, safer, and more empowered.

I do not believe that activist support of such industries and systems, and the pimps and patriarchs who run them, being called "feminist", "profeminist", or "radically liberatory".

On Gayness as Genetic:
This is obviously a contentious issue among queer women and men, let alone in the larger, more hetero male-dominant society.

First, I think the nature/nurture binary is a false one, and, like most philosophical binaries, is a tool of the white and/or male supremacist master. How we are treated interpersonally shapes our genes and the structures of our brains. Social events impact the development of fetuses. How we name things impacts what we see and what we feel about those named "things". In the "civilised" human world, I don't believe there is a "nature" that is not impacted, in many ways, by what we term "nurture" or "human activity", which, among the privileged, also includes the entitlement and power to name reality for the rest of us. "Gay", like "heterosexual", is a social-political term, not natural one. Let me be very clear here: heterosexuality is no more natural than any other form of sexuality. It is no less political either.

On Western white male supremacist liberal Queer Politics:
I recommend reading Unpacking Queer Politics, by Sheila Jeffries.

I am not actively supportive of what I see white gay male supremacist individuals and communities doing, from gentrifying (disrupting and destroying) poor communities, often of color, to embracing white liberalism (especially its individualism and its callousness to women of all colors) as a spiritless god to be worshiped, much like capitalism, which is not actively opposed by any white gay men I know.

No comments: