Sometimes I sit and read things on the internet with that rushed feeling I got when I was falling behind in my Women's Studies class coursework. This holds particularly true for anything related to queer history — it's like a never-ending game of catch up where I'm trying to put all the pieces together of this map. I mean, if we don't know what got us here, how will we move forward? Peter Tatchell seems to share that feeling. He wrote about how the Gay Liberation Front Manifesto changed him as an activist. It wasn't until I read his piece that I realized I had never actually read the manifesto itself.
The Gay Liberation Front Manifesto was published by the London-based Gay Liberation Front (GLF) in 1971. The manifesto encourages us to identify and challenge the insidious ways in which oppressive attitudes permeate our relationship with others and our understanding of self. The manifesto outlines how the nuclear family, formal education, media, workplace, public policies and the mental health field function as spaces where rigid gender norms, sexism and homophobia are sold to us as markers of 'normalcy.' Although sometimes simplistic to a fault, the manifesto provides us with a solid, basic guide on how the patriarchy benefits a selected few that become invested in replicating its systems of oppression as a means of maintaining the status quo. At some point I started picturing the patriarchy as Agent Smith from The Matrix, but I digress.