Sunday, December 5, 2010

GAY SHAME: a celebration of resistance

GAY SHAME is an organization in San Fransisco dedicated to the eradication of assimilation to the "mainstream gay" a.k.a homonormativity. They also focus on many political issues either from a queer perspective or issues that connect to the queer community itself.
The following excerpt is their statement of pursose quoted directly from their website

"GAY SHAME is a Virus in the System. We are committed to a queer extravaganza that brings direct action to astounding levels of theatricality. We will not be satisfied with a commercialized gay identity that denies the intrinsic links between queer struggle and challenging power. We seek nothing less than a new queer activism that foregrounds race, class, gender and sexuality, to counter the self-serving “values” of gay consumerism and the increasingly hypocritical left. We are
dedicated to fighting the rabid assimilationist monster with a devastating mobilization of queer brilliance. GAY SHAME is a celebration of resistance: All are welcome"

The main page lists their meeting times and past or current flyers of events and issues they are focusing on. Pink appears to be the color of choice to represent their organization. Their website also includes an archive of past events, an image gallery, links to for a visitor to continue "resisting assimilation" and contact information.

A few of the images on GAY SHAME's website were in a way reminiscent of Dean Spade's image in regards to gay marriage included in his article It's So Queer to Give Away Money.
Both Dean Spade and GAY SHAME recognize the mainstream "gay politics" and how it caters to homonormative couples. The fight for "true equality" in reality appears to be only a fight for legal and monetary benefits therefore making the fight for marriage equality in a sense very selfish and ignorant of other important queer related issues.

Both Dean Spade and GAY SHAME in my opinion appear to be expressing the idea of moving beyond the current excluding face of the pride movement. They express the idea of how our focus should actually be on dismantling political and social constructs that create inequality in the first place.

Dean Spade's mention of a "different queer politics" where grass root organizations focus on social issues such as "the growing wealth divide in the United States, the stagnation of wages..." etc appears to include politically radical organizations such as GAY SHAME. GAY SHAME's focus on gay rights beyond marriage and their strive towards "a new queer activism" that goes beyond the current boundaries set by homonormativty directly connects to the idea of non-mainstream queer politics. It also recognizes and takes into account the existence of a mainstream gay politics and it's effects on the queer community. These politics have been shaped to exclude parts of the queer community based on class and race. The acceptable gay is usually white and middle class. These politics have also been shaped with the idea of normalization and acceptance being directly connected to assimilation to heteronomativity through homonormativity. GAY SHAME resists
this idea of assimilation being the only doorway to acceptance and equality.

Spade also mentions of the concerns in regards of how the professionalism of queer and trans activism has changed its messages and its demands". The idea of acceptable queer professionalism and activism would not include GAY SHAME. They most certainly redefine queer professionalism with their pink banana uniform and the covering of their faces that is reminiscent of gang flags and acts of crime. Going through their website I still do not fully understand why multiple members of GAY SHAME were arrested at gay pride in 2003. Their website does not come off as drastically radical or violent but something must have triggered not only their arrests but the large number of officers needed to do so. Taking into consideration that I found GAY SHAME through Bash Back's website the potential violent side of GAY SHAME is possible.

Bash Back is an organization that is defined as "Gay AntiChristian Terrorists" and on their website they are blatantly violent and vulgar. I hate to admit that simply by association with such a radical group it is hard not to think that GAY SHAME could potentially be just as radical in person.

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