|photo of Priya Kandaswamy is from here|
|photo of Marlon M. Bailey, PhD is from here|
|photo of Dean Spade is from here|
I Still Think Marriage is the Wrong Goal
Resources for Further Reading
The Beyond Marriage Statement
Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage, by Nancy Polikoff
Book website (Introduction free to download)
The Audre Lorde Project's statement on marriage
"Is Gay Marriage Anti-Black?" by Kenyon Farrow
"Ban Marriage," by Craig Willse
"Is Gay Marriage Racist" by Marlon M. Bailey, Priya Kandaswamy and Matt Richardson
"Freedom in a Regulatory State? Lawrence, Marriage and Biopolitics" by Dean Spade and Craig Willse
"Intimate Investments: Homonormativity, Global Lockdown and the Seductions of Empire" by M.D. Bassichis, Anna M. Agathangelo and Tamara L. Spira
Join the discussion on Facebook.
by Dean Spade & Craig Willse
A lot of stories are circulating right now claiming that Black and Latino voters are to blame for Prop 8 passing. Beneath this claim is an uninterrogated idea that people of color are "more homophobic" than white people. Such an idea equates gayness with whiteness and erases the lives of LGBT people of color. It also erases and marginalizes the enduring radical work of LGBT people of color organizing that has prioritized the most vulnerable members of our communities.
Current conversations about Prop 8 hide how the same-sex marriage battle has been part of a conservative gay politics that de-prioritizes people of color, poor people, trans people, women, immigrants, prisoners and people with disabilities. Why isn't Prop 8's passage framed as evidence of the mainstream gay agenda's failure to ally with people of color on issues that are central to racial and economic justice in the US?
Let's remember the politics of marriage itself. The simplistic formula that claims "you're either pro-marriage or against equality" makes us forget that all forms of marriage perpetuate gender, racial and economic inequality. It mistakenly assumes that support for marriage is the only good measure of support for LGBT communities. This political moment calls for anti-homophobic politics that centralize anti-racism and anti-poverty. Marriage is a coercive state structure that perpetuates racism and sexism through forced gender and family norms. Right wing pro-marriage rhetoric has targeted families of color and poor families, supported a violent welfare and child protection system, vilified single parents and women, and marginalized queer families of all kinds. Expanding marriage to include a narrow band of same-sex couples only strengthens that system of marginalization and supports the idea that the state should pick which types of families to reward and recognize and which to punish and endanger.
We still demand a queer political agenda that centralizes the experiences of prisoners, poor people, immigrants, trans people, and people with disabilities. We reject a gay agenda that pours millions of dollars into campaigns for access to oppressive institutions for a few that stand to benefit.
We are being told marriage is the way to solve gay people's problems with health care access, immigration, child custody, and symbolic equality. It does not solve these problems, and there are real campaigns and struggles that would and could approach these problems for everyone, not just for a privileged few. Let's take the energy and money being put into gay marriage and put it toward real change: opposing the War on Terror and all forms of endless war; supporting queer prisoners and building a movement to end imprisonment; organizing against police profiling and brutality in our communities; fighting attacks on welfare, public housing and Medicaid; fighting for universal health care that is trans and reproductive healthcare inclusive; fighting to tax wealth not workers; fighting for a world in which no one is illegal.
Now, check out this awesome comment from Dark Daughta, which will close this post because it's so awesome.
|photo of my friend Dark Daughta is from here|
Dark Daughta said...
I think that as the different segments of various movements spend more time interacting with each other and reading each other there will be a kind of coalescing of political agendas. I will definitely appreciate lefty men developing a layered analysis that includes the people of colour and native people they oppress. I'd also appreciate the middle classes of various communities who do radical work to incorporate an analysis of status, hierarchy, class and career that points fingers back at them. I'd like people of colour who are immigrants like me to think and read and write more about the relationship between their immigration, their status as low level settler occupiers and the plight of native and inuit peoples. I'd like married radical political folk to think more regularly about queers and nonmonogamists. I'd like to have more conversations with people about the politics of aging both in and outside communities of resistance. I'd like to talk more about beauty, evil limited construct, with people inside communities of resistance who nonetheless set up artificial standards related to who is attractive and who is not. If I see one more bony jutting hipped white dyke or transman with limp jauntily cut kewl hair presented as the epitome of what it means to be politically radical, conscious and kewl, I'm gonna scream. Well...err...not scream, really. :) But it's just that every community, instead of obliterating oppressive standards and beliefs based in hierarchy seems really comfortable creating new ways to exclude and/or raise up a handful. It's frustrating.