Why Queer? Why Now?
First, there hasn’t been a super political queer mag since the Body Politic ended over twenty years ago in 1987. There have been a number of more academic inclined queer theory journals, special journal issues and a steady stream of queer articles. One could say that that there has been an explosion in queer theory and queer studies. This explosion of queer into the public from the 1990s onwards has simultaneously been breathtakingly exciting and boringly normalizing.
Getting Past Identity: A Fresh Look at Issues in Transsexuality
In this collection of short essays, letters, interviews and speeches, Viviane Namaste addresses what she finds to be a central problem in the current body of work on transsexuality: the framing of trans issues in terms of identity. According to Namaste, this focus has served to erase the lived experiences of transsexuals and has curtailed any substantive discussion of the social and institutional conditions through which they experience oppression.
Nordicity: Where Wealth and Freedom Reign
Canada is on the cusp of a new wave of immigration from the south, one which, once fully underway, could rival the great draft-dodger migration during the Vietnam War. We are witnessing the beginning of the Gay Drain.
Staging Queer Difference
Queer Pride organizing in Toronto has undergone a radical transformation. According to Gary Kinsman, a former Pride organizer and a Professor of Sociology at Laurentian University, early Pride events mixed pleasure with politics: “Pride Day was consciously used as a day to build a movement, a day to build community organizations and to get people involved in political campaigns.” In more recent years, however, Pride organizing reflects a very different set of priorities. While a number of political groups are still involved in the weeklong festival, and while many people derive a sense of community from the parade, Pride events are no longer organized to advance queer social movement politics. Pride planners, along with local officials and business elites, seem much more concerned with reorganizing the event to bolster the local tourist industry.
The Freedom to Choose
Two major claims are made among gay and lesbian critics of the idea of gay marriage. The first is that the support of gay marriage represents a kind of assimilation to straight values and ideals. The second is that the widespread acceptance of gay marriage would threaten the existence of a separate gay and lesbian community. While there is some truth in the criticisms made from these two perspectives, they fail to come to terms with the reasons why some gay people might want to get married. What is more, they narrow the lived reality of marriage, failing to recognize that the practice has been multiple and varied.
Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace?
When Toronto began issuing gay-marriage licenses on June 10, 2003, WorldNetDaily quoted Toronto attorney Michael Lershner as saying “The argument’s over. No more political discussion, we’ve won, the Charter won, it’s a great day for Canada.” Lershner had good reason to celebrate. Justices in three provinces had just redefined marriage as being between “two persons” instead of ” a man and a woman,” giving gay and lesbian couples across the country (and visiting citizens of the United States and elsewhere) legal grounds to apply for marriage licenses.
However, hindsight shows Lershner’s proclamation that the political discussion is over to be a bit premature.
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