Gay kiwi diversity campaigner Philip Patston has written a chapter in a book with the biting title Why are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? The confronting read is being launched in San Francisco today and aims to challenge not just the violence of straight homophobia, but the hypocrisy of "mainstream gay norms" which its authors claim dictate that the only way to stay safe is to act straight; by getting married, joining the military and adopting kids. Compiled by trans-activist Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, it aims to "reinvoke the anger, flamboyance, and subversion once thriving in gay subcultures in order to create something dangerous and lovely: an exploration of the perils of assimilation; a call for accountability; a vision for change". Patston's chapter Fluidity is the New Diversity discusses his experience of disability in the gay community. "It leads me to believe that the fear, on both sides, is not so much of the disability factor, but rather of the need to communicate about the difference and allow this new shared experience to deepen the relationship," he says. "It takes trust, respect, strength and a whole lot of faith to have what are unusual and, sometimes, difficult conversations. It means letting go of expectations and travelling into the unknown." Patston says now more than ever we need to be considering more fluid spectra of diversity, sexuality and identity, which includes disability. "Fluidity is about uniqueness and commonality, similarity and difference. It's about how to believe in ourselves, especially when others don't quite understand us. Fluidity is about self-awareness, communication, inquiry, exploration. It's about the dialectic of certainty and confusion, knowing and not knowing. It's about recognizing fear and meeting it, head on, with love and peace."
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff
First published: Tuesday, 14th February 2012 - 1:33pm
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