‘How Gay’ Has ‘Stay[ed] White’ for Over a Decade

A not-unproblematic article but one that makes some interesting points. The first thing that popped into my head while reading it was that sappy ‘It’s Time’ video which portrayed the relationship of two good-looking, muscular, privileged white men and which went viral twice over.

It is spot on about the tendency for (relatively) privileged white gay men to put their ‘oppression’ in terms of homophobia (which I would argue is sometimes imagined) ahead of all other forms of oppression and division, particularly class. It is also spot on regarding the “use of ‘race analogies’ that compare sexual marginalization to racial marginalization”. Tatchell, Hari, Bindel, Strudwick and countless others have repeatedly engaged in the ‘if this was an analogous situation with a black person’ trope, completely blind to how reductive, pointless and actually offensive such an idiotic comparison is. The article in The Advocate which it links to, ‘Gay is the New Black?’ is particularly egregious in its ham-fisted attempts to claim the mantel of ‘oppressed minority’ from ‘blacks’ while hedging its bets and qualifying every claim with a facile PC acknowledgement that really what is being written is rubbish.

However this article also gets a bit lost. In its acknowledgement that even ‘privileged’ gay people face discrimination regarding:

the rights to marry, to not face employment discrimination based around sexuality or gender identity, or to know that hate crimes against you can be treated as hate crimes, whether in terms of punishment or prevention

it papers over forms of oppression and modes of power far beyond that of identity politics and makes the fundamental error that the existence of ‘hate crimes’ is a form of ‘equality’. It makes that link which it has been implicitly criticising before – namely that a billionaire and a person on minimum wage and both linked in their ‘oppression’ by their sexuality. I would argue that the experience of the former would be completely alien to that of the latter, despite both their inability to get ‘married’.

It’s something that pieces like this are slowly – very slowly – becoming more prevalent. It raises tiny hopes for a mature discussion of sexuality which isn’t a game of the infamous ‘Oppression Olympics’.

‘How Gay’ Has ‘Stay[ed] White’ for Over a Decade

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