- Obama opposes Boy Scouts ban on gays. Boy Scouts, an aide to Mittens, GLAAD, and LGBT advocate Zach Wahls all respond.
- David Halperin on How to be Gay. More of the same, old assimilationist vs. liberationist queer theory claptrap?
- Jon Stewart: Chick-fil-A shitstorm brought out the stupid on social media.
- Transgender discrimination barred under Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
- Germany extends tax benefits to gay and lesbian couples.
Today’s quickies brought to you by unicorn farts.
Re: the Halperin. I’m of two minds: I have a lot of feelings about academics telling me how to be queer (I say as a gay lady who has spent a lot of time in academia and has, from several sources, been chided for getting married because my gay marriage is apparently a capitulation to heteronormativity). However, I also hate it when hetero couples (read: parents) tell me that my partner and I are “just like” everyone else.
No, we’re really not. And even that statement — “just like everyone else” — is problematic, not just because of the “just like” but because of the “everyone else.” I could probably spend forever unpacking rhetoric like that, but it makes me too rage-y.
I am most inclined to say that there are many, many ways to be queer, much like there are many ways to be feminist. And that constraining those ways of being is the problem. Which isn’t to say that a critical eye isn’t a hugely important tool, because, obviously, queer skeptic here.
But, seriously, Halperin. How to be gay.
I agree with you completely. I think Halperin is stuck in the old “gay liberation” paradigm of the 70s and 80s, where being “queer” meant that you were always intentionally fucking with the system and not just non-normative. Halperin’s is very much like a second-wave feminist position with this idea of a monolithic universal gayhood. I’m not buying it, either.
“I am most inclined to say that there are many, many ways to be queer”
This, very much so. As I see it, there is no one “gay culture”. Or no monolithic one, as Will said.
I get tired of this sometimes, because it smacks to me of complementary stereotypes. When it became unfashionable to say that women were only good for being housewives and raising children, the new emphasis was that women were *uniquely* good at those things, whereas men were terrible at them. I feel like that’s the corner that this old school of liberation started to paint us into. Queers still own perversion, they should just embrace it. Of course that’s of no relevance at all to people who aren’t somehow “closeted”, but rather never identified with a particular stereotype.
Life has enough hard choices without suggesting that we have a duty to approach relationships in a certain way, or suggest we must have certain aesthetic preferences to legitimately become what we already are.
Besides which, it’s always a bad idea to inflate a political movement by suggesting that a whole class of people were born to advance it. Nationalism and religion are effective, but bad role models in this respect.
I am glad about the protections in the affordable care act, but I do wish they applied to health insurance coverage in addition. It will be nice to know that I will have some legal recourse if someone refuses to treat me, but it is important that we keep moving forward on pressuring insurance companies to include medical care needed by transgender clients.