Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Love Revolution, Not State Delusion

"Homotopia" is a short film about resisting gay-assimilation and all that it entails, and today, Amelia and I were able to attend a viewing of the film alongside a discussion with the filmmakers, Chris Vargas and Eric Stanley.

So, what is gay-assimilation, and why should we be resisting it?

Well, these two rad, brilliant, and hilarious filmmakers explained that there is a prevalent normative culture in the United States. Basically, white, straight, monogamous, and capitalist men control the government, media, and cultural values. Those values include marriage and service in the military, two institutions which queer people are denied full inclusion in.

However, Vargas and Stanley are not advocating for the gay marriage movement or a change in military policies. They are working toward a different type of revolution, a revolution free from the social constraints of marriage and the violent imperialism of the military. This revolution, this Love Revolution, will be free from State Delusion because it will be free from all state institutions. Vargas and Stanley believe that the benefits derived from marriage, such as healthcare, should be individual and universal to all citizens, not just those who are married.

The film was devastatingly funny, honest, and powerful. Its message was one of acceptance and rebellion, love and pain, fluid gender and rigid state institutions.

Chris Vargas and Eric Stanley are two of my new heroes: unapologetic in their sexuality and gender, living on the fringes of society, and just being awesome.

Hey, this is Amelia. I just wanted to add a short bit of explanation to this great post of Kate's. Kate and I went to this showing/discussion with very open minds. I will be honest, I did not know too terribly much about queer culture, but I attended this showing in order to learn more. I for one, will continue to attend such things in order to learn more so I will be able to present readers with a better idea of the different genders/identities/cultures in the world. I think exposure is an important step toward understanding, and it is a step I will continue to take.


Anonymous said...

Alright, the way to gain acceptance is to tick off the majority royally.... mhhhhhhmmmmmm

Kate said...

Sometimes it isn't about acceptance; its about not wanting acceptance from that flawed majority because their acceptance is not indictive of your existence or the truth of your cause.

Margaret t said...

queers are not "banned" from the military... it's "don't ask don't tell" - they can still join if they wish to.

Anonymous said...

if you do not want acceptance, but you think people are not accepted now, why not just leave things alone?

Kate said...

Their bodies can still join, but they denied their humanity by being forced to silence an important part of themselves.

However, I will change the wording of my post, for technicality's sake.

Kate said...

Vargas and Stanley do not want acceptance into the instituions because they believe they are flawed and should be completely reimagined.

Just because they don't want to be a part of the current institutions dosen't mean they believe things can be left alone.

Did that make more sense? Sorry if the post was unclear.

Anonymous said...

Kate, does this sound familiar?

Silence is passive acceptance. And we will NOT be silenced.

But now you are advocating non-acceptance.

It seems to be a contradiction to me.

Amelia said...

Actually, Anonymous, ticking off the majority is not a bad idea when it comes to being accepted. In America, the majority of men were not ready to give women the right until those pesky women wouldn't stop demonstrating and going to jail over the issue.

And women finally were accepted into the voting population.

Amelia said...

I don't understand how what you said was a contradiction, Anon. What Kate meant by "Silence is passive acceptance. And we will NOT be silenced" is that we will not accept things as the way they are, because we believe that there are flaws in the American society we live in (I speak for the both of us. Kate, correct me if I'm wrong). I guess that's the same as non-acceptance, no? At least when it comes to the sense of accepting things in society that we feel need to be changed.

Kate said...

I agree completely with Amelia's post, and I am still not quite sure what you are saying, Anonymous.

By saying that I would not be silenced because silence is acceptance, I was saying that I could not accept Letterman's comments about Thomas.

Vergas and Stanley are refusing to accept social institutions as well as refusing to accept a place in white, straight, normative society.

I don't really understand what the discrepency in my words was.

Kate said...


I just wanted to acknowledge the fact that I am still learning, forming political views, meeting new heroes, and daily changing opinions about various subjects.

I am a "new" feminist, and all of your challenges and divergent comments are constantly making me a better critical thinker.

So, please, if I ever do contridict myself be kind in your comments because I am just doing my best to explore alternative points of view and to share them with the readers of this blog.

That was just an aside, please continue to comment about the post on "Homotopia."

lindabeth said...

What these filmmakers are drawing on is the anti-assimilationist ideas of Queer Theory (for a good intro see Jagose's Queer Theory: An Introduction or Michael Warner's Fear of a Queer Planet), and great post in bringing this to people's attention. Bitch magazine had a good review of it 2 issues ago, I believe. Awesome you ladies were able to attend!

For the critical commenters:

I can see why it may confuse you because we are used to marginalized groups of people wanting rights and inclusion in American society, as if American society is totally value-neutral--as if sexism, racism, and homophobia are incidental, rather than a part of the fabric of everyday society.

Queer theory looks at a notion called "heterosexism," which is about our culture being premised on the assumption yet invisibility of heterosexuality's primacy. "Inclusion" into such a social structure will never provide queer folks with real equality--the same way that at the moment, for the most part women are equal "under the law." Does that mean we can social equality? I think not. Is sexist and heterosexist structure of our society partly responsible for this lack? I think so.

The idea of "inclusion" and "assimilation" assumes social structure and values are a-ok, we just need to stretch it to include queers. Queer theory-and this film-say no. Neither are ok, and both have heterosexual privilege built in.

Since this is part of my Master's thesis, I could go on and on...but I'll stop there.

lindabeth said...

Oh, sorry, so that was to say that anti-assimilation is not paramount to silence or withdrawal. Rather the opposite-a very public challenger to normalcy and heterosexuality and the premise for full citizenship in the U.S.

Chris de la Creme said...

Hey Kate,

What a glowing post and a great blog! Thanks for coming to the screening as well as thoroughly engaging with the presentation and screening. The Q&A and discussion afterward, though heated at moments, was one of the best one yet.

Chris Vargas