Monday, February 28, 2011
The Suits vs. the Sluts
I came across this article called, “The Queer/Gay Assimilationist Split: The Suits vs. the Sluts” and it got me thinking about gay and lesbians and how society views them. The most crucial point of the reading is that the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) movement is now split into two halves; the queer activists and the gay assimilationists. The split was due to the interests of each subgroup within the movement. For example, The Gay Liberation Front (GLF), namely gay liberationists, aimed towards tackling an “oppressive social structure” (Shepard, 2001). The Gay Activists Alliance’s (gay assimilationists) focus was more political and aimed for legislative reform, and social acceptance (Shepard, 2001). This divide has created a ‘right wing/left wing’ political spectrum within the movement, and has contextualized identity politics. The queer activists force themselves away from mainstream society and do not care about societal acceptance, whereas the assimilationists are trying to incorporate the gay movement into social acceptance, instead of tackling societal inequalities. The gay movement in general is seeking rights and freedoms regular citizens enjoy, however the approach to gain these rights has been split into tackling society, and tackling the government.
The author quotes in the conclusion that “class division within the gay movement” (Shepard, 2001). It is ironic to think a social movement that fights for equality and aims toward social change can experience similar turmoil within itself. Identity plays an evident role within the movement and in social issues overall, however it seems impractical to allow an identity crisis and division in status among a population, fighting for the same rights. I found the alliance of labour and queer activists very refreshing and a clever tactic to pursue the gay movement’s interests. Labour and money are an ongoing issue within society, therefore having the gay movement enter into that realm; it will gain great support and attention for their cause. The queer/gay assimilationist split is an unfortunate development within the gay movement; however it has also created opportunities to allow gay activists to coincide with other social movements. Therefore it raises social activism for two separate causes simultaneously, and creates a support system for both movements.
Although homosexuality is decriminalized in Iraq, it is still frowned upon by the majority of the people who reside there. It is evident that many gay men choose to be queer activists and not gay assimilates because there is still an increasing fear that they will not be accepted by the rest of society. Therefore, for now, merging into their own queer communities is ideally safer. In conclusion, I find interesting that Chaldean and Middle Eastern cultures choose to negatively criticize homosexuality while ignoring important issues such as rape and honor killings. It is clear that in Iraq, homosexuality is negatively viewed because it is looked as destroying patriarchy and what men symbolize-power, masculinity and strength. When this is destroyed, then it will appear as though society is being harmed.