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We won’t let them use our struggles!

by the Collective Irrécupérables [1]

We, homos, lesbians, gays, bis, trans, intersex persons, queers, faggots, and dykes. We who refuse the racist, Islamophobic and neoliberal instrumentalisation of our lives and of our political combats. We who act in solidarity and who advocate the intersectionality of all struggles.

We are Irrécupérables because we refuse sexist and homophobic norms. Our lived experience and our combats are marked by invisibility, by the appropriation of our voices, by discrimination, and by the violence of the French state. We have fought and we fight for the affirmation of our multiple identities, for our visibility, and for equal rights. We demand the end of the genital mutilation, sterilization and non-consensual treatment of intersex children and adults; the ability of trans people to change their civil status without the obligatory intervention of medical or juridical authorities; and the suppression of gender specification on official forms of identification. We struggle for the right of everyone to access medically assisted pregnancy through the state health care system and without conditions (and not just those women in state-sanctioned heterosexual relationships) as well as the recognition of all forms of families, parenthoods and partnership. We remain vigilant that the law be applied in the conferral of civil status on children born of surrogate pregnancy and in the eradication of homophobic discrimination in housing, employment, justice, etc. We demand a genuine education on gender stereotypes from the youngest age as an essential factor in the prevention of sexual, sexist, and homophobic violence. At the same time, we refuse that access to our rights should pass solely by our acceptance of heterosexist, sexist, and capitalist norms that seek to “integrate” and to “assimilate” us to their “Republic.”

We are Irrécupérables because we will not be the pink and blue toys of a racist and Islamophobic agenda. We refuse that, in France and in other countries, certain individuals present themselves as exemplary, progressive defenders of our rights, while turning our struggles against homophobia and sexism to racist ends. We oppose the discourses of the far-right and the self-proclaimed “Republican” left, both founded on a colonial imaginary according to which sexism, homophobia and transphobia manifest only – even exclusively – in certain suburbs, low-income neighborhoods, and as a phenomenon of Muslims (or presumed Muslims). Quite to the contrary, homophobia, transphobia and sexism structure and run through past and present French society. They are produced and legitimated first and foremost by the circles of power. It is the same with anti-Semitism, which we denounce wherever it occurs, as well as the instrumentalization of the fight against anti-Semitism when it results in the stigmatization of Muslim minorities and low-income neighborhoods.

We are Irrécupérables because we are where you least expect us. Now that homophobia and transphobia are recognized in part by the French state, they would like us to believe that only non-white peoples are homophobic and transphobic and that racial “minorities” and sexual “minorities” are destined to fight each other. For example, the homophobia of a black rap star or imam is said to threaten the Republic, but we tolerate that of a white pop singer; minister; or a cardinal who conflates the rights of homos, perversion and terrorism in his official homage to a victim. Homophobic comments made by a politician from a country on the African continent provoke the indignation of political and media circles, but no one questions when a good number of openly gay and lesbian public figures defend racist and Islamophobic positions. We won’t play that game. First, we underscore that there are among us, as in society at large, homos, trans and intersex persons who are also Black, Arab, and Muslim. Furthermore, we proclaim our solidarity with those subject to homophobia, transphobia, and sexism everywhere in the world, and those among them to whom France refuses asylum. We proclaim equally our solidarity with those subject to racism everywhere in the world, and those among them exposed to the racist politics of the French state. Against the simplistic certitudes of the pseudo-universalists, we assume the complexity of our social position and thus take up the political challenge of alliance.

We are Irrécupérables because we rise up against the organized violence and oppression of past and present French governments against the poor and the precarious. We struggle against social inequality, police violence, the inhuman treatment of migrant persons, a racist politics, all of whichserve to maintain the privileges of the most powerful. Our fight against homophobia, against transphobia, against sexism, is also a feminist combat against all racisms and class inequalities, because those struggles are inseparable: homophobia and racism amplify social precarity and precarity amplifies the effects of homophobia and racism.

We are Irrécupérables because we don’t hierarchize our indignations. We will denounce the instrumentalization of our struggles wherever it occurs, including at the center of a camp that purports to defend the values of the French Republic. It’s this same camp that did nothing when AIDS decimated our communities, and which does nothing in the face of the elevated rate of suicide among LGBT youth. It’s this same camp which remains silent in the face of disastrous social and economic policies. It’s this same camp that, on the slightest occasion, instrumentalizes the notion of the secular state (“laïcité”) to justify its Islamophobia and to perpetuate colonial schemae. It’s this same camp that, vis-à-vis Muslim people, opposes the concept of “universalism” to that of “communitarianism,” just as they did twenty years ago when faced with our own demands for equality.

We are Irrécupérables for the false universalism of their “Republic.”
We are Irrécupérables in solidarity, in plurality, raucous, joyous, living beyond norms and proud of it.
We are Irrécupérables and we will no longer allow the gravediggers of equality to monopolize the debate.

[1] We chose the name Irrécupérables for two reasons. In French « récupérer » means to appropriate and distort political ideas to serve one’s own interest: we therefore wish to mark our refusal to be instrumentalized. As well, the term « irrécupérable » designates any person whose integration to a social group is impossible: we’re using it ironically to signal our refusal of heterosexual, racial, and bourgeois norms.

Traduction : Bernard