From Visibility to Insurrection:
A Manifesto
Throughout the 1980s, activists and educators experimented with increas-
ingly provocative ways of promoting safe sex, but the national pedagogy met
them at every tum. Influenced by intellectual trends that rigorously analyzed
language - "texts" - safe sex activists overemphasized the power of a given
text, while disregarding its uses in myriad places and its interpretation by
multiple publics. The past year has brought renewed debate among activists
about the failure of safe sex campaigns, along with renewed energy for find-
ing better ways to reinvigorate transmission-interrupting sexual practices.
Following the "in your face" visibility attained by
and Queer Nation,
armed with renegade artists and activists with little interest in acquiring struc-
tural power, the new dissidence promises to challenge the national pedagogy
in new ways. If they are to do more than thumb their noses at the national
pedagogy, if they are to minimize the erosion of the spaces they hope to
redefine, the new dissident educators and activists need to do more than
produce shocking cartoons and confrontational slogans. They must develop
better means of mobilizing the practical logics of erotic survival that already
exist in communities, learn how and when these evolve in relation to the range
of texts that intrude into or circulate beyond their borders. Reimagined sex-
ualities - sexualities imagined beyond the nation - must become embedded
in everyday life, not set apart as exceptional or extraordinary. Finding and
using the implicit and explicit theories that inform the personal, political, and
educational approaches to preserve the lives of sexual dissidents is not just an
immediate project: it is our lives.
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