From In These Times: http://inthesetimes.com/article/15782/no_more_city_on_a_hill1/
San Francisco isn’t some carefree utopia for queer people, says trans activist Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore.
BY Yasmin Nair
October 23, 2013
As a leading trans, queer writer and activist whose work has been hugely influential in the realm of radical politics, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore has frequently contested what she sees as the mainstream gay agenda of assimilating into intrinsically homophobic and capitalist power structures. Her works have earned praise from sources as diverse as Michelle Tea, Edmund White, the San Francisco Chronicle and The Times of London. They include anthologies like That’s Revolting!: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation and Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform. In 2007, her novel So Many Ways to Sleep Badly evoked the beginning of the end of the dream that has been San Francisco for generations of queers. Her most recent work, The End of San Francisco, is a memoir about the city where she lived off and on from 1992 to 2010.
The End of San Francisco moves between her life as a survivor of incest and her attempts to create and sustain a queer, radical home in the city. Even as Sycamore describes San Francisco’s potential for a queer politics and ethics in the book, however, she unstintingly records what she describes as crushing disappointments from people and groups she trusted.
I met with Sycamore, a longtime friend and comrade, when she was in Chicago recently as part of her book tour. We talked about San Francisco and its slide into a fiercely contested site of neoliberal gentrification, dotted with million-dollar mansions brought about by the money from corporations like Google and Twitter. We also spoke about her ideal vision for the radical queer movement in the future.
Your new book, The End of San Francisco, is about a city that has long been a destination for generations of queers—a kind of nesting place for all kinds of gay and queer politics. Do you think that the potential for radical queer and trans politics has ended?
I’m not interested in promoting the idea of a Golden Age, because I think no matter when or where we’re living, if we’re living in the dominant colonial power in the world, we’re living in a horrible time. And we still need to be creating transformative ways of challenging the status quo.
[That said], for decades San Francisco has sheltered radical visions of queer politics, sexuality, community-building and ethics that have perhaps not existed in as concentrated ways in other places.
In the book, I’m trying to investigate the ways in which this idea of a queer autonomous space or a home for the fringe or a place where marginalized queers can come together to cope—I’m investigating the hold that idea has had on me. And so of course it was always everything, and it was always everything that let me down.
Continue reading at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/15782/no_more_city_on_a_hill1/