The Alarming Paternalism of Today’s Queer Agenda


Tom Joudry writes at Slate:

The 1969 Stonewall riots galvanized what came to be called “gay liberation,” a period of disruptive activism in the ’70s that formed part of a broader countercultural upheaval that began in the previous decade. But that heady moment—full of blistering manifestos and confrontational direct action—came to a quick end in the survivalist demands of the AIDS crisis, and over the next half-century, riots have since been steadily replaced with solemn rituals. Back then, the nuclear family was on the chopping block; now, queer couples clamor to imitate it. Back then, activists rebelled against juridical standards of decency; now, respectability is all the rage.

In fact, a conservative penchant for rules and continuity animates nearly every item on today’s queer political agenda. Marriage was the coup d’état in the quest for regularity, for it offered, in Justice Kennedy’s words, “recognition, stability, and predictability.” LGBTQ advocates have since doubled down on this security agenda, visible in the proliferation of safe zones, trigger warnings, anti-bullying campaigns, meticulously elaborated protocols for verbal address, and labyrinthine nomenclatures of identity. Order is the order of the day. Those behind this agenda see themselves as spearheading radical transformation and fomenting inclusion, as though authentic autonomy reaches its freest expression by hewing to bureaucratic decorum. What I’m observing, put bluntly, is authoritarian conservatism tricked out as radicalism.

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