LGBT: a Disection
By David Thorstad (counterpunch.org, 15/7/2016)
The Politics of LGBT
Gay liberation as a radical sexual freedom movement went out pretty much in tandem with the rise of the “LGBT” “movement.” Of course, gay lib wasn’t the only movement of the countercultural 1960s to fade into a pale version of its original self. That was true of all sixties movements. Some, like the Black Panthers and Malcolm X, were murdered into extinction by the authorities. Others, like the women’s movement and the gay/lesbian movement, were co-opted, their more radical elements vanishing or dying off. AIDS killed off many gay male sex radicals. Gay pride marches became corporatized folkloric displays and capitalist advertising venues. Feminism veered off into antimale campaigns demonizing porn, prostitution, public sex, pederasty—the four evil “P’s.” The Left sank into near irrelevancy following its heyday during the anti-Vietnam War movement and the sixties rebellion. Labor union membership dwindled to 11.3 percent in 2013, compared to 20.1 percent in 1983, and never escaped its stifling ties to the Democrat Party. Of all the movements of the 1960s and 1970s, only an environmental movement continued to show signs of life.
The ascendancy of LGBT represented several things:
* All talk of sex was eliminated. A struggle for sexual freedom was replaced by a quest for mere “equality.” “We are family” became the mantra. “We’re just like you.”
* The LGBT agenda pursued assimilation, patriotism, and conventionality: aping of the failing hetero institution of marriage; enthusiastic participation in the imperialist military; passage of hate-crimes laws that strengthened the police state and punished thoughts and intent.
* A struggle for social justice and against capitalist injustice was replaced by a parochial focus on identity.
* It had the effect of erasing gay males in favor of a diluted hodgepodge of identities.
* It became a new interest group and electoral constituency oriented mostly toward the Democrat Party and assimilation into the capitalist system. Not being beholden to any democratic base, it was easily, and willingly, co-opted by the ruling class.
* It became part of the imperialist project, used by the State Department under Democrat regimes to bludgeon third-world countries into acquiescing to the Western agenda, even where the notion of “LGBT” was alien to their cultures.The government spent millions to advance this “gay imperialism” under the guise of supporting “human rights.”
The morphing of gay liberation into LGBTQetc. reflects at once a growing social acceptance of nonhetero lifestyles and a retreat from a struggle to liberate the repressed sexuality of everyone in favor of accommodation with the heterodominant, capitalist system. It downplays issues of social justice in favor of seeking rights for identities acceptable to the dominant society. It elevates political expediency and opportunism over scientific and historical accuracy. It represents the triumph of conventionality, conformism, and conservatism over ambiguity, creativity, and radical individuality. It is a form of Newspeak in the service of ideological rigidity and the status quo.
An alternative approach might involve a coalition around a specific shared goal of everyone who agrees with it, including straights. But it’s probably too late for that. If LGBTQ is here to stay, we’re not any better off for it.