Rebellion Is Justified!: Addressing Heterosexism Among Communists

Tuesday, April 18

Addressing Heterosexism Among Communists

The Revolutionary Communist Party presented an excellent position paper on homosexuality in 2001, which presented a correct line on the issue. See:

Though most of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist forces in the world have corrected their position on homosexuality, and now fully support lesbian and gay social rights, there remain elements that cling to discredited ideas about homosexuality, alleging that its roots lie in misogyny, in bourgeois individualism, and so forth. These ideas seem to stem from a rather conservative understanding of human sexuality and gender liberation which was conceived during the leadership of Stalin.

Below is a rather backward critique of homosexuality presented by the Progressive Labor Party in its newspaper in a 1998 article. It encapsulates everything wrong with old, incorrect understanding about homosexuality among communists:

Lynching of Gay Student Reveals Two Sides of Rulers' Fascist Coin (Challenge 11/4/98)

The torture-murder of Matthew Shepard, an openly homosexual Wyoming student, has thrown a spotlight on two apparently opposing movements-gaybashing and gay rights. Both movements are growing with the encouragement and support of conflicting sections of the U.S. capitalist class. And both movements are dangerous to the working class.

...the liberal politicians who publicly mourn Matthew's death are no friends of the working class, either. The mass vigils, marches, and memorials attended by tens of thousands across the country were not simply "spontaneous outpourings of grief" as the media would have us believe. They were organized and coordinated by the same band of clergy and other so-called "progressives" who have built the "gay rights" movement for years.

This pro-gay movement ignores the social roots of homosexuality, which lie in the sexism built into class society. Instead it brings the "free market-place" ideology of capitalism into the sphere of human relations: "Buy or sell whatever you like, do whatever you want, it's all individual choice," this line goes.

The "free-to-be-me, be-all-you-can-be" ideology is very appealing to many, especially youth, who hate the divisiveness and inequality of capitalism. But to see what it means in the real world, look at Sri Lanka, Thailand and other Asian countries impoverished by the imperialist bosses. There, tens of thousands of young boys (according to UNICEF estimates) have been forced into prostitution for the use of wealthy homosexual sex tourists from the West. And tens of thousands of young girls are also forced into prostitution to serve rich heterosexual Western tourists. Where are the marches and vigils for these boys and girls?

...(t)he New Money-inspired gay-bashing movement and the Old Money-inspired gay-rights movement only seem to be opposites. They are both faces of fascism, of capitalism in crisis, of a deadly and dehumanizing system that the working class can and must destroy.

The crux of the argument presented in Challenge is that homosexuality is a phenomenon rooted in sexism, and that therefore it is a component of patriarchy. However, simply put, all expressions of human sexuality in present society, being a type of social relation, coexist with the sexism built in to class society. The transformation of all social relations beginning with the overthrow of the bourgeoisie will be a complex and tortuous process.

Moreover, not only must communists reject incorrect, heterosexist opposition to homosexuality, but they must also unite with and give leadership to the most revolutionary and radical sections of lesbians and gay men in the society, those who gain little from the mainstream gay rights movement.


At April 21, 2006, Blogger Renegade Eye said...

I found this blog surfing.

Very good post.

I think you would find from similar arguments against the women's movement.

In the mean time, their comrades are probably at the gay bar, tipping the dancers.

At April 22, 2006, Blogger Carl Miller said...

good blog. I will visit it frequently.

At September 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think the PLP's position was bad, you should read the old RCP position! Bob used to call capitalists "faggots" for christ's sake!

At November 15, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PLP's view of the gay rights movement is correct as being reactionary and a tool of the liberal ruling class.

And although, this article shows a contorted view of how homosexuality arises you cannot dismiss completely the impact of sexism in the development of "some" and i seriously mean some people who considered themselves homosexual.

that said, PLP has nothing against homosexuals because our positions has always been that your CLASS position in the world is primary in the destroying capitalism.

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