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“It is not possible to achieve justice in a vacuum.”

Readings for Queer Wrath Month

Originally published July 7, 2019
Last updated July 27, 2019
Posted in ,

If June is Pride Month, July is Wrath Month. Here’s what I’ve been reading.

Three decades later, despite some genuine efforts to increase diversity, especially in progressive movement circles, exclusivity and elitism still divide us. We have won rights and achieved recognition that would have been unimaginable 50 years ago, but many of us continue to be marginalized, both in the larger society and within the movement itself.

One in four people in the L.G.B.T.Q. community experienced food insecurity in 2017. Twenty-four percent of lesbians and bisexual women earn less than the federal poverty line. L.G.B.T.Q. youth have a 120 percent higher risk of experiencing homelessness than heterosexual, cisgender youth.

Black men who have sex with men have the highest rates of new H.I.V. diagnoses. People who are transgender, particularly transgender women of color, experience appalling levels of violence, and this violence is exacerbated by poverty and racism.

These statistics show it is not possible to achieve justice in a vacuum. Marriage equality and celebrity culture will not solve it. Neither will political agendas focused on unquestioned assimilation. Gaining rights for some while ignoring the violation and suffering of others does not lead to justice. At best it results in privilege.

Unless we eradicate the systemic oppressions that undermine the lives of the majority of L.G.B.T.Q. people, we will never achieve queer liberation.

Sometimes it seems like these sorts of articles are “well, obviously,” but they’re obviously not “well, obviously” enough for many, so on the whole it seems better to post this than not.

A black feminist describes her disillusionment, saying many people are still marginalized, even in progressive circles.

Smith, Barbara. “Barbara Smith: Why I Left the Mainstream Queer Rights Movement.” The New York Times, June 19, 2019, sec. U.S. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/us/barbara-smith-black-queer-rights.html.

Alex Bayley is a tech industry refugee, independent researcher, writer, educator and community builder. They live in Ballarat, west of Melbourne, Australia.

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