Queer Avengers call for a struggle “beyond marriage”

Originally published on GayNZ.

Wellington-based activist group The Queer Avengers is calling for a struggle “beyond marriage”, saying while it supports marriage equality, it’s not the end of the line for GLBT rights.

While the group supports Louisa Wall’s Bill to introduce marriage equality, it says the community still faces a number of obstacles.

Member Sara Fraser says these include bullying, suicide and homelessness among GLBT youth; inadequate access to quality healthcare for trans people; and common intimidation and violence in the streets.

She adds that there are many family structures which marriage and adoption law does not cover, for example polyamory and whangai adoption.

“This is not the final struggle,” Fraser says. “We’re looking ahead to the struggles beyond marriage.”

However when it comes to the marriage equality battle, the Queer Avengers are critical of MPs who are against it.

“Bill English says that equality is not a priority. Instead, National would like to focus on the important things, like making deals with casinos and scapegoating beneficiaries for the financial crisis,” argues Queer Avenger Ian Anderson.

“This government is more interested in cutting back rights than extending them.”

Anderson adds that equality is a matter of principle, not personal conscience. “If parties support the principle of equality, they should treat it as such. This is a basic civil rights issue. Conscience votes are a cop-out.”

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Comments

  1. Don Franks says:

    “Bullying” has become a frequently employed quick fix grab bag expression for lazy journalists who take no pride in their craft.

    The trade union bureaucracy has also picked up this handy buzz word as a trendy classless entry into the mythical never never land of hey come on lets all be nice to one another.

    What is “bullying”?

    It may be physical coercion, putting someone down, verbal abuse or some other form of domination, from a male, or employer, or financial or egotistical personality. Not being nice to another person.

    Not a very useful word in the making of any kind of Marxist analysis.

    • What would be your alternative description of homophobic or transphobic bullying in schools? The fact that it's used indiscriminately doesn't mean there's no such thing as bullying. Bullying is a real thing.

      It's like fascism, just because it's widely misused doesn't mean we should avoid using the term. On the contrary, it means we *should* use it correctly.

      The Queer Avengers is a broad organisation with Marxist involvement. If you think our priority as Marxists should be arguing against the term "bullying" for youth who pick on each-other, I disagree.

  2. Don Franks says:

    Ian, I don’t for a single moment deny that homosexual or transexual or, for that matter, all sorts of other not conviently labelled soft target seeming people get shit from others above them in terms of various power structure. That is a serious problem to many folks in everyday life.
    In those terms, over a period of several formative years in my life, I experienced a rather hard time at school.
    Consequently, I hate oppression of the apparently weaker by the temporarily stronger.
    (As cultural aside it is a huge source of satisfaction to me that Taylor Swift’s “Mean”has become a play ground anthem across the globe. Since her hit came out it has been a compulsory tune in every guitar class I teach)
    Politically ,”Mean” does a particular job well, it fights back. It does not explain why various personal oppression takes place, and that is the job of political pundits.
    I take your point as far as it goes and I am not trying to score debating points here, I seriously give a shit about this issue.
    That’s the reason I’m not content with the current broad brush liberal whinge about “bullying”.
    It’s crap.
    It specifies nothing and changes nothing. In workplace terms, the coverall “bullying” lumps class oppression in on exactly the same level as work colleague personal inconsideration.
    What about the several questions I raised, and what is your definition of bullying.?
    What is your take on my observation that the trade union bureaucracy has picked up this handy buzz word as a trendy classless entry into the mythical never never land of hey come on lets all be nice to one another?

    • Agreed that “workplace bullying” is a questionable formulation because it infantilises workers. Also that “bullying” has been extended in a very moral-panic way to just about every topic, eg text bullying. In a lot of cases “abuse” or “harassment” would be a better term.

      However to describe harassment/abuse of youth by their peers or near-peers, (which is what we were referring to) I think “bullying” is a perfectly good term.

  3. Don Franks says:

    I agree, ” abuse” or “harrassment” are better terms, because not all playground horseplay is bullying. I think a certain amount of jostling for position is an inevitable part of growing up. Admittedly its sometimes hard to tell the difference.
    Good point about the “workplace bullying” formulation infantilising workers. I had not quite thought of it like that before.

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