The march rally call says; “Let’s remember gay hero Harvey Milk!”
We say; “Harvey Milk was no hero. He was a straight-pandering Republican, responsible for the gentrification of the Castro and the criminalization of trans sex workers in San Francisco.
If you’re going to celebrate the so-called “revolutionaries” of electoral politics, rather than actual revolutionaries like Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, and Jim Fouratt; it is questionable why you’d pick a white, straight-acting Republican like Harvey Milk.
Why pick someone someone who embodies the “Just Like You!” attitude of the straight establishment; when there are candidates like Jose Sarria, an openly gay gender variant person of color who actively campaigned against police brutality and gentrification, who even ran for the very same office (S.F. Board of Supervisors) a decade before Milk in 1961?
If this rally is for a revolution of social liberation, why did people simply pick-and-choose to celebrate queer history that best fits in with Hollywood’s film screening schedules? (Did anyone even know who Harvey Milk was before the movie came out in 2008?)
The global trans movement has grown exponentially in the years since the campaign started, and the effort to move away from a pathology framework and toward one based on the affirmation of identity has been central to forging the path to liberation.
Over the last three years, our collective has self-published three anthologies of radical queer and trans critiques of mainstream gay and lesbian equality politics (on marriage, military, and prisons). We’ve distributed nearly 5,000 books through sales and free mailings to incarcerated LGBTQ folks over the last three and a half years. Our books are now used in numerous university courses and most of the anthologies can be found in both university and municipal libraries across the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia! We are really proud of our work with all of the contributors in our first three anthologies.
Keeping the three anthologies that we’ve put together in print has been a growing economic burden for us as an anti-capitalist collective. Currently, almost $7k in debt still sits on credit cards, primarily accrued through printing and shipping costs of each of the three anthologies. Accessibility in terms of readers’ book costs is really important to us as a project and our collective members have been helping pay down the collective debt with any/all speaking fees we take in from universities. At this point, the publishing process is economically unsustainable, as the demand for our work continues to grow. We now have not one but three books in print.
This winter we approached AK Press about possibly working with us to keep these books available in print. They have been incredibly generous through their work distributing our books and have offered to work with us on a new project to cut costs and keep the books available to anyone who wants them. Coming in March 2014, we will launch a 3-in-1 anthology combining all three books into one, along with a new introduction from the collective and a preface from the series editor. AK Press has agreed to be our publisher and front the costs of publication. Thankfully this takes the economic burden out of our hands while still keeping the price of the book low, and most importantly: this keeps all three books in print!
Lastly, the relevance of all three archival anthologies is even more important today than ever before. With the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act just days ago, the expiration of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2011, and the passage of federal hate crime laws in the United States in the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, we want to be sure that our voices of resistance are not erased and written out of history. These books are like bread crumbs, laying out different pathways to justice and resistance for those that dare to imagine a more just world. When people look back on these desperately conservative gay times, we hope our collective voices can be an inspiration to those who come after us. Those that look to our queer histories, just like we did, as a site of rejuvenation, excitement, and hope. More news to come shortly! In the meantime, if you’d like your own set of our first three pocket-sized anthologies, you better do so quick! There are only about 200 of each available.
Gay Pride was not born of a need to celebrate being gay, but our right to exist without persecution. So instead of wondering why there isn’t a Straight Pride movement, be thankful you don’t need one.
This is a huge deal for many low income, disabled people of color who are trans and gender non conforming! So many people worked on this for so long, congrats to all!
OMG YES! Liberation is a collective process.
The presumption that I am fighting for equality is actually somewhat offensive. My oppressors are scum. I do not want to be equal to them. I want my freedom, which is why I am fighting for liberation.
Fuck equality. They will never be my equals.
bolded for extreme truth, though; ain’t nobody fighting to be LIKE y’all, we’re fighting to be FREE of y’all (whoever the oppressor may be).
Assimilation versus liberation: this is the central issue of transgender (and most) civil, political, and social rights movements. This piece pivots on that tension and aims to determine some contours of a critical and liberatory trans politics. While the knee-jerk reaction of many of us located in this camp might be to opt out and/or create dissent around the established institutions, structures,and relations that created and maintain transphobic ideology, discourse and actions, often, as trans people, we are left with no other option but to navigate those very institutions (ie. hospitals, social services agencies, the criminal punishment system) in order to get what we want.
As someone who values desire over prescription and happiness over conformity, I am interested in figuring out how to actualize those values. I want to think about when to work within such dominant spheres and ask: must we only work in solidarity and coalition with groups and people whose politics are aligned with ours? What sacrifices are worth making, and who and which institutions and structures do we make them for? What does it mean to have a critical and liberatory trans politics, and how can we put our politics into praxis?
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