Assimilation Won’t Save You

I’m so tired of the era where queer assimilation was validated and the norm… we’re learning that it won’t save us after all and being ourselves again. I truly believe the marriage equality decision and then corporations taking over pride and it becoming viable to market to queer people had a huge impact on many “more acceptable” (white, affluent, cis, abled) queer people believing they would be embraced if they just behaved. And the rise of certain queer celebrities (Ellen Degeneres, Neil Patrick Harris, etc) being generally accepted was interpreted as something that represented inevitable progress rather than progress that was fought for has allowed for acceptable queers to distance themselves.

While things like marriage equality and awareness of queer existence in the greater world are absolutely progress, it can’t be assumed that things will continue to improve without consistent effort. Acceptable queer people who are content to leave behind less advantaged queer people (and assume that inevitable progress will save us, rather than concerted effort they could put in to help) are disastrous for the community at large.

I truly believe this is a huge aspect of the public resurgence of anti-trans and racist sentiments within the queer community — there is a subset of queer people who don’t realize that our mutual oppressors are happy to use them against us and then abuse them just the same.

Lil Nas X‘s blackness is definitely integral to his rejection of assimilative culture and I love it — centering more queer voices and people who face intersectional oppression is better for our community and moves us forward in the public eye.

To be honest the idea that “more acceptable” queer people will embrace assimilative theory, thereby harming the rest of the community, and ultimately not creating the progress they claim — is not new. Queer people of multiple oppressive facets have always been our most progressive voices.

Anyway I love Lil Nas X and I love seeing him become an authentic queer figure in the public eye.

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I am a disabled binary trans man who primarily writes about feminism, queer history, trans issues, science communication, healthy masculinity and public health.