52 Years After Stonewall: What I Still Want for My People

Sometimes I can’t help but feeling like the Ebenezer Scrooge of Pride Month, pissing on everybody’s parade from my high horse of moral superiority. It’s not that I’m not proud of my people. Quite the contrary. We survived a fucking plague while the government hoarded our meds and we launched a cultural revolution that shattered the antiquated gender binary once and for all. As a Queer Anarchist, my people are quite literally everything to me. But as an anti-assimilationist, I can’t just sit by and watch as every aspect of my culture gets appropriated into some massive corporate machine just so we can enjoy the shallow victory of a handful of petty privileges peddled as rights- The right to be married in their courthouses. The right to indulge in their prison industrial complex with hate crimes legislation. The right to get blown to bits in their fucking army. No thank you.

But this does pose the interesting question of what do I actually want for my people and it’s not an easy question to answer. In short, I want a lot. A lot more than any state system could ever possibly provide. On the 52nd anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, I want nothing less than a Queer revolution in the following ways.

I want Queer to be recognized as a race in the tribal sense of the word. A stateless nation of many colors defined by our shared resistance to White Anglo Saxon Protestant Puritanicalism. An anti-colonialist tribe, inspired by other movements of multiethnic resistance like the Black Power Movement, the Chicano Movement, and the American Indian Movement. I want my people to recognize that the Queer Movement only exists because we were purged from our former tribes and banished to the shadows by the same Conquistadors and priests who raped and pillaged the darker continents in the name of Manifest Destiny. Therefor the struggle of all colonized people must become our struggle as well.

With that being said, I also want this Queer Nation to become a tribe of many ethnicities. For far too long Queer has been synonymous with White and Queer people of color have been made to feel like they must choose between their ethnicity and their Queerness. Well I am a Celtic Queer person and my tribe is made of dual citizens. We must embrace Black Queer culture and Latinx Queer culture as part of our tradition just as we must embrace the European heathen cultures stripped from Queer people by Christianity, Whiteness, and globalization. Let our clan be the link in the chain that unites many sovereign peoples.

I want Queer people to confront the toxic legacy of colonial Christianity and embrace the pagan spirituality that once held our people up to places of deep veneration within the old tribes. I want us to embrace the veneration of Queer gods from across the globe. Gods like Hermaphroditus, Loki, Dionysus, Hapi and Bahuchara Mata. I say this as a devout Christian pantheist attempting to embrace the divine polytheistic Queerness of the higher power we all share. Heathenry is the root of all spirituality and I believe it to be the indigenous source of all Queer culture.

I want Queerness to be defined as a lifestyle of active rebellion against puritanical colonialist culture. This means that we must not only embrace homosexuals, bisexuals, and gender outlaws, but all those who live a life defined by sexual resistance, be they polygamist, polyamorous, sadomasochist, otherkin, infantilist, naturist, fetishist, or sex worker. May all those who peacefully and consensually transgress find shelter and strength together beneath the rainbow.

I want a Queer culture that rejects the empty promises of consumerism and capitalist culture. We must actively foster a culture defined by its resistance to corporate assimilation. We must reject the attempts by our enemies on Wall Street and in Hollywood to appropriate our culture and turn it into another banal shade of grey in the globalist monoculture. We have worked too damn hard to define ourselves boldly to allow all that we built to be Disneyfied, defanged, and castrated by the cis-hetero elites. Drag queens and bulldykes must never become members of the nuclear family. That dinner table isn’t worth the radiation. We must remain a defiant counterculture, too feral to be tamed.

Lastly and most importantly, I want the word Queer to become synonymous with anarchism. This isn’t about politics, it’s about liberation. We are a people cast out of mainstream society who created a tribe of our own in its shadows. We were not born in government hospitals and raised in state schools. We were born on the bathroom floors of speakeasies and raised in the smoky alleyways where our tongues could be free enough from surveillance to discover each other’s mouths. We were stateless heathen tribalists when we were forced into our closets by Roman guards and Catholic priests and to the tribal wilderness we must return. Our fight isn’t simply a fight to fuck and love who our bodies desire and follow the gender identity of our souls. It is a fight for freedom, total freedom, against all tyrants. And this fight doesn’t end with us excepting a Trojan horse of rights and privileges. It ends with the state that oppresses us and oppresses our brothers and sisters of all tribes in flames.

52 years ago, a dingey barroom full of drag queens and bulldaggers declared war on the straight world that invaded their autonomy. They won every battle with bricks and smeared lipstick. 52 years later, the war continues. It continues in courthouses that strip our children naked and define their medical needs as mutilation. It continues in schools where we are taught that our bodies are unnatural and that our love is immoral. It continues in prison yards where we are beaten and raped by men who throb beneath the color of authority. And it continues in the streets where we fight shoulder to shoulder with our Black and Brown siblings to win. We have gained too much ground to stop fighting now. Let every Pride parade end in another riot and let every riot end with the blue paladins of the state fleeing for their lives from our streets. The closet is on fire. The state is next.

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.