The Berlant and Freeman article did not resonate well with me and I wish to discuss three main points in the article, and my objections to them.
1. "I Hate Straights." I think there is a lot wrong with this concept and the arguments surrounding it. I do believe there are a lot of reasons to be angry, and I don't wish to deny or downplay the very real effects of discrimination and hate that queers face in our world. However, while it is possible for anger to be productive, I don't think that hate ever is. First, I think this concept incorrectly conflates "straights" with "heteronormativity." There are heterosexual people who do not, actually, fit into the parameters of heteronormativity. For example, the idea of the "welfare queen." While the "welfare queen" may be heterosexual, she violates the tenets of heteronormativity by being a single mom, by being poor, and by being a woman of color. Her predicament of being poor and a single mom on welfare is explained within society by her supposedly incorrect or inappropriate sexuality. The figure of the welfare queen faces just as much discrimination as a queer person, but it is just a different kind. I think "I Hate Straights" perpetuates the incorrect and unproductive hetero/homo binary -- something which, paradoxically, queer theory wishes to challenge. I also think it forecloses important possibilities of coalition between queers and other marginalized groups, such as working class people and people of color. It also fails to take into account the intersection of gender, sexuality, class, race, etc. While a white gay man certainly faces challenges and discrimination from a heteronormative society, he may be relatively better off than a poor, black single mother.
2. "Coming Out." This is another place, I think, where privilege goes unexamined. White, middle-class queers have the means to become financially independent, should family ties be strained or severed by the process of coming out. However, not everyone has this possibility. For example, I have a friend who has not come out to his family, though he is out with almost all his friends. He knows that if he were to come out to his family, the results would be the loss of financial support from his family and possibly he would not be able to finish college without that support. I feel it is not my place to insist that he be "out," nor do I think that his decision not to come out to his family makes him a bad queer. Coming out is not a possibility for people who rely on family ties for survival (which is common among the working class and people of color), and sometimes can be out-right dangerous. I believe that coming out should be a personal decision that each person needs to make based on his/her own situation, and I don't think that choosing not to come out is a failure on the part of that person.
3. Creating Discomfort. Here I am referring to the quote at the end of the article which reads, "queers are thus using exhibitionism to make public space psychically unsafe for unexamined heterosexuality." I think this is an interesting strategy, and I think it can be useful. I think part of challenging heteronormativity involves forcing people to confront the fact that sexuality is not as simple and clear-cut as it may seem. I think making people uncomfortable and getting "in-your-face" is a good strategy for doing so. However, I think it is wrong to insist that everyone use this strategy. Just like the issue of coming out, there is unexamined privilege within this strategy. For some, visibility is not an option, or would be life-threatening. Taking over a bar or other "straight space" also requires a community of queers, and for people living in rural areas, perhaps this is not available. I think this sort of militant visibility has its place, but it cannot be insisted upon as a general strategy for the whole queer community.