I've been reading Sexual Hegemony by Christopher Chitty, and it's some of the most amazing theory I've ever read. It's been consistently blowing my mind and causing me to rethink how I think about queer history and sexuality in general.

Snippets from my reading notes (clarity.flowers/wiki/sexual_he), but quotes can't really do this book justice. I'm going to try to synthesize my favorite parts of this book into my own words once I finish it.

"In short, human sexuality is not only malleable and historical; indeed, at certain points in history, such transformations of human nature were central to the forces of production and to certain objectives of statecraft."

"It is fascinating the degree to which intellectuals are willing to attribute such sweeping transformative ideological powers to television shows."

"To put it schematically: alternate or queer sexualities historically emerged along the fault lines of transformed property relations in a process of combined and uneven development."


"As state violence receded, markets stepped in to meet and shape a consumer profile of gay identity."

Chitty's argument as I understand it is that anti-assimilationism gains its teeth when you understand it as a material and class-driven struggle over relation between sexuality and public space, and here seems to be saying that the gay bars of the 70s and 80s were the first step of enclosing gays into private space.

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In a society where health is oriented around whether or not you can work we will "live the decay of our organs and bodies far more explicitly, painfully, and overwhelmingly than ever before." And this can't be ground for political struggle when we're enclosed in a moralistic view of health as an individualized choice.

"The very same political discourse that had once excluded homosexuals from American society by appealing to the interests of a silent majority is now used by homosexuals to keep members of its community in check."

And that's the book. Looking at what's transpired in the 6 years since the author's death in the context of what I've read leaves me some tangible hope and a lot of concern.

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