While credit for the act was claimed by a group calling themselves Queers Against Assimilation in the communiqué we re-posted here on Velvetpark yesterday, this all does seem right up Bash Back’s ally. Yesterday, in the wake of the grassroots activism of the Equality March and my ongoing frustration with groups like the HRC, I cheered this act of "Glamdalism," but after some serious reflection about my values and the history of radical queer protest, the revelation that Bash Back might be behind the QAA raises new questions and concerns.
The scene of the "Glamdalism" at HRC HQ.
As you may recall, the Bash Back folks gained notoriety after protesting the 2007 Republican National Convention, later going on to colorfully interrupt church services, pour glue into the locks of an LDS church, and protest last year’s HRC gala dinner in DC after the HRC agreed to drop trans-exclusion from ENDA. Bash Back groups have also drawn the attention of right wing pundits for their highly invasive and flashy acts of protest and for hate speech declarations such as “The Mormon church ... needs to be confronted, attacked, subverted and destroyed.” (Yes, saying that someone’s entire religion deserves “destruction” counts in my book as hate speech, the same as when Fred Phelps says gays “deserve” to burn in hell.) Curious about Bash Back, I checked out their website this morning, where the group lists the “Points of Unity” around which their members have rallied together. These include:
1. Fight for liberation. Nothing more, nothing less. State recognition in the form of oppressive institutions such as marriage and militarism are not steps toward liberation but rather towards heteronormative assimilation.
2. A rejection of Capitalism, Imperialism, and all forms of State power.
3. Actively oppose oppression both in and out of the “movement.” All oppressive behavior is not to be tolerated.
4. Respect a diversity of tactics in the struggle for liberation. Do not solely condemn an action on the grounds that the State deems it to be illegal.
On first glance, I can’t say I particularly disagree with any of this. While I do believe that it is a moral imperative that queer and trans Americans should have the same legal rights, privileges and responsibilities as our heteronormative counterparts, like the right to marry or serve openly in the military, I get that these particular institutions around which the mainstream LGBT rights movement has chosen to rally are fundamentally problematic.