Continuing the “Gay shit” for Pride 2017, I thought this would be a good time to revisit a rant I’ve made before. Of course, said rant, in its original form, is currently unavailable, because fuck Twitter. So, might as well recreate it in blog form. I wanna take this time to break down why “Love Is Love” is a terrible way to advocate for LGBTQ people. Particularly, since this recently popped up on my Facebook news feed:
As with most any other trendy form of activism, “Love is Love” seems innocent enough on its face. It’s another form of pushing the message of equality for LGBTQ people…to advocate that we’re “just like” the heteros.
…but here’s one issue with that: I have no interest in being like heteros. At all. Hell, seems like a lot of heteros don’t even wanna be like heteros. “Love is Love” is basically an extension of WhiteGayze™ deciding that our foremost issue should be marriage equality. In a patriarchal system, falling in love and getting married is seen as one of the most respectable things one can do. Gay people with the most systemic privilege, of course, latched on. But I’m personally not invested in assimilation. Patriarchy, and this culture of everyone feeling like we need to just be with somebody, is not liberating for most cishet people. Why should LGBTQ folks feel compelled to get behind it?
It’s long been discussed that, since marriage became the biggest issue in LGBTQ rights, we’ve become beholden to that idea. This onslaught of respectability politics is arguably among the biggest factors in what’s led to this slew of (needed) protesting against Pride parades.
With marriage equality currently being the law of the land, this respectability still lives on through memes like “Love is Love.”
But for many—if not most—of us, “Love is Love” is limiting, if not useless. What about those who have little interest in dating (me), or are just chronically single (even more so me)? How does making our issues synonymous with “love” benefit us?
Where this shit gets truly harmful is that it also gives way to erasure of major issues around sexual health. We already have this idea that HIV & AIDS are limited to “depraved” and “deviant” people. Upholding “love” as the most valid form of a Gay/Queer existence further reinforces that kind of toxic erasure.
But despite all of that, there’s still legions of people who wanna see us erased. Marital status be damned. Respectability politics and trying to fit in with the cishets won’t save us.
Because here’s the big thing about respectability: That shit doesn’t work. Let’s just be clear that no amount of centering marriage and “love” will make cishets see it for fags. As cute as they may find our interior decorating skills, or our “sassy” personalities (that were stolen from Black Queer Femmes, anyway), or whatever other stereotypes they have for us, the thought of two men being intimate with each other still makes them wanna vomit…if not laugh. This is evidenced by the fact that the main way “all-lies” seem to be able to critique Trump & Putin is by constantly insinuating that they’re Gay.
On top of all of this, why are we reducing the entire acronym to “love?” Particularly, when it’s not relevant to the identities of much of the community we claim to represent. How is “love” relevant to the issues of Trans and Gender Non-Conforming people? How is “love” relevant to aromantic folks? Is it relevant to issues around being Intersex? Does it do much of anything to address the unique intersections of sexuality and race?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying “Love is Love” is inherently bad or invalid. It can absolutely be a part of the advocacy for LGBTQ people. But that’s just it…it’s only part of our collective experiences. We need to ensure that we’re consistently validating and uplifting the experiences of everyone who falls within the LGBTQ umbrella. We can’t claim to be this all-inclusive “rainbow” that invites all kinds of marginalized peoples in, yet only center a small chunk.
Limiting advocacy for LGBTQ people to the fact that we’re capable of falling in love misses the point, entirely. LGBTQ folks should be advocated for, not because we fall in love, but because we’re fucking human beings who deserve full access to our own humanity. It’s literally that simple.
We should be advocating for a world where we have space to be our best selves as we see fit. As a Gay man, I’m entitled to the same humanity and respect, whether I’m married and living in the suburbs, or I’m getting bent over in a bathhouse every other weekend.
…or both at the same time.
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