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The Queer Anti-Gay Marriage Activist the Right Loves to Quote

With 19 countries already legalising same-sex marriage, a small but vocal group continues to oppose it. It's not religious, or right wing, or even straight.

by Wendy Syfret
Jun 6 2015, 12:16am

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Legba Carrefour is a Washington DC writer, activist, and self described radical queer who opposes gay-marriage. He's part of the small but vocal LGBTQ group who are actively taking a stand against heteronormative traditions—including marriage. Ironically, his views often result in him being quoted by the right-wing media who mistake his agenda for their own.

Most recently, following France's anti-gay marriage protests last year conservative women's website Woman Attitude cherry picked arguments he had made about marriage leading to broken homes to support their own arguments opposing same-sex marriages. Speaking to VICE Legba joked, "They held me up as an example of a queer dude who agreed with them. Which is pretty funny, because I went to great lengths to come across as a frothing-at-the-mouth anti-breeder radical queer with a screw loose."

Following Ireland becoming the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote, and Bill Shorten introducing a same-sex marriage bill to parliament this week, a lot of Australians may take time to consider what marriage means to them this weekend. We called up Legba to talk about why he's spent the better part of an decade telling people to forget marriage altogether. And why he doesn't give a shit that the right-wing don't always understand his message.

VICE: Hey Legba, so why are you opposed to gay marriage?
Legba Carrefour: I'm opposed to marriage in general. To me it's a broken institution and a holdover from a time when women were considered exchangeable property, equal to goats. I just want absolutely no part of that. Expanding that to queers isn't to our benefit, it's only to our destruction.

How do you mean?
Being queer means existing outside of heteronormativity. We were oppressed for so long we were forced to create our own cultural identity that existed outside of the heterosexual spectrum. That made a better kind of people who were smarter, funner, more interesting, more welcoming, more loving, capable of developing polyamorous relationships outside of the confines of traditional marriage. Now we've been asked to turn ourselves into heterosexuals—which I have no wish to do.

How do you feel you've been asked to turn into a heterosexual?
It's probably different in Australia, but whenever you open a local gay paper you notice how many wedding coordinators have popped up. We went from having things like gay-bourhoods and a gay tradition that were opposed to the breeder lifestyle, to being turned into normal people with marriages and broken families. We're only a generation away from gay marriages that are just as failing as heterosexual marriages.

We went from being a point of resistance to the horror that is the breeder lifestyle to embracing it fully as if it's going to save us.

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But isn't is about being afforded a right, and then having the choice to reject it?
I'm not concerned about my right to get married. I'm concerned about whether or not I'm going to get stabbed in the street by a homophobe. There are bigger issues. I live in Washington DC where the rates of violence against transgender people has been skyrocketing over the past couple of years. But we're applauding over the fact "normal" looking, straight-friendly gay people can get married. I just don't give a shit about that.

Like voting rights, I don't think marriage is going to change anything. The only good part about marriage is that I enjoy parties, that's about it.

Do you feel like the focus on same-sex marriage is being used as a soft way to engage with LGBTQ issues? As opposed to taking a stand of hate crimes or trans issues?
I think it's well meaning people deluding themselves into believing gay marriage is somehow a stepping stone for greater rights for people who are transgender or queer. I'm not interested in "rights". I'm interested in changing the entire way we approach the concept of gender.

Marriage has never been, and will never be, about negating gender norms. It will simply be about affirming them in front of god and country.

Your views are obviously progressive, but you've been quoted in the right-wing press. Held up as, look gay people hate gay marriage too. Do you worry about your message being distorted?
No because the queers against gay marriage tend to be pretty crazy and against marriage in general. I don't think our agenda is easily mistaken. I actually got a call from a right wing, French women's website a couple of weeks ago.

What about?
Their English wasn't great. Do you remember in France there were these massive demonstrations against gay marriage recently? They found me and thought, Oh there are also gay people who think that gay unions are bad for children. That was odd.

But that's what I mean, they're taking your message and using it in a negative way. That doesn't freak you out?
No I find it hilarious. To be honest I'm comfortable with the right wing, largely because I feel they're irrelevant. The tide on this question has long since turned. Marriage is a defacto thing at this point, it [same-sex marriage legislation] will pass through every major western nation. But I think, now more than ever, this is the time to articulate an anti-institutional marriage perspective.

What are your views on civil unions, adoption, and LGBTQ people participating in other heteronormal traditions?
I can't speak for anyone else. The question of children is one of, as long as people have sex there will be children born and I think they all deserve homes. I don't want my own kids, I want to start a foster home for gay-teen runaways. Those are personal questions for individuals.

Do your opinions put you in opposition to the queer community and your friends?
It's a complicated question, my community—liberal, mostly white people—are sympathetic to a perspective that's critical to traditional marriage. But when you express an opposition to all marriage people do think you're a little crazy. Which I'm fine with.

This has been an active conversation in the Australian media this week following the introduction of a bill to parliament for same-sex marriage. When you hear about movement like that overseas, how do you feel?
Look, everyone got really excited last week when Ireland pushed gay-marriage through, yet abortion is still illegal there. And I don't think that's an accident, I don't think it's an accident at all that in the state's gay marriage is getting traction faster than abortion rights are. I think it's a deliberate patriarchy.

Do you have an opinion on Australia?
I don't want to cast aspersions on a lot of people who have been working really hard on. I don't want to shit on someone else's work. I used to be really pro gay-marriage. I just changed my tune on that because I didn't see it helping anything, I didn't see it change anything.

When did that change happen for you?
After DC got gay marriage a woman called me a faggot and tried to stab me. I didn't see any change and that's when I changed my mind.

Follow Wendy on Twitter: @wendywends

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