The End of Straight Supremacy

The End of Straight Supremacy, Realizing Gay Liberation, Shannon Gilreath, Cambridge University Press, $26.95/£18.99

Shannon Gilreath writes his new book with a certain fire that is at first sight off-putting. Throughout, Gilreath wavers between alienating not only the hetero community but also the gay community. While admitting that his book is radical and that it will be considered ‘extremist,’ Gilreath maintains its necessity in pointing to an emergency: Gaynocide – caused by ‘Heteroarchy’. His message is that this pervasive heteroarch renders current equality dialogue victim to its oppression. One can only hope that his radical language does not block the average reader from taking his point seriously – that seeking equal rights in traditional institutions is not truly seeking equality. Those institutions are laden with gender stereotypes – based on dominance versus docility – and the gay community finds itself coerced to act out stale gender norms created long ago by ‘straight’ men. The End of Straight Supremacy is hashing out a “new order in which homosexuality is something other than the absence of heterosexuality and where Gay people are more than counterfactual to straight supremacy.” Gilreath’s work is as important to the gay community as it is to the hetero community – calling for an evaluation of the equality movement from all angles. It may not be a book for the faint of heart – those easily offended by a four letter word beginning with the letter F or by graphic psychoanalysis of raw pornography - but it is likely that Gilreath is hoping this very audience will take a gander at his piece. After recovering from the shock of his radical language, one can admire his smart analysis of hetero-dominance and the dire need to finally reject clinging to the gender binary.