Anti-capitalist Queer Liberation: A Reading List
As Pride Month becomes increasingly steeped in corporate commodification, and trans people continue to be denied their rights, we need to bring queer liberation back to its radical roots.
Featuring books on the constructions of gender, the ongoing fight for sex workers' rights, and memoirs and manifestos on the personal and political, our hope is that these writings can offer a contribution to anti-capitalist queer liberation.
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Bad Gays is a passionate argument for rethinking gay politics beyond questions of identity, compelling readers to search for solidarity across boundaries. Catch the authors on their US book tour!
North America Only
In this brilliant introduction to trans politics, Shon Faye gives an incisive overview of systemic transphobia and argues that the struggle for trans rights is necessary to any struggle for social justice. The media frenzy around trans people conceals a simple fact: that we are having the wrong conversation, a conversation in which trans people themselves are reduced to a talking point and denied a meaningful voice.
Juno Mac and Molly Smith tackle the contentious questions of justice, safety, and labor rights related to sex work situated within the contexts of migration and resistance to white supremacy. Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera were survival sex workers. Honoring their legacy means learning about what sex workers are now demanding and supporting their ongoing struggle.
In a radical call to arms, Legacy Russell argues that we need to embrace the glitch in order to break down the binaries and limitations that define gender, race, sexuality. Building from Simone de Beauvoir when she said, “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” The glitch announces: One is not born, but rather becomes, a body. Russell makes us engage with the cracks, the errors, the mistakes, and the moments of confusion to find our way through, past the binaries and the limitations, towards revolution.
Andrea Long Chu takes a biting look at what "female" even means. Through her genre-defying writing, she posits that femaleness is less a biological state and more a fatal, existential condition afflicted on all. A thrilling new voice who has been credited with launching the “second wave” of trans studies, Chu shows readers how to write for your life, baring her innermost self with a morbid sense of humor and a mordant kind of hope.
We need manifestos in all their urgent rawness—their insistence that we have to act now, that we must face this, that the bleeding edge of rage and defiance ignites new and revolutionary possibilities. Including bold proclomations by the Lesbian Avengers titled "The Dyke Manifesto," Zapatista Women's Revolutionary Law which enshrined a woman's right to choose their own partner, and many others, this book engages with the grit and grizzliness of gender, sexuality, race, and tearing the world apart.
Focusing on migration, neo-imperial militarism, the state, the prison industrial complex, social reproduction and many other pressing themes, the range of feminisms traversed in this volume show how freedom requires revolutionary transformation in the organisation of the economy, social relations, political structures, and our psychic and symbolic worlds.
In July 2012, aged thirty, Juliet Jacques underwent sex reassignment surgery—a process she chronicled with unflinching honesty in a serialised national newspaper column. Trans tells of her life to the present moment: a story of growing up, of defining yourself, and of the rapidly changing world of gender politics. A stunning memoir of transition and transgender politics and culture.
In this provocative book, Jeffrey Escoffier tracks LGBT movements across the contested terrain of American political life, where they have endured the historical tension between the homoeroticism coursing through American culture and the virulent periodic outbreaks of homophobic populism. A truly sweeping account on how society has been transformed by lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in resistance.
Come Together tells the incredible story of the emerging radicalism of the Gay Liberation Front, providing a vivid history of the movement, as well as the new ideas and practices it gave rise to across the United Kingdom. Before marriage equality or military service, Come Together reminds us of paths forged but not taken by queer politics in its earliest stages.
Pam Mitchell's book is a grounbreaking contribution to queer theory. Pink Triangles explores the interplays between sexism and capitalism, personal and political to create a wide-ranging collection of essays all rooted in how gay and lesbian people uphold the tenets of foundational Marxism and are uniqely placed to contribute to the revitalization of Marxist theory.
Reimut Reiche exposes the artificial and illusory nature of many attempts – in Germany and elsewhere – at ‘sexual liberation’, and shows why it is impossible to overcome sexual oppression and mystification in our society in isolation from the political struggle.
The Pope is Not Gay! is an irreverent history of homophobic and sexist obscurantism in the Holy Roman Church and an endoscopic examination of its greatest contemporary advocate, Pope Benedict XVI. Illustrated throughout and including Ratzinger’s key writings on homosexuality as an appendix, The Pope is Not Gay! sheds new light on the Catholic Church’s sustained interference in contemporary politics and society and the hypocrisy of its pontiffs past and present.