Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Well-meaning straight people give me a sad

Today I got in a sort-of-maybe debate with someone who is ostensibly on the side of good, about LGBT rights.  Or as this person framed it, "gay marriage".

This sort-of-maybe debate started when this person linked me to a popular lefty comedian riffing on the Chick-Fil-A debacle... and I responded more or less dejectedly.  My exact words were, "the whole thing just really bums me out".

And I guess he thought he'd be cheering me up when he replied, "From a historical perspective, gay marriage is inevitable."*  The sort-of debate proceeded mostly around the proposed "historical perspective", which only really included USA from the 1960's to today.  Y'see, back in the 60's, being gay was a mental disorder, but now we have GSA's in schools, and gay TV characters are portrayed as good people, and "The more people live and work with and are friends with and are related to every day normal gay people, the more this will just go away"*.

I am not the first person to have a problem with this framing, and I surely won't be the last.  As Erica Steckl of Bitch Media tidily summarizes: "The push for gay marriage has led to the false notion that 'full citizenship' for gays and lesbians is just one step away. Marriage is an assimilation strategy into a fundamentally capitalist, racist, and patriarchal structure—one in which queers will never be truly accepted."

You'll notice the focus on "gays and lesbians" there... and how my buddy used the phrase "every day normal gay people".  What about us weirdo non-every-day folks, the misfit queers whose identities and relationships can't be portrayed as basically normal, but gay?  What about pansexual polyamorous folks like myself?  Folks who are trans or genderqueer or neutrois or androgyne, or cis but LGB in a way that doesn't make for a good photo op?  What about the family featured in this post, with seven parents and eleven children? (Which btdubs, how awesome is that family?  SO AWESOME!)

The homomentum pressing our society towards the acceptance of gay marriage is better than the longstanding system where each and every queer could aspire to a closet of their very own, and don't get me wrong, marriage is cool and all for people who are into that sort of thing.  But there's so much variance that "gay marriage" doesn't actually account for, and so much violence and hatred and fear that "gay marriage" won't solve.

That kind of thing is what bugs me about the Chick-Fil-A debacle.  Not that people don't support gay marriage - especially considering how many people I've seen defend their Chick-Fil-A support with "I support gay marriage BUT..."

It's the stuff that comes after the "but" that really harshes my mellow.  It's the people who no longer feel safe in their communities that breaks my heart.  That's not going to be changed by gay marriage.

I am actually hopeful for progress, and I derived a lot of comfort from Deeky's post here, which basically had a lot of the same content that I think my friend was aiming for, but from a perspective of someone who's also suffering because of how hard it is right now, instead of a well-meaning outsider trying to smooth over my pain by pointing out that some gay people are probably going to get some legal rights sometime soon.

*Quoted phrases are verbatim.  Consent to blog about this was granted before writing began!  Hello, sir,  if you are reading this!  I hope that this explains my less-than-happiness during our conversation!

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