Yesterday Facebook, from a glance, bled red. People picked their sides and fired shots with their mouse pads’ right click buttons and status updates. A red and pink HRC emblem and you were so obviously pro-marriage equality and gay rights, the absence of such a picture marked laziness, indifference, or anti-marriage equality and, supposedly, anti gay rights. But, that is part of the problem, to be anti-marriage equality is often equated with being anti-gay rights, but can’t one be anti-marriage equality, perhaps because they are simply anti-marriage, and still pro-gay rights, or can’t one be anti-marriage equality and anti-gay rights, but pro queer liberation? This brings me to the actual larger issue, what I find most fascinating: If one looked closely at Facebook they would see that yesterday revealed real deep divisions in the gay/queer community.
Some of us, in my feed, those who labeled themselves queer and many of the black lgbtq identified people (although to be honest, most of my lgbtq friends are black so that can create a skewed picture), did not replace our profile pictures with the red and pink HRC emblem because for us marriage-equality is not where our investment lies. On a purely selfish level, I am still struggling to fight for a world, a place, where my body and skin can be seen as desirable—not simply a fetishistic choice—to give me a real chance of being loved. That is more my fight, the right to be loved and wanted, but that is not easily solved and most certainly not via legal channels. I am still invested in the fight that makes being a femme sissy acceptable, and a world where I am not told by other gay people that I am simply a stereotype and “holding the movement back.” My worries are that it is statistically more likely that I or one of my friends will contract HIV than it is that we will marry or even be loved, and that it feels as if, now that the face of HIV and AIDS is mostly Black and Brown, the (white) gay community has turned its back on us; one of my friend’s called it “AIDS fatigue.” I am not trying to be facetious,; I get that marriage equality is important to many people, gay and straight, but mostly for personal reasons, and that is the point—the above reasons are personal for me, but, in my limited experience, whenever one raises these points, whenever one says that gaycism, gay related sexism and misogyny, effemiphobia, employment opportunity, housing opportunities, or any other issue is a larger issue for them than marriage, they become “that guy/girl/person/v.” That is the other thing; I am tired of being “that guy”
So, while my straight brother has up the HRC sign, I changed my profile picture to another red picture, a fist with a quote from Michael Cavadias:
“I very much hope the Supreme Court will rule for marriage equality nationwide. Mostly because it might free up the LGBT movement to get back to pressing social justice issues like health care (remember “health care is a right” from ACT UP?), housing justice and empowering the most invisible and dispossessed in our community.”
I read this and shouted, “hallelujah!” I support marriage equality in the sense that if someone wants to be married then they should have the right to be married, but I am not necessarily pro-monogamy (or anti it), nor am I in general a pro-marriage person, nor do I think it will solve any of the problems that I care about and seem more pertinent to my particular community. And before you say it, I get that it people are, now, not claiming it will solve all our problems but, honestly that is the impression the mainstream (mostly white and relatively privileged) gay rights movement has given; it dominates our conversations and it often feels like a measuring stick for how “committed to the cause” one is. I wish that the conversations were framed differently but alas they weren’t, they are not; it should not be an either, or. I wish that more gay people envisioned a different way of performing a marriage or being in a relationship, but alas that is not the case.
Basically, I am just ready for it to be over; I am tired of always having to say, “there are other things to talk about.” I am tired of saying how exhausted I am with the issue only to have a friend, or even someone I respect, write to me or talk to me about how, for them, “I am missing the issue,” or how we must make priorities—I am not five and I am not dumb; I get the importance, I get the issue, and I am still tired. I am tired of the unwritten rule that if you don’t make same-sex marriage the most important issue to you then you are somehow a “bad gay.” I am tired of having to continually say “what about this issue here or this issue that affects this not-so-acceptable not-just-like-everybody-else community.” I want to actually talk about those issues, address those issues. I am ready to see how many gay couples stick around and devote their pages and voices to these new issues, issues that may not affect them, the same way others, I included, supported the issue of marriage equality, which was/is close to their heart. I am ready to see the gay rights movement truly grow past equality and toward liberation. I am so invested in not just saying “it gets better” because for many of use that is a lie—we get better, it gets harder—but making it better for those of us at the very bottom of not only society but gay and queer society as will. But, in general, in the most simplistic terms:
I am pro-marriage equality.
I am tired.
I am not a bad gay.
I am an okay queer.
I do not have a red HRC logo.
I have a red fist.