I mean, I’ve said to a lot of Younger Millenials, Zoomers and whatever we’re calling the generation between them…there is one right? No? Just Millenials and then Zoomers and because I’m only just a Millenial I think that there seems like there’s another one? Right, gotcha.
Anyway I’ve said that I hope they get to be more open and I think they do quite honestly. There isn’t the stigma across society as a whole about being queer, yes I’m aware that when you push at the boundaries of that and you’re not a ‘normal’ gay boy, lesbian girl, transman, transwoman then you get push back. Believe me, I’ve been bisexual for a while now and we’re still seen as edge cases. But what I want to say is that it’s getting better, we’re getting there and as we do don’t be fooled by Respectability Politics.
We do not and we have never had to look like them.
Expect push back, anticipate violence but do not accept it. Be yourself, be out and proud and quietly, confidently demand acceptance. Prepare to be hounded, prepare to be assaulted. Live your extra life as Brad Mondo says and educate yourself as to our history but be as puzzled as he is by why he has ever had to come out. We are normal, we’ve been here forever, and no we didn’t suddenly start out in NYC in 1969, get to know about the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee in 19th century Germany and learn your history.
It’s getting better and we are getting better, we know ourselves. We’re here and we’re queer and we will stay. Love your Family and look for the edges as it gets better. It’s easier and easier for me to be an out bisexual woman (and not just because of the titilation factor that I was brought up knowing was my get out clause) but it’s still hard for my girlfriend to be an out transwoman.
I think that if I were a teenager today I would have a much easier time being out at school (maybe not so much with my family but who knows). If I was overt about my questioning of my gender then I might have a harder time, though given my conclusion was that I was cis that might have fitted right in. I don’t know though, given that the words are there then maybe the fact I was questioning the roles of my gender in society would have been more obvious to me. I think in many ways the genderqueer zoomers are having a similar time to me as a bisexual millenial and I had a much easier time than a lesbian from Gen X and I don’t think any of us had as bad a time as the gay boomers did. That’s not to say that we’re any of us having it easy, but it’s getting better, it will keep getting better, look back at Lottie Hahm being a lesbian activist in Nazi Germany, look back at Stormie Delaverie kicking off at Stonewall.
Kids, you come from a long line of gays and we are here and we’re going to get it as good for you as we can.
Be Gay, Do Crime.
3 thoughts on “Queer People of the Future”
Ah, Hirschfeld. Leading eugenicist, not in an ‘of his time’ way, not in a ‘positive eugenics’ way, but in an ‘Aktion T4 is an interesting idea but it does not go far enough’ way.
That Nazi poster saying that the disabled person costs you the taxpaying citizen thousands of Reichmarks? That was a direct quote from a book Hirschfeld had written, decades before. In occupied Poland, Hirschfeld wrote and distributed pamphlets calling for the involuntary sterilisation of people like me, at a time when that might involve the removal of the entire reproductive tract including the vagina, be done without anaesthetic, or using an extremely high dose of X rays which would leave the patient to die of cancer in a few years.
The Institut Fur Sexualwissenschaft had regular speakers who went on to work with Mengele in Auschwitz, and cooperated on an institutional and individual level with Nazi eugenicists.
It hurts every time I see that praised, without any mention of the harm done. The Weimar Republic wasn’t the antithesis of Nazi Germany, it was where the roots were actively nurtured, by Hirschfeld and people like him. First of all, they came for the asylums.
I actually thought the link was to quite a balanced article acknowledging that Hirschfield had some unacceptable ideas rather than blanket praise. If you have alternative links feel free to share them.
When I said that “we are getting better” I did mean that I don’t think we would welcome a eugenicist into LGBTQ ranks today.
Learning your history means just that, we cannot solely learn the good bits and pretend that the bad bits didn’t exist, if we did that then you get the notion that we sprang fully formed in a 1969 kick line in New York. (I mean you can make some great jokes if you take that as fact but I digress).
Hirschfield himself saw Nazi Germany as an extension of prejudices present across Modern civilisation rather than a sudden aberration though he was speaking from about issues of racism and homophobia rather than anything else.
We cannot pretend that Queer history is somehow separate to the rest of the history around it and that, especially when it comes up against anyone working within sexuality and sexual health in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, left wing social reformers were working at a time when eugenics was largely seen positively. Feminists at the time were hugely racist and yes, anyone working in sexuality was likely – ableist doesn’t usually have the connotations I need to express right now – not seeing disabled and mentally ill people as people.
The Institute, before it was burnt down along with Hirschfield’s books, had speakers who came both in support and more disingenuously. Don’t think I’m about to say only the disingenuous supported Mengele as I don’t know which speakers you’re referring to.
Certainly most of the people who were openly members of the Institute ended up in concentration camps and similar. Some of them survived and the ways that some people survived and tried to survive such places were horrific and should be acknowledged as such.
I am not praising people for working with Mengele and co-operating with Nazis.
I do not know what I would have done to try and survive in such circumstances. It seems to be a part of the human brain to hold such horrific abilities to divide into ‘them and us’ and though from my privileged twenty first century position I’d love to believe that I could never have done that, when faced with those situations I can’t know I’d hold onto my principles.
Sorry, pressed reply before I’d finished.
My final bit was to point out that mentioning the Institute is not the same as blanket praise. It was the first European organisation to actively work for lgbt rights and its right to acknowledge that.