For me, queer theory is the emblematic example of how we say the value of what queer politics brings is a challenge to what is the normal. And it’s of course what that whole angst is about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and marriage equality. On the one hand, those are basic citizenship rights, right? You always know that there’s some second-class citizenship going on in military policy and marriage policy, right? If you’re looking for second-class citizenship, look in those things and you’ll often find it. So it’s a very reasonable set of political strategies, but the problem is also a very normative set of political strategies, right? It’s not about, “We have a right to be queer and create different kinds of communities and different definitions of family.” It’s about, “Look how much just like you we can be; look how respectable we can be, see; we can have our families look just like your families, and we can serve in the military just like you; and so look how straight we can be!” Rather than, “Look how queer we can be and look at how valuable it is to take queerness and open up the very definition of what constitutes respectable and normal.”
Melissa Harris-Perry (via teacakes)
She is the first person to ever teach me about queer theory as part of social science core class during my second year in college. I am happy to see her grow in prominence and stature while maintaining the same level of thought and candor, and I’m happiest of all to hear her message evolve with time.