`` Punks, Bulldaggers, And Welfare Queens : The Radical Potential Of Queer Politics?

1548 Words Nov 17th, 2016 7 Pages
Throughout the history of activism within the LGBT+ community, there has been a common goal to promote openness and acceptance. By employing a strategy modeled after the civil rights movement, which mainly focused on assimilation into the dominant institutions as a means of acceptance, activist groups have received their fair share of criticism. In 1997, Cathy J Cohen, a Black lesbian author and social activist, published the groundbreaking article “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics?” a year after a controversy she introduces in the beginning of the essay. The famed Gay Men’s Health Crisis, best known for their active role in the treatment of HIV/AIDS during the AIDS crisis, came under fire after three Black board members resigned due to the organization’s gentrification and tokenization of their identities. Cohen sees the issue as a highlight of the limitations as the result of a civil rights strategy, which reinforces the harmful dichotomies between what is heterosexual and what is “queer” rather than understanding the importance of intersectionality and destabilizing the harmful institutions and binaries within sexual identity. She argues that “a truly radical or transformative politics has not resulted from queer activism” (Cohen 438) and queer politics has not lived up to its initial intentions of dismantling dominant sexual norms in society and transforming politics set within LGBT+ communities. As suggested in Cohen’s…

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