Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Consolation" to their "homosexual friends"

Some vocal pro-Proposition 8 voters in the blogosphere apparently have not forgotten their alleged "homosexual" "friends."

[In case you were in a coma yesterday and today, Proposition 8 very narrowly passed in CA, 52-48%.]

I find it ironic, to say the least, that one giant step for civil rights for racial minorities has also led to pretty big step backwards in civil rights for gays and lesbians. Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, and California all passed some form of anti-gay measures yesterday.

Further, 70% of black voters in California supported Prop 8, while whites narrowly opposed it, and Asian and Latino voters were split.

Yet, before we go getting all racist and starting a Black vs. Gay war, let's remember that black people only made up 6% of the total vote in CA. More importantly, let's remember the major funders and creators of false advertising for Proposition 8 were the Church of LDS and "pro-family" organizations.

Let's also remember that black people have been fighting their own war against horrible laws and prejudices for centuries. I don't mean to take anything away from Obama's victory and what it means for black people in this country.

And, of course, let's remember our black AND gay brothers and sisters. They often fight homophobia from within their black communities, and racism from within the GLBT community.

While no one likes to paint herself a victim, nor do we sit idly by and let it happen, these ARE realities for gay people and racial minorities. Homophobia and racism, obviously, exist.

So, while I just claimed that gays and lesbians suffered a giant step backwards in the civil rights timeline yesterday, the truth is that we should all celebrate the giant leap forward that Obama's nomination is for everyone.

As an aside, I think the connection between the pro-Prop 8/black vote is rooted in Christian fundamentalism, not race. Higher percentages of black people are religious, and their religions tend more often to be the ones that disapprove of gays and lesbians. And fundamentalist religious people oppose same-sex marriage in much greater percentages than do non-religious people and non-fundamentalists.

Pam, over at Pam's House Blend, addresses the issue much better than I ever could:

"For those of us who are black and gay, a group too often marginalized within a marginalized community, I see this as a clear signal to the LGBT advocacy community. There hasn't been enough outreach to those groups who voted against us. We haven't reached them; there hasn't been enough effort expended"

Now we know where to direct some new outreach efforts.

I was just sayin', as I said yesterday, it was a bittersweet election.

But, we will trudge on and keep fighting. While hugely disappointed in the outcome of the different amendments last night, the fact that much of the opposition to equal rights for gay and lesbian families is rooted in homophobia/sexism/bigotry just makes me want to keep fighting even more.

Which leads me to my next topic. Some homo-bigots in the blogosphere, in the midst of celebrating with their first-graders the passage of discriminatory homo-bigot laws, have decided to offer their warped version of "consolation" to their "homosexual" "friends" [sic].

It's times like these I wish I had access to a magical split-screen camera to show across the nation. One would show bigot-headed families like On Lawn's, celebrating with their children the fact that they helped restrict innocent people's civil rights and pursuit of happiness. The other would show a family headed by a gay or lesbian couple, hanging their heads in sadness at the continued discrimination they will face by laws in this country.

I think it's sad that those who shriek at the thought of schools teaching "sex and marriage" in schools to first-graders are the same people who have no problem telling their first-graders about "sex and marriage" (ie-gay people) in their homes when GLBT rights are taken away.

In spite of the mockery On Lawn and other anti-gay people purposefully make towards gay families on a daily basis, I was surprised at his attempt at reconciliation today. While I am sure in his delusional mind, he believes he is now making nice with the families he denigrates every day, observe how he ignorantly fails miserably:

"Its [sic] a somber day for those who's [sic] efforts did not bring victory last night. Lets remember that it could have been us. I feel a great empathy for them, though the fears and emotions are not true they are none the less real to them."

A-wha? Did I just hallucinate all that hoopla about rights getting stripped from gays and lesbians last night? Thank you very much, On Lawn, for telling us exactly how we feel, and which of our feelings are figments of our sensitive, wittle gay imaginations.

I mean, is he serious? Some people just never get it. And I have a feeling he never will.

On Lawn then provides a link to Ken the Playful Walrus' article, entitled, "To My Homosexual Friends [sic] Re: Marriage Amendments."

Ken states, "I voted for Prop 8. I argued vigorously for it in this very blog. I do not hate you. I don’t think most of the people who voted for these amendments hate you. Do you really think that blue state California is so full of homophobic bigots? Some, yes. But so many? If you tell yourself that, you misdiagnose the situation, and that will hinder your future success."

Ken offers the following "advice" to gay people:

"Stop obsessing so much about what other people think of your relationships. If you think your happiness depends on what other people think of your relationships, or what the state calls it, you’re going to be miserable for a long, long time..."

I take issue with this. Serious issue. Not because it is not true. Of course it's fucking true. Yet I doubt any gay or lesbian couples placed all of their happiness eggs in the Proposition 8 basket last night. We gays are pretty smart people.

What does our "friend" Ken think gay and lesbian couples have doing since time immemorial until today? Sitting around crying and being miserable until the homo-bigots say we are no longer sinners?

Thanks, but no thanks.

We have gotten by and will continue to do so. My relationship will not fail because homobigots aren't ready to share a word they think belongs only to them. Nor will we ever stop existing. Ken is right about one thing, the fight is far from over, and I know one day we will get marriage equality.

All that being said, if you yourself have access to a word, with all it's legal privileges, rights, and responsibilies, that other people don't have, you are in no position to tell them they should not want it.

My response to Ken, therefore, is this: if YOUR happiness so greatly hinges on what other people think of other people's relationships, then you my friend are already in serious trouble.

The picture I get in my head of Ken, is one of an overweight man eating a giant slab of mouthwatering chocolate cake, matter-of-factly telling a starving man, "If your happiness depends on this cake, then you're going to be miserable for a long, long time."

You know, Walrus, sometimes it IS about happiness. Or at least a fair shot at happiness that heterosexual couples enjoy. It is already established that marriage is supposed to be that one ultimate form of relatioship, a symbol of undying, unconditional love for your partner for life. On the relationship hierarchy, it is tops, eins, numero uno, the Great Bambino of relationships.

Restricting our right to a shot at that kind of legally and socially recognized relationship, is kind of a big deal.

So yes, it is about happiness.

And it is always about dignity. Separate is NOT equal.

But I doubt Ken or On Lawn know anything about either of those things. While gays and lesbians will get by as we always have without equal marriage, one day we hope to have equal access to happiness and dignity that heterosexual couples often take for granted and abuse every single day.

One day in the not-so-distant future, adults will be adults and learn how to share a word. Or better yet, a Right.

And they will realize, sharing isn't so bad. It's the nice thing to do, really.

And they will say, "What was all that fuss about? I am still me. I am still happy. I am still legally married to my own loving spouse. In fact, nothing at all was taken from me."

And then they will say, "Now I know what it is like to truly call a homosexual 'my friend.'"

And then they will find a new group to hate...


Fannie said...

I feel your anger Jane. It's simply not their place to tell us how to feel about this loss. Nor is to appropriate for them to offer up false "empathy" while simultaneously telling us that our pain isn't real.

Jane Know said...

I know. It just doesn't make sense. I mean, either be sincere in your "empathy" and acknowledge our losses as real, or continue to be an outright asshole.

But now they just come across as authoritarian and patronizing.

Their delusions know no bounds.

Seda said...

Thanks for your nice words on my blog, Jane. Yes, I'd like it if you linked to me, and I'm going to link to you, too (unless for some reason you don't want me to).

I'm trying an experiment with Opine. You're welcome to watch. In fact, I'd like that. It would be good to know I've got friends on there, even if they don't chime in. And it may be a waste of time, I don't know. If you want to give me feedback sometime, that would be cool - on my blog, or email me on my profile link, whatever.

I have really mixed feelings about Prop 8. I feel so sad, for my friends there; and so pissed off. And at the same time, really hopeful that it was so close. Just 8 years ago they passed the anti-gay bill 62% to 38%. That's a big swing in a fairly short time.

And by the way, Nice blog, to you, too! Biblio blog, too!

Take care, dear. Keep fighting!

Seda said...

I see in your post the genuine anger and pain you feel due to the passing of Prop 8. I share it. It is so easy to strike out in these moments. Reading this post with more care, I am struck by that.

How would I feel, were I OnLawn?

I feel sad, seeing the words you've used here to describe the people at Opine. I'd really like to build trust, and create peace; and I would like to recognize the very real needs that these people are bringing to the table.

I am tired of fear.

I feel sad, too, that I spoke words here that appear to condone the language you used in the post. While I heard so clearly the pain you expressed, and indeed share it, by doing so I have broken the trust I was beginning to build with the Opine people. I mourn that loss, and I understand it. I mourn it most because I am afraid that it may not be regained, and I do so want to connect with them in genuine empathy, and find a way to get our needs met and theirs, too.

It's so easy to empathize with you. But it's so much more needed to empathize with them.

I hope you will visit the conversation I am having with Opine, and share with me any feedback you may have.

Take care, dear. Be well.

Jane Know said...

I am sorry for any trust you may have lost with Opine. I have a long history with them now, and I am sorry to have pulled you into that history.
Hopefully they will see what you posted here and not link you to me.

I may read the conversation over at Opine, but I will not join in it. I stand by my statement that they are not genuine in their attempts at conversation with you. I also do not see their arguments as genuine concerns. Not with the blatant homophobia they often endorse and allow on their blog. So yes, I do still think they are homobigots, as I called them in this post. And I have given up with them because I have doubted my ability to change their opinions and narrowmindedness when it comes to GLBT people.

And I think you will eventually start to see that. I do hope, though, that this time they prove me wrong.

Good luck.