Don’t tell us how to protest, sista.

I’m not a wild fan of the way the gay lobby has dedicated nearly all of its political energy to marriage equality.

In the grand scheme of things, demanding access to an antiquated and conservative ritual is a third-order issue – the reason the debate is so fiery is because it is riven with symbolism.

And while I’d love to develop a thesis on the rise of symbolic political clicktivism on the Left, I think that job is best left to the brilliant Helen Razer.

Suffice to say that achieving this legislative change in our secular government is obviously a marker of greater equality, and I don’t deny for a second that it is. But there are bigger issues out there than poofs shoving rings on their fingers, a practice already more common than you might think.

What worries me, however, is that perhaps this focus on marriage equality has revealed a nascent conservatism creeping into the gay community. Why is everyone so obsessed with monogamy, when they know damn well that it’s a rare thing to come by in gay circles?

During the debates in parliament over the past two years, I’ve been shocked by the number of gay couples who, misunderstanding the way our government works, fumed at Julia Gillard for not supporting marriage equality, but then declared they would vote for the Liberal party under Tony Abbott!

Come again?

Labor under Gillard altered the party platform to make explicit the party’s support for marriage equality. The conscience vote, regrettable though it seems, is merely a way for Labor to respect its status as a broad-based party, within which some social conservatism continues to dwell – never worry though, the scarifying light of progress quickly catches the shadows, and Labor will continue to evolve.

Of course it’s not necessarily ‘natural’ that gays and lesbians should vote for the parties of the Left, in fact a more nuanced homosexual might feel compelled to vote Liberal because, god I don’t know, they are foolishly neoliberal or their parents taught them Labor were communists.

However the issue this explodes out into the open is the way the subaltern other, those groups (gays, blacks, women) who are oppressed by the dominant hegemonic class (Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and the rest of the North Shore Boys Club), become complicit in their own oppression.

Rodney Croome, the National Director of Australian Marriage Equality, has swished once more into the fray, asking that social agitators putting up signs around Sydney CBD (a district clearly not sympathetic to the conservatives) soften their tone.

Oh let them have their fun! Gay people have always been at the forefront of liberation politics, but we’ve become so BORING in our focus on marriage equality. Why? Were the Black Panthers any less abrasive? Were the Aboriginal people who built the Tent Embassy any less driven by passion?

It is profoundly worrying that our right to protest, and aggressively so, is being pacified by request: “please, don’t be so angry about the liberty we are denied, we’re trying to be as inoffensive and similar to our masters that they will give us everything we have deserved”.

Post-colonialism, thy name is gaylord. Has it really come so full circle that gays now have to mimic our imperial oppressors? Do we not realise how weak we look, how much of our authentic political identity we have shed for the sake of ‘marriage equality’ – for the sake of fitting in ‘just like everyone else’.

I reject the politics of assimilation, and I reject the doctrine that Rainbow Australia must pick a colour, Liberal Blue, and stick to it for the sake of symbolic equality.

That’s not how liberty works, and it’s vital that we say so.

Fuck off, Tony Abbott.


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