The Revolutionary Potential of the Queer Rights Movement
Currently the LGBT community is focused on many issues, from same sex marriage to ensuring the rights of transgendered individuals are protected. There is widespread support across the US and across the world for LGBT individuals to be accepted as equals in society and the overall movement is forcing society to change for the better, yet, underneath this is a revolutionary potential that can change society in even greater and more fundamental ways.
The current battle over same sex marriage is typically viewed under the lens that two people who love each other, no matter their sexual orientation, should be allowed to marry the same as anyone else. This is quite true and correct, but in allowing the marriage of same sex couples, it challenges the institution of marriage that is entrenched in heterosexuality. For too long lesbians and gays have been ignored, ostracized, and persecuted. They have been and in many cases still are being forced to live on the fringes of society. However, with the campaign for same sex marriage, it forces society to look at itself and acknowledge the fact that in many ways it still doesn’t live up to the values that it espouses. While some might argue that same sex marriage is redefining the definition of marriage, it must be noted that marriage has always been being redefined over the times.
Transgendered individuals, especially those who are people of color, have a great revolutionary potential as it forces society to deal with race, misogyny, and gender. Transgender issues demand a greater realization of oppression and intersectionality. (Intersectionality is realizing that oppression can come from many different avenues and those issues intersect and overlap, deepening ones oppression.) Race comes into play as trans people of color not only have to deal with the stigma it comes from being trans but also must deal with the additional effects of being a person of color in a country that favors whiteness. When transgender and feminist issues intersect and affect the lives of transgendered women, transmisogyny takes place, in which trans women are subjected to being hated and discriminated against for not conforming to certain gender roles in society. Finally, gender plays a role as transgendered individuals challenge the very notion of gender roles in a society. With all of these factors interacting and overlapping, by confronting the suffering trans people face, society is forced to confront three other forms of oppression and in dissolving that oppression, free not only trans people, but also free people of color , women, and genderqueer individuals as well as dissolve gender roles that oppress people as a whole.
Polyamorous relationships challenge the traditional notion that humans are meant to be bound in one relationship for the rest of their lives. In doing this, polyamorous individuals are showing that there is a path that differs from the one which society emphasizes and that it works, not just in the mind, but also in reality. It is expanding the notions of marriage and love.
Overall, the queer rights movement is revolutionary as it challenges the preconceived views of what love is, what marriage is, and what gender is. In doing this, the movement is expanding, evolving, and in some cases breaking down norms and stereotypes that are prevalent in our society. This only makes people freer, more accepting of themselves, and more likely to realize that we are not all that different, no matter one’s sexual orientation, relationship status, or gender identity.
Devon DB is a 20 year old independent writer and researcher. He is studying political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He can be contacted at devondb[at]mail[dot]com.