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22 February 2010, 4:00 pm 23 Comments

Commentary: Pink and Black Attack: I am a Radical Queer

This post was submitted by Jess Five

I am a radical queer.  I have tattoos, piercings, and a mohawk.  I use dental floss to sew patches on my clothes and I even silkscreen my own patches.  I am an activist and I organize.  I fight for freedom from oppression, peace, and equality.   I am an anarchist, against all marriage, and against assimilation.

Anarchy does not mean chaos or destruction.  I am a pacifist.  It means small, scale collective organization where everyone has a voice as opposed to majority rules.  Anarchy does not mean a lack of responsibility or respect.  It is quite the opposite.  It means being a fully conscious human being that doesn’t steal, kill, or violate another being because it’s the right thing to do.  It’s agreeing to disagree and live and let live.  It does not mean force or brutality or violence.  It means peace, love, and equality.  It’s not needing laws to be govern because we are the ungovernable because we do what is right without them.

We don’t need marriage recognized by the state.  We know who we love with our hearts and souls.  The state has no business in our business.  Marriage is a money-making business.  Divorce sells.  We have no need for that.  For that system or any system.

Equality isn’t the same thing as sameness.  We don’t need to pretend we are like heterosexuals.  We aren’t, we’re queer.  Accept us for how we are and not what you would like us to be.  We won’t stop being queer and assimilate to the mainstream culture.  We won’t buy your brand of gay being sold to us by the Advocate or Logo. We’ll make our own.  Don’t hate the media, become the media.

That’s preciously what I am doing.  I am at odds with most of society.  I don’t consume animal products.  I don’t watch television.  I don’t like team sports.  I don’t care about the Olympics or celebrity gossip.  I don’t like malls or fast food establishments.  I don’t go to church.  I don’t believe in god.  I don’t smoke.  I don’t drink beer.  I don’t do drugs.

I read books.  I write.  I go to punk shows.  I listen to queercore and anarcho-punk.  I volunteer.  I draw. I paint.  I live in the moment.  I live my life actively – not passively.

Sometimes I feel really alone.  Like, I am the only one who cares so much it hurts.  That I want to change a world that doesn’t want to be changed.  I know you can’t change the system by force otherwise it’s a false peace.  It’s done slowly, over time, with patience and education.  The system is made up of people.  To change the system, you must change the people.  I’m trying.

I don’t like radicals who are radical for the sake of being radical and not with an agenda.  Getting people mad doesn’t do anything.  There’s no revolution in going to a church and shocking the congregation.  There’s real revolution in going to that church and befriending congregates and teaching them that bigotry and homophobia is not the path to take.  Life is about learning, growing, and teaching.  It’s about kindness, compassion, and understanding.  Not ignorance and hate.

Some people are untouchable and so set in their ways.  For those, you have to agree to disagree, and co-inhibit the earth peacefully.  There are always going to be people that you don’t like.  You can’t befriend everyone.  Believe me, I tried.  Some people just don’t want to be your friends.  Accept it and move on.

I am a radical queer.  I believe anything worth doing, is worth doing completely and fully.  I’ll fly the pink and black flag proud – for it stands for what I believe in; anarchy, peace, and equality.  I don’t expect everyone to agree with me but that doesn’t make my view any less valid.  I write my truth and thank you for listening.

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  • Raphael said:

    I have a problem with the argument that somehow being against marriage absolves queers from the struggle for equality, that they don’t need to fight to overturn same-sex marriage bans. [Please pardon me if you feel that I'm putting words in your mouth here--that's not my intention, but I'm addressing instead some common arguments I've heard from other self-described radical queers who were not interested in fighting Prop 8 in California.]

    If you accept gay marriage bans you accept the government intruding into your personal life. You are taking the heteronormative position. You are reinforcing the sameness you claim to be against–you’ve already been assimilated.

    You cannot reject something that is denied to you by your oppressors.

    I think anarchists and radical queers should be just as engaged in the struggle for equality and for self-determination as the most conservative gay-marriage supporters. We should support the rights of all of us to accept or reject a heteronormative lifestyle, and refrain from judging others for how they make that choice.

    We can argue about priorities (and I would argue that marriage and military shouldn’t be our top priorities right now), but to disregard (and therefore accept) this inequality is not very queer.

  • Raphael said:

    Just to clarify, I agree with most of what you said! Especially the last three parargaphs.

  • Jess Five said:

    Raphael – You aren’t understanding what I said. The struggle shouldn’t be for marriage – the struggle should be to abolish -all- marriage. It’s a matter of the church and has no business in the state.

    With that being said, I do support gay marriage to the extent of wanting equality for those who wish to have marriage as an option. I stayed registered to vote in California when I was living in NYC so I could vote no on Prop 8. But, I really believe there should be no marriage what-so-ever being sanctioned by the state. It is an unfair system. What about people who are polyarmous and want to marry their partners and count? Plus, the people who benefit most from gay marriage are people who have benefits to share – the white middle class. There’s a great article in the book, “That’s Revolting” by Mattilda Sycamore Bernstein called, “Is Gay Marriage Racist?”

    As long as we live in a Capitalistic system – that thrives on a system of have’s and have not’s there are always going to be people who don’t have anything. The foundation of our current system is oppression – be it of queers, people of color, women, disabled, the elderly, children, and poor.
    People are too busy fighting the branches and not the root of the problem.

  • Tessa said:

    I totally agree with you. The only reason anyone gets married anymore is out of tradition or for the unjust tax break.

  • Raphael said:

    Part of me agrees that the state has no business regulating marriage. But part of me also believes that the state has an obligation to support and assist people who choose to have children, and many (not all) of our marriage and family laws are precisely targetted towards that aim.

    Obviously, one solution would be to create a framework to support families that doesn’t rely on religious traditions like marriage. But I can’t figure out a way to provide that role without also explicitly recognizing and define family relationships.

    It all depends on what you mean by “abolishing” marriage. Why take some of the problems that queers face (e.g., having your partner become a stranger before the law) and inflict them on heterosexuals?

  • Jess Five said:

    It is already being inflicted on heterosexuals who are polyarmous. Marriage for some isn’t marriage for all. What about a partnership between an elderly grandmother and her widow daughter to raise a kid? Giving benefits to people who are just “marriage” and not recognizing that there are alternative family structures that need the benefits (ie. tax break) more than those who are getting it due to their financial constraints. It’s an unfair system.

    If we need a government system at all (which I don’t think we do), it should be a legal contract that persons can enter into which gives them the same benefits as marriage without it being a marriage – so that those who aren’t traditional families don’t get the short end of the stick because it the bond isn’t between a “man” and a “woman”. What the hell is a “man” and “woman” anyways?

  • Thoughts of Jess Five » Books, Books, and Books. What are you reading? said:

    [...] I also wrote another article for The New Gay – Pink and Black Attack: I am a Radical Queer. Check it out! | Tags: books, queer, the new gay « PETA Kills [...]

  • Um... said:

    I would title this “I AM A DOUCHE.” What a douche. Way to stigmatize others in an effort to feel good youreself.

  • Jess Five said:

    I am all for people expression their point of views even if I don’t agree with it. However, name calling and attacking someone breeds hatred and anger and is not constructive criticism, and prevents dialogue.

  • Um... said:

    This entire article is name-calling without calling names. My comment is apt.

  • Tessa said:

    I don’t see how this article calls anyone names, directly or indirectly. The author simply pointed out flaws in certain organizations and actions they participate in and the misrepresentations they cause.

  • a said:

    im pretty comfortable with this article and its ideas even tho i dont live a lot of them

    however, one question: are you one of those “radical queers” who has a lot of opinions about gay and queer politics and gay marriage (along with veganism, anarchism, etc) and then is intimate only with women?

    boy do i know a lot of those in dc and let me tell you i hate “queers” who like to opine on sexuality but dont actually live outside of the sexual mainstream or experience any of the less-romantic queer sensibilities (lack of places to meet ppl, constant self-consciousness, obsessing over gender performance, wondering if we might actually one day be able to bed the women we seem to love so much in every other way, self-conscious interactions outside of our comfort zones [often consisting mostly of lesbian bi trans or gay ppl or ppl of another sex/gender] among a zillion other ones) that many of us struggle with, though not all of us im sure.

    going off your other article about QUEER v GAY/LESBIAN, i wonder. cuz most of the self-proclaimed queer ppl i know are like the above description (i.e. fake queers) and ppl who call themselves gay or lesbian (or bi or trans, etc) actually do practice an alternative sexuality and engage in the struggles that go along with it even if they dont preach the same political stuff you do

  • Maggie said:

    “Sometimes I feel really alone. Like, I am the only one who cares so much it hurts.” – I agree. That is pretty douchey. I just threw up a little in my mouth.

  • Jess Five said:

    Again, I am all for people expression their point of views even if I don’t agree with it. However, name calling and attacking someone breeds hatred and anger and is not constructive criticism, and prevents dialogue.

  • Um... said:

    According to Urban Dictionary, a douche is someone who promotes themselves without consideration of others. I hope that is a constructive criticism as to why this post is douchey.

    You use this post to lambaste others who are different than you (I HATE THE OLYMPICS…therefore those who like it have less value). You don’t say it explicitly, you imply it…which, again, is a mark of doucheism. Its like being heteronormative, but the opposite. Genderqueernormative oppression is what it is. Shouldn’t we all have respect for the opinions of others without asserting our superiority? I have respect for who you are. The label of douche doesn’t apply to that. Hell, 86% of your traits are mine. Its the smugness that is worthy of the douche label.

  • Jess Five said:

    This is commentary and my opinion. You don’t have to agree with me – which is fine, but you don’t need to call me names. I never concern myself about other people’s feelings. They belong to -other- people. I try to live life as considerate, compassionate, and kind as I can but I can’t control how someone reacts to what I think or feel. I can only control myself. It seems like you are pushing a lack of personal responsibility onto me which is unfair. Take responsibility for your own actions, thoughts, and feelings. I have nothing to do with them. Maybe it’s a lack of self-knowledge that is causing you to react in such a way. Only you can control how you react, only you control how you feel, it sounds like a deep personal issue to me that you are projecting onto me which isn’t fair. If you don’t have anything constructive to say, please leave me alone.

  • Um... said:

    “I never concern myself about other people’s feelings. They belong to -other- people.”

    Good, then don’t concern yourself with my feeling that you are a complete, judgemental douche. The column is yours. The comment section is your readers.

  • liss said:

    I think this article is directly asserting the author’s POV. I don’t think it is meant to judge people. I can list off what I like and dislike as well. I think the point of the article is perhaps to point out that we can all affect change even if it feels like we are all alone in our viewpoints at times.
    I would like to see a lot more from this writer about what they envision a peaceful country/world to be like.

  • Pirl Harbour said:


    I agree with you 200%. Unfortunately there are so many queers who are so desperate to prove how mediocre and similar they are to breeders, that they engage in activities that hurt us all. Lesbians that must prove they can breed and raise children like the rest of them. Queers who are convinced that the church should make room for them and allow them to become church officials etc. The very religions that have for centuries burned us at the stake, stoned us and killed us with gusto and fervor and we want to change it? How about suing it for perpetuating hatred and lies. In other words how hard do we have to try to be “acceptable middle class ass holes?” So of course there are queers out there that will put you down for having the cojones to stand up to the queer hypocrisy that has tainted our politically correct community. The community that has been taken by the well heeled, educated, professional, white class and those that want to aspire to that tier of craven hypocrites. I can’t understand how straights keep saying we are not equal when we prove on a daily basis that we are as fatuous, craven, misguided and delusional as they are.

  • Chris said:

    OK its a bit late, but I’ll bite: I recently quit anarchism for socialism. Thanks to Sherry Wolf’s book Sexuality and Socialism, but this is an article also demonstrates why.

    I do fell your pain about being on the outside, but you got to suck it up. Why must you care about your difference to sports watches or tv watches? When you have a shit job, boss and life, yeah you want to drink or watch sport or want ever. I became a socialist because so many anarchists retreat into lifestyle politics, they fall into a trap of focused hate on ordinary people instead of the people who run this horrid capitalist system. The real enemy is the system not us who are caught up in it just trying to get by.

    And on marriage: I don’t want to get married or believe in it, but it’s what ordinary people who can’t afford a lawyer have to do to protect there partner against homophobic family or state if they die, or to save one of them from being deported. Elite posturing about an enlightened proposal to ban it has no relevance today. When the state denies marriage its a clear victory for the homophobes(wiki dog whistle politics) hate crimes rise ordinary queers get hurt or hurt themselves, that’s the current sad world we are dealing with today. I am working towards the day when marriage will be band… but for now the argument is clear, we should support it.

  • Pirl Harbour said:

    After all these months since I last posted. I want to say that yes this is all about you and your need to express your thoughts and beliefs, nothing wrong with that. One either accepts your angry rants and protects your right to say whatever. Or one can just not even indulge you and walk away. Indulging in a conversation where one finds total negation of any possible reasonable argument is just encouraging you.

    Anarchist (Webster’s)
    1 : a person who rebels against any authority, established order, or ruling power
    2 : a person who believes in, advocates, or promotes anarchism or anarchy; especially : one who uses violent means to overthrow the established order

    Anarchy (from Greek: ἀναρχίᾱ anarchíā, “without ruler.”

    So to have no ruler or governing body would require some sort of consensus. Good luck buddy in achieving that today, tomorrow or forever.

    Anarchy, yes an interesting concept. Within a sea of contradictions, giving you an argument is like, throwing water at a drowning person.

    I was once thinking that gay marriage was a bad idea. Now, I understand the legal implications in this society of finding yourself powerless because of your relationship gets no acknowledgment or respect from the outside world. Not to fight for the right to be human and visible is giving in to fear and hatred. Yes, it is important to fight the battle on all fronts. Trying to subtract yourself from all that is wrong in our world and pontificate about how correct you are above all others, is just feeding the fires of delusion and self aggrandizement at the expense of your own self respect and humanity.

    The human race is a mess, but you are still in it whether you want to or not.

    That’s all folks!

  • Robert said:

    Yay, Jess!
    Loving it!
    <— Queer, Christian, Anarchist.
    Although, not really liking the "Christian" part so much.
    Maybe "Queer, Person of Faith, Anarchist"?
    Anyway, thanks, Jess!
    Much appreciated!

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