Everyone has a stake in ending the stigma against trans identities, but gay people may have a more personal interest. When kids are bullied and called anti-gay slurs, it’s rarely because the victim seemed to be attracted to members of the same sex. It’s because the child did not conform to gender expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth. The bullies might yell “gay,” but it’s about gender expression.
Of course, it’s also about race and class. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who are most at risk are working-class people of color. I am a fan of unity across differences, because to tackle a long list of disparities – the ones that currently benefit the straight, white, cisgender, middle- and ruling-class patriarchy – requires broad coalitions to think, live, love and make policy differently.
The refusal of work is not a rejection of productive activity per se, but rather a refusal of central elements of the wage relation and those discourses that encourage our consent to the modes of work that it imposes. It comprises a refusal of work’s domination over the times and spaces of life and of its moralization, a resistance to the elevation of work as necessary duty and supreme calling. It is at once a model of resistance and a struggle for a different relation between life and work that a postwork ethics and more nonwork time could help secure.
But Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase Manhattan Bank, an JPMorgan Chase are not powerful because they worked hard. The best illustration of this point comes through a historical analysis. How did the banking system in this country get started? How did the richest people in the richest country in the world get their money?
Banking got started in this country by investing in the Triangular Slave Trade. The reason historians call it Triangular Slave Trade is that Europeans went to Africa, enslaved the people, brought them to this part of the world, and sold the people for products like hemp, sugarcane, cotton, and then those products were sent to Europe. That is why there were three angles: Africa, the United States, and Europe. The banking system—Lloyd’s of London, Barclays Bank, Bank of America, Wells Fargo-invested in that process and that is how their hegemony was established. In the last five years, almost all the banks I just mentioned have reluctantly acknowledged that they became established through the institution of slavery and the slave trade. So we see many people today questioning the system considering this simple fact: ‘Because the banks got rich by exploiting my ancestors I don’t see why I should have to pay them anything. They owe me if anything. I don’t want their money, because there is no price tag that can be placed on the suffering.’