Wednesday, October 13, 2010

One step forward, one step back: the equality two-step

For a time there, after Massachusetts, after the polling made it clear that the young people are with us, we allowed ourselves to hope. We had come so far, since the early days, and the landmark of Stonewall. So far, from pathologies and medical abuse, to recognition that we are no different than a red-head or a lefty, just a normal human variant.

But the Enemy regrouped, and though we know time and history will not be on their side, their attacks continue.

There was the brief summer of weddings in California, where an estimated 18,000 couples-- 36,000 people!!!! said "I do" to their life partners in joy and hope.

Yet the Enemy succeeded in attacking that joy, crushing us with the disappointment of Prop H8, their self-satisfaction evident. Even with the triumphant presentation of the Federal case against Prop 8, and the laughably poor defense (even I could have defended it better), we win nothing--just more appeals and stalling. They managed to hide the trial from view, to keep their cowardly bigotry under wraps. No matter the outcome, their attacks will continue, the harm will escalate. After all, no one is getting married in California for the foreseeable furture, and DOMA still stands, making those marriages that DID occur meaningless, in federal terms. And the lawyers continue to grind the arguments, like something out of Bleak House.

For every step forward, we take casualties. Now they are attacking domestic partnerships and civil unions every chance they can -- in Washington State, Hawai'i, Wisconsin. It's not about marriage, the word, and it never was. It's about attacking and marginalizing gay people as permanent outcasts. The untouchable caste, American style.

The Catholics and the Mormons are gearing up to continue the fight, with new initiatives. We know who they are by their hate. Smaller, inclusive denominations are shouted down by the budgets and near-military organization of the Big Two. (Jesus, who hung out with sinners and outcasts, is no longer recognizable to them).

The conservative Evangelicals continue to tell hysterical lies. The only reason they get away with it is that they have brainwashed their children so they cannot think. (Look at this one too. Facts and reality literally do not matter to these people.)

The Republican Party platforms in Texas and Montana call for the criminalization of homosexuality. Uganda suddenly feels not so far away. Atascadero, site of gay torture, was not so very long ago. And they would send us back there if they could.

Like any bullies, they scream loudest when it is they doing the damage, claiming somehow that they are the victim when it is we who have been hurt. As someone said, they blame us for the injury when their foot hurts from kicking us. They lie and lie and lie again, and get away with it.

If you visit the web sites of these people, they are marked by bile, and anger, and visceral hatred. They say the most horrible things about those who disagree and propose the worst sort of retributions and violence.

And the air of hope and redemption that swept Barack Obama into Washington is replaced by cynicism. So there is a gay ambassador. Gay families were invited to the Easter Egg Roll at the White House. The same thing happened 20 years ago. And substantive meaningful change to support the gay family or lift up the gay youngster or enfranchise the gay community there is none of that. David Mixner writes
Wait your turn, we have been told. Better to get healthcare for the straights, than nothing. Better to have an unsupportive Democrat, than a hostile Republican. And then the cycle goes round again and it is not the right time. It never will be the right time. We will be behind the door, too small a community, too inconvenient, too embarrassing.
I still do not understand the source of their fear and hatred, except that it is a very primitive human need to have someone outside to loathe, to unite against. Or perhaps it is all wound up in their desperate fear and hatred of sex. A large part of it is inevitably tangled up with misogyny, and a need to protect the patriarchy. Women who demand equality, not subservience, who are breaking gender roles and expectations are sisters to the GLBT people who are also breaking gender roles and rules. Our fundamentalist culture shares more with the societies that bred Al Qaeda than the Enlightenment.

And, as the Enemy embraces its ignorance, hides from the sun of knowledge, and rejects its gay children, is is foolish to fear that violence may be close behind?

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