Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation
Edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Ten years ago one might not have imagined the largest national gay rights lobbying group (Human Rights Campaign) endorsing a right-wing Republican Senatorial candidate (Al D’Amato in New York), or the San Francisco Pride parade adopting the Budweiser advertising slogan as its official theme (2002). As an assimilationist gay mainstream wields increasing power, the focus of gay struggle has become limited to marriage, military service, and adoption. The gay mainstream presents a sanitized, straight-friendly version of gay identity which makes it safe for Richard Chamberlain or Rosie O’Donnell to come out, and still rake in the bucks. By the twisted priorities of this gay mainstream, it’s okay to oppose a queer youth shelter because it might interfere with property values, or to fight against the inclusion of transgendered people under hate crimes legislation because this might not appeal to straight voters. As the gay mainstream ironically prioritizes the attainment of straight privilege over all else, it drains queer identity of any meaning, relevance, or cultural value – and calls this progress.
That’s Revolting shows us what the new queer resistance looks like. The collection is a fistful of rocks to throw at the glass house of Gaylandia. Taht’s Revolting uses queer identity and struggle as a starting point from which to reframe, reclaim, and re-shape the world. The collection challenges the commercialized, commodified, and hyper-objectified view of gay/queer identity projected by the mainstream (straight and gay) media by exploring queer struggles to transform gender, revolutionize sexuality, and build community/family outside of traditional models.
Edited by Matt Bernstein Sycamore (aka Mattilda), the creator and driving force behind Gay Shame, the radical queer organization in San Francisco that was primarily responsible for the protests, mobilizations, and guerrilla tactics that shut down the city of San Francisco in response to the declaration of war on Iraq, That’s Revolting brings the post-identity politics of a new generation of pissed off queers to the light. The collection is both a blueprint and a call to action.
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, is the author of a novel, Pulling Taffy (Suspect Thoughts), and the editor of Tricks and Treats: Sex Workers Write About Their Clients (Haworth 2000), Dangerous Families: Queer Writing on Surviving (Haworth, 2003), and Nobody Passes (Seal Press, Jan 2007). Her writing has been widely published, in places as diverse as Best American Erotica, Best American Gay Fiction, Women and Performance, and Slingshot. She is an instigator of Gay Shame: the Virus in the System, the radical queer activist group that celebrates resistance by fighting the monster of assimilation.
Mattilda lives in San Francisco, but regularly tours nationally: in the past, she has appeared in independent bookstores, community centers, performance venues and universities including Yale, Brown, University of Chicago, DePauw, NYU, UCLA, University of Massachusetts, Mills College, Antioch, University of Michigan, University of Oregon, UC Santa Cruz, Georgetown University and others.
Paper | 6 x 9 | 360 pgs. | ISBN: 978-1-59376-195-0 | List: $19.95 | 05/10/2008