Wednesday, November 5, 2008

But Sadnesses as Well

All day I have been thinking about this new time in the world but as the day wore on, and I listened to American commentators all dismissing the votes against Gay marriage as just the same pesty, unimportant issue, I grew angry--not at Obama, but at a nation willing to scapegoat one community--here we will show our intolerance and it is ok, here we will take an unbending stand on a morality issue, and it is ok, here we will show Obama's win was "not ideological," the commentators kept saying over and over. I thought of Mabel Hampton and all the other Black gay people I know and have known who wanted all their human selves to be justly treated, and of all of us queer people who worked hard to change this country, while so many in the country were willing to write off our rights as citizens of this same country. We have become the expendable community--I have no desire to involve the state in my relationships with anyone--but I think of Marie and her partner, celebrating their marriage for the short time they had, coming home from their ceremony to find hate literature against their union on their doorstep. Hugeness of national insult impedes the national dream of a just society. We will not stop haunting this country and others until queer people walk national streets in safety and are given the same rights as all others to conduct their family lives as they desire. Obama named us as part of this nation, calling us into being in that Chicago night; our struggle continues as we continue to give gifts to our nations.


lynchly said...

Your passion endures. Your words are as powerful as whole million-peopled protest marches. Thank you for writing them down to keep the rest of us moving forward.
Lee Lynch

Paul said...

Joan: that was beautiful. And a few days later in Chicago after that speech in downtown I was in the Chicago march with people protesting against what happened with Prop 8.

And these organizers -- they are young! There were very few of us over 25. At 37, I was a decade beyond anyone I marched with. Or rather, they marched ahead of me. I only lasted for three hours, and found some tired kindred spirits on the subway. The anti-gay bigots didn't even stick around for more than an hour after the initial rally. 2008 was a lot different than 1991 -- the tourists jumped into the march (which is quite legal here in Chicago). Some unexpected solidarity, big doses of it at times, from the visitors from the small towns around the Midwest like I grew up in. I think they'll take that home with them.

Awhile ago a straight coworker who'd immigrated from part of the former Soviet Union told me that when she was at a conference a gay pride parade was happening, she was staring, and she had an urge to just join in instead of stare at those people -- and she gave in to it.

Fast forward a decade or two. She records radio reports in her language to the country back home, and in the course of her work, filed one on LGBT issues. The major broadcaster said no way, and she said broadcast it, or she quits. It broadcast several times, and was archived to the web.

If people hadn't sacrificed in the past, none of this would be possible.

Sorry to ramble. Thanks always Joan.