Okay, I was passed this article by someone who wanted me to read the one comment posted. I did, but then I wasn’t sure what the context was, so I read the article too. And, I’m…conflicted about whether to nod or huff. I agree with like 98% percent of what she’s expressing here, but then there’s this:
“…gays and lesbians should shift their struggle from rights to marriage for same-sex couples, to domestic partner benefits for any formation of people who share economic and emotional resources. Domestic partnership would replace marriage, thereby removing the coercive ability of the state to promote certain types of family formation as more valuable than others.”
Now, the author could have phrased this: “I think liberals should shift their struggle from rights to marriage for same-sex couples, to domestic partner benefits for any formation of people who share economic and emotional resources.” Had she done it this way, the article would not end up reeking of privilege and dictating to another minority what they should do about their problems.
BUT, and this is another part of my internal conflict, as it happens I DO think that GL lobbies ought to remember that they always use BT in their letterheads, and it would indeed be nice if their political pushes reflected that with a wider stance on civil partnerships than just gay marriage. But as a minority in an already minority group, the B and T factions both end up having their letters co-opted to a lobby which never once supports them. Which is irksome, and sometimes I bring it up, being that I am bi and trans.
But it’s problematic when a straight woman and a proud feminist says “I gave in to my man’s request for something I didn’t want, and I gave up on my principles and allies, sooooo here’s what the queer lobbies should be doing to fix the marriage problem.”
Bwa? Lady, you don’t think that maybe, you could…I dunno, get married, and also pitch in your vocal support for a more fair form of civil partnerships? This is just something that the gays and lesbians should do…but not you? Maybe you could poke your husband and ask him to write letters to whoever he votes for, Republican or Democrat, or to whomever is in office if the person he voted for lost? Maybe you could write to the same folks with a letter of your own? Those guys in office vote the way they think the wind is blowing, and right now, I’ll wager they’re hearing a lot of hate. So guess which way they’re voting?
An all-inclusive ENDA is strangely seen as a T issue. That’s strange because with one law, everything else considered legal discrimination crashes and burns. You can’t deny a bi relationship if there’s an all-inclusive ENDA. You can’t mistreat anyone, regardless of their skin color, sexual orientation, gender, or lack thereof. Nothing. No one is legally allowed to treat anyone else like shit, just because. Done. The super be all and end of fair play. It’s so good, it even has straight women of all ethnicities covered like a jimmy hat.
And yet, it’s a “controversial” T issue because it means you can’t mistreat trans folks, according to some gay lobbies and a certain gay politician who personally torpedoed an all-inclusive ENDA multiple times. That fractured the lobby enough that even the ENDA only for gays failed. They needed the T faction, but they abandoned us, and it caused them to look weaker, not better. It also has made it all but impossible to support any lobbies that would wear the BT letters with pride, but never actually support our policies or acknowledge our needs.
Which is why it makes sense to appeal to more than just a group of lobbies who don’t just focus on a single issue. We also need to hear more lobbies speaking from the GLBT factions who are also POC, because the current marriage-only platform doesn’t do much to support their multi-tiered discrimination issues.
This is why I think straight people who like marriage, but think other people should also be allowed to receive the same legal benefits, should write to their representatives, and work diligently to change their minds about limiting who can be legally defined as a family. And, at the same time, an endorsement for an all-inclusive ENDA might not be a bad idea either. I can tell you that there are plenty of people who write against these issues, and so any fight going for an ENDA or civil partnerships is an uphill fight. It cannot be won by the so-called GLBT lobbies alone, because it’s freaking easy to predict what will happen, because it happens again and again. Lucy says, “Come on and kick this ball, Chuck.”
So the GL will look fractured from the BT, and the Republicans, sensing an easy win, will slam dunk the bill with a few choice Democrats who are “religiously opposed” to an all-inclusive statement of legal equal treatment for everyone. Which is confusing, because that’s not what Jesus taught at all, is it? No, not really.
No, we need the feminists to join us on these issues, and not to tell us, “You’re doing it wrong, so change your policies.” Sure thing, but…uh, a little help, here? Maybe?
And this goes most of all to straight white dudes who vote Republican, but claim to have gay friends. I’m not asking you to vote Democrat. I’m asking you to speak up for your friends and try to change your representative’s mind on a few basic civil rights that are kind of important to those friends you claim to have. You can be fiscally conservative and still be in support of these laws. You have nothing to lose by doing this, and certainly not a seat in the power game that politics has become. All it means is, your elected official enacted two bill with the will of the people taken into account.
Without the support of outside groups, these bills will always be political footballs, and it’s because the support for them from other groups isn’t there. Yes, it’s fucked up that civil rights have to be a popularity contest, but to get civil partnerships and ENDA both passed, we’ve got to gather a few voices from every group, including the straight white male voters, regardless of their political affiliation. Because if we can’t get together more allies than G L B and T, recent history has clearly taught us that it won’t work.
In conclusion, I agree with the sentiment, but the phrasing in a few spots is problematic in a way that insults some of the same allies the author claims to support. It’s not just gays and lesbians who have to get behind this legal shift. All of us need to work for this, so we can show that hate isn’t more popular.
Right now, I’m sorry, but it looks to me like hate is far more vocal and likely to get coverage. We need everyone else to speak up if they find this offensive, because if they don’t, it means they silently condone the mistreatment. And saying “this is what others should do” implies that one plans to take no responsibility for the problem. It is pushing the burden onto people who are already burdened. And that reeks of privilege.
Clear? Okay, now you see why I’m conflicted.