What needs to be learned from Proposition 8 & single-issue advocates

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 28, 2009 12:37 AM GMT
    Two 11-year-old boys committed suicide last month. They couldn't stand life on this planet for another day because they probably felt as if there was nobody else in the world who was being treated as badly as they were, nor was there anyone around to help them - or if they dare hint at being gay, support them. A gay man who was in a motor vehicle accident in 1995, paralyzed from the waist down, holding a full time minimum wage job, is denied any health care insurance by his state because he lives alone and has no children. Without coverage he will suffer terrible pain that continues in his neck and shoulders, so he can not afford prescription drugs or doctors visits. He will also have to move away from any sort of gay community he knows in his metro area because the rents are skyrocketing. He will have to relocate to a small town and figure something out. By himself. There are many, many gay men who bargain with themselves - wondering if they can take another day of this - being alone, living alone, no companionship, no meaningful friendships; these were the gay men who came out and told the truth, who got involved, but never had any luck finding their niche within the community. This community they had hoped would make them feel that 'sense of community' instead made them wish they had said nothing about being gay, did what many of their peers did instead, which was marry a woman, have a kid, never talk about or act upon anything gay, and, although miserable in that situation also, at least they would have had something - a child, and possibly a woman in their life who would have understood. The other gay men often times were very judgmental, overly critical and rejecting, not only did they not want his friendship but they didn't even want him to show up at any gay events. Because he didn't look good enough, he didn't have much money, and he had nothing to offer, in their opinion.

    If you've read gay history, there was a time where we as a community of people who are attracted to the same sex worked together on all issues that somehow oppressed us - Marches on Washington in 1979 and 1993 were largely successful because everyone was told to show up and most of those people were listened to. Over the last ten years, it's become all about what I want, for me, anyone else's issues don't matter, either you stand with us on gay marriage or get out. I don't give a shit if you are single, losing your job and health insurance and are facing homelessness. That's YOUR problem. I want to get married.

    If all of you want to watch the gay community, which, compared to the rest of society is like spit in the ocean, keep doing this. We can not afford to continue isolating ourselves and each other from the gay and lesbian community - which, right now, is the worst it's ever been. I understand that most want marriage rights. I agree that Proposition 8 is a ridiculous act of injustice. I find it nauseating that people celebrated the fact that a lot of us will never see a legal marriage with the person we love. But you need to look around at other gay and lesbian people. Many have never even met anyone, even after trying 20 years. Many are so depressed about all the work they've put in trying to find someone, and also trying to find their place in this community, that they have given up and checked out - they have nothing to do with anything gay. These are the exact people who were our community's advocates in decades past because they BELIEVED in issues that affected ALL of us - not just a privileged few. Please read what I am saying carefully: I am not angry that you are supporting gay marriage. I am angry that you are not supporting the mountain of issues that concern a lot more gay people and that carry consequences (such as living on the streets, such as losing insurance, being forced to move to a small town because that's all we can afford now) - what you have done is shown the world that it's all about ME - right now, and the rest of the community can go fuck themselves. This is now how Stonewall began the advocacy that we knew for at least a little while. This is not how the women's movement came together and created change. They did it because, while realizing what mattered to them the most (on a personal level), they gave equal space to everyone else involved to voice their issues - the difference is that those people knew their voices were being heard, and they trusted that someone would be there to help resolve them. Right now, I gotta tell you guys, your attitude is 'I want gay marriage legalized, I'm gonna get married, and good luck with your shit'. That does little to foster any kind of trust or community.

    I think we can change but we have to work on this selfish gay culture that has evolved over the past decade. Not everything nor everyone is going to be catered to you and your sole cause. There are many other gay people with issues just as pressing that need to be h
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 28, 2009 12:56 AM GMT
    Sounds like you're the one who's outta step with the rest of us, going in the opposite direction, doing the selfish thing of which you accuse others. As we used to say in the Army, why don't YOU get with the program?
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    May 28, 2009 2:17 AM GMT
    I wouldn't be as reductive as the original poster, but marriage does seem to be consuming the entire movement. I'm not big on creating a hierarchy of oppressions, but when considering how many people are homeless, particularly queer youth who are coming out younger without a real social safety net. The problem with "marriage" taking over the movement is that, while we should be granted the same rights as everyone else, it doesn't call into question how family gets constructed by the government. Or, whether the government should be in the business of sanctioning one kind of relationship (ostensibly monogamous, long-term, duos) over another (polyamorous, short-term triads).

    The passage of Prop 8 activated a whole group of gays and lesbians who were largely apolitical before. A similar moment happened in AIDS activism where (mostly) white, affluent men realized the government didn't give a rat's ass about them and we're completely outraged. Now, it requires a certain sense of privilege to feel outraged over government neglect, rather than expecting it as many other minorities do. But that outrage led to many, many great things - like GMHC, ACTUP, access to new drugs, federal support for HIV research - that we wouldn't otherwise have.

    I do find myself chafing somewhat at people I've known throughout the years that never picked up a protest sign or donated a dollar to their local community center, suddenly screeching that they're being denied their right to marry (particularly when I know they're not monogamous, or something else that puts the lie to queer American dream), but I hope that this injustice, which has begun to radicalize them (as AIDS did my generation), will lead to their remaining or increasing their involvement in our movement and other movements for social justice.

    Just my two cents.
  • wander2340

    Posts: 176

    May 28, 2009 2:54 AM GMT
    I'd much rather be a gay teen in 2009 than during the 1970's and 1980's. I have never felt a desire to be a part of a community that prefers to think of itself as detached from the rest of society. We have gay friends and we have straight friends. Our family is definitely unique in this right wing suburb of Phoenix. We could be negative and make it an unpleasant experience but we prefer to stay positive and make the most of it. It's all what you make of it.

    With how easy it is to connect with like minded individuals right now it seems like it would be nearly impossible to not be successful. If someone is struggling the problem is most likely with themselves and not everyone else.

    Sorry if I sound heartless (I'm actually one of the nicest people on the planet) but thinking that having a sleazy bar in a bad part of town as the only place you can be yourself is somehow better than how open and integrated the gay community is today is just flat out ridiculous.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    May 28, 2009 2:55 AM GMT
    DuluthMN, this is about 2% of the total sum that you're wrong:

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/535057/

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/520301/

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/519144/

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/504024/

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/471602/

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/465058/

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/459298/

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/455864/

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/443394/

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/449632/

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/450350/

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/444587/

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/442345/

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/431741/

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/361719/

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/375466/

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/348717/
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 28, 2009 3:03 AM GMT
    75% of the gay fundraising and outreach efforts I see are about other problems besides gay marriage (and I'm keeping conservative with my estimate, it's probably much higher here or other places). Sorry your viewpoint is skewed differently. I hope it's not because you are watching too much TV or reading too many internet discussion forums. Or, at the risk of stereotyping, you don't know enough lesbians. ;-)

    So I think people are out there in droves working for the things you cite as "ignored". Sure, there's not enough help to go around and we need more, just as we seem to need more on the marriage front. That's why we do the work.

    Look around.

  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    May 28, 2009 3:08 AM GMT
    To be frank, the world is shitty regardless of if you're gay. There is always too much crap to deal with, and blaming people for choosing one issue out of the billion others out there is ludicrous. Why should we care about gay rights when there's a genocide in Africa? Why should we care of health care when there are children starving all over the world? We can't address every problem with every person. Let people pick their battles.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 28, 2009 3:52 AM GMT
    Guys:

    I think DuluthMN is responding to one of two things - either the media, which has been covering the marriage issue more than anything since AIDS for good or ill, or the overall tone of the community, which has been decidedly invested in marriage in the wake of Prop 8, to the point where all the air has been sucked up by it.

    I've been stunned by the reactions to the Obama administration by many gay couples (it seems more men than lesbians as someone else alluded to) who are verging on hysteria because the president hasn't eliminated decades long discrimination in 5 months. By comparison, two lesbians of color were assaulted by NYPD this weekend, and you couldn't find anyone to attend a rally in support of them. But come Tuesday, the bloggers and media and LGBT rights organizations were in full battle mode over (let's face it) a technical ruling by a state Supreme Court that was never really in question.

    One of the things that has drawn me to RealJock has been the diversity of discussion and viewpoints. As someone who was biased toward jocks growing up, I've been really impressed by the depth and breadth of the conversations on here.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 28, 2009 4:46 AM GMT
    Being such a small part of the population, a perpetual minority, we get stretched in all directions. Marriage is big now simply because current events. DADT, ENDA, Hate Crimes .. we have our hands full, and it can be very fatiguing when it seems like in the eyes of many is is still OK to hate or discriminate against Gays.

    Sure it seems like we could have better organization or some National Group, but unlike some other minority groups we are diverse and segmented in so many ways. We probably also lost some momentum and a generation during the AIDS crisis. A former partner of mine who came out in the disco-days remarked that a generation of history-keepers were lost and that our generations have a greater gap, because the ones who could tell what things used to be like are either gone or fewer. That may or may not be true.

    We are at a disadvantage because unlike other groups like racial or ethnic ones, we cannot get together and make another one of "us", in the traditional family sense, because the occurrence of homosexuality is somewhat random. So we are born partitioned and separated mostly to (heterosexual) people somewhat different than us. And then have to find each other on our own like long lost siblings separated at birth - we are not raised in a culture that is passed down from generation to generation or parent to parent as to re-enforce any kind of group norm or tradition.

    I guess there are many reasons why it might SEEM that we are disconnected, but my solution would be for Gay people get some books or just get online and learn what Gay people have gone through over the centuries. You might be surprised what you don't know. My other recommendation is don't be so hard on what you consider "the community" or lack thereof. Change things by reaching out to other gay people and you will find out that there is much more than sex we share in common.

    And finally, don't let all the "negative" news of continued enmity against Gays get you down or lead us to blame each other or ourselves as a recent article said in relation to anti-gay movements and actions:
    http://www.beyondhomophobia.com/blog/2008/11/25/anti-gay-ballot-campaigns-cause-psychological-harm/In terms of facilitating such recovery, Dr. Rostosky and her coauthors suggest that sexual minority individuals should avoid blaming themselves or accepting antigay stigma and prejudice as valid. Instead, it’s important to remind oneself that the people who foment antigay hostility are the ones who deserve blame.

    They also point to the importance of actively focusing on positive events and messages in one’s environment, and increasing one’s exposure to these messages by building stronger relationships and social support networks. This doesn’t mean engaging in self-deception or denying reality. But it’s important to find areas in your life that are positive and affirming, and to give yourself permission to take a break from dealing directly with prejudice and stigma to the extent that you can.


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    May 28, 2009 9:03 AM GMT
    I see Duluth’s point to a degree, maybe more so than others, just not as microscopic possibly. I didn’t become really deeply involved in the gay community until I joined the now defunct OutCharlotte group back in 1995. Out of 21 members of this board, we had one male of color (me), one female of color (my buddy Pam), one bisexual male, one bisexual female, no transgendered people, a total of 6 women and 15 men. OutCharlotte had been in existence for about 5 years at that point. Long story short. I was very proud of the work we did that year. We put on the largest and most successful festival in the history of gay charlotte even by today’s standards in Charlotte, NC and no festival since then has been as long or as successful as that one. Out last meeting was very telling of things to come. The director, a very nice, but condescending, controlling male had a discussion about what he saw as the make of the gay community in Charlotte and that this board had been the only board he had worked with that was well representative of the gay community in Charlotte. I just about laughed myself out of my seat. I was flabbergasted to say the least and I was by far not the only one. I probably was the gasoline that caused the table to explode and have everyone turn on each which was ridiculous. My contention was how wrong he was about the make up of the group. Having one male and one female of color and one bisexual male and one bisexual female was not representative of those groups in the community. Pam and I all year long had attempted many times and worked our asses off trying to get the gay Hispanic, gay Asian, gay Black communities involved and quite frankly it was one of the worst parts of our involvement and I can understand why it was so hard. First of all, she and I had to forcibly get the group to allow us to create a sub group whose sole purpose was community outreach. And each and every time, we told the body that these groups didn’t want to see us. They wanted to see the white members come out and explain why they were important to the community. It never happened and I lambasted them for that. The bisexual guy, Stephen, was so incensed about because he had tried to get other member to speak with the bisexual groups and only Pam and I would do it. My point is, and just as it is now, though not nearly to the same degree it was years ago: It is about numbers. I left that last meeting with several of the women counting on me to be one of the co-chairs for the festival the following year. I discussed it with Pam and Stephen and turned them down. At that point, it wasn’t worth it me anymore. I was frustrated and burned out. We also warned them that if they were not careful and contentious about involving the sub communities, there would be a black gay festival, a lesbian festival, even some sort of bisexual festival or exodus from the community. And sure enough, the lesbian festival happened and black gay festivals started popping up all over the place, a couple of them rivaling some of the largest festivals around the country.

    My point, having said all of that is this: It is going to take numbers to get what we want and deserve. But in order to get those numbers, we are going to have to go to those groups that have felt and still feel disenfranchised and find a way to change their minds that they matter on all the issues that the GLBT communities face. I honestly believe it can be done now. Not since the marches I attended in 90’s have I seen or felt the time was right and ripe for a resurgence of gay pride and gay power. It will take a community by community, state by state, grassroots approach to this. It was that same approach that got Obama into the White House. Here is what I believe should happen and it can be done:
    1. There are a number of former and current GLBT, everyday people who are former and current military people. They should be at the forefront of the battle to overturn D.A.D.T.
    2. The married couples in the states that allow gay marriage should be at the forefront of the fight to overturn Prop 8 and not just the 18,000 in California and then move forward with the overturning of gay marriage bans in other states like my own North Carolina.
    3. Employees whose companies have anti discrimination clauses and health insurance for same sex partners should be the ones at the forefront of the battle to overturn E.N.D.A.
    4. We need our lawyers to be working on a case to overturn D.O.M.A and have everyday single and married gay couples and single and married straight allies at the forefront with them.
    5. All of the above listed can be done, but must be done gradually and start in individual communities and cities. Once the momentum begins to build, we then can join national groups such as Join The Impact, Courage Campaign and the Human Rights Campaign to go national
    6. We must encourage participation of not only the young set, but those who have done this before and did so before to show us how to do it in the best way possible.

    For Calibro, let me specifically address some things in your post. I, personally, am sick and tired of the United States being the policeman and whore of the world in so much that the world’s ills have to come before our own. Do I care about what is going on in Africa? Yes I do, but not to the degree that I care about what is happening in this country to people like me and you. Yes children are starving all over the world. So are adults, but I want to first my sure my own house is in order (this country) before I go trying clean up someone else’s. Just as we can not be all things to all people, no one single person or group of people can do all the work that needs to be done to secure our standing as equal under the law. Yes, we should allow people to pick the battles they want to fight. I would also hope that while doing so, we see the larger picture understand that me fighting for gay marriage and someone else fight for the reversal of D.A.D.T. are, in the larger picture fighting for the same thing and not fighting each other. Enough of that is going on now and it has to stop if any of this going to work.
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    May 28, 2009 9:32 AM GMT
    I was once a voice for the gay community, I come out when it was not safe to do so! I advocated for the rights of homosexual men. To be a homosexual back then, meant you went on the mental health list, thus kicked out of the police force, military what ever, because you had a mental health problem.

    Homosexuality was against the law, I help it became decriminalised.

    I was working for a bathhouse Steamworks, when AIDS hit the news. I stood by the gay community, when so many fled. I seen gay men deliberately infect others because they were not willing to deprive their dick of enjoyment! So they were happy to give another a death sentance, before depriving their dick of any fun! I gave back my gay card in protest, and have never been a member since.

    I know have two husbands, and are very contented. I owe the gay community nothing. I did my bit when so many were still hiding.

    But even though gay not even born in Oz, who now call Oz home, can wed their loved one. I a true blue Aussie can't wed my two. So until plural marriage is on the ticket, and we are excluded. I can't support gay marriage as it is, as we are excluded.
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    May 28, 2009 9:37 AM GMT
    Many heterosexual youth and men, don't have or get it all. In Oz family courts are very discriminatory to men. Not only homosexual men, have to deal with discrimination, straight men do too.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    May 28, 2009 11:49 AM GMT
    Christian73 said, "I've been stunned by the reactions to the Obama administration by many gay couples (it seems more men than lesbians as someone else alluded to) who are verging on hysteria because the president hasn't eliminated decades long discrimination in 5 months. By comparison, two lesbians of color were assaulted by NYPD this weekend, and you couldn't find anyone to attend a rally in support of them. But come Tuesday, the bloggers and media and LGBT rights organizations were in full battle mode over (let's face it) a technical ruling by a state Supreme Court that was never really in question."


    Well, one of my sentiments is that if Obama can stroke a pen to end torture within days of his inauguration, why can't he do the same for Gay Rights? There seems to be a lack of conviction in the pursuit for Gay Equal Rights by the elected, especially Obama. Why are we subject to opinions when the Constitution includes us too?

    Last night, I imagined the following scenario:

    Older lady: I wish they'd stop all this fuss about gay marriage.

    Me: It will end when it's finally passed and declared protected as equal rights. Support it and it will be over with.

    Older lady: icon_idea.gif
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    May 28, 2009 12:03 PM GMT
    coolarmydude saidChristian73 said, "I've been stunned by the reactions to the Obama administration by many gay couples (it seems more men than lesbians as someone else alluded to) who are verging on hysteria because the president hasn't eliminated decades long discrimination in 5 months. By comparison, two lesbians of color were assaulted by NYPD this weekend, and you couldn't find anyone to attend a rally in support of them. But come Tuesday, the bloggers and media and LGBT rights organizations were in full battle mode over (let's face it) a technical ruling by a state Supreme Court that was never really in question."


    Well, one of my sentiments is that if Obama can stroke a pen to end torture within days of his inauguration, why can't he do the same for Gay Rights? There seems to be a lack of conviction in the pursuit for Gay Equal Rights by the elected, especially Obama. Why are we subject to opinions when the Constitution includes us too?

    Last night, I imagined the following scenario:

    Older lady: I wish they'd stop all this fuss about gay marriage.

    Me: It will end when it's finally passed and declared protected as equal rights. Support it and it will be over with.

    Older lady: icon_idea.gif


    But it wont be over! maybe for you. But.......I'm i two long term commitments, and until I can wed them, the fight is not over...............
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    May 28, 2009 12:06 PM GMT
    matey said, "But it wont be over! maybe for you. But.......I'm i two long term commitments, and until I can wed them, the fight is not over..............."


    Silly rabbit! Polygamy is for Mormons! icon_rolleyes.gif
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    May 28, 2009 12:07 PM GMT
    FACEPALM!


    I should have known that was pattison!
  • styrgan

    Posts: 2017

    May 28, 2009 1:00 PM GMT
    coolarmydude said
    Well, one of my sentiments is that if Obama can stroke a pen to end torture within days of his inauguration, why can't he do the same for Gay Rights? There seems to be a lack of conviction in the pursuit for Gay Equal Rights by the elected, especially Obama. Why are we subject to opinions when the Constitution includes us too?


    Most of Obama's executive orders have merely reversed internal, and slightly illegal, Bush-admin policies. This is normal in the opening days of any administration, and while it gives any president a great deal of power, it does not make them anything close to being a dictator.

    Obama cannot simply snap his fingers and add us to existing hate crimes law. Congress has to do that first. Obama cannot snap his fingers and make gay marriage a reality. The states must individually decide that, and then the federal government must repeal DOMA. Of course, that assumes Obama is pro-gay marriage, which of course, he's not. Even DADT is now mandated by law, so I'm not even sure that reversal could be accomplished by executive order.

    Maybe you got a little swept up in the Obamamania thing, but the very concept of governance laid out in the Constitution which you referenced calls for limited powers shared between branches.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    May 28, 2009 4:13 PM GMT
    Obama can suspend the discharges of gay servicemembers from DADT!!!!!!! If we can suspend discharges for Stop-Loss, then why not for DADT? It's politics people and I'm sick of being subjected!


    icon_evil.gif I wish people would stop making excuses.


  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    May 28, 2009 4:21 PM GMT
    styrgan said, "Maybe you got a little swept up in the Obamamania thing, but the very concept of governance laid out in the Constitution which you referenced calls for limited powers shared between branches."



    That's condescending BS! Of all the political posts I've contributed and you're teaching me about powers and the Constitution. Of the nearly 17 years of my active duty service to uphold and defend the Constitution, you're going to throw that at me. Obama didn't choose me to be his supporter. I chose him based on his platform! icon_sad.gif
  • Anto

    Posts: 2035

    May 28, 2009 5:02 PM GMT
    coolarmydude said
    icon_evil.gif I wish people would stop making excuses.


    Agreed
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 28, 2009 5:10 PM GMT



    From witnessing on the sidelines what's been going on down there, we think that gays, straights, bis and all other compromised people should demand of the federal government that human rights NEVER be put up for a public vote.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 28, 2009 5:15 PM GMT
    What gay community are you talking about? Single issue?

    Perhaps you are not involved in any sort of queer activism or political organization because the ones I have known and worked with over the years have worked on everything, including marriage equality, AIDS education, domestic abuse, and poverty issues. I have worked with gay organizations on elections for Obama down to school board races.

    Pay attention.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 28, 2009 5:24 PM GMT
    Don't forget the good work of encouraging openly gay candidates for office (www.victoryfund.org).

    Seriously, there's a lot more equality and rights being fought for amongst the gay community than marriage. Get off CNN & Fox, get connected to your local LGBT community, and you might see how.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 29, 2009 3:58 AM GMT
    coolarmydude saidOf the nearly 17 years of my active duty service to uphold and defend the Constitution
    Congrats! I hope you can stick out those last 3 or so and get that retirement icon_biggrin.gif I know of a few who get close only to get the DADT axe. Sometimes I wonder if the government is just trying to save money on retirements icon_mad.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 29, 2009 4:13 AM GMT
    Red_Vespa saidSounds like you're the one who's outta step with the rest of us, going in the opposite direction, doing the selfish thing of which you accuse others. As we used to say in the Army, why don't YOU get with the program?


    How is the OP doing the selfish thing???