I’ve been watching a dying movement, stag-nation. Anarchism and the “LGBT”. TransDykes, however, seems like the nail in the coffin. I see a lot of parallels between the state of the LGB and anarchist movements, in the trading of power from the old patriarchy to the new patriarchy which has been underway in recent years. If I was to step out of a female-centered perspective and channel those who will not speak, with their inevitably male-centered universalist perspective characteristic of these movements, it would go something like the following:
The elders of the LGB and anarchist movements have observed that younger folks have become extremely authoritarian and espousing attitudes both familiar yet unfamiliar. A queasy, uncanny valley of similarness yet not quite rightness. The evil twin syndrome has impacted the LGB and anarchism alike, and doing what evil twins do best, seeks to kill and replace the original.
We’re all still alive and remember how it used to be. We know things have changed, but change must be good because we don’t trust ourselves. We’re used to the old folks being the regressive types. We remember our youth and the days when it was young folks who were the progressives. The radicals were young. We were them. Now we’re looking through a funhouse mirror. Being the open minded radicals we are, we fully expected newer generations to carry on our life’s work. We fully expected to be outdone by the promising future radicals. One thing that stings a little, and what we can’t ignore, is that the new blood strut around like they own the place.
We pretended that we were being outdone and being taught amazing lessons by the infinitely wise (invariably white and male) youth. We tried to believe that the changes being made to our LGB and anarchist movements alike, these movements which have centered the firey young, would be good for everyone. Even if we disagreed. Even if we weren’t totally onboard with their lingo. We play along. We don’t understand the young, but we let them tell us what to say and how to say it, because we assume they know better than us. We don’t want to hold up any innovations, right? Who are we to boss anybody around? Who are we to cramp someone’s style?
(Meet the new boss, exactly like the old boss. But worse.)
We’re just the Old Guard with a century of history (or more!) carried with us, that we take for granted and might be buried with. And we kind of hate ourselves because we so valued our bygone youth, that we live vicariously through the New Guard. Meanwhile, we’re getting pushed out of radical spaces that we once built and to which we once belonged. So we increasingly just spend time with each other, and are isolated from newcomers. Guess we’re just too reactionary for these new queer social justice types, huh? We aren’t needed. Maybe they have a point, and we should change for them, try to impress them. Or maybe it’s too big a pill to swallow, so we’ll stay quiet because we feel stupid.
And we’ll try not to think about the cooptation of antifascist action, the tone deafness of carrying big sticks to a Pride march, or the reversal of BASH BACK. We’ll try to ignore the fact that we failed to teach our young not to become the lies the McCarthyite media regurgitated back to us about “anarchist terrorists” and “scandalous gays” which were only funny stereotypes, the truth being much more complex. We’ll assume that we’re on the same page and that they know what we truly stand for.
What does the black flag and the rainbow flag mean anymore, when it instills fear in young women? Our flags made people uncomfortable, but never this way. We carried them with pride and honor. Sure, we were monstered in the media, called terrorists and crap like that, but that was for rioting and property damage and even for things like holding the picket line. Until now, we never set out to destroy human beings; it was never for beating innocent bystanders that we made our names as anarchists, or as proud gays. We intimidated cops, landlords, bosses, fascist men, homophobes, people who picked fights with us, who fucked our shit up, who we knew were clearly the enemy! People who threatened our communities. We were Your Friendly Neighborhood Anarchists and The Awesome Gayborhood. We didn’t scare folks, we were just out there.
Oh, but times have changed, haven’t they? Best not go down the path of wrongthink. Best not think anything has gone wrong at all.
Yet for reasons beyond our comprehension we’ll be quietly and ever so slightly supportive of the very young anarchafeminists and lesbians our new blood have been seeking to murder, because something about these women instills a feeling of respect that reminds us…of something familiar. The calm we feel in realizing there are no identity politics oneupmanship games to be played, the nostalgia of a young dyke who knows what a labrys is. Something like a piece of humanity forgotten in ourselves burns in them…wait, humanity? Why do I feel so at ease with and feel admiration for these evil, fallen women?
What did we stand for again? One thing we’ll never admit is that we’re like the father of the bride, fools handing our daughters away to strange, lustful men. Our one fatal flaw is that we never did take to heart what the feminists — who buttered our bread and sewed our flags and stood by us at the hospital bed and who we used and left behind — warned us about: that, contrary to what our fathers taught us, the silence of women is not the sound of peace. That the future of women is our future, the future itself.
What a terrible waste.