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Stop talking about ‘gay rights’ because it marginalizes other queers, student op-ed says

This one is a bit dated but amusing for its nearly unintelligible recitation of queer identities: A student columnist at the University of Washington wants us to stop talking about “gay rights.”

Not because she’s homophobic, or even worse, an originalist, but because the term “gay rights” is sort of like white privilege – it pushes “homonormativity” (?) down the throats of other queers, Sylvia Na wrote in The Daily, reflecting on early reaction to “Caitlyn Jenner”:

A binary trans* person who is heterosexual aromantic is part of our community. An intersex man who is heterosexual heteromantic is part of our community. A cisgender woman who is asexual homoromantic is part of our community. A nonbinary demigirl who is bi/pansexual bi/panromantic is part of our community. I identify as a queer nonbinary femme, and I am a part of this community. Not all of us are gay and not all of us are comfortable with the reclamation of “queer” due to its historically pejorative usage, but we all have a place in the LGBTQIA+ movement.

Na points out that this “alphabet soup” of queer identities faces “systemic oppression” that didn’t end with the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, such as violence and homelessness:

Working with the intersections of racism, cissexism, and classism in an androcentric culture, homonormativity dominates the media representation of this community. In mainstream media, representation most often comes in the form of a white, gay, male couple, both cisgender, normative in gender expressions, and middle class.

Oddly enough, “gay” for these non-cis gender benders has become something like the n-word for black people – something they can call each other but you can’t call them, Na says:

Some of us in queer communities fondly call ourselves gay, and in this way, “gay” has become an umbrella term for us. Our usage of it makes light of this simplified label forced on us, but when mass media continues to perpetuate harmful misconceptions and minimization of other marginalized identities without the correct attributions or any in-depth knowledge of these issues, this conflation is not so easy to overlook.

Read the op-ed, if your brain isn’t already exhausted from this post.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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