Congratulations to FIABGFM of Boston! You've won our AskFannie Halloween Photo Competition! You get a signed picture of ME!

Dear Fannie,

I'm a twenty-something living in Boston. As recently as spring 2007, I was a part of the movement to protect gay marriage in Massachusetts. Now that that battle seems to be won, I'm kind of at a loss as to how to be a queer-friendly activist.

Forced into Apathy by Gay-Friendly Massachusetts


Now that gays and lesbians are now allowed to access to exclusive institutions historically held by a hypocritical heterosexual majority in the great state of Massachusetts, you got nothing left to fight for? I think that your question is indicative of another problem with this mainstream "LGBT" push for gay marriage. Something I like to call Post-homonuptial depression, or the Gay Marriage blues. I am going to assume that you do not consider yourself queer, (as indicated by your qualifier: "queer-friendly") and I would make the argument that you are actually more "Gay-Friendly" than "queer friendly," as your pseudonym suggests. Because while marriage is great if you are a monogamous affluent gay or lesbian white couple, it doesn't actually make great strides for everyone in our here & queer community.

Your question, FIABGFM, is actually very timely. On the Bilerico Project, Marti Abernathy recently commented on Mass Equality's internal discussion on possibly disbanding due to having achieved the pan-ultimate success of marriage equality. To equate gay marriage with true social justice for queer people is a gross miscalculation. Not only does it promulgate the hierarchy of (affluent) gays and lesbians over other queer people; but also marginalize trans and gender variant queer people. What Mass Equality and many gay-marriage-focused "LGBT" activists continue to miss is that gay marriage only benefits one section of our community.

Marriage forces families to fit a western model of the distinct nuclear family, with two parents (arguably one parent, as most dual-partnered couples tend to be inegalitarian when it comes to childcare), and uninterrupted rigid and hierarchical kinship systems. It also constrains sexuality by allowing marriage to further regulate sexual contact not only between heterosexuals, but now homosexuals as well. Rather, we should be advocating for family models that have less regulation and allow for different and varying familial configurations. But, you have all heard my oppositions to gay marriage in previous posts. I want to focus on the positive and how FIABGFM can truly be a queer activist.

One thing is for sure, FIABGFM, there is plenty of work still to be done in hurdling the obstacles the queer community continues to face. Most notably, trans rights have been increasingly trounced upon. Currently, to be transsexual, one must also be considered mentally ill (pathologization via Gender Disphoria and Gender Identity Disorder), exposed to discrimination and violence in everyday interactions (trans protections were removed from the proposed ENDA bill and only within the past year have trans people begun to be covered by federal hate crimes legislation), and continued misrepresentation by people from feminist, medical, psychological, and policy camps.

In addition, the HIV/AIDs epidemic continues to be a major concern amongst gay men. In 2006, Men who have sex with men (MSM) comprised almost 50% of new infections. While, this is a notable decrease from the early years of the epidemic, MSM continue to be grossly overrepresented in these numbers. In fact, since 2000, the rate of HIV infection amongst MSM has risen rather than fallen.

So basically, you shouldn’t feel apathetic, FIABGFM… winning marriage rights was a great accomplishment and certainly benefits some members of our community. But even Massachusetts is far from the egalitarian utopia that so many in the Gay mainstream seem to present it as.

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