The word I keep coming back to is assimilate. Like a long ago episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, “assimilate” is not only the command of The Borg, it is, in their mind, the inevitable duty of all species in the galaxy.
And in both Pérez-Sánchez and Puar essays, I felt that assimilation was the unspoken rule when it came to accepting members of the LGBTQ community. Where Pérez-Sánchez talks about acceptance on a national scale, Puar discusses the possible underlying motives affecting the United States specifically, but could be applied anywhere. Overall, it is argued, that you are more likely to find acceptance within the larger community if you are white, male, gay, economically stable, and willing to portray typical patriarchal-capitalist roles.
Pérez-Sánchez opens by talking about the unfortunate imbalance in queer theory as “predominantly white, Anglophone [and] male” and that this has been the main voice being heard by the mainstream (165). What happens when that voice is somewhat dated by small steps in legislation? When minor victories are won, but issues affecting still marginalized groups go without being noticed, what happens to that predominant voice that was so present? Pérez-Sánchez focuses on work in non-traditional mediums in order to show how the message from the LGBTQ community is not a singular voice, nor has it been quieted with a few added lines on Spain’s national ID. If the white, male, LGBTQ members of the community have been appeased with gay marriage, who will lift up the voices of those who fight for their right to exist?
Puar’s extensive introductory essay entitled “Homonationalism and Biopolitics,” attempts to define the mechanisms in place that allow sections of the LGBTQ community to fragment and thereby become less cohesive. By assimilating white, gay, males (and to a larger extent females) into the nationalist identity through the military and the market, the LGBTQ community faces dismissal if their overall approach isn’t in some sense to become “white”. If the message isn’t their assimilation – we can buy houses and have jobs and fight wars, just like you – and rather a change of attitude from the heteronormative masses, the message will fall flat. Gay marriage is still marriage; it is still deeply rooted in patriarchal notions of property rights. It is still a large driving force in the event economy. Once the market realized that there were white, gay men with disposable incomes, the attitudes adjusted from within. The rules for membership in the American Club changed; heterosexual was no longer mandatory, white and well-off still were.
This market assimilation is what separates out the white members of the LGBTQ community from their comrades. For the mainstream masses, the gay problem was solved with gay-marriage. It is only until two things happen that the rest of the voices of the movement are finally heard: 1) writers like Pérez-Sánchez keep highlighting the tram-medium work of artists still marginalized, and 2) we need to own up to our unwritten insistence upon assimilation, and force the conversation back into the mainstream and, more importantly, the market, for these abandoned voices to be heard.