Sunday, October 11, 2009

Why I Won't Come Out on National Coming Out Day (TODAY)

via Bilerico, by Yasmin Nair

Note: I wrote this piece last year and am resurrecting it here, with a few additions.

This is the week of the March on Washington. Or, wait, is it the March Through Washington, a city that will be missing most of its lawmakers and the now Nobel Peace Prize Winner President Obama himself on the day of? I won't waste too much time writing about something that seems designed to be little more than a publicity event for a few celebrity queers except to say that my best hope is that the mostly, I suspect, younger crowd that's going to go will come away with a sense of the greed and manipulation of gay politicos, fat cat organisations, and power brokers. And that their hunger for public engagement will eventually be channeled towards more substantial and radical critiques than simplistic calls for "equality" that don't go beyond the usual Holy Trinity of Hate Crimes Legislation, Marriage, and Don't Ask Don't Tell. And that some might want to ask why a march organised as an LGBT-no-Q-thank-you March makes no significant mention of HIV/AIDS or the persistent violence towards and surveillance of queers and why it seems, instead, bent on wrapping itself in a blanket of normalcy designed to get phobic straight people to tolerate us just a leeeeeeettle bit more.

So here's my point: The march is on National Coming Out Day (October 11). The neoliberal fetishisation of identity means that public embraces of the "LGBT" acronym is just another way to increase inequality by pretending that individual identity and relationships matter more than policies that might benefit everyone. In this context, National Coming Out Day takes on the aura of a sacred rite of passage for an entire nation. It's a way to prove that its collective self is tolerant towards its lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgender citizens.

Read the rest.

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