Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore Weighs in on Marriage Equality, the Occupy Movement, and Freedom


SF Weekly photo of Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore by Kevin Coleman

I was quite interested in Chris Hall’s SF Weekly piece from several months ago on gay writer/editor/activist/Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, so I clipped it.

Mattilda has a refreshing point of view, to say the least. I mean, have you wondered, as I have wondered from time to time, just why the gay movement wants inclusion into a couple of the more broken institutions of our time (marriage and the military)?

As she says in the article, and I paraphrase, maybe we should be working to get rid of the constriction of marriage, maybe we should be working to abolish the American military, hell-bent as it seems to be on endless, bankrupting wars of aggression.

I would argue (and agree with Mattilda) that the confines of the monogamous, traditional marriage are anything but queer as we know it. It seems to often be a dreadful institution, well in need of some redefinition, and by that I don’t mean defining it to include gay couples but defining a marriage relationship by itself to be very broad.

I was at a discussion group not too long ago where one of our senior radicals was present (a member of the original radical faerie group) and when the topic of gay marriage came up, he really couldn’t stop laughing, he found the whole thing so absurd. This is not to rain on the parade of anyone who wants to get married — I think everyone should who wants to — but the gay movement was all about redefining our lives in such a way as to be much bigger than that which had come before – by doing such things as realizing the unique purpose and viewpoints of gay people. They would say we are here for a reason on this planet. They would say we are not just like everyone else (take away all the sex, there are still huge differences between gay and straight). This is the anti-assimilation point of view.

I applaud Mattilda for being able to articulate that contrarian point of view, not easy these days when everyone wants you to just jump on the safe, “well-behaved faggot” bandwagon. She also has a few choice words for the “It Gets Better” phenomenon – truly, how does telling a kid that things will get better in 4 or 5 years help him or her TODAY when life is a living hell? I’m not sure I have an answer for that. Maybe that the campaign is a step on the way for safety for these bullied kids? I think that’s likely.

What do you think about the gay movement? Do you think assimilation is the key, or do you think celebrating the difference is the way to go? Or, should it something entirely different?