"When I take a dose of testosterone in gel form or inject it in liquid form, what I’m actually giving myself is a chain of political signifiers that have been materialized in order to acquire the form of a molecule that can be absorbed by my body. I’m not only taking the hormone, the molecule, but also the concept of a hormone, a series of signs, texts, and discourses, the process through which the hormone came to be synthesized, the technical sequences that produce it in the laboratory. I inject a crystalline, oil-soluble steroid carbon chain of molecules, and with it a fragment of the history of modernity. I administer to myself a series of economic transactions, a collection of pharmaceutical decisions, clinical tests, focus groups, and business management techniques. I connect to a baroque network of exchange and to economic and political flow-chains for the patenting of the living. I am linked by T to electricity, to genetic research projects, to mega-urbanization, to the destruction of forests and the biosphere, to pharmaceutical exploitation of living species, to Dolly the cloned sheep, to the advance of the Ebola virus, to HIV mutation, to antipersonnel mines and the broadband transmission of information. In this way, I become one of the somatic connectives that make possible the circulation of power, desire, release, submission, capital, rubbish, and rebellion."
In general I think the idea of the online being analogous with physical space is a metaphor that has served its time and obscures more than it illuminates. In this instance, however, I think analyzing hook-ups and cruising online through the prism of physical space, particularly cruising space, is instructive. Whether in cyberspace, meatspace, or their constant intersections, the practice of cruising shouldn’t be over-romanticized. Queer men lived, and continue to live, lives of constant surveillance, legal, social, self or otherwise. One can pass years of one’s life without a hint of personal or sexual privacy. The codes of affect and psychosexual exchange — of cruising — are rich and exciting, but they have been built on a heterosexual reign of terror. Codes are reactions to direct threats of making-public. Which of us openly gay queers would voluntarily return to a life where every encounter risked public degradation, humiliation, poverty, and suicide? Yet millions of us still live this life, and a discourse of private rights is both irrelevant and inapplicable to our everyday existence. The homosexual male, the man who fucks men, and the queer are still brutally afflicted worldwide by the heterosexual regime. We can’t even make out the silhouette of self-determination from our digital dark spaces.
Because individuals don’t move politics: movements do. Dozens of LGBT groups in Russia have slowly been creating broad-based social movements. They’ve been building their communities, making spaces for youth, women, the gender-nonconforming. They’ve been connecting to other political movements and human rights groups that can offer not only support but services. They’ve been trying to carve out a place in the historic pro-democracy campaign. They’ve been reaching out through less confrontational means — film festivals, art exhibitions, publications — to a wider public. It’s not just that Ireland’s and Tatchell’s obsessive promotion of Lone Ranger Nikolai marginalized them and made their work invisible. It’s that the Lone Rangerism made LGBT rights in Russia revolve, in media narratives and then in popular paranoia, around a few flawed, foreign-identified figures. Alekseev’s polarizing prominence was a walking cry for backlash. Alekseev’s fans and fantasists have to answer for the damage.
Alekseev may be finished as a figure, but the forces that dreamed him up live on. Already activists in the West who work on Russia are looking for a new Lone Ranger: somebody else to be the “go-to person,” “new and prized leadership, an imperative voice for the plight of LGBTI Russians.” When they find the guy (it’s usually a guy), they’ll forgive almost anything as long as he gives fodder to their fantasies and says what they want to hear.
This article discusses the piece Left For Dead which has been doing the rounds on Twitter this morning. Judging by the shares the article resonated with quite a few people. The one element that we will not consider here are those regarding the SWP and the People’s Assembly. We will concentrate…
Above, a speech delivered by a member of ‘EDL LGBT’, which is grotesque, but worth watching because it gives very clear insight into how the EDL is positioning itself. In between the rhetorical colour of ‘left fascists’ and the various evils of UAF, there’s selective misinformation,…
We would like to invite you to participate in an online reading group over June. We will be reading Jasbir Puar’s Terrorist Assemblages: homonationalism in queer times (a copy is available as pdf on the group for those who need it).
Head on over to https://www.facebook.com/groups/jasbirjune/ to check out the group we ae building. It will feature resources including links, texts, videos, essays and much more. We encourage particpation at all levels and will be building a glossary of terms as we go.
“The “re-” gestures—such as reblogging and retweeting—have become cultural rites of cachet in and of themselves. If you can filter through the mass of information and pass it on as an arbiter to others, you gain an enormous amount of cultural capital. Filtering is taste. And good taste rules the day: Marcel Duchamp’s exquisite filtering and sorting sensibility combined with his finely tuned taste rewrote the rules.”