This weekend, I attended both days of the first Queer Astrology Conference at the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco. Organized by Ian Waisler and co-sponsored by the San Francisco Astrological Society, the conference was a much welcome and long overdue event for the astrological world.
Both astrology and non-hetero/cisgender sexuality have recorded histories stretching back thousands of years. Both realms may in fact be as old as humanity itself. Astrology claims to be, among other things, a deep study of human experience. The fact that astrology has until recently almost completely ignored, marginalized, and/or misrepresented numerous dimensions of sexual experience is a travesty and flies in the face of what astrology is supposed to be. Mr. Waisler and his helpers have done us all, as astrological truth-seekers and queer persons looking for more from astrology, a great service by creating the conference.
Some very high-quality speakers and presentations made the conference very worthwhile from the astrological side of things. Christopher Renstrom gave a deeply insightful and emotionally resonant reading of the birth chart (actually the "naming" chart) and recent history of AIDS. Jessica Lanyadoo and Barry Perlman presented useful practical tips for astrologers reading for queer clientele. Chani Nicholas shared a fascinating overview of the mythology of Lilith. CIIS' own Rod O'Neal gave us an intriguing if abbreviated take on history and Uranus-Pluto alignments from a gay perspective.
True libertarians, followers of the astrological Pallas, defend the right to all consensual activity and decry all forms of coercion. The queer struggle for rights in modern society is essentially the libertarian fight: the fight for the right to act as we choose and form the associations we choose, free from forceful intervention and violence. Tolerance and diversity are part and parcel of this struggle. It saddened me, therefore, to see the left-wing political correctness brigade asserting their dominance over the weekend, broadcasting the message that its ideology represented the views of everyone present.
To be fair, mainstream organized religion and the religious/cultural wing of the political Right are inherently against queer expression. However, libertarianism (the idea that the initiation of force against others is inherently undesirable) and capitalism (the idea that you own what you make, beginning with but not limited to your own body) are not. The idea that government should be limited in scope is inherently more pro-queer than anti-queer. Had government never encroached on the institution of marriage (a social institution, not a legal one, to begin with), the entire debate on legalizing "gay marriage" would be moot.
From the starting discussion, conference participants and staff loudly denounced capitalism, upheld the liberal meme that the recent Zimmerman trial verdict was about race and nothing else, sung the praises of politically-correct mass-murderer Barack Obama, and brandished Marxist language as if it were shared by all. The phrase "power and privilege" came up multiple times -- I still don't understand what Marxists mean by those words because online articles explaining their usage are themselves saturated with insider jargon. A quick survey of the queer scene in America tells us that not all members of the community share left-wing views. Were any of these dissenters in attendance, they apparently remained in the political closet for the duration, as did I.
My own complaints notwithstanding, I consider the conference an overwhelming success. I think most of its participants would concur. I look forward to attending the next one, albeit with reservations.