all 8 comments

[–]yousaythosethingsFind and Replace "gatekeeping" with "having boundaries" 27 insightful - 1 fun27 insightful - 0 fun28 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

It’s historical revisionism based on what people think “activism” looks like in 2021. Where “activism” is posting black squares and hashtags on Instagram, retweeting mantras on Twitter, and getting social groups and forums shut down. This kind of “activism” is everywhere and even (at least previously) respectable media plays up to it in some of the randos they now platform like Andrea Long Chu. It’s just about visibility, exhibitionism by narcissists, and voyeurism by a large young-leaning segment of the population that is hungry for opportunities to demonstrate how against the system they are. Of course this is all happening in the era of “no debate” where people don’t have to defend their positions on a substantive basis and generally don’t even try to and mostly cannot do so.

Could some drag queens have been seriously involved in activism decades ago? Sure but they wouldn’t have been seen as activists just for transgressing societal norms. They would have had to have been part of the actual hustle of making shit happen.

Likewise, when your goal was concrete and tangible and largely about equal access to participation in societal institutions (e.g., overturning anti-sodomy laws, legalization of same-sex marriage, overturning laws preventing openly gay people from serving in the military, overturning Jim Crow laws, etc.) what passed as actual activism versus mere allyship or support for activism was a lot more clear. When your goal is just subverting society’s expectations, activism has a low barrier of entry and is also poised to never reach any concrete goals, and to give you a never-ending reason to self-promote.

[–]ChunkeeguyTeam T*RF Fuck Yeah 24 insightful - 1 fun24 insightful - 0 fun25 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Spot on. The hard work was done by people willing and skilled enough to lobby politicians etc. Protests and demonstrations are useful at times but people dressed in outrageous outfits or even plain old drag distract from the narrative and are used by the media to portray LGB people as freaks and cross dressers.

[–]reluctant_commenter 17 insightful - 1 fun17 insightful - 0 fun18 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

I'm not trying to dismiss drag queens, but people seem to have this idea in their heads that because they were transgressive in terms of how they dressed, they made social change happen while all the mainstream gay people with careers simply hid in the closet and did nothing. That's not what I remember at all.

This is exactly the message I've been taught, by other LGBTQ+ people around me and by all the media popular among people in my generation. Fascinating to hear the opposite perspective from someone who was actually around for that time period.

I think a key piece, which you highlighted, is this:

What I think a lot of people don't get is that a lot of community organizing and activist work is actually pretty boring. Most of it does not involve dramatic confrontations in the street.

Nobody wants to hear that. Nobody wants to hear the boring details of the actual truth. Certainly not people in the TQ+ movement. I tend to relate much more to the "assimilated gay person" stereotype; being homosexual/bisexual is natural and there's nothing "special" about it. But some people seem to want to hang their entire identities and self-worth off of the fact that they're LGB (if, in fact, they are LGB and aren't just LARPing straight people pretending to be...). I hear so much shit from people my age directed at LGB people who aren't "loud and proud," who don't initiate conversations about their gayness/bisexuality all the time. Just because I don't wear rainbows and the latest TQ+ fashion stereotypes doesn't mean I'm not proud to be myself, or that I'm ashamed of being gay. Such BS.

[–]JulienMayfair[S] 13 insightful - 1 fun13 insightful - 0 fun14 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

This is exactly the message I've been taught, by other LGBTQ+ people around me and by all the media popular among people in my generation.

I think one engine behind it is the Stonewall Myth, which has taken so many forms over the years. The original that I heard -- before the better studies were published -- was that drag queens upset over the death of Judy Garland fought back against police raiding the bar. We know now that that's nonsense, but I think that story created a template for how this topic is discussed. And part of that template is that the LGB people who led otherwise fairly unremarkable lives were just along for the ride, taking advantage of the progress created by the drag queens.

But reality is a lot messier and less clear-cut. Take Craig Rodwell, Mattachine member, who was already meeting with representatives of the NYC Mayor's office to try to stop police harassment of gay bars before Stonewall happened.

[–]BootsAndBeards 17 insightful - 1 fun17 insightful - 0 fun18 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Yeah I can't imagine a screeching drag queen changing hearts and minds of conservative America. It's difficult to parse how social change comes about it but it usually comes with the exact opposite of open social transgressions. It comes from convincing people that whatever you want isn't actually going to ruin society. Two men or two women loving each other is a pretty simple concept. Breaking social norms for no real purpose is only going to piss off people you will need to convince to accept you. Assuming acceptance is really the goal anyway.

[–]NeedMoreCoffee~=[,,_,,]=^_^= 16 insightful - 1 fun16 insightful - 0 fun17 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I remember the same thing. Draggueens were rarely seen at the protests aswel. A lot of them just dressed up in the weekend and didn't want people from their "normal" lives to know.

[–]dilsencySame-sex community 13 insightful - 1 fun13 insightful - 0 fun14 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Tired of activists trying to find "heroes" in history based only on how easily they can label them ✨genderqueer✨ or whatever, regardless of what actually happened.

[–]GayBoner 11 insightful - 1 fun11 insightful - 0 fun12 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)