Not even by rainbow-coloured boots shall we be crushed by!
The day of the 28th of June 1969, back when the oppression against sexual minorities was more violent and more pervasive than nowadays, the police broke into the Stonewall Inn in New York as they so often did. Though Stonewall was but another ordinary gaybar where lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders and other sexual minorities frequented, for some reason that day, the patrons directly faced the police off. They stood in the way of arrests, surrounded the bar the police had occupied and fought the riot police that had come to the rescue of their fellow police. The fight of that day continued as an uprising that lasted the following days and starting from then, the LGBT liberation movement began. The “queer parade,” i.e. “Pride” held around the world started as a celebration of that Stonewall uprising.
The 16th of July 2022, Mutual Aid of Ours: Malangchism and the Seoul National University Anarchism Club: Black Crane partook in the Pride, held at the Seoul Plaza. Though I often refrain from writing personal articles in the first-person perspective when reporting on our activism, owning to the subject of this text I shall tell a personal tale.
I am a queer. Although it wasn’t till later in life that I acquired the words such as “queer,” “bisexual,” and “genderfluid,” the fact that I was not heterosexual and not cisgender I always knew. Maybe it was because of this that “queer anarchism” was the first branch of anarchism I learned about. Well actually, just as many do, I did start by reading Kropotkin; nevertheless, the subject I learned after that was queer anarchism. It was then that I came across the claim that within the queers, whose mere existence is an object of rejection and oppression, there existed an immense potential for anarchy. This I came across with in the book “Bi” by Shiri Eisner, which dealt on the oppression of bisexuals from an anarchist perspective with a feminist emphasis. At the time I misunderstood the claim and came to think that a queer becoming an anarchist was but natural.
Yet out of the numerous queers I’ve come to know, no matter how loosely I define “anarchism,” the number of anarchists doesn’t go past three or four. Further, the number that actually delve in activism is virtually zero. Of course, there are less-radical leftists among my queer acquaintances. There are also those apolitical friends who simply want to enjoy what they have, ignoring any kind of politics. But besides them, there have also been anti-feminists, anti-genderqueer, right-wing reactionaries. Them and I have such opposing political views that without a bottle of drink as a microphone, no political conversation is possible. That to they with a hammer, everything is a nail, I had projected my expectations onto others. Luckily, I did correct my misreading of Eisner, yet my disappointment at the current queer activist scene still lingers.
The liberation of sexual minorities is a subject discussed in most sizeable rallies. Although some attention is better than none, the fact that all discourse revolves around the infamous “Anti-Discrimination Law”... Well, I won’t reproach directly, but do these activists really think that our daily fears will dissipate once that law is introduced?
Yet the Pride this year not only offered points of contention to my anarchist comrades at Malangchism and I, but also to other queers and allies. They gave a place at the parade to a multinational pharmaceutical corporation that hinders the accessibility to the AIDS medication oh-so-important for us queers just because “they paid the right amount.” Despite the numerous attempts by the organizers to offer an explanation, this can only be read as a willingness to bow their heads to any lord that will pay the money. No matter what pro-queer statements they babble, what matters are their actions. Their actions directly oppose the queers’ rights, so no amount of excuses will hide their hypocrisy.
The “queer liberation” I dream about is a world where the fact I am queer has become irrelevant. I don’t want to stress about love. However, it is because I’ve arrived at the conclusion that such a world cannot be achieved by maintaining the status quo that I pursue anarchism. Eisner probably did not mean that a queer becoming an anarchist is natural nor automatic, but that a queer who has become one will be an effective anarchist that understands the oppressive societal structures. What reason would there be not to expand the desire to love the people we want in the way that most makes us comfortable to a desire of freedom and equality for the entire world?
I do not want to be oppressed nor become the new oppressor. That is why I do not wish to be integrated by an anti-discrimination law into the society split into classes, oppressors and oppressed, hemmed in by State and Capital. The colour of the boot does not change the fact that it is stomping on us. The way of guaranteeing our existence is straightforward: they who tread on one of us has made an enemy in all of us. Our liberation does not depend on a seat in a parliament somewhere representing us. We must protect ourselves with our own hands. We must burn the old world at the stake and make a new one.