The first line of Urvashi Vaid’s new book Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class and the Assumptions of LGBT Politics (Magnus Books) is enough to make even the most moderate queen cringe: “A dizzying array of events seem to suggest that the ultimate victory of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement is not only inevitable, but irresistible.”
What? A celebration of losable gains from community organizer Vaid, who in 1996 wrote, “Gay and Lesbian people possess some of the trappings of full equality but are denied all of its benefits.” What happened to the righteous anger, moxie and leftist, feminist politics? Where is the former executive director who gave teeth to the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force, or the often, sole woman of color at the Ford Foundation, also having to queer the preverbal table?
By page two, with the reader experiencing activist let down, Vaid comes in close, rattles off more wins, and then…BAM, she whispers, “despite the personal pride I feel…I find myself more cautious than euphoric.”
THE CROWD GOES WILD! In the flip of a page, Vaid pulls off the publishing equivalent of gotcha! Lulling us into a self satisfied stupor, she serves up a slice of sad state LGBT activism on a silver reflective platter, exposing it, and our acceptance, in all its slippery glory. With pie in our face, Vaid uses the so-called wins we have been feasting on as proof of how hungry we are.