QUEER BLOOMINGTON: 1992-2001
The early 1990s witnessed an important shift in the tone and tactics LGBT politics. After a decade of malignant neglect of the AIDS crisis by the highest levels of the Federal Government, activists stepped up their protests. Their new militancy, signaled by their appropriation of the old insult "queer" and its transformation in their hands into a badge of pride and anger, was intensified by the U.S. invasion of Iraq in the Gulf War. Rather than conceiving of gay and lesbian issues merely as the concern of a minority group that suffered discrimination, the new queer sensibility drew connections between sexuality, the state, and mainstream institutions. It imagined a new kind of community among different kinds of marginalized groups, which led to sometimes fierce debates about the relationship between homosexual, bisexual, transgender, and intersex identities. It critiqued homophobia and the military, heterosexism and marriage. It tried to locate particular, concrete opportunities for social transformation. As a consequence of early 90's queer activism, an unprecedented wave of institutional change rippled through the university and some parts of local government, winning victories that gay and lesbian activists has been seeking since the early 1970s.