Beyond Victimhood

Andrew Sullivan writes: >>Those whose livelihoods are built on defending victims have an interest in sustaining a victim paradigm for gay America, in which they are the saviors. And victim narratives are comfortable. They allow us to avoid responsibility for our own problems, while transferring it to others. They evoke cheap but satisfying empathy. They seem to cast us as somehow noble for being “oppressed.” They actually provide status among today’s elites — and can help you advance your own career solely on the basis of your orientation if you want to go to college or get a job at a major corporation. I think it’s time to shuck off this narrative, because it is a crude simplification of the gay experience, because it is profoundly out of date, and because it focuses us on other people we cannot always change while ignoring things closer to home that we can. What we need now, I think, is a narrative more productive and constructive, less about the harm the world can do to us, and more about the good we can give back to the world.<<

One Comment for “Beyond Victimhood”

  1. posted by Jorge on

    “And look at what remains: marriage equality, even in Alabama; corporate America competing to brand itself as pro-gay (sometimes to an excruciating degree); full integration of gay service members; a lesbian mayor of Chicago and, in Corey Johnson, a future gay mayor of New York.

    I see Andrew Sullivan hasn’t lost his knack for gullible boneheaded ignorance. The next mayoral election in New York isn’t for another two years. We already had a highly popular gay City Council Speaker run for mayor two elections ago. We do not currently have a gay mayor. You might want to consider that!

    There are two reasons Christine Quinn isn’t mayor. One, Bill de Blasio’s wife is someone of bisexual experience, so de Blasio was able to cut Quinn’s unique novelty in half. Two, Quinn made significant political mistakes that denied her a stable base of support in relation to the two other white progressives in the race.

    The three Democratic favorites for mayor by my reckoning are Corey Johnson, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr, and Public Advocate Jummane Williams. Right away this almost guarantees Johnson will have to contend with a significant controversy: his relationship with the charismatic, locally popular, barely short of openly homophobic Ruben Diaz, Sr. This has the potential to hurt him with no similar opportunity to help him. This is Jr’s problem, too, but he has over twenty years more political experience navigating it (unlike Johnson his pro-LGBT bona fides have not come under attack), and more importantly he’s been electorally tested under Sr’s specter. So has Williams to a lesser extent (being asked directly about Diaz Sr. during a candidates forum in the Bronx, I was there).

    Johnson is also likely to have a harder time than both Diaz Jr. and Williams dealing with the fallout of the things the current mayor is doing poorly, as it’s under his watch that they continue or are stopped. The current schools chancellor is beset by a racial controversy over his hard-charging campaign against the impact of implicit bias on students. Diaz Jr. and Williams are closer to the minority communities, Johnson is closer to the progressive community; who benefits if white conservatives win?

    Contested citywide Democratic primaries tend to be somewhat chaotic, with two or three anointed candidates rather than one vying in a larger field, and to top it off this will be a stronger Republican year than the last elections (though I do not predict a Republican win). Any public suggestion that Johnson has this one in the bag is not only premature, but frankly bad news for him.

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