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New Labor Forum Highlights: July 1st, 2019

The New Labor Forum has a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.

The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion — commemorated yesterday as New York City hosted World Pride 2019 – offers an opportunity to reexamine the demographics and political goals of the contemporary LGBTQ movement in the U.S. While the media has for decades conveyed the image of the gay world as a white, middle-class, even affluent, one, the data simply doesn’t bear that out. According to a study by UCLA’s Williams Institute, the poverty rate of LGBTQ adults is, in fact, higher than for heterosexual adults. And nearly one in five members of same-sex couples in the United States are people of color. For just that reason, activists in the gay liberation movement a half century ago explicitly linked their struggle to broader movements, sometimes even anti-capitalist ones, fighting for social and economic equality. Since the 1990s, however, a sizable portion of the movement came to train its sights more narrowly on legal rights, especially the right to marry and join the military, in part conforming to the normative expectations of middle-class America.

The fact that yesterday’s enormous World Pride/ Stonewall 50 commemoration in New York City included the Queer Liberation march — an anti-capitalist, racial justice-infused alternative to the main Pride march — indicates a growing critique of the mainstream, assimilationist politics of the LGBTQ movement. We offer here two New Labor Forum articles on precisely these issues, one by Richard Blum, entitled Stonewall at 50: Whose Movement Is It Anyway? assessing the two marches and their diverging politics and constituencies; and another by Amber Hollibaugh and Margot Weiss, making the argument that the majority of LGBTQ people are poor and working-class and that the labor movement should take this fact into account as it seeks to organize in low-wage sectors where LGBTQ people make up a disproportionately high percentage of workers. And we close with an arresting poem Frank Bidart.

Table of Contents
  1. Stonewall at 50: Whose Movement Is It Anyway?/ Richard Blum, New Labor Forum
  2. Queer Precarity the Myth of Gay Affluence/ Amber Hollibaugh and Margot Weiss, New Labor Forum
  3. Queer/ Frank Bidart, Metaphysical Dog

Featured photo by samchills via flickr (cc-by)