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Humbach, Gayness, Rights and Justice- a lot to be thinking about

lwacker's picture

Humbach's argument for the distinction between the justice of/for rights and the justice of right relationships has me thinking a lot about next Butler lecture, titled Gender and its Allies: Performativity in Precarity. I've noticed in the posts throughout last week and this weekend that many of my classmates are similarly struggling with Anne's question of * how is all this related to gender studies? I think after reading Humbach I better understand Judith Butler's comments on Gay Marraige, Gays in the Military and (although she didn't comment on this one) Gays adopting.

Humbach argues this about the justice of rights , "... rights and norms play a disproportionately large role in our intellectual understanding of justice and they seem practically indispensable if there is to be any justice at all" (Humbach 1). This is where gender fits in. Really gender fits in everywhere but I see it most clearly here- Butler writes and talks about how "WE" (the greater cultural we of communities and connected groups) are socially conditioned to perform and behave certain genders, gender roles and gendered actions. Humbach tells us that in order to claim the justice of rights (if it exists at all???) we must rely upon and even perhaps invest in our smallfry positons within the greater framework of society and culture en masse. What sort of risk does this put us in? How do we make agential choices when we are put at risk, performing gender that is not truly ours in the hopes that those actions will help to grant us access to rights that will then enable us with the justice to make choices that are truly intentional and honest to our gendered beings.

I also found myself reacting to Humbach's statement, "Right relationships cannot be as precisely defined as rights because they are intrinsically indefinite" (Humbach 2). Very candidly, this really speaks to me in regards to the nature of some gay relationships (as I have been exposed to them in my friendships, jobs, personal life etc). I see gay relationships are beautifully indefinite and instrinsically so. The nature of gayness is so "not right" that the opposite of right, which is one thing, is everything or the rejection of everyone that is not singularly right. So in theory gayness should be the entirety of what is not right and good and the abject of right which leaves it open to a utopic plethora of potentialities.