. . . this is not meant to be written from a place of anger or judgement- just love. i want to love, to understand and to be able to move through life in a way that is most pleasing and healthy for me. And i believe that we should all be able to do that. this is why i critique. because i want to understand how all the movings around us inform our lives and whether they push us towards self determination.
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marriage is not love.
love has a vast meaning. it applies to many different kinds and formations. for example: i love nature, i love my mother, i love my partner(s), i love my best friends, i love days off, i love my cats. the weight, that all these hold in my heart, may be different but, in general, there are feelings of warmth, comfort, compassion, joy, and light found in these relations.
marriage is a social contract- it is a legal arrangement that sometimes springs from a place of love. Under capitalism, under our current social order, marriage is propaganda. it is billed as being the final manifestation of romantic relations. marriage holds over 100 extra rights given to those in that legal bond. marriage is seen as “moral”. marriage does not apply to all romantic couplings- people in polyamorous relationships cannot be married, same sex couples in most states cannot be married. thus, marriage, through the state, is not a manifestation of love. it’s another tool of the state to divide and police. During the developing stages of capitalism, in Europe, “marriage” was a means of accumulating wealth amongst the upper classes. Families of high status would only marry into one another in order to secure/ increase their wealth. In the past, many attacks on the morality of womyn in general, and poor womyn of color specifically, involved the word “unwed”. This was used in conjunction with other attacks to invalidate the voices of womyn who sought help from the society or who critiqued the neglect of the state.
it then makes perfect sense to me that marriage, under the state, is not a manifestation of love but instead another capitalist divide- another class.
marriage ain’t gonna save us.
If you are a queer who’s main issue is marriage then you are privileged and actually in the minority. Esp when we are still poor, not given any of the vital resources needed to survive, homeless, victims of racism, sick, criminalized (trans folk are being banned from restrooms in some states while in others there are serious legislative pushes to quarantine HIV positive folk), etc. . . this is real. Seeking straight privilege that gives approval because of the zeros on your check, skin color, possession of a penis, etc . . means than it doesn’t get better for those of us who don’t identify or who aren’t apart of those groups. Normalizing this privilege will only result in the cementing of a gay bourgeoisie and i really don’t have time for imperialism with a rainbow flag. Gaining access to marriage licenses will place an end to/ or even begin to place an end to the destruction this society is bringing to us. It will benefit those who have the privilege of accessing it. Ask yourself, “if these rights are so vital, then why are we having to beg for them? Why are they not afforded to every being possible? Are there folk not deserving of these rights?”
What this argument for “equality” sounds like to me is assimilation. That means that there is a belief that morphing ourselves to reflect the larger society will put an end to the trauma we face in that society. If history has taught us anything, it’s that assimilation is a failed strategy. Black folk, and other marginalized peoples, won many rights at the end of what is known as the “Civil Rights Movement”. 40 years later, however, we see segregation, the incarceration of bodies of color, de-funding of social services (which support many poor folk and folk of color), police brutality, etc. . . at an all time high. In fact, many of the rights won during the Civil Rights Movement are almost gone. The modern “Gay Rights Movement” spends a lot of time invoking the Civil Rights Struggle. Gay folk would do well to note the complete play out of that movement and question whether or not it is something worth the time.
The sad truth under capitalism is that there is a need for a class system. There cannot be privilege if there isn’t suffering and this is a system of privilege. That privilege is defined and given to certain individuals (the faces of which may change slowly and periodically but ultimately the structure remains.) Grabbing that privilege means being seen as one of the people who is worth state in society and part of that includes being seen as “moral”. Gays, historically have not been seen as “moral”. Recently, as some gay folk have begun to become successful capitalists (or businesspeople) and as parts of gay cultures have been successfully commodified, we have seen a larger acceptance of gay folk. However, it isn’t all gays. Images coming from the Gay Rights Movement rarely include womyn, disabled gays, homeless gays, poor gays, gays of color, trans-folk etc. . . and this is because assimilation means that only those closest to being what is “acceptable” or “presentable” can be included. All others are left behind. Thats because the argument about the value of everyone’s life and love but instead, it’s really a plea, the the straights in power, to be seen as “just like you”.
Take San Francisco, the “Gay Homeland” for example. The city is seen as a safe space for gays- as a place where we are welcomed and no where else have I, as a queer Black male, ever felt more out of place. In the Castro District, the residents (who have a decent amount of coins- enough to be considered a worthwhile audience during elections) voted against the building of a youth center. Most of them citing the fact that homeless youth being that close to their homes would bring down the property value. Also in the Castro, the only times I have ever seen images of folk who look like me have been on porn ads, HIV prevention work, and drug addiction support ads. Lesbians and Trans folk are rare. (period, in person and in image). What I do see and hear in the Castro is the affirmation of Gay white men- both in image and in presence. The HRC, which is situated in the Castro District, claims that one of the benefits that marriage will bring to gay couples is that it will allow those couples, in which one doesn’t have citizenship standing, to stay united. However, the HRC never mobilizes to counter the I.C.E. raids in the mission district, which is just blocks away. Where is the care for “illegal immigrants”? If we can take SF as a model of what gay assimilation looks like then i think the horrors are very evident.
Marriage ain’t moral and i ain’t decent.
Often times “marriage” is seen as something “moral”. Something that is pure and right. And so, the thoughts around marriage include: “it being the right thing to do”, it having a “sanctity” that we need to protect.
First off, if marriage was moral then it wouldn’t be exclusive and given by the state. “Morality” is a concept- meaning that it is inherently subjective means only as much as the person using it believes.
This is the same state that:
– founded itself on the corpses of native folk
– that became what it is using the blood and labor of enslaved Africans
– that involuntarily sterilized womyn of color
– that continues to invade country after country in search of natural resources that will bring profit
– that, to this day, is the only nation on this planet to use a weapon of mass destruction
– that spends more money annually on incarcerating Black and Brown bodies than it spends educating this.
– made gay sex illegal
– legally protects companies that create food so destructive and unnatural that they erode soil, pollute air, and contribute to in development of cancer.
-arrests Black womyn for lying about which county she lives in so that her child can go to a safe school while it does nothing to White men who shoot defenseless Black boys who are tied up and laying face down.
– that uses Islamphobia and zenophobia as launching points for a war on an entire region of the world.
This state is most definitely not defining what the word “moral” means. And if giving these acts my support, through patriotism, means that i am a “decent” member of the society then i’m good. I ain’t never liked how being a “moral” or “decent” person sounded no ways.