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That's Revolting!: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation [Kindle Edition]

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

As the growing gay mainstream prioritizes the attainment of straight privilege over all else, it drains queer identity of any meaning, relevance, or cultural value. What's more, queers remain under attack: Gay youth shelters can be vetoed because they might reduce property values. Trannies are out because they might offend straights. That's Revolting! offers a bracing tonic to these trends. Edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, That's Revolting! collects timely essays such as "Dr. Laura, Sit on My Face," "Gay Art Guerrillas," and "Queer Parents: An Oxymoron Or Just Plain Moronic?" by unrepentant activists like Patrick Califia, Kate Bornstein, and Carol Queen. This updated edition contains seven new selections that cover everything from rural, working-class youth in Massachusetts to gay life in New Orleans to the infamous Drop the Debt/Stop AIDS action in New York. This lively composite portrait of cutting-edge queer activism is a clarion call for anyone who questions the value of becoming the Stepford Homosexual.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Matt Bernstein Sycamore is also the author of Pulling Taffy and the editor of Tricks and Treats and Dangerous Families (all available from Turnaround). His other writing has been published widely in places as diverse as Best American Erotica, Women and Performance and Slingshot.

Product Details

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Radical, Not Liberal November 12, 2009
The word "radical" does not mean "extreme" but rather "going to the root." That is, being radical is about going to the root of the problem, the root of our patriarchal a.k.a. dominator society, finding solutions for overthrowing it, and living as much as possible outside of the dominant system. During the same-sex marriage debate, I kept reflecting on how marriage was invented for the purpose of enslaving women. I kept signing petitions in favor of gay marriage while feeling apprehensive and wondering why lesbians, especially, would want to participate in such a patriarchal establishment.

Reading the anthology That's Revolting was a great relief, because it proves that many people see things the same way I do, from a radical point of view rather than a liberal point of view. That's Revolting is for those who want a nonviolent revolution, not a white picket fence and a house in suburbia. It is for those who question the American dream rather than gobble up capitalism, respectability, or the nuclear family lifestyle. It is for those who wish to overthrown marriage and the military, not participate in them. This diverse anthology is social criticism, inspiration, words of reassurance that radical activism continues, and a call to action.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent January 28, 2005
By Austin
Nowhere have I seen such an amazing range of essays about the complexities of queer lives. The book is fiery, exciting, and full of wisdom. I especially liked "Gay Art Guerrillas," where Sarah Schulman and Jim Hubbard detail the rise and fall of downtown New York in the eighties with lively anecdotes and cutting wit. "Calling All Restroom Revolutionaries" offers a step-by-step plan for making public bathrooms gender neutral and accessible, and offers a stunning critique of identity politics in the process. And the opening essay, "Dr. Laura, Sit on My Face," I've read over and over again, even once to a friend over the telephone. I live outside of the major gay destination cities, so this book was a welcome breath of fresh air -- Queer Eye for the Straight GIRL isn't exactly speaking to me, if you know what I mean. I recommend this book to anyone with a brain.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is what has been missing. February 14, 2005
This is the book I had always dreamed they would use in my queer classes at school!!! Activism, cultural analysis and personal narratives help push what has been understood as "gay and lesbian studies" from the now "safe" grounds of identity to the terrain of revolution. From racism in queer organizing to hilarious direct action That's Revolting is a radical a re-thinking of all that we through we knew about social change, gender, class and race.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag February 20, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a lesbian who very much appreciates queer culture for all that it is and doesn't fantasize about having a nuclear family with my partner and finds most Pride events to be vapid and so non-political, I was expecting to like this book very much. It definitely made me think, and the essay about PISSAR's efforts to make bathrooms safe for non-gender conforming people but also for other bathroom-marginalized groups is what bumped this one up for me from three stars to four. That was an awesome essay, and it will be one I force all of my friends to read.

The book was definitely eye-opening for me, and I will never be able to remember Gavin Newsom exists without foaming at the mouth a little bit. I was blown away at the hypocrisy of queers and "queer friendly" politicians not throwing 100% support to LGBTQ youth homeless shelters, and was shocked at the police brutality present in so many queer protests. The LGBTQ community often shuts out thoughtful dialogue in favor of mindlessly pursuing conformity, and that's an unfortunate thing. When the anti-queer right accuses us of choosing to be queer, I never understood why we're so prone to shout "we can't help it" and "why would we choose this?" when it really doesn't matter if we do or don't- the point is, we like being queer?

But some points of the book I fundamentally agreed with. A lot of the essay writers have a serious hate on conservative gay blogger Andrew Sullivan and the Log Cabin Republicans- and while everyone likes to make fun of them, it gets kind of annoying that some people can't accept some diversity in political affiliation. (And no, I'm not a Republican. I just heard this crazy rumor that it's possible to be a Republican and have a soul.
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More About the Author

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is most recently the editor of Why Are Faggots so Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform (AK Press 2012), and the author of So Many Ways to Sleep Badly (City Lights 2008). Mattilda is the editor of Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity (Seal 2007) and an expanded second edition of That's Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation (Soft Skull 2008). She's also the author of Pulling Taffy (Suspect Thoughts 2003), and the editor of Dangerous Families: Queer Writing on Surviving (Haworth 2004; now Routledge) and Tricks and Treats: Sex Workers Write About Their Clients (Haworth 2000; now Routledge).

Sycamore's first memoir, The End of San Francisco, will be published by City Lights in April 2013.

Mattilda's home page is, which includes a delicious blog.

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