[Marxism] Gender and Marriage

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Fri May 28 10:32:24 MDT 2004

>Here is a very basic argument which I for one would like to see get 
>more play.  Suppose a government sets out to forbid marriage between 
>people of "the same" sex and to allow marriage between people of 
>"opposite" sexes.  This means that the state is going to take upon 
>itself the power to legitimize and administer a system of assigning 
>all people to one of two sexes. 
>Presumably this is not going to be just on the basis of 
>self-selection.  Really it is similar to the principles underlying 
>the racial laws in South Africa, the US, Nazi Germany etc.  If the 
>state has the power to decide where people of each "race" are going 
>to live, who they can marry, etc., then it has to have the power to 
>set up an arbitrary classification scheme and determine who is 
>"white" and who is "Black" and so on.  Same thing with sex!  If they 
>are going to enforce a same-sex marriage ban, then some clerk has to 
>be empowered to look at you and determine, based on your appearance, 
>speech, clothing, etc., whether you are male or female, and if you 
>object to this classification, you have to go to a clinic and have 
>an intrusive physical examination, tissue testing, etc., and maybe 
>ultimately expose yourself to a judge who will determine what sex 
>you "really are".  Isn't this fundamentally very intrusive and 
>In fact a great deal of work has been done in the Transgender 
>community to challenge this "pink box, blue box" system (see Leslie 
>Feinberg's writings starting at www.transgenderwarrior.org for 
>example) (full disclosure: yes, she is a comrade of mine).  Not 
>everybody has either 2 X chromosomes, or an X and a Y chromosome, in 
>every cell.  Not everybody has only one complete standard single-sex 
>set of genital organs.  Not everybody with "standard" chromosomes 
>and "standard" organs thinks and acts and loves the same way.  There 
>is a whole spectrum of physical and biological and social and 
>psychological reality which is being ignored for the trivial purpose 
>of saying that A1 can marry B1, B2, B3, B4 but not A2, A3, or A4. 
>Other than collecting demographic data or administering affirmative 
>action programs, how is sexual assignment the business of the state 
>at all?  Shouldn't it be a private affair?
>Lou Paulsen

I dare say that Leslie Feinberg is the best argument for the Workers 
World Party, just as Theresa El-Amin is the best argument for 
Solidarity.  The quality of political discussion in an organization 
on the left, in my view, is most easily gauged by the sort of women 
of color and GLBT people that it attracts, as they tend to raise the 
consciousness of the organization to a whole new level.

If you get a chance, would you ask Leslie Feinberg for a reading list 
on GLBT cultures in the Middle East?

* Critical Montages: <http://montages.blogspot.com/>
* Bring Them Home Now! <http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/>
* Calendars of Events in Columbus: 
<http://www.freepress.org/calendar.php>, & <http://www.cpanews.org/>
* Student International Forum: <http://sif.org.ohio-state.edu/>
* Committee for Justice in Palestine: <http://www.osudivest.org/>
* Al-Awda-Ohio: <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Al-Awda-Ohio>
* Solidarity: <http://www.solidarity-us.org/>

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