THE Triangle Project recently placed advertising in local newspapers calling for “gays and lesbians” to continue the struggle for same-sex marriage rights — thus continuing a long tradition in South Africa’s alternative community of distinguishing gays from lesbians. Is this sheer perversity, moral convenience or something more sinister like gender discrimination?
Whatever happened to the notion of equality? Plain old androgeny? Freedom of sexual orientation?
While it may appear like mere heuristic convenience to
partition people between male and female, gay or
straight, or gay or lesbian labels, the Out in Africa ideology of
Triangle’s version of gaydom loses some of the more nuanced
aspects of sexual freedom and arguably does harm to a much
broader struggle that includes womens rights as much
as the rights of hermaphrodites and transexuals.
The problem seems to be the tricky notion of what it
means to be gay as opposed to queer. According to
Michel Foucault “there are no homosexuals, only
homosexual acts” in other words, ones sexual identity
is not dependent exclusively upon the sex act, but is
rather part of a far more complex personal mythology
in which any number of sex acts may conspire towards
presenting a sexual persona that is independent of
social mores, gender values, and stereotyping.
Of course people will disagree with me — the new
anti-queer mainstream as exemplified by the Triangle
Project and its nemesis the Legal System seeks to
prove with gay science, the scientific fact of a gay
and lesbian divide that is historically incorrect
(aren’t lesbians also gay?). The result is merely a
rehash of the dominant “straight” ideology and the
intention however misguided, the ultimate replacement
of straight society with gay society, along with the
marginalisation of queers and those who shun gender
In such a pitched battle, cast in shades of pink, the
struggle is doomed to failure, as much as straight
society is doomed to repeat its own closet-minded
attack against the rights of the homosexual. In effect
a dismantling of the rainbow nation as the legal
system finds new ways to protect religion above
reason, and tradition above logic.
Lets remind our courts then — not only are lesbians,
bisexuals and straight people still very much out
there, but there is also a sizeable population of
transexuals some of whom consider themselves straight,
as well as straight people like myself who consider
themselves queer. The solution is not simply to make
room for queerdom but to allow the demise of gender as
a biologically determined fact (that defines all
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