Valentine’s day is here again, the day when couples are invited to celebrate their love and rinvigorate their passion through consumerism; the day that makes singles feel particularly alone and\or like losers, the day that makes people who do not practice mainstream forms of sexuality (gays, lesbians, trans, polyamorists) reclaim equality by showing their ability to exchange chocolate, rings, red roses and vows of eternal love just as much as monogamous heterosexuals do (if not more).
We are queers, lesbians, gays, trans, non-monogamous people, or people who, even when they practice monogamy or heterosexuality, don’t believe in the superiority of monogamy nor in the naturality of heterosexuality.
We want to reject and resist the romantic imaginary because the narrative of sex and love it produces makes us very unhappy. When we are in a couple, the romantic imaginary makes us develop emotional dependance and pushes us towards emotional isolation, creating a fertile ground for bigger and smaller forms of violence. When our couple relationship is over, it makes separation harder than necessary because of the isolation in which we come to find ourselves, and because it makes us perceive the end of the couple as a failure. When we stay single for a long time, it makes us feel “inadequate” or “incomplete”.
And if, in addition to not having a partner, we don’t even have a job, the lack of social recognition becomes total, exposing us even more to blackmail by economic exploitation, in our search for independance and autonomy.
Let’s share and spread pleasure (more intimacy, more affection, more care)
Today, we want to reaffirm that we do not need lace lingerie, or to go to dinner to an expensive restaurant, in order to enjoy our bodies; that we don’t need to use the language of conjugal love to describe our relationships and to feel authorized to live them the way we want. We are not waiting to meet Mr.Right in order to start loving or being loved and to feel that our lives are complete; that we don’t need to live under the same roof in order to legitimize our relationships.
We can and want to share pleasure, affection, intimacy, care, support and commitment to be in each others lives -in various degrees and combinations- with our partners and comrades, friends, housemates, people we met by chance, with one person or with many people that we want to share bigger or smaller parts of our present or of our incipient future.
We don’t necessarily need to concentrate all of these things in a single relationship. Our networks of affection, love and support are various, intergenerational, collective, international and solid.
Precarity seriously damages your sexual health
The only thing we need for enjoying sex and love at full capacity is to have time, energy and space to do so: not being vampirized by work, by the search for it, or by poverty, having a house, not being dependent financially by our parents, being able to rely on efficient services and on a shared, collective, responsible organization of children’s care, not having to listen to people who pontificate on the seriousness, legitimacy or completeness of our sexual and emotional lives. In other words, one of the things that would help us greatly in loving and fucking with more joy and freedom would be an income for self-determination for all, not linked to or dependent on work.
I thought it was love… it was capital instead
Since childhood, we are taught that if we want to be happy we must have a partner. We constantly hear about how the couple is a guarantee of future, of stability and adulthood, as well as a unit for accumulation and production, i.e. the magic ingredients of capitalism.
In fact, weheater we’re straight or gay, the proposed model of married life, drives us to work and to consume with even more dedication and passion (thank you IKEA!).
In the context of widespread insecurity and growing competition that exacerbates disparities based on gender, social class, ethnicity, physical appearance and age, we delude ourselves by thinking that the couple remains the only safe place left.
So, if we feel tired and depressed, it is only because we have not yet met Mr\Ms Right; once found, everything is gonna be fine. Thus the myth of romantic love, not only impoverishes the quality of our sexual and emotional life, but also produces individuals more prone to accept exploitation and injustice.
“When are you gonna start a family?” (so much for welfare…)
We got used to think that the logical continuation of a “serious” couple relationship is to “start a family”. This way of thinking pushes us to reproduce over and over again existing social models. The romantic imaginary fosters the idea that a certain type of relationship and a certain way of life are more valuable and dignified than others, it thus creates hierarchies and discrimination which can be seen at work in many social practices and which are evident in the distribution of the last scraps of public welfare.
Public welfare infact presuppose that the person who must have access to it be a memeber of a mononuclear family or a member of a couple (seen as “a family to be”). Moreover such a welfare is intented to be only a (very inadequate) integration to the care work done mostly by women and to the economical support given by parents and grand-parents.
Transfeminist struggle improves your love-life much more than couple’s therapy!!
By affirming this we are not saying that we have completely, once and for all, relinquished the dream of prince charming or the “love on a shoestring” syndrome.
It is not easy to decolonize our hearths and our minds from the idea that, in order to be fully “adult” and fulfilled as a person, you need to have a partner; neither it’s easy to give up the conviction that concentrating all our desires, wishes, expectations and efforts on a single partner is a healty and real sign of “true love”.
It’s even harder to put into practice forms of living our life alternative to this model, since our society is tailor-made for couples (even if unmarried and not heterosexual couples are seen as less legitimate and have less rights).
To fight against this cultural and material influences is not a matter of individual choice, but a shared struggle that we have just started to undertake, one which we consider to be of immense political significance.
Fight against romantic love! Decolonize yourself!
The struggle against unquestioned ideas of romantic love is an integral part of our work for the construction of a self-organized, autonomous, queer form of welfare and of our fight against cumpulsory heterosexuality, gender binarism, normative reproduction and against the control of our bodies and desires by the market economy, exploitation by way of work or consumerism.
We are reacting against capitalist exploitation by creating forms of neomutualism which dismantle individualism and the reproductive model of the nuclear family. We are resisting devising forms of care and support which can sustain our efforts for sabotaging the capitalist ethic of work, merit and productivity.
Let’s stop reproducing a way of life which makes us prone to accept exploitation and which makes us vulnarable and alone.
We free our creativity, and we do it all d.i.y instead of re-producing in series!