In the Marxist approach, the conflict is viewed as a conflict between the "classes", and, tempting as it may be to view the issue of GLBT rights in society terms of the "oppressor" vs. "the oppressed", I think there is some danger in doing so.
Firstly, even if such a conflict exists between an "oppressing class" and an "oppressed class", the solution is not necessarily the "defeat" of one of the classes over the other. One of the most powerful (and in many ways, "prophetic") messages that GLBT people give to the world is that "there is another way". There is some evidence that in fact, this was once an honoured
prophetic role in society (as in the example of the "Niizh manidoowag" or "Two-Spirited"
people in tribal society. In a similar way, I think part of the "prophetic role" of GLBT people in modern societies is in showing that not everything is "black and white" and that there are other ways to resolve conflict other than by one class "triumphing" over another class. This, I believe, is where "Relentless, Non-Violent Resistance" is essential.
Secondly, if we want to apply Marxist class-conflict theory to the struggle for GLBT rights, then the most obvious question we need to ask is "if GLBT people constitute one of the classes in the conflict, who constitutes the opposing class in the conflict?
" Is it the Government? Is it homophobic people? Is it all "Social Conservatives" (whatever that
means)? Is it an amalgamated group of all people who opposes GLBT rights? And if so, what do the members of this "class" share in common other
than opposing GLBT rights? For instance, you have rich, powerful people opposing gay civil unions, but you also have poor disenfranchised but devout Roman Catholic housewives who also oppose gay civil unions- but what do these people have in common other than opposing gay civil unions? They probably despise each other, so could they really be said to constitute a "class" in Marxist terms, especially since, in Marxist theory, they themselves belong to different socio-economic classes? I just can't see how it would be helpful to define the problem
in terms of class conflict, and even if it was helpful, the question remains: what is the solution?
Thirdly, I espy a danger inherent in considering supporters of GLBT rights (or in fact anyone
) as belonging to a "class". I can see a "queer community", that is, a group of people with a shared culture, but the moment you think of it as a "class", you are making a value judgement. To illustrate, Jews and Gypsies are cultural groups
, but if we start talking about Jews or Gypsies as a "class"
of people, what are we actually
saying? Sharing a common culture doesn't (and shouldn't) make people a "class" in the same way that the "lower middle class" is a class. The "lower middle class" can include people from disparate cultural groups. A "lower middle class Thai Pureland Buddhist" is vastly different to a "lower middle class Celtic Protestant", and the only thing they may share in common is their socioeconomic status.
People who support GLBT rights come from many socioeconomic classes and many different cultures, as do those who oppose GLBT rights. I really don't think they can be considered "classes", but at most they are "cultural groups", and the only definitive thing we can say about the common culture of these groups is that they either support or oppose GLBT rights.