As some of you may or may not know, today is the "National Day of Silence," which is where you are not supposed to talk to show solidarity to those who have been the victims of hate crimes against gay people. It is a big deal across the nation for many people. I, for one, can't stand it.
I hardly think that refusing to talk shows any sort of support for the queer rights movement, rather I think it is a counterproductive event. This is mostly because those who oppress queer people would like nothing more than for queers to be silent. From a Foucauldian perspective, not talking about something is what takes power away from it. People like Jesse Helms actually do more for the queer rights movement by talking about it, because talking about it gives it power.
Last week's issue of Truman's paper, The Index, had an issue about our drag show and coming out in general (I was one of the interviewees - Story Here). This week's issue had a letter to the editor by someone who did not care for the article:
In regards to the front cover of your TruLife section on April 17, what were you thinking? Who did you have in mind when you were printing that page? Definitely not the majority of this campus! I know the Index probably is one of the most liberal papers on a college campus but let's get serious. I don't care how liberal you people are, I don't want to see that crap shoved in my face every single time you print a freakin' paper! GET A CLUE, and realize most people in this world can't stand crap!
I guess it's because by talking about other sexualities, it calls into question the "fixedness" of heterosexuality. If, as Judith Butler posits, heterosexuality (and I paraphrase here) continously tries to reproduce itself and fails, this is most brought out when other sexualities are brought out. Queerness is the failure of straightness to be the only sexuality. I, and I hope at least most other queer people, don't view myself as agonistic towards heterosexuality; it's just another point on the contiuum of sexuality.
Thus comes the practical part of this blog, I think that it is important to talk, not be silent. This guy is scared, and thus angry, because he doesn't understand that gender bending and same-sex desire does not exist to threaten his opposite-sex desire. The only way to fix this is to open up a dialogue; now, he probably wouldn't want someone like me to start talking to him, but this is what our straight allies are for! This is a movement that must be done by queers of all sexualities (and yes, I include heterosexuals in that), and it must be done with love, not anger. Anger does not win minds and hearts, it only strengthens negative resolves.
I also take issue with things that revolve around one day, because they present the false illusion that if you do something for that you can do something for one day and that "takes care of it." I know that the people who created these days probably don't view it that way, but that is the way that many people feel. They get rallied up for one day of "doing something" but then fail to the other 364 days of the year.
So rather than be silent today, why don't you change someone's mind? Start a conversation that will go on for more than just one day.