Sunday, May 28, 2023

The Need for a Queer Power Movement

 I know this sounds gay, but I'm in love with being Queer and I'm kind of gross about it. I celebrate my flamboyant tribal freakiness in everything from the fluorescent pink color of my hair to the words that I hurl into the shocked faces of basic bitches like glimmering confetti. I didn't choose to be this fucking weird, but I did choose to embrace my spiritual otherness with the obnoxious bravado of a house on fire and that choice and the tribe for which it stands saved my life.

After barely surviving a bleak Catholic childhood pock marked by casual atrocities committed in the name of divine conformity, I spent the better part of my twenties as a hollowed-out husk; numb, depleted and totally devoid of hope. I took long drives through the countryside praying for a car crash to save me from the dull ache of my suffocating agoraphobic existence. It was only after I discovered that I actually come from a long line of proud freaks who violently straddled the fickle lines between acceptable gender boundaries like meth-addled cowgirls that I truly started living my life for the first time.

To me being Queer is about so much more than who you fuck or which bathroom you piss in. It's a sacred pagan tribal identity for those of us who were purged from our old tribes for transgressing the norms of civilized Christian society. It is a place for misfit toys who were never designed for mass production. Those of us too weird to live but too goddamn pissed-off to die. Above all else though, its home, the first one that I've ever really known and it's under attack from two sides of a schizophrenic empire in decline.

Queer people find ourselves at an existential crossroads at the intersection of annihilation and assimilation. In one direction we face an openly genocidal GOP who are vigorously advocating for our forced internment back into the closets which are now fortified by a growing arsenal of legislative boobytraps. More laws are passed every day in states across this country that utilize the tools of America's formidable police state to terrorize anyone who dares to transgress what certain zealots consider to be properly gendered behavior.

They began their assault by targeting the rights of our children to have a marginally less abusive childhood than we did but their laws only grow bolder by the second, regulating the medical decisions of adults as old as 26 and declaring our public displays of existence to be "drag" punishable by prison sentences measured in years. And with 2024 creeping over the horizon like a rapist on the skylight, all the major-league Republican candidates are promising to make this regional jihad national with none other than Orange Man Bad himself leading the pack as he promises to unleash the full powers of the federal government to enshrine the gender binary in depleted uranium.

Under such dire circumstances, many of my people aren't just turning to the liberal elites in the Democratic Party, they are running to their arms like frightened rabbits, but America's other breeder party is actually trafficking in something far more insidious than good old-fashioned genocide. That warm blanket they are wrapping around your bruised and battered shoulders is actually a straitjacket called assimilation and if you aren't careful, it will strangle you into submission to the very same forces that you're running from.

The Democrats advocate for the creation of a new Queer. A clean and respectful Queer who abides by a single set of pronouns, gets married, minds their manners, pays their taxes and kills other shades of poor people in the straight man's army. Stumbling onto the scene of your nearest major metropolitan Pride parade, you'd be forgiven for thinking that you crashed a roving rainbow-colored policeman's ball sponsored by the scions of the military industrial complex. Next year the drag queens will be straddling Patriot missiles headed for our latest apocalyptic pissing match in Taiwan.

What the Democrats are offering isn't salvation, it's just a softer brand of erasure. They want us to settle down and embrace the same imperial police state that we scraped our knuckles smashing in the face at Stonewall. The very same imperial police state, I might add, that can, will and has been sicked on us at a moment's notice the second we fail to deliver a Democratic victory. 

If the two parties really are just two heads of the same colossal corporate serpent, then what we are really looking at here is a concerted effort to domesticate the last breed of feral heathens, with the DNC holding the carrot and the GOP holding the stick. No matter which hand we choose, we lose everything that defines us as a people in the process. We can either return to the noose hanging in the closet or become the latest mascot advertising the diversity of collars available to the servants of the new world order. Kali help me, I almost prefer the noose in that Faustian bargain.

But there is a third way, a path to true Queer liberation. However, it will require both a revolution and a history lesson. Today's Disneyfied LGBTQ(TM) movement wasn't the first attempt by Queer people to tame other Queer people in the name of inclusion. Before the mid to late sixties, the self-proclaimed leaders in civil rights for gender and sexual minorities referred to themselves as "homophiles" and consisted largely of affluent white cis men in tasteful suits lobbying shrinks and cops to give us a break if we agreed to keep it down.

Thankfully that dreadfully vanilla era ended in a crash with two riots, the one at Stonewall in 1969 and another lesser-known throwdown in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco three years earlier known as the Compton's Cafeteria Riot. Both were led by ragtag coalitions of irate drag queens, sex workers, bulldaggers and trannies who stopped being polite to their abusers in the police state and beat those fucking pigs black and blue. Uncoincidentally, both uprisings were also comprised overwhelmingly of gender outlaws of color and a few of their pale lovers.

From this maelstrom of blood dripping stiletto heels and bruised butch fists rose radical organizations like the Gay Liberation Front and the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries who didn't call for integration or assimilation. They called for revolution in concert with their oppressed brothers and sisters fighting for their own liberation in the jungles of Vietnam and the streets of Watts. The original Queer Movement, the one that blasted open the closet door with a twelve-gauge shotgun for millions of proud freaks like me, was inspired not by Martin Luther King or the Southern Poverty Law Center but by Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party. Gay Liberation was the kinky lesbian sister of Black Power, and we can all still learn a lot from this era of love and rage.

Black folks found themselves at a similar crossroads to the one that Queer folks face today during the mid-sixties. In spite of massive gains made in the arenas of civil rights and popular opinion, the Black Freedom Movement found themselves staring cross-eyed down two barrels of the same gun. Down one barrel was an increasingly violent campaign of police state repression in the Jim Crow South that had been adopted by the Republican Party in the form of opportunistic creeps like Barry Goldwater and Dick Nixon. And down the other was a newly de-Dixiefied Democratic Party that wanted the assimilated negro to be seen but not heard at the DNC as they used the poorest among them to wipe out the rest of the Third World. Then a few brave brothers and sisters said, 'fuck you' and started a revolution.

This revolution earned its title when Stokely Carmichael chose to purge the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committe of pious white liberal interlopers and led the crowds of the 1966 March Against Fear in Mississippi in a chant of 'Black Power!' on national television. The point of this movement wasn't to segregate Black folks but to empower them to build their own autonomous network of organizations, small businesses and cultural institutions right in the belly of Babylon. A network that could co-exist with radical white folks without having to rely on their approval. This model proved terrifying enough to the white power structure that it ultimately smashed segregation to bits and indirectly led not only to Stonewall but to the end of the Vietnam War when it inspired radicals of every shade to bring that war home to the streets.

This is precisely what Queer people need right now. We need a Queer Power Movement to build a network of stateless Queer autonomous zones across the country, free to act without interference from straight government or corporate intervention. We need our own schools in which students are given at least as much authority as the adults tasked with guiding them on the path to forging their own identities. We need our own medical services governed through mutual aid and informed consent rather than pharmaceutical gatekeepers and whitecoat authoritarians. And we need a well-trained and heavily armed civilian militia to defend these Queer institutions from any attempt by the breeder state to interfere with our lives and our communities.

We also need to fortify our own culture with a full metal jacket commitment to anti-authoritarianism and radical diversity. We need to embrace the fact that there is actually great power in being a minority because only minorities contain the kind of intimate tribal societies capable of achieving the level of stateless autonomy that we all deserve. This means rejecting the genocidal notion of the melting pot once and for all and advocating for a coalition of a million minorities, be they Queer, Black, Chicano, Redneck, Zaydi or Palestinian, to declare our independence from any other world order, old or new. Because either we all get free, or we all get fucked and that's one form of sodomy that this proud faggot is not down with.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that inspired this post

* Queen Bitch by David Bowie

* Is It Really So Strange by the Smiths

* Describe by Perfume Genius

* I Found a Reason by the Velvet Underground

* Rockstar by Hole

* The Drowners by Suede

* Trash by New York Dolls

* Some New Kind of Kick by the Cramps

* List of Demands by Saul Williams

* Children of the Revolution by T. Rex

1 comment:

  1. The straitjacket of assimilation indeed!
    I was on a long layover at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport and arranged to spend some time with my cousin, whom I had not seen in many years. Sure, he had been in the Army but he was no Republican, and we could have good discussions...well now he is so triggered by drag queen story hour he was spouting all these conservative talking points. I shared with him that one of my husband's old friends has been trans for while now, and they are not a monster...well I think COVID Zoom school for his 2 teens, being a single dad, did push him toward this fear-based view of the world and feeling the need to protect the kids from the evil agenda the left is pushing us into. Despite all this, we had a spirited discussion and I tried to find some common beliefs we still share. Being in the Army, he agreed with me that our country is dependent on military spending and debt to keep the whole mess going, since he saw a lot of waste with military contractors. I brought up the abortion bans as a violation of bodily autonomy and most Americans think bans are going too far, but then he goes on about COVID vaccine as a false equivalence(it seems obvious to me). He hates both Dems and Repubs which I agreed with. I said I'm a member of the Green party and he said now I'm a Libertarian which is OK I guess. My point is, when you are in the Texas atmosphere, swimming in these anti-trans attitudes, white supremacy etc. it's almost inevitable. I can't argue the anarchistic view for him to switch him over. I think the best thing is that we can talk to each other and not always agree. We are Gen X so we are against "cancel culture"; we want dialogues to remain open as possible. Oh and he kept talking about his psychedelic experiences in the past. He is planning a short trip to Colorado to get some legal weed.