24 October 2009

Queer Theory, Stonewalled - Nov 17th in Waterville!

Tuesday November 17th, 4-6pm in Lovejoy 103, Colby College, Waterville, Maine.

Light refreshments, All are welcome!

In 1990, Eve Sedgwick boldly announced what for many gays and lesbians by then seemed obvious: “The closet is the defining structure for gay oppression in this century.” Periodizing The Closet, Sedgwick specifies that “the phrase ‘the closet’ as a publicly intelligible signifier for gay-related epistemological issues is made available, obviously, only by the difference made by the post-Stonewall gay politics oriented around coming out of the closet.” Characterizing these politics in an early prefiguration of the political organizing and theorizing that has of late come to be known as intersectionality, bar-goer Philip Eagles affirmed of Stonewall, “It was the heart and soul of the Village because it had every kind of person there.” But in the decades since Stonewall, “every kind of person” has not received equal play time in Queer Theory-- certainly not the kind of person who happens to be a sex worker. In contrast with their gay and lesbian comrades at the altar, the ghosts of sex workers still sit on their barstools at the Stonewall Inn, “waiting for their turn at justice” (as Erotic Services Providers Union founder Maxine Doogan puts it). Given this profound disconnect between Queer Theory and the Sex Worker Rights Movement-- movements that would to many seem highly compatible and/or mutually implicated movements, predicated as they both are on a resistance to sexual stigmatization and marginalization--my intent with this talk is three fold: 1) to signal the curious silences that have from the inception of Queer Theory enshrouded the subject of prostitution/sex work, 2) to read into these silences —to consider them, per Sedgwick’s articulation of the silences enshrouding The Closet, as “speech acts” in and of themselves; and 3) to sketch the losses Queer Theory has suffered in the wake of its failure to make common cause with the Sex Worker Rights Movement.

19 October 2009

Gay Marriage is not Universal Health Care

As the gay marriage and health care reform debates rage on in our ground zero state, we can't help but wonder how we got so off track. Since when did a corporate friendly "public option" replace our demands for trans inclusive universal health care? How did shared health care plans through our soon-to-be spouses replace our demand for health care for all people of every class, including working class queers who still won't have health care once they're happily coupled because neither of them have it from their employer in the first place. How did so many of us get sucked in to these distractions? And a further burning question... Why should only married people be allowed to live?

To remind ourselves, and our larger communities, that neither gay marriage nor health care reform anything short of universal single payer is going to bring us any closer to the kind of health care access we've been dreaming, we postered both Portland in Lewiston with our newest broadside. Queers must demand universal health care for all the fags, dykes, trannies and queers, even those of us who are marginalized, poor, disabled, elderly and/or poz.

and yes, there's even a historical precedent of queers fighting for universal health care in maine, like this ACT UP/Portland rally in 1994 documented by Annette Dragon for the old gay paper, Apex.