April 13, 2011

GCN: conservative gay institutions vs. progressive queer communities

Gay City News has done a pretty thorough job (in one person's opinion) of documenting the Center's brazen attempt to quash queer dialogue about Palestine and pinkwashing, progressive queer movement, and the Center itself. Now GCN follows up on the bigger picture of how queer movement has been pushed to the right. Messages on marriage, DADT and other issues have come from institutions that took on leadership through big funding (rather than the support of an active LGBT community, on which political groups relied before funding became commonplace.) Those institutions are focused on normalizing gays rather than carving out space not to conform to simplistic norms, and queers who object are silenced.

GCN's argument is that this dumbing down of queer politics is a function of an expanding set of people who identify as LGBT, and who are themselves less radical and more normative. But in the case of the LGBT Center, it looks like the staff and executive board members are far more focused on mainstreaming than the Center's constituency.

“I think that the scope of discussions over the past 30 years... has become increasingly limited and diminished in the broader community,” said Michael Bronski, a professor at Dartmouth and Harvard Colleges and the author of “A Queer History of the United States” due to be released on May 10.
That narrowing came as the community’s membership grew. In order to include new members, the radical politics that informed some early gay groups were softened and became more centrist.
Community groups have increasingly relied on the mainstream press to get their messages out. Mainstream outlets have never been interested in the community’s internal debates, nor will they cover sexual politics in the LGBT community

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