Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



Queer writers/activists criticize marriage-equality movement at forum
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 6208 times since Wed Oct 13, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Contrary to what some people believe, it is not just conservative heterosexual institutions that criticize the gay-marriage movement. Although their reasoning is different, queer activists also have their criticisms.

That point was clear as editor/contributor Ryan Conrad and contributor Yasmin Nair discussed their ( pocket-sized ) book, Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage, Oct. 9 at the Chicago Public Library's Bezazian Branch in Uptown with approximately 30 attendees. ( A third contributor, University of Illinois at Chicago professor John D'Emilio, was scheduled to attend but could not. )

One of the items discussed was the blue-and-yellow "greater than" symbol that the group Against Equality uses. Conrad said that it's "a rip-off of [ the Human Rights Campaign's ] logo." The campaign uses an equal sign. ( Nair clarified in a post-event talk that "it's our response to this notion of equality. The sign is very tongue-in-cheek, but there also needs to be 'better than' equality, and push for a more radical utopian vision of society." )

At one point, Nair talked about the book's title itself. "People ask, 'How can you possibly be against equality? That's like being against rainbows ... and all things good?' [ But ] equality ... What does equality mean and how has it been used and deployed over the years to signify anything good and grandiose and progressive? A lot of people say 'progressives' and 'gays' as if they mean the same thing. But what we're contending in this book is that, no, what constitutes the gay movement today is actually the gay right. It's a deeply conservative movement."

In a talk that touched on law, history and even psychology, Nair discussed how things changed for the gay community in the 1990s. "What you get in the 1990s is a break, as it were, for the gay community. You get a rise in the professional, upper middle class of gay people. You also get, at the same time, is this breakdown in the notion of a public sexual culture; so you see Times Square being cleaned out and Disney-fied, for example. And the two things actually come together: a gay professional class and a de-sexing of queer culture ( and straight life as well ) .

"So you get this conservatism. You get gay people who think AIDS is over; in fact, it's not. ... What starts to happen is that there's this idea that 'gay' is a class identity. People have this stereotype: They think that [ gays ] are all rich and have the picket-fence lifestyle.

"And within that framework of this change, you get marriage coming in. Marriage becomes the ultimate form of respectability."

Nair then drew a connection between two books with the same title—Why Marriage Matters—that seemingly come from opposite ends of the political spectrum. "One of them is by Evan Wolfson, who is one of the architects of the gay-marriage movement. The other one is by a member of the Family Research Council, which is ultraconservative. If you put the two books side by side, you would not be able to tell the difference—because each book tells you exactly the same story, about how marriage is good because it's only through marriage that children feel like they're legitimate. ... There is no difference, really, between the conservative idea of what a family should like and its relationship to the state, and what the gay vision of what that idea is."

Regarding sexualization, Nair said, "Ours is not the type of critique that says gay marriage is bad because we're not allowed to have sex anymore. That's a critique that a lot of radical queers have made: that gay marriage de-sexes us. The point is that gay marriage—as a kind of affective, sentimental movement—has allowed us to forget the kind of economic relationship we're supposed to have to the state.

"So when you talk about [ 1,138 ] benefits [ that gay married couples are deprived of ] , those are benefits that we're supposed to have, anyway. You shouldn't have to get married to have your life saved."

However, Nair saved her most passionate argument regarding the relevant and timely topic of gay teen suicides. "What has really appalled us is [ how ] the recent suicides have caused gay organizations to implicitly or explicitly make the absolutely outrageous, horrendous, disgusting, vile claim that gay marriage was connected to these suicides. ... People have been saying, 'If we had gay marriage [ or ] if gays had been treated well, these kids would not have committed suicide—to which we say, 'This is utter and complete rotten bullshit.' One of the queer youth who killed himself lived in Massachusetts, which has [ gay marriage ] . But, also, when someone is being queer-bashed, someone isn't thinking, 'I wonder if this kid's parents are married?' ... Also, these kids are more than just queer; they're undocumented immigrants [ and ] poor; if they kill themselves, it's because life feels hopeless on a number of different levels."

Nair and Conrad talked about how the importance of the gay-marriage movement has received most of the LGBT-related funding available, to the detriment of other organizations and services. Conrad read an excerpt from his essay, saying, "The gay-marriage campaign has been sucking up resources like a massive sponge, corralling us to give up our last dollar and free time, leaving little sustenance for other queer groups doing critical work in our communities.

"An Equality Maine campaign letter had the audacity to claim that gay marriage is 'the fight for our lives.' I wonder whose lives they are talking about when AIDS service organizations and community reproductive clinics across the state have been tightening their belts and desperately trying to crunch numbers so that more queer folks don't end up unemployed, uninsured or, worse yet, dead."

More about Against Equality—an online archive and collective that critiques "mainstream gay and lesbian politics"—is available at .

Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage is actually the first of three books. The next two will discuss hate-crimes legislation and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Nair and D'Emilio are also contributors to Windy City Times.

This article shared 6208 times since Wed Oct 13, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

WORLD Spain, South Korea festival, Eurovision, marriage items, Sri Lanka 2023-05-19
- Spain became the latest country to join a U.S. initiative that seeks to promote LGBTQI+ rights around the world, The Washington Blade reported. "Promoting and protecting the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ...

Gay News

Billy Masters: Carrie Fisher's family declare Walk of Fame star wars 2023-05-08
- "Days after Billy Masters revealed he spent time with Darren Hayes on the final stop of his tour (and talked about his butt), Darren announces his marriage is over: Coincidence?" —A fan wrote this to "Ask ...

Gay News

WORLD Hungarian bill, Biden's visit, HIV study, trans athlete ousted, Prince Harry 2023-04-21
Video below - Hungarian legislators passed a bill that enables citizens to report anonymously on same-sex couples who raise children to authorities, Bloomberg reported. Hungary's constitution protects the institution of marriage as a formation "between one man and ...

Gay News

WORLD Queer soldier, anti-trans interview, Eurovision, couple arrested, soccer match 2023-04-08
- A queer Ukrainian solider has called for same-sex marriage to be legalized in the country, according to PinkNews. Anna "Kajhan" Zyablikova, who is serving in the 47th Brigade of Ukraine's armed forces, told the i paper ...

Gay News

WORLD Japanese poll, Sydney Mardi Gras, mpox, rugby study, soccer player 2023-02-19
- Sixty-four percent of respondents to a Kyodo News poll believe same-sex marriage should be recognized in Japan, the media outlet noted. In the telephone survey, 88.4% also said recent remarks hostile to LGBTQ+ people by a ...

Gay News

Gay Calif. lawmakers introduce Prop 8 repeal 2023-02-14
- On Valentine's Day, two gay California lawmakers introduced a constitutional amendment to repeal Prop 8—the state's same-sex marriage ban that remains on the books despite being ruled unconstitutional years ago, according to The Bay Area Repo ...

Gay News

WORLD Church of England, Japanese officials, Hong Kong ruling, drag kings 2023-02-11
- The Church of England has voted to bless same-sex marriages for the first time in its history; however, its ban on conducting ceremonies will stay in place, PinkNews reported. It was approved after a six-year consultation ...

Gay News

WORLD Indian marches, delegation in Cuba, anti-LGBTQ+ investigation 2023-01-15
- Hundreds of people took part in the first Delhi Queer Pride march in three years as pressure grows for legal recognition of same-sex marriage in India, The Manila Times noted. In March, the South Asian's top ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Testifying in D.C., Brittney Griner, marriage law, school policies 2022-12-18
- WARNING: This week's news contains graphic content. Survivors of the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs that killed five people and injured approximately 20 others joined GLAAD and other advocates in providing testimony before the House ...

Gay News

Cook County's Kevin Morrison attends signing of Respect for Marriage Act at the White House 2022-12-13
-- From a press release - Washington D.C. — December 13thth 2022 — Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison attended the signing of the historic Respect for Marriage Act recently passed by both chambers of congress. The bill guarantees the federal rights ...

Gay News

With President Biden's signature, Respect for Marriage Act is law 2022-12-13
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — celebrated today as President Biden signed the Respect ...

Gay News

President Biden signs Respect for Marriage Act into law; groups and leaders respond 2022-12-13
-- From press releases - In response to President Biden signing the Respect for Marriage Act into law, groups and leaders release statements. ...

Gay News

Respect for Marriage Act passage important step but not equity says LGBTQIA+/ally Catholic group 2022-12-09
-- From a press release - Dec. 8, 2022. DignityUSA, the nation's foremost organization of Catholics working for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in our church and society, is pleased that both houses of Congress have now passed the ...

Gay News

Groups and leaders celebrate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act 2022-12-08
-- From press releases - U.S. Representative Mike Quigley: Washington, D.C.— Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), Vice-Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, released the following statement celebrating the passage of ...

Gay News

Congress passes Respect for Marriage Act, sends to President Biden for signature 2022-12-08
-- From a press release. Video below - (New York, NY - December 8, 2022) — GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is responding to the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act in the U.S. ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.




About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.