Thursday, February 2, 2017
Week 4: Gay LA Part 3
Part three of this book discusses in detail the history and activism from the modern era of the 70’s on. Chapter 9 details the history of the Metropolitan Community Church and the early history of West Hollywood. Chapter 10 discusses the spaces and discourses formed by queer people of color in a predominantly white-centric and white-dominant discourse. Chapter 11 speaks of the drastic social changes caused by the AIDS epidemic. Chapter 12 discusses the aftermath and politics that emerged after the AIDS panic era. And finally, the epilogue discusses the politics and discourses of the 21st century.
Chapter 10 of this part was a very standout and important section. The lack of discourse, representation, and intersectionality offered by most queer dialogue was something that queer people of color fought back, creating spaces and discourses for themselves. Writer Alycee Lane contended that queer black people had to “divide [themselves] into expendable parts” (282). An experience that’s all too common for queer poc, there is often a demand to put either race or sexuality on the back burner in an effort to navigate one space or another. Lived experience and identity functions more dynamically than an aphasia of the parts of identity.
The discussion of the different spaces by and for queer poc was really interesting. It was interesting to read that Catch One, a disco for black gay people, faced the challenge of white people trying to take over the space, started by but also recreated after the fact that Madonna and other celebrities used the place as their hangout spot. This made me wonder about the historic nature of the stripping of power away from self-created spaces. This is another challenge faced by queer poc and poc in general, especially in attempts to create safe or exclusive spaces for themselves. These spaces are often rendered as vulnerable or not given the full respect they deserve by white and/or non-queer people. They run the risk of not being taken seriously and being incorporated into white and/or non-queer people’s agendas, who often go so far as to complain of feeling left out and demand to be centered in yet another space/discourse. This stripping of agency in terms of space is still faced by many marginalized groups in their efforts for self-created reclamation.