By Nicky Reid aka Comrade
Exile in Happy Valley
I should be such a happy Queer, shouldn’t I? At least that’s what I’m told. After all, aren’t all the other Queer folks just so goddamn happy? The ones on TV certainly appear to be, and even the ones I know seem to agree that shit’s getting better and I suppose in many respects it is. Then why do I find myself feeling like a genderfuck Charlie Brown every July, once the parades have gone home? This year’s Pride Month seemed particularly festive, even with the much hyped specter of COVID lurking just behind every glory hole.
After all, 2020 marked the 5th year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to essentially legalize gay marriage across all 50 states and the 5th year anniversary of the Democrats pretending they were for it all along. It also marked another landmark decision from the Supreme Court this year to recognize that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 actually applies to us. Yet, whenever people ask me about these winds of change, my response always leaves them flummoxed and disjointed, like they expect me to slap my hands together like an excited seal and my refusal to perform as expected makes me jaded, ungrateful, contrarian, and a bunch of other adjectives which give people a very PC way to accuse me of being a bad Queer.
So what do I tell them? Do I tell them that I resent going to a bunch of cis-het 1 percenters in robes, hat in hand, to beg for rights that I feel they have no right to grant or deny? Do I reiterate again what it means to be a Queer anarchist and a minority at the mercy of the same people who got rich at Wall Street law firms while my people were nearly wiped out by a plague nobody straight but Liz Taylor could be bothered to give a fuck about? Do I tell them that the plaintiffs in this latest Supreme Court case were all Queer people who managed to pass for long enough to get hired before getting fired? Do I tell them that out gender non-conforming Queers such as myself never even get through the front door? That we get denied job after job after job for totally legal but conveniently non-specified reasons? Reasons we all know without ever being said? Do I really have to point out that this is the reason that nearly sixty years after the original Civil Right’s Act, black and brown people are still grossly unemployed and underpaid? Do I have to explain to them that no top-down legal system can ever equalize the playing field between labor and management? That we require radical trade unions and general strikes to make shit like that happen? Do I explain to them the ideas of Rudolf Rocker before or after the theory of Judith Butler? Do I inform them that state marriage is a patriarchal and puritanical relic with its roots in conjugal subjugation? Do I tell them that Queer people have been engaged in various forms of marriage forever without ever seeking the approval of the state that went out of its way to outlaw our existence before adopting us as some kind of domesticated mascot for the neoliberal experiment? Do I explain to them that there are forms of Queer love far too radical for any state to ever even be capable of recognizing? Do I tell them that I’m far more concerned with poor transwomen of color being raped and tortured in the guts of the prison industrial complex that’s more powerful than ever than a few glorified photo-ops for white gender conforming upper-middle class Queers to enjoy? I could tell them all those things and more, and I suppose I just did, but it would still be beside the point. The real reason for my yearly post-Pride malaise would still remain obscured.