Had an interesting conversation with indigocub
tonight that was mirrored in a post by blackwingbear
. which has me wanting to write a rebuttal to myself.
As I stated back on Dec. 29th, I think we as GLB folks should take pride in the progress we have made, even if we haven't yet achieved all of our goals.
However, I was reminded tonight of some of the reasons we haven't met these goals, as well as some of the things that piss me off about my fellow brothers and sisters under the sheets.
1) By far, one of the major faults the GLB rights movement lacks is any kind of national figure to get behind. during the heyday of the civil rights movement, on a national level, you had Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. While the ideologies of the two men were completely different, both were national figures with movements people could get behind.
2) Gay people of both genders are about as easy as herding cats when it comes to organizing. Perhaps this is due to a lack of racial identity to get behind, but since homosexuality cuts such a great swath across ethnic, social, and financial lines, the diversity within the gay community leads to a lack of communication lines that hinders organization on most levels.
3) While I'm thankful for our straight allies, I do get kind of annoyed that any rights I get as an oppressed minority are pretty much due to people who are not part of that minority recognizing my God-given right to exist.
4) A lack of a single issue that we can work on. I mean, Like I said back in September, we've changed issues of importance 3 times in 20 years, none of which have been resolved. AIDS is still with us, and still spreading. Yes, it's crossed into other populations, but we've stopped fighting for a cure to the degree we did back when no one seemed to care. Gee, we got it down to chronic rather than fatal. Whoopie. GLB's still can't serve openly in the military. Yes, we managed to get DADT instituted, but that still doesn't mean we can serve our country openly if we want to. And marriage...Don't even get me started. at this point, marriage issues need to be addressed on a state level. Thanks to DOMA. While I have great hopes ENDA will come back and pass sometime in the next 4 years, I'm not exactly holding my breath, particularly since there are more important issues that need to be addressed first. (Yes, I think the economy trumps civil rights at the moment.)
5) While I hope our transgendered friends get rights as well, I'm still trying to figure out when us gay folks started collecting other tangentially related sexual minorities like so many baseball cards.
6) The sense of resignation and/or ignorance towards rights and the pace we get them at. which I'm just as guilty of. I understand the desire for everything NOW, but unfortunately, it just doesn't move that fast. The wheels of justice run slow, and money has become so ingrained in justice that iot may be a while before things start to move faster. Ignorance comes into play as not all the issues have a real appeal to all of us. While I fully understand why certain people want marriage and want it now, for me, it's a principle issue, rather than a fully engulfing emotional issue. Yeah, when I was dating John, it was more important. but now that I'm single again, it's kind of a back burner.
So, what can we as GLB people do to fix this?
1) Find one issue to work on and stick to it instead of changing focus every few years after half completeing a project.
2) Find a way to get one or two leaders into a national spotlight. While we don't have to agree with any of them, national visibility of any kind of figurehead is going to do more than several chiefs on a local or regional level.
3) Find common cause within our communities. Which won't be easy. Gay people are human people, and humans tend to disagree.
4) Realize we're already farther along than we tend to think we are and use that to our advantage. Unlike some of the other civil rights movements, we've never been denied our right to vote or assemble peacefully. We don't have our preachers being bribed to try to keep us from the voting booth. And thank god, we've never had state mandated segregation. (We're quite good at self-segregation, however. Not only do we separate ourselves from the straight community, we tend to divide ourselves among the twinks, the bears, the gym bunnies, the lipsticks, the butch...)
5) Recognize our diversity and use that to help make inroads within other communities. There was an old game we played as part of residential programming back at WSU called "Archie Bunker's Neighborhood". Basically, one group was set aside in a big square, while several smaller groups got put in smaller rectangles. Our goal was to get the rectangles to work together to help each other improve, but generally, they ended up fighting after watching the people in the big square get all kinds of perks. Basically, if we want rights, we need to start breaking down the barriers that we have helped build. I'm not by any stretch saying we did it alone, but we were complacent in the construction of those barriers.
So there we go.