Posted by: Catherine Lugg | April 26, 2011

Thought for the day

I’m up to my eyeballs with the end of the academic year follies, so posting will be rather thin for the next several days. That said, here’s a recent quote from Larry Kramer to muse upon.

I am a gay person before I’m anything else. I’m a gay person before I’m a white person, before I’m a Jew, before I’m a writer, before I’m American, anything. That is my most identifying characteristic and I don’t find many people who would say that. The polls say the same thing: People do not identify themselves as gay. And that’s too bad. In fact, it’s tragic. It will prevent us from ever having what we deserve, I believe.

Given the sheer homophobia in US society, that sounds about right to me.

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Responses

  1. Interesting indeed…growing up in the 1960’s in AMERICA under the cloud of racism, I knew I was a “Negro” before I ever knew I liked girls (albeit that was pretty early too- first kiss in Kindergarten!!!).

    Coming to an early awareness of the socially constructed category of “race” was first and foremost- clearly my life depended on it!

    No hierarchy of oppression here, just a difference of “coming to know” oppression in the world.

  2. This quote really resonated with me, as a lesbian and as a researcher. I wonder, though, if this is less true of the younger generation of queer people than of adults. When I speak with young queer people (my research focuses primarily on queer youth of color) about their identities, many of them see their sexual orientation as the most salient aspect of their identities, or at the very least, as being as salient as their racial identities. In a society that is still not as “post-racial” as some would claim, I think that this is saying something.

    One concern that I have is that even when queer people of color (or queer people with disabilities, or queer people who in some way or other are noticeably “different,” independent of their sexual orientation) identify first and foremost as queer, that identification is minimized by a dominant culture that recognizes them first and foremost for the ways in which they are physically different from the majority (and, to a lesser extent, by predominantly white queer communities that marginalize or fetishize the Other). Thus, I may identify first and foremost as a lesbian, but other people see me as a black woman.


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