Ⓐ Queer Sexual Politics and Anarchism Ⓐ



you're listening to horizontal power our your source for anarchist thought culture and politics I'm today's host Kay hull on eco nuit on our show I'll be looking at queer sexuality and anarchism I'll be sharing a recent interview I did with Terrence Cusack about his book free comrades anarchism and homosexuality in the United States 1895 to 1917 I will also be sharing my conversation with Jeremy release game director of the Connecticut trans advocacy coalition who is also a member of queers Without Borders I'll tell you more momentarily but first I want to note that horizontal Power Hour is planned and produced by a collective called the dream committee members meet regularly to discuss and evaluate our process and ensure that all decisions we make are consented to by the entire group each episode is hosted and produced by self selected members of the collective on a rotating basis for more information you can email us at horizontal power hour at W es u FM org we air on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 4 p.m. and alternate our program with indigenous politics which airs on the first third and fifth Tuesday of each month also at 4 p.m. I'd like to remind listeners that the views expressed on this program are my own and in no way reflect the views and opinions of Wesleyan University or the W es u management for that matter what I present here doesn't even represent the anarchist radio collective in its entirety as mentioned at the start of the show our interview segments today focus on the intersections between anarchism and queer activism the first interview I want to play today is my conversation with Terrance kee sack he is an independent scholar living in Oakland California kee sac is co-chair of the board of directors of the San francisco-based GLBT Historical Society and is the author of free comrades anarchism and homosexuality in the United States 1895 to 1917 greetings Terrence kiss are you on the line I am thank you for joining us on horizontal power our it's great to have you on the show and I'm really excited to talk to you about your book well I'm really happy to be here great I'd like to start by asking how you came to write about anarchist sexual politics in the USA sure well I've always been interested in the intersection of broadly speaking the politics of the left and sexual politics and so when I was in school because this is really my dissertation that I've subsequently kind of adapted for our book I first started doing work on the gay liberation lesbian feminist a kind of moment in the late 60s early 70s and I wrote an article called freaking fag revolutionaries and it was really fun and but then of course you know historians are always want to do is well what about before what about before so in German reading and poking around in original sources and I came across the anarchists and they clearly were dealing with these subjects at that intersection of you know kind of left liberationist politics and sexual politics no it was a just was a natural fit for my interest so really an organic push back into the archives to look at what was there absolutely right on I wanted to start with the title as well you could tell our listeners about the name free comrades and what it refers to specifically and how you're using it here sure well free comrades was the title of a small journal that some of the anarchists that I examine put out at the turn of the century well actually in the early 20th century but more than that I think it speaks to the kind of essential spirit of anarchist sexual politics which was comrades being equal people each person deciding for themselves what is right for their life I'm pairing it with another or others for as you know long or as short a duration as as as they see fit and free just emphasizing that that notion of Liberty so it also comrades of course has a deep resonance within the politics of the left and as well as amongst the anarchists so it's kind of a and I should I should not fail to mention it also has resonance in terms of the work of Walt Whitman and others who were readers of Walt Whitman like Edward carpenter who saw within his work kind of a Liberatore queer politics if I can use an acronym term so you know tied into that phrase is just a lot of different meanings that I thought kind of captured the spirit of of the people who were doing this work at the turn of the century and also for listeners who may not be familiar with lesbian gay bisexual transgender politics and this concept of queer you've mentioned queer is an anachronistic term given the period that you're looking at from 1895 to 1917 could you speak a bit to terminology sure well so there's a as different societies conceptualize sexual identity or sexual desire in different ways and so for example non-western societies don't necessarily have a social role of the homosexual or the gay men or the lesbian they may organize their sexual relations and sexual desires in different ways they have different words for them they mean different things and that's true not only cross culturally but across time as well so at the turn of the century though there was clearly a kind of conception of a let's say a third gender or a differently gendered person who desired members of their same sex although you might say well are they really their same sex if they're a third gender person you do have a very different social understanding of what sexuality was and what identity was and the anarchists at the time who were writing about same-sex desires were trying not only to disentangle same-sex desire from negative ideas but also to kind of name it anew and by naming it give it a positive quality so people have continually tried to do that and so in more contemporary period let's say the last 15 20 years the notion of queer has kind of had a particular political resonance it attempts to kind of break across barriers in terms of gay lesbian bisexual transgender it's more kind of a Liberatore notion of sexual desire that does or doesn't work for certain people but when I said it's an acronym what I meant to say is that though you might say well there's a similar spirit it really is a very different social and political context and so when we look back we have to try to understand well what were they talking about and how did they understand themselves or understand others and by they in this case I mean the anarchist so when Emma Goldman for example read Walt Whitman and saw in it depictions of same-sex desire how did she understand that what what did she relate it to or John William Lloyd and other anarchists who also read Walt Whitman how did he understand it how do you relate to it so I guess terminology is important because it gives you a way into understanding how people are under conceptualizing themselves and conceptualizing desire and and and how they construct a politics around it it's a very confusing and mushy conversation but I think it's important to keep in mind that we just have to be really keyed into who we're talking about at what period of time and what are their influences yeah well I think you handle it really well in the book and I think that it continues to be a contentious issue in general just labels in general and categorization and people have contested ideas about that I'll get to some of those key players like Goldman and Lloyd in a few minutes but I want to ask if you could first tell our listeners more about the period your book examines the late 19th and early early 20th century and how the United States and Europe compared with regard to activist articulations on the moral social and cultural meanings of same-sex love and we're anarchists fit into the picture around this sort of transatlantic debate or how did how did the US compared to Europe sure so the late 19th century and early 20th century and that's the period that I cover for the most part in the book both in the United States and in Europe where periods in which there was large and very active labor movements there was large and active Socialist Party here in the United States of course as well as in Europe and there was also a large and active anarchism they were all at various kind of places on the map politically trying to grapple with a rapidly industrializing society or urbanization the kind of core problems of 20th century modernity if you will at the same time and not unrelated to that process you have a rapid development of visible sexual minorities if you will or sexual subcultures within urban landscapes in Europe and in America and more so in Europe you have the development of what we call sexology which is the science of sexual difference if you will people trying to kind of write about these new who are these new people who live in the city and what they're basically talking about is our so for example in New York there was a gathering place called paresis hall that way in that had a reputation of sexual deviance if you will people were trying to understand who are these people where are they coming from what does it mean that we live in a culture in which suddenly people are carving out a life that is markedly different than the one that you'd expect from you know marriage and three kids and etc etc so simultaneously we have a lot of political upheaval and you also have this intense fascination with the changes in sexual and gender norms you have women who are no longer getting married but who are creating lives for themselves you have a working-class youth who are reshaping sexuality and radically new ways and you have visibly queer people who are making a life in this world it's a moment of great political and social and cultural ferment now in your book you argue that the politics of homosexuality outlined by the anarchists was unprecedented and unique in the United States and that they were alone in successfully articulating a political critique of American social and legal rules when it came to regulating same-sex social relations and yet you explained that your book is not about gay Marcus so given that few of these you know key figures seem to self-identify as same-sex lovers how do you account for their willingness to take up this topic and what interested them about it I'll illustrate that or explore that question by looking at one case in particular and that's the Oscar Wilde trial of 1895 in 1895 or Oscar Wilde is actually brought there's actually a series of trials and he's convicted of gross indecency his sexual relations with with other men and he sent to jail now Wilde at this time is really a transatlantic you know he's a celebrity he had toured America he was well known in Europe his plays were performed widely his essays were were widely read he was also a very polarizing figure and he cultivated a kind of polarizing personality so he his his conviction was a real was was one of the first major sex scandals covered widely and discussed privately and it was a clear example of the state punishing a man for pursuing his private desires mm-hmm and the anarchists really alone during this period had a very clearly articulated critique of state power it broadly speaking not simply in the matters of private life although they had that and others did not so alone or uniquely I would say they understood what it real or they were able to kind of quickly understand what's at stake here when the state condemns Wilde to prison for his sexual desire and they wrote about it in a political context others wrote about it but they would write about it and kind of a moral or disapproving tone or or just as a kind of scandalous uh you know titillating story but the anarchists understood it as a political moment and it's a really transformative moment for anarchist sexual politics because from 1895 on they really kind of incorporated same-sex desire as one of them topics they would talk about when issues of sexuality would come up that's what I mean the anarchists were kind of uniquely poised understand sexuality as a political question and so his case was a catalyst for anarchist sex radicals to raise these critical questions about the role of the state in restricting like free expression of erotic desire absolutely and you kind of have to in the back sort of that really is is an anarchist critique of marriage and an understanding of gender politics really because the key question around sexuality and autonomy in the late nineteenth century and well into the 20th and one might say today in very different ways is the question of of women's sexual authority and what power she would and could maintain in the institution of marriage which of course was and still is a binding contract with you know imposed by the state as well as you know religious authority so there was a broad kind of sexual politics which which was grounded in a feminist critique of state power mm-hmm that enabled that of m-meaning the anarchist to conceptualize wilds case as similar to or as related to so it's really kind of part of a larger anarchist sexual politics and and it's really important to kind of keep those two connected in your mind you know when you're thinking about these things right and also that link to that I learned from your book is that this also bridge discussions around sexual consent and also sex for pleasure and the rights to birth control sure it's really about autonomy and if you think about whose sexuality is most the focus of control it was clearly women sexuality and their reproductive freedom and anarchists were amongst the first and most vocal advocates of the right of women to control their own reproductive destiny if you will and also to recognize the fact that hey you know women have sexual desires just as men do and it's okay and in fact it's a good thing and people should have the right to pursue those in these kind of as long as it fits in the model of the free comrade you know and anyone can be a free comrade with another person as long as they do it within the kind of respectful boundaries of autonomy an individual right there what you term politics of homosexuality linked to their overall political ideals and goals around freedom and freedom from state regulation yes absolutely you know could you've mentioned them a Goldmann and and john william lloyd could you talk about the other radical those two again and also the other radicals maybe give a brief overview of who these key people were who threw themselves into this fractious debate about homosexuality and also I just want to remark for listeners on the cover of the book there's a vertical rainbow flag or the paint you know the paint marks of the rainbow and they're the five key figure sort of a black and white photos of each of them could you just give a touch on those five key figures sure let me first mention that the cover a gay press which I was published the book and I worked with and there are an anarchist collective here as well as Edinboro we kind of struggled with how do we represent this you know because and so we came up with this this notion of the figures with a little color splash on them so hopefully it works Emma goes on then talk a little bit about some of the the figures uh there's a lot of secondary if you will folks in here um the most important anarchists of the period was with Emma Goldman in terms of sexual politics let me let me say that and not all anarchists were too thrilled about Goldman's interest in sexual politics and not all anarchists were necessarily uh advocates of uh sexual uh liberation though that having been said some of the most important and most well-known figures of the period Emma Goldman being preeminent among them were uh at Achatz of uh sexual liberation and uh women's freedom uh and so Goldman in particular for example she uh was well known for for going on lecture tours and she would lecture broadly about art culture labor uh industry State and she also spoke about what I I used the term homosexuality which I think for a lot of people sounds a little overly clinical and analytic and almost off-putting but at the time it was a newly coined phrase and that goes back to that our whole discussion about language and representation and kind of attending to what people at the time thought about it and well Goldman was very interested in sexology psychology is this new science of sexual difference and she read a lot and she corresponded with some of the leading European figures Magnus Hirschfeld and others and she was interested in this whole development of how do we understand this part of human nature mm-hmm and so she saw this as a Liberatore science and i know that there's a whole a whole critique of psychology that's kind of an inherently oppressive but I think what's interesting is that Goldman read it differently than she used it to different ends and she was one of the great popularizers of these ideas that the sexologist were developing and she delivered them in the context of an explicitly sexual liberation as politics and so Goldman was well known infamous if you will she was often pilloried but she could fill a hall and speak like no other anarchists of the period could John William Lloyd is another actress slightly not a slightly a much less well-known figure he wrote poetry he was one of the editors of the free comrade he was fascinated with Walt Whitman um his is a very interesting and kind of complicated history I'll lead it to leave it to readers of the book but but there's all these different anarchists working on this question and they approach it in different ways and finally one last person I'll mention is Alexander Berkman who was for a while Goldman's lover and for their entire life they were collaborators in terms of their work they both worked on the journal the most important anarchist journal of his period mother earth Berkman served 14 to 15 years in prison for an attempt of an assassination attempt on on a leading industrialist of the period who who had brutally suppressed a strike and so he was viewed with some reason as as as a you know someone who's whose who had contributed to the suffering thousands no yeah Rick whether or not you agree with assassination that's a separate question but Berkman went to prison mmm-hmm he when he came out he wrote a a memoir of his years in prison prison memoirs of an intern and in it he discusses quite candidly and forthrightly the issue of same-sex desire which has a place within prison cultures but he viewed it through the lens of anarchist sexual politics and so was able to disentangle the kind of more brutal side of rape and exploitation from those relationships that he was both experienced although whether or not they were physically sexual is an open question and and and and that he was able to discuss with other prisoners those kinds of same-sex relationships that really sustain people while they were in prison so an Berkman's book was widely read so there's really a lot of ways I guess what I'm trying to kind of in this book is capture all the different avenues that the anarchist took to discuss this question and they did it in journals and they did it in their published works and they did it in lectures and they drew on different sources to frame their discussion though there are other figures as well but I'll just leave those three are really in the Mon impressive I think and were the ones that I was most engaged by Lloyd Berkman and Goldman excellent I wanted to say really clearly I really enjoyed this book I learned an awful lot from it and think it's excellent and really important work we're running out of time but I want to be sure to touch upon a few other things for your work documents how the way the left developed in the United States has much to do with why anarchism faded from collective memory the early 20th century and note that much of this had to do with the impact of World War one I'm interested in that for all kinds of reasons but also linked to how you note that the contemporary LGBT movement in the u.s. is not a lineal descendant of this period of the anarchist movement could you say more about the impact of World War one and the development of the left and also perhaps how the activism of the turn of the century anarchist sects radicals came to be buried as a political movement sure so in the in the first part of the book I described what I think was really a really vibrant political movement that that at its core had this question of sexual politics and understanding of same-sex desire when the u.s. entered World War one there was a kind of very rightward turn I'm sure we're all familiar in history yes unfortunately and the state took action against those that it saw as a threat to to two people who were anti-war or who were seen as dissidents many anarchists were immigrants and they were deported amongst them Goldman in Bergman journals were shut down communication networks were smashed some literally and also metaphorically the movement took a tremendous hit simultaneously you have the revolution in what wasn't but what came to be the Soviet Union which presented a new model of the last one which was very centralized Marxist Leninist political model in which the state was quite central and so and and they seemed to be successful in moving forward in fact they were successful in seizing power within Russia overthrowing the Czar and setting up this different alternative so on the one hand in the United States the anarchists suffer devastating blows from the US government and on the other hand people who were interested in the left they are now looking to the Soviet Union and Marxist Leninist and the Communist Party which had a very different sexual politics so the anarchists were kind of caught between a rock and a hard place this is not to say that they completely disappear and I think you can see you know traces and in fact strong elements still at work but there was a rupture and so when you have a reamer gence of sexual politics in a very different context although still related to the left in the 1950s and later in the 60s there's not necessarily a natural descent people have to rediscover and there is a big interest for example in Emma Goldman and there's a whole series of biographies are written and I would say in some way my own book is part of that rediscovery because it's an attempt to go back and say hey you know this is not the first time that people have dealt with this issue they did it in different ways in a different context but what can we learn what can we glean from their politics and also I mean isn't it a fascinating story and shouldn't we really try to understand you know our own past so it's not a direct history it's it's one that takes you know all kinds of detours but it's a fascinating set of characters and really interesting interesting perspective on American political and sexual culture and and I also know notice that in the last part of your book you document how anarchism enjoyed a revival in the US and the rest of the Western world in the late 60s and early 70s as we wrap up I want to ask how do things look to you now in relation to the resurgence of anarchism as well as contemporary sex radicals in the 21st century sure I think it's very interesting because you we have seen a real resurgence of anarchism again focused very much on kind of core social justice issues around economic justice so you have you know critiques of the globe the kind of globalization of a hyper exploitive capitalism anarchists are often the most visible kind of opponents of that you know in Seattle etc but there's also a kind of resurgence of communication networks and people trying to use anarchist ideas to self-organize around more sustainable models of economic and social simultaneously you know you kind of we have this mainstreaming of if you will of gay and lesbian bisexual transgender politics you know the big what are the big issues that people are fighting for it's you know well the successful repeal recently if Don't Ask Don't Tell which I know allows for military service for gays and lesbians and then of course gay marriage now from the perspective of the anarchists those are complicated goals yeah I might say compromise goals um you know the first thing to say is that I think that the anarchists would would certainly oh I don't want to speak for others but I will say that the principle of equality and of equal treatment should be respected always in everywhere and so that is kind of core but having said that um what you're fighting to get into you need to examine what that is and if if the fight just becomes about getting in and not about what you're getting into ie great where we can serve in the military well well maybe we should examine what the u.s. foreign policy and military you know kind of engagements are about right now is that what we really want to support or in marriage um you know what what is gained and what is lost when you fight for marriage to the exclusion of other kinds of relationships now I don't want to you know I think there's more than one way to look at these questions but they think that energy is an anarchist analysis still has a lot to to offer to people who are trying to understand these these kinds of questions and I think people are engaging them in that way so um you know it's a it's a very interesting moment I guess all the moments are interesting in their own way great well this is an interesting moment for me Terrence Kissick author of free comrades anarchism and homosexuality in the United States 1895 to 1917 thank you so much for being on horizontal power hour it's been a true pleasure to speak with you about your important work well thanks a lot I really enjoyed myself please keep us posted on any new projects he'd like to be in touch with you sure okay thank you goodbye and again that was Terrence P sack the next interview segment I'd like to play on the show today is my conversation with Jeremy release gang she is a queer anarchist working in the Greater Hartford area she is a prolific writer who also produced the documentary on drag houses in Hartford titled while Paris was burning Hartford sizzled from 2004 she found at the Connecticut trans advocacy Coalition and serves as its executive director she is active with Hartford's workers solidarity Alliance and is also a founding member of queers Without Borders Gerry Marley's gang it's great to have you here in the studio's of w es u and to be able to talk face to face about queers Without Borders thank you very much for having me I greatly appreciate being here oh it's wonderful to have you here can you start by telling us what is queers Without Borders what is it and when was it formed that's a good question it's actually we formed it in that hoc group of queers formed it may be 2004 2003 and we've always this group of us have always worked together and we sort of anarchist bent and are very much active in our queer liberation and also importantly with other issues and we were at was one of the times when they had hartford bring back the troops way back when in hartford and it had a demonstration within the City of Hartford we watched you know the real thing Watts true and stuff but basically when we were there and we always bring the pride flag and we sort of try to give some visibility though we don't look at queer as a pure LGBT issue we talk about that but basically people were saying to us with jeez we thought you guys only cared about marriage and we were and and one of the things we had we all been involved in organs organizing I created Connecticut to into advocacy coalition we had you know the folks have been involved in organizing Connecticut for quite a while but one of the things we found that really did not exist was any really sort of queer liberation coming back you know you know sort of to the akin of what was in the 60s mmm-hmm and especially with the queer Liberation Front not so much the our gay activist alliance or you know but more – gay liberation front and it's respect but anyway so what we felt is you know it is important to give visibility and there's got to be a lot of other like-minded folks who really believe in these issues and so what we did is we created quiz without borders and the the key concept of that is that we are here there and everywhere and that's really sort of the premise of why we came with queers Without Borders but I know I had always been concerned about this issue because we put boundaries around everything and being a transexual person I suddenly my life sort of is governed by these state societal church boundaries that are put upon us and so we felt very important that you know we our alliances we do a lot of work with disability groups differently abled I've done demonstrations would adapt we've worked heavily with the immigration we worked around when they were I serve a two-year 's ago mm-hmm and we really work with in many different coalition aspects so the key thing is Without Borders was really sort of thicket you know work with in coalition with many organizations so without borders in all senses including beyond sexuality or sexual intimacy really basically you know we look at queer as outside the bounds of normal society and it's you know it's you know it's sort of an queer sort of got assimilated and and and with equilibration woman we got very much assimilated into heteronormative 'ti and homo normativity and we really would find the sort of bring it back to its core groups right I was talking to Terrence kee sack on the prior interview and he talked about how the movement really did go for marriage primarily and also the Don't Ask Don't Tell you know equality and inclusion rather than liberation well that's the trouble is it's liberation but liberation within the context of a state to church a society and one thing I say is a trans people when I do a lot of writing within that space and they talk about tyranny of the state and trans liberation is we cannot be truly liberated whilst the state society church puts boundaries around us that they define legal mall guidelines for us and that really we have to sort of either de Minister to abolish those types of boundaries that exist within the society mmm-hmm especially with the continued placing and regulations and also finality the politics of punishment hate crimes is a good example where they talk about getting hate crimes legislation all it's doing is really just giving more money to the police there are alternative ways to really deal with this and transform of justice approaches to really dealing with these issues so along with that central coalition work that queers Without Borders does in terms of its broader social justice issues what are the guiding principles that's a good thing our guiding principles we sort of developed some a little bit more recently but I think really our guiding principles were to be very much open we did not define us ourselves as purely an antic anarchist organization we really sort of stayed away from labels but I would say our main but by maining binding principle was that we really fought the assimilation of the queer movement as well as many other movements even you know even you know the different ability movements a lot of them work within the system and our guiding principle was that we really needed to give power to the people and our demonstrations we did sort of really sort of focused on that but I would I would say you know bottom line is is to really sort of fight against the assimilation and really wake people up I mean you have no stake with an LGBT is focusing specifically on that you have a lot of LGBTQ youth who come in and they believe marriage is the number one issue that you know Don't Ask Don't Tell is important that you know and yet forget that these were just basically subscribing ourselves back to a system that by definition is oppressing us and all and it's just like with me with agenda I can move within a certain box but if I move outside that box the system clamps down on me immediately and so you know I would say that's sort of a key principle that we really worked with mm-hmm so really to move to try and struggle beyond to get out of the confines it really isn't and to get people to think about it that is the most important thing we really are not you know we're not a formal organization we have no formalized meetings we really our goal is to get people to think and to give the voices to the people and that's where some of our actions really sort of went – okay great when you also mention that that the queer in queers Without Borders actually even goes beyond LGBT beyond lesbian gay bisexual and transgender who constitutes the membership in terms of gender and sexual inclusivity as well as political orientation you said you know you move away from the political labels is there sort of a explicit anarchist sentiment amongst some individuals that kind of gives it that Bend I would think it yeah I would think so I think the key thing is probably one is I sold us to come back a little bit it's not like this will you know this is court was sort of a pretty diffuse group of people and things like that but if you take and when we've evolved over the years people have come and go and things like that and we sort of evolved a little bit with a more recent group and probably took a little bit more of an anarchist bent more recently and I would say probably as of today it does have a strong Anika spent with that we have you know various people fall within different labels within the anarchist movement but I think the anarchist lens is really sort of the the working taught sort of the abolishment of the state of the church and that's really even that the church really even in the state go back even our core days as many people with we really felt that we were being oppressed within that within queer I mean it's really people who practice different sexual practices but you know it could be BDSM it could be that they you know they're just a girly boy mmm-hmm it's it's people who basically society says you're different you're not the same because society continually tries some switch sheltered we grow up parents do this everyone does it says here's what you should behave like be it through religion be it through society through behavior patterns everything else and people who say I don't get that people who revolt against that and say you know something I'm different mm-hm that really becomes we're queer comes to because you know a family unit it's it's across the board so we're in and so we began probably as an organization it was primarily people within the LGBT organization but today we really have a broad spectrum of people but the spectrum of sexual practices and really such a much more broad a sense of queer mmm-hmm and so flipping that legacy of stigmatization and pathology and being pathologized yes exactly well in terms of the loose network it sounds like queers Without Borders has that affinity group sort of sensibility could you speak to some of the activities that the groups engaged in with regard to events direct actions I know you have a blog yep yeah we do have a blog get quiz without borders' comm / WP mu and you know I'll just do a search out there for quiz without board isn't your trip on us and some of the things we've written we also have a queer voices we do a newsletter that basically is just really we reached out to people to solicit articles on a broad range of queer topics and we you know again we probably do that every you know every couple of times a year at least try to with regards to actions probably some of the earlier actions are worth talking on but if I looked at a high level we we've done we've worked a lot with immigration we've worked a lot with you know fighting against the ice rage fighting against the FBI oppression with the you know with what's going on in Michigan if I recall correctly and with just sort of you know taking people who are generally activists now calling them terrorists we do a lot of work within the anti-war movement though it's sort of died at this moment and in the state of connect but I personally do a bit within that space but I would say probably to a key one one of the early demonstrations that we did was really simple signified what quiz Without Borders is about is we actually did a coalition for a real dialogue and what generated that is one of one of our members in a loose sense word members had seen that the bushnell was do they do speaker series and they bring in these talking heads from outside you know um throughout wherever and they pay them a lot of money and that people pay a lot of money to come and talk and this topic was about cultural was and this was probably several years ago and it was a very prominent topic at that time and here we are sitting in Hartford talking and we're having experts come in here for so-called experts talking heads coming in like Ralph Reed and others to lecture Connecticut Elektra Hartford on the cultural was and we said this is ridiculous and we actually tried to force the Bush No – then say get rid of your Talking Heads and let's get some of the organizers within the North End the South End within the Hartford area that truly understand the cultural wars not people who write for the New York Times or just you know are doing this because it's a way to get paid but people who live and breathe this and of course there was a lot of pushback they said they ignored us we ended up doing a great coalition with a lot of organizations and we ended up planning and then executing a demonstration directly outside of the bushnell so we took over the steps as the people were trying to come in for the talk and we set up up speaking we had to speak out we put up a podium there we had a megaphone and we basically allowed anyone to come to speak and that they could come in the community and talk about whatever issues were relevant to them and it's funny because yet all these people dressed up really fancy coming in and they're wondering what's going on here but it really was meant to make a message and they actually bushnell it because I was one of the key organizers within that they actually were trying to get people I know to get me to cancel the event I don't know why they were worried about us but anyway they really sort of fought to try to keep us from doing that in fact one of their people came out and spoke at it and trying to sort of pacify us by saying we understand what you're trying to do but they didn't I mean the bottom line is and it still happens in Hartford we don't look at the people we don't look at the movement we get this thing of leaders mm-hmm and I hate that word because the key is we are all leaders we're all can make a movement we can all affect change mm-hmm yet we and again it comes to this whole thing of society banished Society says well no you had to believe these experts so that was one thing we think we also did a political pride because pride has become a corporate pride mm-hm and that's you know really is sort of and if you look at the origins of pride have nothing to do with what you see in a pride today it was a political price they were really making political statements and for our listeners who aren't familiar with pride you're talking about the pride parades yes it takes place in Boston New York City and we have our own in heart dirt we do have owned and has a long history of that and the key thing is the pride pride celebrations came out of the Stonewall Rebellion that in 1969 oh and it wasn't middle-class white folks it was queer trans youth homeless people bull dykes who basically were tired of being harassed beat up by the police and they basically started a riot against the New York City tactical squad and it was you know known well worldwide and it really sort of and so that became a movement in the gay liberation for fund created several months after but that really became the movement for which really to say let's align with the young Lords lots align with the Black Panthers that they really looked at a true revolutionary change that we could not affect change within the constructs of assimilation order state and really going back to Emma Goldman and the sex radicals because that's really where a lot of that came from and said I got lost after the sex radicals was sort of ostracized within the United States and the gala and sort of gay Liberation Front was the next front today anyway long win to think well and that gets back to that principle of self-determination which i think is what bridges anarchist politics and queer politics yes exactly very much so and in this because when we talk with Atticus and and Abbie and Derek do a lot of within this to is that it really is sometimes Atticus have trouble wrapping their minds around us and it's like what gay isn't part of this or gay liberation or queer liberation and why are we talking about those issues but it comes to workers rights it comes to the fundamental issues of anarchism but and that's one of the troubles I have of anarchism using the people who come in very theoretically on the aspect and that's always sort of a challenge with that but to me as a trans person it has a very practical implementation implications mm-hmm well I want to ask you about that as we're wrapping up given that you do this incredible work with the Connecticut trans advocacy coalition and that you're also involved with the worker solidarity Alliance could you just in closing tell us sort of what identifying as a queer anarchist means to you I noticed that that's what you're reading your bio yeah I think probably the bottom line is that a liberation model I've done a lot of coalesce works let me back up a little bit I've done a bit of coalition work with other organizations in Connecticut trans advocacy does do some that does dune an anarchist work because we have a lot of trans folks who are just surviving living in the streets and things changing the system in the constraints of the system is important but also at the same time we need to recognize the needs for the people but the key thing is that we we need so for me it is really I cannot be free I cannot be liberated as Who I am and if you go the clinical context I'm a transsexual woman non-operative I cannot live free I have all kinds of medical legal instructions I have documentation issues which goes along with the illegal immigrants or undocumented immigrants and so for me it is truly sort of saying I cannot be liberated unless I abolish this constraints of the state and the society around regulating my agenda regulating my sexual preferences regulating my behavior and just how I am I don't know if that made sense it does definitely make sense thank you in closing anything you want to leave us with not a whole lot but do check out quiz with that board as we as I say we definitely always reaching out and probably the important thing is to sit that think and I give you a good point anybody there who okay supports Don't Ask Don't Tell or is in the middle about well it's important for quality fine take that but one thing to remember is military recruiting we had two workers at the poverty draft and so we worked a lot and a lot of activists worked to do military recruiting within high schools where especially within the urban centers to really wake people up to them to what the lies that really can be said and the misstatements that be said by recruiters well this now applies to our queer youth we need as queer people to begin to do an equivalent military recruiting to let them know and do specific outreach within the queer community so and this is where you know you really can start to twist the system and start to bring up that you know and start to really sort of create a movement that brings us back to our true liberation heritage Jerry Murray Lee skank thank you so much for joining us in the studio so WDSU on horizontal power our is so great to see you in person to have this time with you Mahalo thank you very much you're listening to WDSU Middletown 88.1 all the way to the left of your dial this has been another episode of horizontal power our your source for anarchist thought culture and politics you




Comments
  1. Just as greed, bigotry, and puritanism and warmongering and censorship are bad in the straight world. It's bad in the gay world too.

  2. Bunch of clowns posing with bats and pipes. lol. If they actually tried to use them, they would get their asses handed to them.

  3. Lol, gay cis [email protected] "Third gender is gay guys", so that his reactionary section of the Western LGBT can keep hate-violating lesbian trans women like me (and as a way to exploit straight trans women for sexual labor on gay cis men which they wouldn't naturally be attracted to) unless I fit an endlessly self-destructive program of trying to look like a straight woman. But he drops the @ and feminist words in discussions so it's cool.

  4. As a Gay Voluntarist I love this video XD Though I wish theyd show a video of them talking and not just a pic so its more engaging then watching a pic lol

  5. I understand this question entails some extra work but, I have trouble hearing and it's very hard for me to listen to these whole episodes. I am really interested in the content though and was just wondering if there is anywhere, or could be, transcriptions of these conversations?

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