Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Vote No on One


As you guys probably know by now, we've won domestic partnerships in Washington, but lost equal marriage in Maine.

This was my reaction:

Sad, but I mean... am I surprised? No. We don't live in the most tolerant of nations, for those that haven't noticed. I wish I was more angry, but in all reality, the only thing I'm feeling is disappointed. That's really the only reaction any of us can have at this point, isn't it? Every goddamn year it's the same thing, we just get farther and farther away from equality.

Something everyone needs to understand right now though, is that we're not fighting the same fight. We're not.

In their mind, we are a subversive subculture that's weird and we're doing this because we hate our parents. In their mind, outlawing same-sex marriage will make us say "Wow, I guess I should really marry a woman and make millions of milkshakes babies." In their mind, two men together is actually just as strange as a man with a dog. In their minds, hitting a gay man with a bat because he's gay is the same as hitting a rich man with a bat because you want his money.

It's sort of like how someone who doesn't drink and is against drinking assumes that one beer means you're wasted, and if you have more than one beer a week you are an alcoholic. Or how your friends that weigh 115 lbs can't understand why you, at 200 lbs need a bit more food than they do. "It's just twitter."

We're not fighting the same battle. These people that don't get us likely never will - there's a reason they're still so full of intolerance and ignorance. Sometimes there's just nothing we can do about it. There will always be that guy that says "well if you're so pro-gay then you must be a lesbian!" And then you have to halt your intelligent argument to explain how you can be a heterosexual ally.

In reference to the civil rights movement from 1955 to 1968, this isn't the same fight either. It is, however, an extreme parallel. Just like how black people didn't have a chance until white people finally started realizing the error of their ways, Gay people won't go anywhere with this movement without the support of Straight people. They fought to get water fountains in the first place, then they fought to use the same ones as white people. We're fighting for civil unions/domestic partnerships as a first step - we will get marriage, it just may take a little bit more time. They fought to be seen as equals, we're fighting to be seen as equals.

There are a few differences though.

Black people had to fight for the right to marry white people. We don't really wanna marry straight people, I feel like it wouldn't work out well. As far as I'm aware though, during the civil rights movement, black people were still allowed to marry each other. We're not allowed to marry each other right now. Hmm, actually, we're allowed to marry straight people, as long as they're the opposite gender. So maybe that argument gets thrown out.

People can always tell that you're black. People can't always tell that you're gay. We can hide... but why would we? Sure, to them, being gay is the same as being a pedophile, or needing to choke yourself to get off - why would you tell people about that? To us, it's not a "lifestyle" - that implies that on weekends, we dance to Madonna and snort poppers in the hopes of catching aids, but on the weekdays we're mild-mannered accountants. I'm homosexual in the same way that you're heterosexual - I want to fall in love, get married, grow old, maybe have kids somewhere in there. And I want to do it in my hometown of Philadelphia. I want to be 70 years old and crawl into the same bed with the same guy that I've been crawling into bed with for the past 30-40 years, and nag him for not taking out the trash - again!
We are a real group of people, a real minority, with real problems. And we're no different than you.

Also, almost every black child grows up with a black parent. When the other kids make fun of them for being black, they come home to their black mom and/or black dad and can cry, and their black mom and/or black dad understands what they're going through, because they've been through it before.

Every Gay child grows up alone.

I didn't have anyone to understand why I was crying. I didn't have gay moms and/or gay dads to tell me why the other kids were calling me "fairy" and "daisy" and "queer". I didn't have gay moms and/or gay dads to support my decision to take Home Economics instead of Shop. I didn't have gay moms and/or gay dads to support me when I had my first breakup, or my second, or my third. I didn't have gay moms and/or gay dads who understood my gay problems.

I still don't.

My parents don't like gay people. They think it's gross. I think they think I'm asexual. From what I've been told by my friends that know Chris, my younger brother, he knows, and he blames my occasional bitchiness on it (not, of course, on the fact that we've been fighting since he was born.)

This is one of the reasons I don't really "get" families - I've had to build a wall up between myself and my family. It's safer that way. I don't know what would happen if I told them. Would they learn to think differently? Or would I be kicked out of the house? Would I be disowned? I'm too afraid to find out.

These aren't things black children have to grow up worrying about. Their black parents won't disown them for being black. Being Black won't cause them to be the black sheep of the family. to speak.

I'm not saying they aren't similar fights. They are. But there are some differences that tell me we a whole lot to fight for.

But people will always hate us, no matter what we do. And that just disappoints me. I'd rather people hate me because of the bad things I do, rather than the people I love.

I met a protester once who told me that what she was doing was out of love, not hate. How do you tell someone that you don't want their love? How do you tell someone that their idea of love is a wrongful, misguided idea of love? I'll always respect their conviction, but what they don't understand is that we're not capable of change... but the world around us is. What we are doing is not wrong, neither in our own eyes or in the eyes of the law. We must be treated equally, with equal protection rights and equal marriage rights. One day, we'll look back on all this and laugh. In the meantime, the most we can do is shake our heads.

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