Lately, at some point in a discussion of gay rights (and the lack there of) someone will inevitably tell me to be patient, and I’m sick of it. Um, no. I am at zero patience in attaining equality as a human. Not at this point. Not with all of the information we have in our hands. Not in 2008. No way.
I asked Violet the other night how come we haven’t seen a surge in historian suicides in the last 8 years or so. I mean, these people spend their lives researching and documenting the past so that we can learn about and consider, in times before us or in places that we don’t personally exist, how things have happened, what has worked and what didn’t. My guess is that they also have a sneaking hope that this information will be considered in present time.
So, either most of us aren’t considering anything that we have not personally experienced or the current majority of the collective social conscious isn’t taking the time to truly consider what legal, emotional, and social ramifications they are taking the time to empower and impose on their queer co-workers and sisters and aunts and friends and children and dads and neighbors. Maybe taking this time would not leave time to catch the latest episode of Desperate Housewives? Or maybe a part of our humanness is that we are doomed to continue to learn the hard lessons over and over.. and over regardless of what we do or don’t know.
But I just don’t see anywhere else in our recent US history where landmark rights were/are being handed out and then yanked away like they have been with queer rights.
I mean, when we finally decided that women weren’t as dumb as we had previously thought we gave them the right to vote. And to our pleasant surprise the political system didn’t explode and so we never reversed this decision.
Abortion is extremely contentious and is constantly under attack, but thus far the right to make that decision for our own body has held strong enough since the day it passed (not without constant maintenance, but point is it became federal law and still is).
We eventually realized that when people with different skin colors marry each other or share the same drinking fountains or go to the same schools that the sky doesn’t start to collapse on top of us in large deadly chunks and so we legalized it all. And interracial marriage and desegregation have never been legally re-revoked.
Now granted, these examples took a lot of time and diligence and pain staking social activism and created massive social divisions and did not happen easily or overnight. I am not trying to make them look like simple feats. They weren’t and they aren’t. The thing is, measure 8 and the like are just more of the many examples of the legal attempts to take human rights away from a minority that had JUST BEEN GRANTED these rights a few months earlier. AND IT PASSED. And this seems to be the theme with ‘gay rights’ and I am wondering why this is happening and how this is legal?
Ok, getting off of my circular tangent here to make a point: I am concerned about how we are going to try and challenge all of this, in general, in the big picture. I am looking at history and I see that things like waging war work sometimes. I can see that protests and strikes have brought light to and have created a platform for change. I see that unexpected civil disobedience tends to make news and is a good way to get air time.
But looking at this last presidential election, the one where a black man with a funny name, that most people had never heard of before, accused of incompetence and all sorts of suspicious no-no’s, somehow, caught our attention. And one by one we started to listen to him and more of us than not liked what he said above all else. What he had to say trumped the powerful potential detriment of his skin color, because let us not be fooled and dismiss the power of the color of our skin in this country. I am looking at history and I am seeing a new wave of how to create political progress and I just saw some of the previously mentioned tactics getting booed and voted out of Washington.
No more dirty campaigning. No more half witted pretty faces. No more slander. No more wasting time trying to correct outrageous mistruths. No more bullshit distractions. No more yelling back and forth. No more name calling. No more manipulation. No more us versus them.
So, before my last statement, I want to make clear that I am not suggesting or superimposing a right and wrong for anyone else here. I am just talking about me. Plus, I think that variety paves smart progress. So, for those of you who are standing outside with signs and for those of you who are creating social chaos through radical gestures and for those of you who are yelling or not saying anything- I totally respect you and your decisions, so long as your brain and your heart were in on the decision making process.
But, for now, I will come out and say that you will not find me protesting at a Mormon church, nor will you find me publicly pledging my allegiances on myfacespacebook, nor will I go on strike for my rights as a homo. And honestly, I still don’t know what to do about things like measure 8 or the guy who threatened to kill me over eye contact a few days ago. But I am looking at our political history and our political present and I see a trend that I like. Pushing and shoving works sometimes, but it doesn’t last and the backlash seems to be a grand call for something different. Em left a well written and smart comment on my last post that included, “Many people who voted for Barack voted for republicans in other elections, but he explained to them why they needed to vote for him.”
How simple. How reasonable. How peaceful. How authentic. And it worked.
So, my gay agenda of now, as I will openly admit to having one, is to be willing to explain over and over, to anyone, until I am blue in the face, why I think I deserve the opportunity to be treated with the same decency and rights and respects and protections as anyone else. And I’ll just see where that gets me.
Don’t get me wrong, I am totally pissed off and encourage everyone to do what feels right. And I do love a good fight now and then, it just seems to me that it’s time to try something new.