WHY ARE FAGGOTS SO AFRAID OF FAGGOTS?:
Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform
Gay culture has become the ultimate nightmare of consumerism, whether
it's an endless quest for Absolut vodka, Diesel jeans, rainbow
Hummers, pec implants, or Pottery Barn. As backrooms are shut down to
make way for wedding vows, and gay sexual culture morphs into “straight-acting dudes hangin’ out,” what are the possibilities for a
defiant faggotry that challenges the assimilationist norms of a
Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots challenges not just the violence
of straight homophobia but the hypocrisy of mainstream gay norms that
say the only way to stay safe is to act straight: get married, join
the military, adopt kids! This anthology reinvokes 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.
“These essays—alternately moving and sprightly, contemplative and
outraged—display the power of presenting an alternative to the
mainstream: a world of greater tolerance, acceptance, support, and
"Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's coruscating eye and clear head is what
queers need if we are to survive as anything other than a tamed branch
of consumer society, based on assimilation, repression, and despair.
These essays come like a plunge into a forest pool of revitalizing
joy, honesty, and common sense. Read them. Now. No—not tomorrow. Now!"
—Samuel R. Delany, author of Times Square Red, Times Square Blue
"You may have thought you understood human nature before you read this
book; after reading it you will be humbled by all you failed to grasp
until now. America invented identity politics but here those
identities have been multiplied and articulated as never before."
—Edmund White, author of A Boy’s Own Story
"Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots is a collection of essays that
not only examine the intricacies of the current socio-political
climate within the realm of the gay/queer/trans world, but also show
how important it is for us to interface and aggressively seek to
inform the world view of the culture at large… Thanks, Mattilda, for
the insights, intellectual rigor and the glittering ammunition with
which to destroy and rebuild."
—Mx Justin Vivian Bond, singer/songwriter and author of Tango: My
Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels
"This book plumbs the most important question facing queers in the 21st
the hell did we go from forming a crucial part of the '60s 'lib'
rainbow, and from
mastering, refining, and successfully deploying nonviolent resistance
with ACT UP, only to end up creating for ourselves a world of martial
and marital law every bit as sterile, constricting, and amoral as the
world we once fled like the plague?"
—Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men
"These essays excavate masculinity, unearthing the complex and
pervasive structures that police and construct it and exposing the
beautiful resilience of its self-avowed refusers and failures. These
pieces telescope between analysis of the structures of gendered
racialization that produce body norms and the daily physical and
emotional traumas and toils of surviving and resisting, providing
complex and badly needed ways to imagine and reimagine faggotry."
—Dean Spade, author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical
Trans Politics and the Limits of Law