On Queer theory: Part 1

Matt D. afn02065 at afn.org
Thu Apr 25 12:05:40 MDT 1996

Gary writes:

>Besides it also might just be possible
>that I am not the only gay on this list.

Imagine that!

1. In June 1993 there was an extremely fiery meeting in Sydney where a row
>broke out between the "queers" and the "gays".  the issue seems to have been
>whether bisexuals or transexuals should have been allowed into the movement.
>the queers were tossed out and the gays won the day.

So which side was which?

>This I beliueve provides us with the key to understanding why in the reports
>of the 1993 Washington demonstration the number of  those involved in the
>demo became a key issue.

Very true!  Except for maybe one of the anti-abortion marches(?) and now the
Million Man March, the earlier (1991?) gay march on Washinton was the largest
demonstration ever in the capital, wasn't it?

>At the most immediate level this has been related
>to the debate over Kinsey's estimates on the number of gays
>and to the very >question of whether gays exist or not. (Simon, 1993)

The numbers game seems to me to miss the point.  Two main problems:
(1) What is "gay"?  Human sexual behavior is distributed along a contin-
uum.  (2) What difference does it make how many folks like to get it on
w/ folks of the same sex?  If there were only, say, two, would it be more
right to oppress them?  On the one hand there seems to be an impulse
to separate: "We're gay -- not straight," while on the other, a contradict-
ory quest for "normalcy."

>We should also note here that in the case of gays and lesbians this
>dialogical exchange has to be between gays and lesbians.  Only other gays
>and lesbians can give us our humanity.

Why?  Why is your humanity conditioned on your being "gay" or "straight"?

>What is necessary here is for gays
>to control the relation of gays to gays and then to control the relationship
>of gays to straights.

Who are "gays"?  You act as if we're not all in this together.  Why should
J. Edgar Hoover and the Log Cabin Club control my relationship to
anybody?  I can't see how there's a "community" the necessary and
sufficient condition for membership in which is a preference for a bone
in the boot rather than the bonnet.  (Or, of course, no bone at all -- a
mollusk in the manifold?)

>They are of  course
>the greatest "outers" of gays and lesbians.  But their anger knew no bounds
>when it appeared that their role was to be usurped by gays. (Nicholls, 1991)

Point well taken.  Of course, many gay folks were upset w/ this as
well, at least here in the U.S. w/ the controversy over "Out" magazine.

-- Matt D.

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