Queer Caucus Manifesto

We hold that gender is a socially established phenomenon. That it is neither trans-historical or cross-culturally static. We are unequivocally allied with feminist emancipation and share much of the same history, philosophy and theory.

We hold that the label of Queer is useful in its ambiguity. We hold that aside from where the label is being deployed in bad faith, identifying with Queer identity including gender and sexuality is up to the individual and following the Common-law justice system – for which apart from this tenet we hold no love – one is innocent until proven guilty. In cases of clear bad faith, we leave it to the collective of the Queer Caucus to decide on whether or not to eject individuals if they are disruptive to our goals of Queer emancipation and Queer peer support within the Union.

We also hold that Queerphobia is as ambiguous as to the definition of Queer in an of itself. We assert that the Queer caucus also exists to support and provide an often much needed second, or third opinion to the myriad of ways in which Queer workers can be unjustly oppressed. Particularly those that do not seem immediately obvious or explicit to either the oppressed or the offending party. Queerphobia can be suffered by those who do not think themselves as Queer. For these comrades, we have nothing but support and value their struggles as we value our own. An ignorant boss who is too ignorant to know that not only Queers wear make-up or shave their heads is still being anti-Queer.

We stand in strong opposition to all Queerphobia.

We hold that it is just as important to be aware of how the workplace informs society as much as society informs the workplace. We as Unionists hold that we are collectively fighting for not just our rights, including that to not face discrimination at work. We also fight for emancipation from the unconscious mechanisms and devaluations that are implicit in the Heteronormative, Queerphobic, Capitalist social relations in and outside of our workplaces.

We draw attention to an inspiration from a history of successful campaigning for Queer issues by unionists that took place through the 20th century and seek to further the extravagant gains that were won by these militants. Such as Miners ‘84/‘85 on strike with support from Queer workers and The BLF’s Pink Bans. We also find it too hard to take as coincidence that since Unions have moved away from social justice unionism or “Whole Worker” organising (other than the SDA’s deliberate and cynical stalling of Queer emancipation) there has been a rapid drying up of the kind of progress we would like to see.

We hold that as Queer Unionists it is up to us to decide as to what we want and as such categorically reject kowtowing and politely nodding to the disingenuous virtue signalling of our corporate bosses. We call attention to a history of Queer militancy being co-opted and rendered ineffective as a path to liberation. We gesticulate flamboyantly and pointedly at the history and origins of Pride in both the Stonewall Riot of 1969 and The Compton Cafeteria Riot of 1966. We hold nothing but contempt for its current debasement today manifesting in Pride™. We hold that this is not progress only capitulation and that our liberation must come from and be fought for; by ourselves and our comrades. We will under no circumstances settle for a banalised paled version or boss friendly Queerness.

We hold that as Queer emancipation cannot be achieved within the structure of our current workplaces and seek to change our workplaces, not change who we are.

We hold that store managers have relinquished their autonomy and as such their position as a manager overrides any right they may have held to queer solidarity and community. In accepting their role as store manager they wield the power dynamic within the workplace which allows them to enact Hetero-Patriarchal power dynamics and violence onto us as Queer workers as if they themselves were on the other side of that power imbalance.

We reject without restraint the recuperation of our identity by our bosses for cheap virtue signalling. We must be in control of our emancipation – not the boss. This is a poison chalice and we are too historically literate to fall for it again. The less people who want this ersatz product the better. Just as TERF’s do more harm than good to the women’s movement with their reactionary machismo, Head Office Homo-Corporatist Patriarchs can count themselves NOT invited to our project of Queer emancipation.

We hold that changing our workplaces has the power to change our society and eagerly await living in the world we desire, we hope you will love it too.

Written and endorsed by Queer Caucus members, 2020

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