The Feminist Movement Needs To Have Queer Politics Right At Its Centre, Here’s Why

Posted on January 27, 2016 in Cake, LGBTQ, Society, Upside-Down

You’ll have already heard of feminism, now get ready for … feminism with queer politics! What place do queer politics have in feminism, you may ask, but anyway, what are queer politics? A much more fun version of government? Well, not quite.
Feminism is, essentially, a social movement committed to ending gender inequality under patriarchy. While one might imagine feminism through simple assumptions – “raise women to the level of men”, for example, it’s a lot more complex than that.

There will be many issues intertwined with gender relations – including but not limited to race, socioeconomic class, and cultural background. Gender relations will be experienced differently depending on the effect of these various factors on different people. But gender itself isn’t as simple as all that. More and more we have come to realise that gender itself is not black and white. Nor is it pink and blue. No, it’s more of a big collection of various colours, and so is sexuality.

Fundamentally, politics is about power relations. Studying politics is about studying power relations; how power is shared, taken, experienced. How it shapes the world and in turn, how power relations are affected by this world. It can be an awfully vague term, but primarily, politics is concerned with power and what happens when some people have more of it than others.

So what are queer politics? There will be substantial and complex academic explorations on this topic, but for the purposes of momentum, we’ll stick to a short description of it.

“Queer politics”, in my opinion, are not some esoteric collection of ideas that exist “out there” in the world; they are real, lived experiences of queer lives. They are about the power imbalances, the experience of oppression of living as a queer person in a heteronormative, cis-normative world.

Why do we need queer politics within feminism? We need queer politics in the same way we need the politics of race and culture to be included in feminist thought; the same way we need the politics of disability, of the family, of class status. Politics is about POWER – feminism is about redressing a power imbalance, and power and oppression intersect with gender in many ways. Queer politics are about the power relations within the established, dominant discourses on gender identity and sexuality.

Self-defining as queer has often had radical, subversive connotations to it, a middle finger up at the gender binary, at transphobia within the gay and lesbian community, against a world that refuses to make existence easy.

Queer politics belong right in the centre of the feminist movement, to strengthen it against homophobia, transphobia, and every other form of hateful intolerance on the basis of sexual or gender identity. Some of this has been from the mouths of those claiming to do it in the name of feminism; think Germaine Greer’s repulsive comments about transgender women in 2015. To build a successful, powerful movement, feminism must include queer voices, and acknowledge queer experiences.

We need queer politics in feminism to make it an inclusive movement, a movement that works for all against the dismantling of patriarchy and all its tenets, against restrictive gender roles and the damaging effects of toxic masculinity, against the belittling of femininity. Queer voices and queer experiences have a key place in this effort, interwoven amongst all other marginalised identities. Feminism is about redistribution of power in what is presently a desperately unequal world, and if this is to happen fairly, the politics of queer identity must be taken into account along with other intersectional matters.

Image Courtesy Tumblr/Fabulously Feminist.