Thursday, January 15, 2009


Regarding the Leather Event during the inaugural weekend in Washington, D.C., the tragedy is that a transformation of consciousness that is very much needed regarding the simple issue of public relations, where we must do our best to win the hearts and minds of potential Straight allies, seems to elude the organizers and participants of such public displays. Such public displays representing a rather small subculture within the Gay and the Straight cultures is socially and politically counterproductive.

For many Gay people to adapt to what is unarguably second class citizenship, they feel that they have to rationalize their second class status by seeming to take pride in that second class citizenship, rather than meaningfully fight against it. And, in the same vein, many also use pejorative epithets as self-identifiers in the specious attempt to show that pride in second class citizenship, which is one way that is used to maintain their ego integrity in the face of grinding oppression, and helping to maintain the fantasy of having some semblance of control against the damaging psychological and social assaults of the oppressor.

The Leather community is a perfectly viable subculture within both the Gay and the Straight communities. However, to publicly parade themselves as being sexual hedonists and fetishists, during the inaugural weekend no less, does little more than play right into the hands of the oppressors who get off on condemning Gay people with the vicious stereotypes that such public displays represent, and which provide the very ammunition that the oppressors use to convince people of good will to see Gay people as "sex obsessed hedonists," "the other," "deviants," and "a danger to our children."

Largely because of the fear of teasing the animals and the fear of bringing home the fact that they are powerless second class citizens by direct confrontation, all too many Gay people engage in counterproductive public displays and do not meaningfully fight against their oppression.

By seeming to revel in their second class status by using such assorted epithets as "queer," "dyke," and "fag" as self-identifiers against which I have often written, and by in your face hedonistic public events, such as this upcoming one celebrating Leather and other fetishists, occurring during the weekend right before the Presidential inauguration no less, they are, in addition to enjoying themselves, whether they are aware of it or not, "condemning the condemners," so that those condemners can't psychologically hurt them as much as they fear would otherwise be the case.

Rather than risk demanding an equal piece of the pie in society and then being rejected, they first offend and reject those who are in the position to give it to them so that they are not threateningly confronted with the terrible reality of their being humiliated and disgraced, as would be the consequence of the requirement that LGBT people and allies fight for full and equal civil rights, just as African Americans did during the African American civil rights era.

At a time when full and equal civil rights are systematically denied to all LGBT citizens, it's so important to meaningfully fight for those rights in a socially and politically sophisticated way. That is, such measures can be used as boycotting homophobic businesses; boycotting and continuously picketing homophobic churches; writing letters and opinion pieces to newspapers, and speaking out about the need for full and equal rights in any and every venue possible.

Only then will the counterproductive public displays of hedonism that play right into the hands of the most strident homophobes be seen as just as destructive as were the White Supremacist stereotypes of African Americans portrayed not that long ago by all too many African American actors in films prior to the African American Civil Rights era.
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genevieve said...

The stereotypes presented of lgbt people have long been a contention of mine. I like the leather community but if they continue to project the hedonist stereotypes, then the oppressors are getting what they want.

Transgender people have it much worse. That's why we need to take charge of our own issues.

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Genevieve: Thanks for your comment. How can Transgender people take charge of their own issues; what would that entail? I agree that there are unique issues faced by Transgender people, but unfortunately I'm not knowledgeable enough to really comment on these issues and what taking charge of them would entail. Thanks, Jerry.

genevieve said...

We transgender people will need to speak for ourselves. We apreciate and love our allies but the time has come for us to drive the bus. We have been thrown under it too many times.

It means becoming politically active and savvy. It means reaching out to the community and educating the public is to what we are about. Not easy but it has to be done.

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks Genevieve.