I’ve recently had some bad relationship news. I (28F) am a devoted casual staff member in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies. My girlfriend (23F), let’s call her Norma, also works for the University, albeit in the more epistemologically mypoic discipline of Political Economy. Recently, we were cuddling on the couch devouring our battered copy of ‘Orgasmology’, when a strange notification popped up on our Commonwealth Bank app. NTEU dues? I looked at her, and gestured wordlessly. She said ‘staff working conditions are student learning conditions’, and I said, ‘we know that, which is why the University is offering to maintain and enhance their sector-leading conditions.’ She called me a scab and hasn’t talked to me since that night, although she did let me through the picket line on Thursday which I took to be a good sign. Any advice?
Hi devoted casual: in the mostly queerish, mostly progressive circles in which I work and play, couples abound. An influential line of queer thinking more often than not takes the couple as shorthand for the nromative, and therefore politically quiescent. However, I am here to say you ought not to be political quiescent. The uniqueness of the queer couple form allows you to explore alternative trajectories and overcome fixed and ossified realities: by which I mean, do not join your union nor feel sucked into the interpellative moment (however attractive) the NTEU seeks to foster. As for your girlfriend, she’ll come around — keep fighting the good fight.