Sunday, December, 7, 08

Let’s Talk H8

by theradishpress

It has been over one month since Barack Obama won the presidential election and Proposition 8 was passed in California.

First, I want to congratulate those Californians who voted for the passing of this bill, which constitutionally bans gay marriage, on their victory. You did it! You took your hate and had it written into law. I bet there are some Obama haters who wish they had the same amount of sway.

Ahhhh, so much to say.

Let me just say it, maybe it will ramble, maybe it will flow out perfectly into coherent thoughts. Maybe I can go back and edit.

I am constantly amazed by the amount of energy some people put into hatred. Why does it matter to me or anyone else who another person chooses to love and/or marry? Even for those people who claim that their opposition is based on religious beliefs, fine, then join religious institutions that don’t allow gay marriage. Why does it have to be written into law that gay marriage is forbidden?

Now, let’s talk about the backlash from the gay community. Certain statistics claimed that Proposition 8 passed because of the high number of black voters who turned out this year due to Obama running. Hooray, a black man is president, now we can make racist claims while claiming we aren’t racist…after all, there is a black man in the white house. For starters, only 12% of the entire US population is black. Secondly, isn’t it convenient to go and blame one group for the passing of this bill instead of looking at the overall picture, like the fact that this country was built on hatred, enslavement, and genocide, and that gay rights are something that have been consistently denied? Here is a wonderful breakdown from Tara’s blog: (Because I cannot seem to figure out how to hyperlink…awesome).

So first black voters were blamed, then Mormons. Ok, ok, so the Mormon church donated large amounts of money to Proposition 8, I understand that, but again, attacking Mormons for something that the church did is completely ludicrous. As if there are not gay Mormons and gay black folk! Black folk who showed up to protests against the passage of Proposition 8 had racial slurs yelled at them by other gay folk. Great job queers, way to show support and way to gain favour for your fight. But hey, at least those black gays and Mormon gays know where you stand now. Isn’t it interesting too, that so many queer folk compare gay rights to the civil rights movement in the 60’s, yet here they are, throwing racial slurs out? Maybe they have that right since the struggles are so close…yeah, that must be it.

What I see coming from this is an opportunity for the queer community to come together and fight not for the right to marry, but for civil rights overall. Suicide is insanely high in the queer community, particularly amongst teenagers. Homelessness, sex education, poverty, these are all things that impact the community, and yet, marriage is at the top of the list!? People wanting to get married is fine. I see no reason for that right to be denied. However, I do see a problem with it being the focal point of a community that is riddled with so many other issues, not to mention blatant discrimination from its own government.

And there are those in the queer community who fight for things like better medical care, education, and anti-hate crime laws. There are people in the community who do not see marriage as the number one issue. But like everything else, when the elite and the privileged have the ability to speak up, have access to all the resources, then it is their issues that are heard. And what else do queers who are privileged need? Marriage, that is it. Queer people of color do not just deal with homophobia, but racism outside of and within the queer community. Queer women deal with sexism out of and within the community. Why should marriage be the number one issue for people who are fighting against racism and sexism? (And these are only two examples of those not in the privileged class).

The queer community as a whole needs to really step back and take a look at what is needed and what is wanted, and doors need not be shut in the faces of those who do not fit the desired profile. Barack Obama winning the election is by no means an end to racism, it is only a great way for racists to get away with a lot more. But it is also an opportunity for people to prove their loyalty and dedication to the elimination of discrimination.

This is a chance for the elite, the white queers, to examine how their privilege impacts not only their entire community, but themselves. What are they missing or denying themselves by focusing on the right to marry whilst ignoring the fact that there is a lot of work to be done in regard to racism, poverty, sexism, and homophobia overall, to name a few?

And this is a chance for all allies to stand together and command and demand equality. If this really is a country formed with the intent to support freedom, then let’s prove that to ourselves. Let’s take it. No one can give it to us, but ourselves.

I waited to write this one, because I was lazy; two, I needed to gather my thoughts; three, it is still important, and until discrimination is squashed, it will remain important.

You can’t shut me up.

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