Friday, 19 July 2013

7 Gay Shame is the transformational engine of Queer Mutiny

7. Gay Shame, a movement that proposed a radical alternative to the commercialization of "gay pride" and mainstream gay culture which spread to numerous cities across the world starting in Brooklyn, New York in 1998, had its last chapter close in San Francisco in 2012. Your blogspot says that “Gay Shame is about recognising that the socialisation of LGBT people and the assimilation of queer culture into the mainstream has a price. It is also a recognition that "gay pride" as we now know it is more about the pink pound, spending power and consumer unity than it is about queer mutiny and fighting for those who are marginalised by society.”

Do you see your blog as a continuation of the ideas of SF Gay Shame and ideas of other chapters? Can you elaborate about the on what you mean by the “assimilation of queer culture into the mainstream” and by “queer mutiny”?

David Halperin - in his book 'Gay Shame' [University of Chicago Press 2010] - suggests that "cross-gender queer identification and cross-gender queer sex may provide particularly points of entry to an understanding of the dynamics of shame" and quotes the publicity for the first annual Gay Shame Awards in 2002: "GAY SHAME is the radical alternative to consumerist 'pride' crap. We are committed to fighting the rabid assimilationist monster of corporate gay 'pride' with a devastating mobilization of queer brilliance."

Halperin builds on the ideas of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick in her 1993 essay, first published in GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, in which she suggests shame has "a near-inexhaustible source of transformational energy" arguing that without an "intimate and never-forgotten relation to shame, gay pride turns into mere social conformity."

"Gay Power" as a rallying call for the gay rights movement, gave way to "Gay Pride" as the political force behind the quest for equality of opportunity. But, in the drive to transform homosexuality from a perversion to a proud social identity, Halperin asks, have we lost, forgotten or buried something fundamental in terms of our culture, history or identity? And have the political + social requirements of Gay Pride repressed discussion around the less comfortable or dignified aspects of homosexual behaviour?

Gay Shame, as a movement which challenges conventional modes of organisation + distribution (of wealth, of capital, of political power + influence) does not adhere to or require the same modes + structures which facilitate delivery of the commercial gay scene + corporate Gay Pride. GS is, by definition, unorganised, chaotic + shameful.

Gay Shame is a the transformational engine of Queer Mutiny - the anarco-queer movement which opposes  hierarchies, capitalism + assimilation, and which promotes actions + activities which do not solely revolve around consumption. In doing so, it challenges the limitations of consumerism + markets as the primary nodes for social behavior and discourse.

Gay Shame / Queer Mutiny share an understanding that, only by building intellectual capacities that exist + thrive outside the parameters of consumerism, can queer liberation be truly formulated + achieved.

Gay Shame, as a source of transformational energy which facilitates self-actualisation -by encouraging creative self-expression, the quest for spiritual enlightenment and the pursuit of self-knowledge - offers a revolutionary alternative to the juggernaut of corporate gay pride and the rabid assimilation of queer culture into the mainstream of contemporary popular culture.

GS/QM encourages discussion of the role of management + organisations within LGBTQ communities in terms of production, consumption, commercial enterprise and globalisation.

Combining theories of culture, media, gender anthropology,
literary criticism + semiology, Gay Shame thrives on a constant renewal of styles, forms + images to ensure the enduring continuum of "a devastating mobilization of queer brilliance".

Our LGBTQ communities of identity are unique + brilliant and we celebrate our diversity + individuality. Proud of our differences and of our sometimes shameful history + cultural heritage, we reject conformity + cultural assimilation in favour of liberation + self-actualisation.

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