Let me start by stating that I am not saying that LG (not really the B,T,I, Qs, or As) movers and shakers are saying that same-sex marriage is the “be all and end all” of the gay rights movement BUT they sure make you feel like it is; for years (basically my entire “gay puberty” [ the time in your life after you come out and everything is full on boys, boys, boys; 24/7 gay and you bleed rainbow, but before everything is boys, queerness, and you just don’t bleed]) everything has been about either the right to marry or to serve in the military, and some gay god on high pronounced some commandment of Thou mayest not sayest anything against same sex marriage lest ye be shunned, banned from all parties, and never able to buy lube again.
Today, in my room, lying in bed, with a Vicks Vaporsteam machine sputtering beside me (I am slightly terrified that my forearm will be popped with hot vicks liquid), I am wondering a simple thing: What happens if gay people get the verdict they want? (There are potentially numerous outcomes.) What happens if it is DOMA is declared unconstitutional? Do all the activists pack their bags and go home? Doubtful At least not those who are dedicated to activism and broader equality, but what about those who cast same-sex marriage in very personal terms? Once Adam marries Steve will he just go to the burbs or the gayborhood and quietly raise their children and feed their dog and talk to their neighbors at the local WholeFoods about how the price of imported cheese has slightly increased? I mean this is what they are fighting for, yes, the chance to be like everyone else? But what about those of us who are not like everyone else?
You see I want the same-sex marriage thing to be decided and over because I am ready for this phase of the gay rights movement to be over. I guess the reality is I am still in the queer liberation phase. Beyond just the flat argument of “equality” (which is in truth a very vague concept Who are we equal to; who is becoming equal; what does this equality look like, feel like, sound like; how do we know we are equal?) I have no investment in SSM. No one loves me. I don’t say that for pity, it is just a fact; no one loves me (romantically) and there is nothing in my life that points to that changing anytime soon; so while gay activists have, rightfully, argued for the right to marry, many have not challenged the idea that couples, particularly monogamous couples, should receive special treatment and consideration and benefits. I am not aware of any movement to make it easier for queer singletons to adopt, or to make medical interventions to have children cheaper and affordable. No one has spoken to life as a queer singleton, at least not to my knowledge.
Also, once Adam and Steve, Ida and Eve go home to their Cains and Abels there is still this HIV thing going on. The two should not be mutually exclusive but often it has felt that a focus on one issue comes at the expense of all others. Unfortunately the problem is, or seems to be, that right when HIV started looking more and more like a black and latino gay thang Same Sex Marriage became the gay thing; so once this is over are we going to start addressing the scary reality that 1 in 4 black MSMs are HIV positive, that many don’t know it, that there is a high possibility of me or one of my friends contracting the virus, and that while yes, you can live as HIV positive person, a full beautiful life, no, it is not just like diabetes, it is still a serious illness. Can we talk about this again?
Or, can we talk about how in certain states you can still be fired for being queer? Can we talk about being queer? Can we talk about how we as a community do not address the misogyny in our community or the sexism? Can we talk about how despite all claims of the gay community being more accepting than the heterosexual community there are still black prides and latino prides in addition to (white) Pride, or how certain clubs have urban nights only on certain nights, or how some of us have to deal with disappointed white faces when we say we are not a top? Can we talk about gaycism? Can we talk about how rape is a gay rights issue? Can we talk about how stop and frisk is a gay rights issue? Can we talk about how it seems to get any attention in this community, whether it be for activist causes, love, poetry, film work, news story, or just a hello at a bar someone has to deem you fuckable? Can we address how for some of us it may get better but it also is harder? Can debate whether being loved is a right or a privilege? Can we talk about how we discriminate in our own community, particularly against the fat obese body and the effeminate man? Unfortunately I can not speak to the lesbian performance of these discriminations. Can we talk about the divide between lesbians and gay men? Can we talk about the way we look sideways at bisexuals? Can we talk about how being trans and being gay are not the same? Can we talk about how so often we are not always there for our trans-siblings? Can we talk about how immigration is a gay rights issue? Can we talk about how poverty is a gay rights issue? Can we lay all our shit on the table? Can we admit that the fight is no where near over?
Can we talk?
Important update: A commenter mentioned something that bears repeating in this post; we also need to talk about the prison industrial complex as a queer liberation issue, and gender (and perceived gender) based violence and assault as lgbtqqiaa issues.