"I don't know."
"No, I don't support marriage -at all-."
If there are friends with me they laugh and agree. For some reason they've jumped on the bandwagon with me. Are my reasons solid? Do I betray my queer community with good intentions? Am I just trying to stage a last stand, be a little bit ornery?
Here is my position thus far.
Queer people should have the same rights as everyone else. Queer people have the right to defend these rights by whatever means are appropriate at the time.
Many Queer people have adopted a fairly assimilationist agenda. By "assimilationist" I mean social assimilation into mainstream American society. This goal has been prioritized by Queer people who have money and drive the Queer agenda. However, many Queer people who do not have great economic power have found the mainstream Queer agenda to be relevant to them.
Here are a few minor points about what it means to have an assimilationist agenda versus a transformative agenda.
An Assimilationist Agenda
1. We, as a Queer minority, take on the institutions of mainstream America in a way that leaves the economic situation completely unchanged.
2. We, as a Queer minority, assert that we should be treated equally; that is, we should have the right to enter into preexisting mainstream institutions and their definition should be expanded to include us.
3. We, as a Queer minority, do not see our difference (as a sexual and cultural minority) to be related to other differences, like class, race and sex. We assert that we are not significantly different from straight people and that rights should be conferred on that basis. We assert that our sexual and cultural practices are a personal, and not a political, difference; that is, they have no implications for mainstream society.
A Transformative Agenda
1. We, as Queer people, have been led by our position as historical outsiders to resist and question the institutions of mainstream America.
2. We, as Queer people, assert that we should be treated equally; that is, we should have the right to be safe and undisturbed in our communities and have the right to practice our lifestyles without disruption. If disruption and discrimination do occur, we reserve the right to resist directly and to create alternative social institutions which value our lives, which should also be free of disruption.
3. We, as Queer people, see our difference to be related to other differences, like race, class and sex. We see ways in which patriarchy, civilization and colonialism have interacted to produce classes of people who face multiple oppressions. We recognize that as long as capitalism exists, there will always be an underclass, whether or not we are in it. We see our difference, so oppressed over hundreds of years, to be a tool which can be used to create awareness both in ourselves and in others. We see our difference as both personal and inescapably political, given that the fact of our existence has implications for the often opppressive assumptions of mainstream society.
Thoughts, impressions, comments and critiques are welcome.