By Stephen Maddison
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Additional info for Fags, hags and queer sisters : gender dissent and heterosocial bonds in gay culture
Freudian notions of inversion, appropriated from the work of the earliest radical homosexual writers and assimilated within Freud’s system of sexual aberrations, provided a way for hostile critics to make Streetcar about homosexuality – allowed them to render it perverse – which rescued them from the difficulty offered by Williams’s problematizing representation of heterosexuality. The abhorrence that is present in Streetcar for Taubman and his chums is not actually a product of Williams’s homosexuality, but is rather revealed by its de-naturalising effect upon systems of gender.
59 This is a development beyond her performative thesis in Gender Trouble, which was widely interpreted as suggesting that gender is a performance and that performances which parody dominant gender constructions fragment their power. 60 One of the reasons why Gender Trouble proved to be so popular, especially with gay male writers and activists, was that it was interpreted as From Pathology to Gender Dissent 39 promising an intrinsic subversiveness to subcultural practices that lesbian feminism had traditionally been critical of, such as genderbending and drag, transsexualism, sadomasochism and sexual role play.
The political character of the Gay Liberation Front, which emerged within a month of the Stonewall riots, could be said to be largely influenced by the strategies and rhetoric of the black power, feminist, student and anti-Vietnam war movements that shaped the face of a dissident politics in the US during the 1960s. A similar movement emerged in Britain, influenced by the ardour of American post-Stonewall militism, but distinct in its negotiation of the crucial 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which instated containing and liberally tolerant notions of public and private, and opened but a small window of legal acceptability for certain male homosexual practices in private.
Fags, hags and queer sisters : gender dissent and heterosocial bonds in gay culture by Stephen Maddison