Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

it's because I told you to fight

A version of the anonymously published Queer Manifesto, from around 1990. I don't believe in all of it, nor do I agree with all of its measures. But it makes me want to fight.


How can I tell you. How can I convince you, brother; sister that your life is in danger. That everyday you wake up alive, relatively happy, and a functioning human being, you are committing a rebellious act. You as an alive and functioning queer are a revolutionary. There is nothing on this planet that validates, protects or encourages your existence. It is a miracle you are standing here reading these words. You should by all rights be dead.

Don't be fooled, straight people own the world and the only reason you have been spared is you're smart, lucky, or a fighter. Straight people have a privilege that allows them to do whatever they please and fuck without fear. But not only do they live a life free of fear; they flaunt their freedom in my face. Their images are on my TV, in the magazine I bought, in the restaurant I want to eat in, and on the street where I live. I want there to be a moratorium on straight marriage, on babies, on public displays of affection among the oppostie sex and media images that promote heterosexuality. Until I can enjoy the same freedom of movement and sexuality as straights, their privilege must stop and it must be given over to me and my queer sisters and brothers.

Straight people will not do with voluntarily and so they must be forced into it. Straights must be frightened into it. Terrorized into it. Fear is the most powerful motivator. No one will give us what we deserve. Rights are not given they are taken, by force if necessary.

It is easier to fight when you know who your enemy is. Straight people are your enemy. They are your enemy when they don't acknowledge your invisibility and continue to live in and contribute to a culture that kills you.

Every day one of us is taken by the enemy. Whether it is an AIDS death due to homophobic government inaction or a lesbian bashing in an all-night diner (in a supposedly lesbian neighborhood), we are being systematically picked off and we will continue to be wiped out unless we realize that if they take one of us they must take all of us.


Being queer is not about a right to privacy; it is about the freedom to be public, to just be who we are. It means everyday fighting oppression; homophobia, racism, misogyny, the bigotry of the religious hypocrites and our own self-hatred. (We have been carefully taught to hate ourselves.) And now of course it means fighting a virus as well, and all those homo-haters who are using AIDS to wipe us off the face of the earth.

Being queer means leading a different sort of life. It's not about the mainstream, profit-margins, patriotism, patriarchy or being assimilated. It's not about executive directors, privilege and elitism. It's about being on the margins, defining ourselves; it's about gender-fuck and secrets, what's beneath the belt and deep inside the heart; it's about the night. Being queer is "grass roots" because we know that everyone of us, every body, every cunt, every heart and ass and dick is a world of pleasure waiting to be explored. Everyone of us is a world of infinite possibility.

We are an army because we have to be. We are an army because we are so powerful. (We have so much to fight for; we are the most precious of endangered species.) And we are an army of lovers because it is we who know what love is. Desire and lust, too. We invented them. We come out of the closet, face the rejection of society, face firing squads, just to love each other! Every time we fuck, we win.

We must fight for ourselves (no one else is going to do it) and if in that process we bring greater freedom to the world at large then great. (We've given so much to that world: democracy, all the arts, the concepts of love, philosophy of the soul, to name just a few of the gifts from our ancient Greek Dykes, Fags.) Let's make every space a Lesbian and Gay space. Every street a part of our sexual geography. A city of yearning and then total satisfaction. A city and a country where we can be safe and free and more. We must look at our lives and see what's best in them, see what is queer and what is straight and let that straight chaff fall away! Remember there is so, so little time. And I want to be a lover of each and every one of you. Next year, we march naked.


Blogger the roommate said...

I was ready to stop reading a few paragraphs in, but I made myself keep going.

There are, in my obnoxious opinion, some valid points, some maybe crucial ones, but over it is a message of hate and oppression--not about receiving it, but about creating it. Because of two things:
I don't believe the ternm "reverse racism" is needed. same with...what would this be, reverse bigotry? This is talking about hating people because they are straight. judging people based not on choices, beliefs, acts, thoughts, but on their sexual orientation. On the way they are born. And it seems to me that's not the message a queer manifesto should have. It should be about NOT grouping, judging, stereotyping and hating.
The other point is the "we are the only ones oppressed"
or, to actually quote:
Straight people have a privilege that allows them to do whatever they please and fuck without fear. But not only do they live a life free of fear; they flaunt their freedom in my face.

All straight people? what about straight women who want abortions, or women at all for that matter? what about anyone ever classified as a minority?

Finaly, I am bothered by the idea that straight people won't help, can't help. Because straight people out there are fighting for gay rights too. And to claim they aren't fits in with the other two things that bother me.

Straight people are not the enemy. Oppressors are the enemy, and people who do it, conciously or not, actively or not, come in all sizes, shapes, colors, flavors, and sexual orientations.

12:51 AM

Blogger Harper said...

By no means to I support everything said in this statement. I think it's over the top in many ways.

That being said, I think it's important to take into account the year in which this was written. We're looking at something written at the end of the Reagan era, when AIDs was destroying an entire generation because the president was too scared to do anything.

Making generalizations is dangerous. Very dangerous. Are all "straights the enemy"? Hardly. Do I understand the reasons for wording it this way?

Oh, yeah.

I think this is a reaction to fear. I (yeah, I'll bring myself in) had a lot not feeling some hatred at the end of the last election. The straight population owned the world: they could have TV shows about straight couples, magazine photos of perfect men and women, anniversary cards with heterosexist rhymes, etc, etc. So while I hardly support making it an "us against them" battle, I understand where this manifesto is coming from.

And I like the sentence, "Every time we fuck, we win." Because I think it's true. Every time I go out in public and kiss my girlfriend, it's a little "screw you" to a society that doesn't want my relationship to be public.

No, I don't agree with a lot of this manifesto. But I think it'd be foolish to dismiss it entirely. There are some good points in it, and good points against it. And it makes me want to march on Washington. Protest in the streets. Start a liberal blog.

1:05 AM

Blogger Cass said...

I really don't agree with a great deal of it -- but on the other hand, as Harper said, it's something that's actually angry instead of apologetic. I'm tired of homosexuals being accepted in the mainstream only if we're funny or can provide some crucial decorating services. I don't want to be sad, or scared, or desperate to please the -- frankly -- dominant heterosexual regime so that my girlfriend and I don't get beaten in the streets.

Do I think all heterosexuals are Teh Ebil? Hell no. But do I feel this sort of anger sometimes? Hell yes.

The other side, of course, is that it scares me to post this manifesto. I worry that bigoted people -- or heck, even people who under normal circumstances would be "just fine" with homosexuality -- will see it and say, "See, see? We were right." And then we're back where we were thirty years ago, with the Twinkie Defense making it a-okay to shoot up gay people. And so I say to myself, I shouldn't post this, I should stay safe, I should hide, I should not be seen as dangerous to the more powerful heterosexuals.

And whenever I recognize that that's the feeling I'm having... then I want to plaster this manifesto up on every street corner in the world.

12:02 PM


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