Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Part 3 of Gay LA dove into the ongoing activism sparked during the 70s, long past the silent era. What was most prominently noted within this portion of the book was the importance of intersectionality. The complex dynamics of intersectionality, in combination with the actual geography of Los Angeles, created a new whirlwind of identities in Los Angeles which would both help and hinder political and social activism. Identities began to be formed more and more narrowly, which continues to be seen to the present day, in line with increased visibility and shifting cultures surrounding LGBT acceptance. Many groups emerged out of feelings of alienation within predominantly white organizations, while these groups for lesbians and gay men of color typically remained small. The specific experience of battles against parent communities led to the emergence of new, more narrow identities, and shed light on new feminisms. Given Los Angeles’ vast, spread out geography, this only helped create further divisions between the boystown and every other community. Major organizations did not typically exist near Latina/Latino or African American communities. These furthered divisions also continued to shed light on gender discrepancies, even within already marginalized groups.
Another striking part of Part III focused on the complicated relationship between consumerism, marketing, and LGBT visibility/acceptance. The LGBT community initially had to build their own world of media, as Hollywood persisted in being silent on homosexuality. As time wore on, respectability politics came into play and many publications worked to present images of glamour, more so than realistic images, fronting people like Madonna or Gwen Stefani on covers of magazines. Additionally, increased visibility was gained once people achieved the realization that a prominent gay market, in fact, existed, and could create significant profit. This is always a complicated subject to tackle, for the line between selling out, and achieving progress through marketing and visibility, is thin. It would be interesting to question how our culture and views would exist in the present if the “rainbow” and “pride” marketing did not exist. Additionally, how has acceptance of the LGBTQ community been both hindered and helped by fronting images of respectability or glamour?