I think for 100 years of UTC history, [LGBTQ] students have been neglected. *** There hasn’t been any sort of homage to us in policy until recently. Now that there is, I think it needs to be taken as far as it can go.
— Jefferson Hodge, Spectrum, UTC gay group
By David Tulis
I admit the idea of local economy is potentially oppressive. To the cosmopolite it is perhaps stifling. To the everything-on-the Internet guy, it’s quaintness, a form of sentimentality. To people who have squeezed the tube of gay theory and applied a bit of solid waste upon their epidermis, the idea of local economy is a brand of microaggression which the true believer is unwilling to overlook.
Just how local economy can be a form of aggression, and its promoters bigots, is a concept that may not be readily clear. Here’s how a provocateur, active in gay theory, transsexualism and UTC’s Spectrum organization, might lay down the law about local economy and its conceits.
“Local economy is what you call lococentrism. You mean well, perhaps, and are trying to sound neutral, but you are trying to evoke us as physical beings. What you don’t realize is that you are guilty not just of geocentrism (sounds innocent enough), but proximocentrism — you think that whatever is proximate is better than what is remote. That’s lococentrism with male pride and ego at the center because it implies you are measuring and taking in lococentrism PERSONALLY.
That surely is a prejudice made less excusable in our day by the fact that we have the Internet. It is a prejudice of the near over the far, as if one were really better than the other.
“Proximocentrism is a form of imperial vanity in which, in your conception, you favor people near you and distrust those afar. How can that be? The Internet makes it possible for there to be no place anymore whatsoever, and you are clinging to the idea of place — and identifying with it?
‘Snootiness’ of the here
“Lococentrism — or Noogacentrism, as you call it — is offensive to people who are far away. Even the term ‘far away’ suggests a snootiness, a haughtiness and pride that is just insufferable. How do you live with yourself? ‘Far away and ‘not from here’ and questions such as ‘Where are you from?’ are distinctly prejudicial, noninclusive, disfavorable to people who through no fault of their own are not born in the same town as you and don’t live in the same town as you and don’t have the same privileged lineage.
“Proximocentrism denies that all people are equal. The word ‘here’ is microaggressive because it implies a criticism, an unjustifiable condemnation of ‘there.’ Your use of the word ‘there’ is an oppression, because referring to another person as there denies his use of the word ‘here,’ and you clearly are using white male dominance and power politics to deny him his place and his usage. By favoring lococentrism and using the here-there distinction, you are highlighting a difference and making a value judgment. You are otherizing a person and imposing a conceptual distance between you and that person and are isolating and imprisoning him in otherness that he has no chance of overcoming. You have made human society absolutely impossible.
Cisgenderism & the now
“Local economy is a form of violence that we see at UTC all the time. Students cannot declare and be known by the names, sexual identity and sexual orientation of their choice. They have to go over the M and F obstacle on the application form — extremely painful process — and give names that were assigned to them by others in their remote past. We believe that the most basic level of self-identity is the ability to self-identify.
Please read to the end of my essay
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I, speaking as myself and not for any organizations, am a little offended that Spectrum rhetoric was cut from its context and then pasted into some bizarre and byzantine argument about local economy.
During my time as an organizer for the group, we worked with many wonderful small businesses for fundraisers and other events. We will continue to do so. I remember how many local businesses already had the employee benefits and protections during the YES Chattanooga campaign last summer. While many homophobes may have organized to stop local government from having those benefits, nearly every major private employer in Chattanooga has already got them.
Spectrum is about acceptance and diversity. Chattanooga’s local economy is as well. They are not prejudicial. You seem to be…
UTC gay dude