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The ISO fights for a socialist society where people are sexually liberated—that is, one in which everyone would have the freedom to choose whether, how, when, and with whom to engage in whatever sexual gratification they desire so long as no other person is harmed. We advocate freedom for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming people and welcome all to join us in this cause.
LGBTQ oppression, like women’s oppression, is tied to the centrality of the nuclear family as one of capitalism’s means to both inculcate gender norms and outsource care for the current and future generations of workers at little cost to the government and employers. The nuclear family’s role in privatizing childcare, housework, and cooking, etc., lets bosses off the hook from paying for these services. LGBTQ people flout the gender norms that families are supposed to embody merely by their existence. If any and every sexual and gender arrangement were permissible, the wage gap between men and women and the privatized burdens of family life would be placed into question.
While capitalist society attempts to pigeonhole people into certain gender roles and sexual behaviors, socialists reject these limitations. Instead, socialists fight for a world in which sexuality is a purely personal matter, without legal or material restrictions of any sort. The right of self-determination for individuals that socialists uphold must include individuals’ freedom to choose their own sexual behavior, appearance, and erotic preferences.
Sexuality, like many other behaviors, is a fluid—not fixed—phenomenon. Sexuality exists along a continuum. The modern expression of this can be found among the millions of men and women who identify as LGBTQ—often identifying themselves differently at different times in their lives. There is a multiplicity of sexual possibilities that can be either frustrated or liberated, depending on the way human society is organized.
Rather than being one community with a common experience and perspective, LGBTQ people—like other people—are significantly shaped by their economic class. Though sexual minorities can be found in every occupation and class, the overwhelming majority of LGBTQ people are working class. Whether they are white-collar or blue-collar workers, most LGBTQ people must sell their labor to an employer in order to live, thus creating a common class interest with others who may not share their sexual identity. This creates the potential for solidarity along class lines. It is also why the struggle for workers’ power that lies at the heart of socialism is inextricably linked to the fight for LGBTQ and women’s liberation.
The ISO organizes to stop violence against LGBTQ people. We do not tolerate discrimination of any sort within our own organization and the groups within which we work.
While the ISO fights for liberation, we recognize the importance of battles for LGBTQ civil rights today as crucial means to improve people’s lives. Organizing for HIV/AIDS treatment and marriage equality, for example, also helps develop the organizational means necessary for a further transformation of society. This is why ISO members have been at the forefront of battles for same-sex marriage and equality in employment. We advocate full federal equality under the law for all in the here and now while we fight for a socialist society that puts an end to narrow sexual and gender definitions, limitations, and injustices.