Tag Archives: ssm

On: “Why my Facebook Picture is not the HRC in Red but a Black Fist”

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.

 

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(More) ON: After We Get to Legally Say “I Do” (If we do)

This is an excerpt from an exchange I had with a friend on Facebook about me noticing how most of my friends who label themselves queer are not changing their profile pictures to the red HRC emblems:

I mean I blogged about it, basically 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 huge 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. I wish that the conversation(s) were framed differently but alas they weren’t; 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. So basically I just am 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 tired I am 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, 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 ,” and instead, actually talk about the 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 which may not affect them, the same way others have supported them. But ingeneral, in the most simplistic terms:I am pro-marriage equality and I am tired.

 

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ON: After We Get to Legally Say I DO (If we get too): LGBTQQIAA Rights Beyond Same-Sex Marriage

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. 

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