Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Stonewall Movie and the Gay White Male Hero

Via Richard Lawson, in Vanity Fair:
"Stonewall is ultimately yet another cartoonish fantasy about white saviors and square-jawed heroes; it should be called Independence Gay
Maybe it’s asking too much to get a smart, accurate Stonewall movie. After all, a heck of a lot of straight history has been schmaltzified by Hollywood, neatly edited and tidied up, so why shouldn’t gay history get the same shitty treatment? But that this film was directed by a gay man, written by a gay man, with an obvious intent to educate, uplift, and inspire, in this particular political climate, and is still so maddeningly, stultifyingly bungled serves only to show us how ridiculous the concept of a monolithic “gay community” really is. Stonewall at least does that bit of good: it illustrates how systems of privilege and prejudice within a minority can be just as pervasive and ugly as anything imposed from the outside. And that’s an outrage. So how long until someone throws a brick through the screen?"
Isn't this movie, though, a mainstream narrative of the "LGBT community"?

Gay white men disproportionately put themselves in the highest-level, highest-paid positions in LGBT nonprofits, creating White Men's Clubs that alienate those who don't share their privileged identities.

To hear some of them talk, Andrew Sullivan practically invented same-sex marriage.

As I have written before, the most prominent national conversations about same-sex marriage have been, with the exception of Maggie Gallagher, largely also same-sex conversations among (white) men often talking to other (white) men, but sometimes also to the American public, about the topic. Jonathan Rauch. David Blankenhorn. Brian Brown. Evan Wolfson. Dale Carpenter. John Corvino. Robert George. Andrew Sullivan. Dan Savage. Peter LaBarbera.

All of this is true even though other people have also been doing important advocacy and writing work in less prominent ways that don't get them the same level of attention, recognition, and credit.

With the gay white male focus on "we're just like you" assimilation while presuming that they - and they alone - are the key protagonists in the LGBT struggle, I continue to suspect that the real goal for many is not a revolution, but merely "a change in management."

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