Saturday, February 29, 2020

Pete Buttigieg and the Death of the Gay-Rights Movement

In a piece in New York Magazine that first looks at the parallels between Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn who lead the British Labour Party to its worst defeat in its history - and the possible catastrophe Sanders will bring to the Democrat Party - Andrew Sullivan then proceeds to look at the disintegration of the gay rights movement in America largely fueled by the far left within the LGBT community who are in the midst of attacking Pete Buttigieg for not being "gay enough."The wrath of these individuals also extends to every white male gay who is derided as either “hetero-normative” (gays who can pass as straights) or “homo-normative” (a person who looks and lives like most socially integrated gay men).  The irony is that it is largely these white gay males who fund the gay rights movement even as the far left believes gays need to support women, racial minorities, trans persons, disabled persons rather than a white gay man who somehow becomes part of the oppressor class simply by virtue of the skin color. I've seen this mindset take over Equality Virginia and other LGBT organizations which which have seemingly lost sight of their original agenda and in publications like Out Magazine which seems to cover anyone other than white gay males.  Sooner or later, those who have funded the movement will stop writing checks - I have to a large extent - and the far leftists will have nothing left.  It's insanity, but appears to be what the far left is best at: self destruction.  Here are column highlights:
One of the many problems with the concept of intersectionality is that it largely precludes activism on behalf of any single minority. Any particular identity is immediately overwhelmed by a variety of additional identities that supplant, complicate, or qualify it. And all these identities have their own hierarchy of oppressors and the oppressed, splintering them still further.
And so it is with what was once the gay-rights movement. A simple defense of the rights and freedom of homosexuals — people, biologically male and female, who are attracted to their own sex — has become impossible in an intersectional framework.
First off, critical queer theory deconstructed the old category of homosexual, which once rested on an apparently natural or innate attraction to members of the same sex. Homosexuality, they argued in contrast, is essentially a political act, a social construction, and the goal of queer politics is to subvert all such constructions, to advance wider and wider liberation. So there are homosexuals and then there are “queers.” The former are largely what queer theorists once lamented as “hetero-normative” (gays who can pass as straights) and are now called “homo-normative” (a person who looks and lives like most integrated gay men). The queer category tends to be defined by a desire to deconstruct the whole idea of nature, gender, and sex, embracing subversive alternatives to the family or the couple, and defining themselves by their performance of masculine or feminine roles, which they choose, in a bid to undermine the determinative role of biological sex. Then critical gender theory places women above men in the general hierarchy of oppression (oppression being correlated with status), deconstructing the classic coalition of gay men and lesbians as equals in pursuing homosexual rights. And then critical race theory adds a racial hierarchy as well, so that white gays are split from and subordinate to black gays, Jews become oppressors (because they have adopted “whiteness”), and Latinos climb up the intersectional ladder, as long as they identify as nonwhite. You can also add a host of other marginalized aspects of the human condition: the disabled, or poor, or undocumented, or HIV-positive … and on and on. When you buy into this vision of our society as defined entirely by oppression of people’s identity and with oppression having a near-infinite number of complicating hierarchies, the idea of a simple “gay rights” movement comes completely unraveled. And this is key, it seems to me, in understanding why “LGBTQ” activists have revealed such hostility to a figure like Pete Buttigieg. He does not deserve their support because he is white, male, cis, Christian, and has managed to be extraordinarily successful in life as well as politics. That places him quite high up on the oppressor matrix, his gayness notwithstanding. The first serious, openly gay candidate for the presidency does not represent “progress,” because he actually threatens “queer survival” — whatever that latter term actually means. In fact, Pete is, in their eyes, a regression — not because of his politics (which are very liberal), but simply because of his whiteness, maleness, cis-ness, and extraordinary talent. Queers should support a woman, a racial minority, a trans person, a disabled person, before they should support a white cis gay man. Here is Strangio elaborating this week on his point:
To all the white LGBTQ people celebrating the ‘milestone’ or ‘history-making’ of Pete, I strongly disagree. Nothing about white people who align with white supremacy to take power represents progress in my view.
Yes, Pete Buttigieg is in “alignment” with “white supremacy.” And that is a far more important thing to know about him than his homosexuality. What Pete has revealed, in other words, is that the gay-rights movement is dead. There are simply too many intersectional identities within the category of being gay to contain them in a movement simply for “gay rights.” What that means is that no gay organization can simply be about gays anymore. It has to be about race, class, gender, ability, immigration status, HIV status, and gender identity. At some point, well-meaning but naïve white, cis, gay men will come to understand that the movement they are largely funding is dedicated to their demonization and marginalization. And maybe, those not wedded to intersectional ideology will eventually decide to stop cutting the checks that makes this possible.


Green Eagle said...

A very well-stated, informative comment. Thanks for making the effort to write it.

EdA said...

I understand your points, Michael, and to some extent I agree with them. But I think that you are casting your net and critique too broadly. Sadly the politics of ideological purity HAS afflicted our movement for Equality as it has for general movement towards improving conditions of life and living for everyone. (I happen to be of the belief that "half a loaf is better than none -- but 3/4 of a loaf is better still ... and "but" choosing all or nothing is much more likely to result in nothing than in all.

RWIW, my own views on Mayor Pete's decision follow. Again FWIW.

Sadly, Mayor Pete has dropped out. But he deserves MASSIVE amounts of appreciation both for getting in AND for having done vastly better than anticipated. And although "middle-aged" by common LGBT standards, at 38 he is most assuredly young enough, and definitely bright enough and skilled enough, to take on -- successfully -- the Republiscum governor and/or senators of Indiana.

Although he was not my own pick, I commend that he was first out of the gate. It took a good many -- too many -- years between Geraldine Ferrara, who did not succeed in becoming Vice-President, and Hillary Clinton, who won millions more votes than the second-place finisher. It should not, and must not, and will not take so long for one of us.

Wishing Mayor Pete (and us) the very best for the future.☹️ 🇺🇸🌈

Michael said...

Well said. Thank you for writing this.