Embodying Margin to Center: Intersectional Activism Among Queer Liberation Organizations

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LGBTQ Politics: A Critical Reader

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Over the past several decades, the mainstream gay rights movement (GRM) has achieved stunning success in its pursuit of a limited political agenda oriented toward achieving “equality” for LGBT people. Securing policy wins in terms of LGBT people's access to the military, passage of hate crime legislation, and, most recently, the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, this movement has advanced a narrow agenda under the guise of representing the interests of LGBT communities across the country. In galvanizing public support around this limited agenda, national gay rights organizations, including but not limited to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National LGBTQ Task Force, Lambda Legal, and GLAAD, as well as the statewide equality groups, have positioned themselves as de facto representatives of LGBT people across the United States, and their victories are framed as victories for all these communities. However, a strong countercurrent in LGBT activism and organizing has existed alongside the dominant movement, challenging the GRM's claim to represent LGBT interests and arguing instead that the movement's agenda has privileged the interests of White, middle-class, and wealthy gays and lesbians to the exclusion of more marginalized LGBT people. Activist organizations in this countercurrent, here called "queer liberation organizations," present a nuanced, complex, and radical vision of organizing that attends directly to the interests of the most marginal among queer communities.


Copyright (2017) New York University Press.


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