Queer Power! Because Pride is Not Enough

Once upon a time, somewhere over the rainbow, being Queer was dangerous. We were vile leather-clad degenerates, strutting down the cracked streets of neon drenched red light districts, lipstick smeared, basted in glitter, our self-manicured claws sharper than knives, our foul tongues sharper than claws, posing, posturing, begging the devil for a bad time.

We were outlaws, pirates sailing the high deserts in long stolen Cadillacs, painting our faces like savages and pitching our battered rainbow tepees on the banks of the Salton Sea, smoking peace-pipes loaded with hash, reefer, semen, tobacco, opium, ludes, kitten heels and moldy crumbled make-up. We got so high, we fucked so hard, for so long, our tantric screams of ecstasy bouncing off the canyon walls and swelling the cul-de-sacs of the recently robbed rich, depriving them of the sleep they so desperately needed to fulfill their wretched obligations as some bloated dictator’s greatest generation, a pill-popping silent majority who couldn’t swallow a barbiturate big enough to free them from the knowledge that the moaning sodomites who ransacked their garages were their bastard kin.

We were bomb-throwing revolutionaries, marching with Panthers, torching cop cars, hurling our diseased corpses upon the machines of powerful men all but deaf to anything but the sound of our shattered bones clogging the guts of their federally funded sports utility vehicles. We were Billy Burroughs, Miss Major, Hakim Bey, Allen Ginsberg, John Waters, Leslie Feinberg, Harry Hay, Paul Goodman, Gore Vidal, Larry Kramer. We were dykes, fags, trannies, perverts, lunatics, sodomites, carpet munchers, cocksuckers, radical faeries, flaming fucking queens. We were dangerous. We were beautiful. We were Queer.

Not that it was all unshaved pussy and roses. We also got clubbed to death by roll crazy fascist pigs and lynched behind the pickup trucks of neckless bullet-headed closet queens, deeply threatened by the chaos of our hard won sexual liberation. We were raped and castrated for pissing in the wrong way in the right places or vice versa. We had our childhoods excavated, evacuated, eviscerated, annihilated, incinerated, hooked up to the jumper cables of a mincing cabal of priests, cops, shrinks, parents, teachers, scions of adulthood who used every weapon at their disposal to mutilate us in their own barbaric image of “Normal.”

We lost whole generations of brothers, sisters, lovers, fuckers, heroes, villains, magnificent creatures too divine to reproduce, to a plague the state couldn’t be bothered to even acknowledge, a veritable holocaust of derelict medical neglect. Millions gone, vanished, erased. But all these horrors pale in comparison to the most grievous disease to ever infect the American Faggot, the disease of assimilation, invisibility, ceasing to exist, melting into the masses who we long raged so valiantly against. Much like today’s Zionists, we have braved a Third Reich only to take our place in the Fourth. Today, Queer people, my people, have become an integral part of the very system that conspired to destroy us only decades ago.

I have seen the finest minds of my generation destroyed by political correctness, plump, sane and tastefully dressed. Today’s queer is polite. Today’s queer is well behaved. Today’s queer is neat and tidy and commercially viable, that foul beast known as the law-abiding citizen. Today’s queer votes Democrat and quivers at the feet of the police state, begging for safety, begging for censorship, begging for shelter beneath the cathedral ceilings of elite institutions which suddenly find us so novel. Today’s queer is the spayed and neutered poodle of the First World. Something to be paraded about and celebrated for one month a year as a symbol of western benevolence. “Look how fine we treat our parasites!” They beam glowingly to the brown savages in desperate need of cultural correction. We are safe. We are boring. We are “Normal.” The adults have finally succeeded in our correction. We aren’t even queer anymore. We are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, a divided alphabet of carefully assimilated zoo creatures. We are Pete Buttigieg, Caitlyn Jenner, Rachel Maddow, Ellen DeGeneres, Tyler Perry. I am lost. I am sick. These are not my people, I tell myself.

Maybe I’m just stranger than the average millennial or perhaps simply too old for my young age. My view of Queer rights, of what it even means to be Queer, seems to come from a different era. I may be a millennial but I spent the better part of my hermetic early twenties living through books on Kwame Ture and Russell Means and Abbie Hoffman. Tomes on those halcyon days of rage in the Sixties and Seventies when anything was possible through the barrel of a gun. During my self-imposed agoraphobic isolation, I found myself between those pages. The way I see it, Queer is not some posh lifestyle fit for reality TV, but a race unto itself. A stateless, anti-colonial race like the Chicanos or the Black Power Movement. A race in need of self-emancipation and liberation rather than belonging or equality.

There was a time, many years ago, when Queer people were separated across a thousand races. Every tribe from the British Isles to the Alaskan Tundra retained a respectful place of honor in their communities for those of us who could not or would not conform to the typical biological order of reproduction and gender performance. We were raised to be pillars of our tribes; priests, shaman, warriors, teachers and caregivers. That time ended with the Roman-ization of Christianity and the patriarchal creation of property. From that point on, we were purged from the ranks of our societies, burned at the preachers stake and fed alive to the conquistador’s dogs. We were forced to build our own race in the hinterlands. We were a species reborn in the wild. Our culture was pagan, feral and free. Now that heterosexual conglomeration known as the white race wants us back. But some of us don’t want to belong. Some of us would sooner remain pink niggers than become token members of the master race. Some of us have good memories. Some of us haven’t forgotten the plagues and funeral pyres. And some of us want revenge.

My proposition to this break in the ranks among my people is this; Being gay or trans is not a choice. It’s a variation that exists in nature. If some of my people wish to return to the often bastardized versions of our former tribes, then let them. That’s their choice and I genuinely wish them well. They can be LGBT in the white man’s world. However, being LGBT may not be a choice but I say being Queer is. Being Queer isn’t simply fucking and performing differently. Being Queer is a conscious rejection of white western colonial society. It is a rejection of all things “Normal.” It is a rejection of puritanical patriarchy. It is a rejection of fitting in. It is a rejection of passing for male or female. It is a rejection of monogamy and traditional marriage. It is a rejection of both church and state. It is a rejection of the police-warfare state and all the drafts and mandatory minimums which fill its belly with the flesh of both our children and their enemies alike. It is a rejection of those imperial dugouts called embassies being festooned with our flags while they oppress our brothers and sisters in the Third World. It is a rejection of the First World and the colonialist mindset it cultivates. And perhaps above all else, it is a rejection of that modern genre of violence called progress.

On this the eve of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Revolt at Stonewall, I call on us proud few undomesticated faggots who still march in the footsteps of those partisans to redeclare our independence from the straight world and its shallow ethnic borders and create a race of our own built upon our feral renegade culture of resistance. This June, I say we declare Queer to be our race and revolution to be our creed. It’s high time to light that fire again. The only power we need is Queer power, because pride just isn’t enough.

Nicky Reid is an agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System. You can find her online at Exile in Happy Valley.