Re: Queer Politics, Extropian Politics [Was: Sex Change]
Mon, 28 Jul 1997 17:55:43 -0700 (PDT)

On Mon, 28 Jul 1997, E. Shaun Russell wrote:

> Dale wrote:
> >Believe me, I am utterly uninterested in being known as a fag instead of
> an >individual. I am uninterested in special rights, but equal ones will
> suit >me just fine. My intimate associations are the last thing I would
> want to >provide the basis for anyone paying attention to me.
> *That* is the most progressive attitude any "minority figure" can
> have. If someone attacks you for being gay, you have every right to defend
> your individual sexual orientation. The problem is that so often, a person
> is attacked for his views on a totally different issue and he will fight
> that person using the fact that he is gay as ammunition...trying to gain
> pity because he is a "minority". The exploitation of this fact damages the
> credibility of the rights group in society's eyes --it would be he who
> brought the sexual orientation into question.

I don't want to raise the heat in this conversation unecessarily, but in
the interest of clarity I would want to reiterate that as far as I'm
concerned every lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered person in the
United States might properly be regarded as "under attack," and in
consequence a lot of the behavior you seemed to decry as pandering for
attention and jockeying for special privileges might just as easily seem
on your own assumptions as perfectly justified cultural self-defense. The
fact that lesbians and gays are safe from the cruder brutalities of
heterosexist laws and social prejudices only to the extent that they
either manage to "pass" as straight in public or ghettoize themselves in
nonhomophobic pockets of the sociocultural landscape (urban centers and
particular employment niches), makes me especially nervous about the
application to your figure of the ideally progressive queer of the
adjective "unobtrusive". For the record, as I said, I don't think gayness
is remotely the most interesting thing about me, but neither do I think I
manage to be particularly unobtrusive about it. (Ask my students at
Berkeley!) I realize, btw, that I may have overstated the plight of
queers somewhat, though I think probably I have not, and that things seem
to be improving for us, etc., etc., but until equality is
institutionalized in a satisfactory way I tend to notice and remember the
shocking and surprisingly widespread vestigial remains of this stupidity
rather than the fact that, e.g., Ellen came out to millions, lesbian chic
has made it to a Newsweek cover, and gay people have their own bookstores
in a handful of cities. Just to nudge this conversation into a more
conspicuously extropic register, I wonder to what extent the collision of
proliferating forms of desire with traditional regimes of civility,
legality, and morality we are seeing today presages conflicts to
come as technoconstituted modifications of body and mind render race, sex,
gender, and even species all quite as up-for-grabs as queers seem to have
done already for institutions like love, family, and sex. Best, Dale
___________ |
| ||
| Dale ||
| Carrico ||
| dalec@ ||
| socrates ||
| .berkeley ||
| .edu ||
| The Queen is not a Subject.
| -- Oscar Wilde