I’ve been contemplating this article for quite some time and in researching it I came across the book title A Passion to Preserve: Gay Men as Keepers of Culture by Will Fellows. I admit I haven’t read the book and the purpose of this article isn’t a book review anyway. I just took some offense at the title considering that I started LGBT-Today in honor of Jack Nichols, Dr. Frank Kameny, Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen and all those from the Mattachine, Daughters of Bilitis and Homophile era who founded the culture I’ve been trying to preserve for the past year plus.
Yes, it’s good news that the State of Washington just passed equal marriage rights for homosexuals, however, the drive toward marriage equality in the LGBT community is a campaign to annihilate our individuality and our culture and homogenize and merge homosexuality with heterosexuality.
Whoa! I don’t care how much we want to point to Dr. Bob who lives with Attorney Jim and they just got married and adopted little Johnny and they live next door and say, “Gee, see? They’re just like every other professional couple on the block!”
I hate to point out the obvious but they aren’t the same and never will be. The same would be true with a professional pair of lesbians.
There are problems that heterosexual couples will never encounter including embedded bigotry that will take generations to remove from society. We can’t simply pass a few laws and step out the front door and expect everyone to give us a big hug, can we?
If we decide to have or raise children then our children will suffer that same bigotry no matter what their sexuality turns out to be.
The largest issue involved in “going mainstream” is the fact that if you grab 50 young LGBT under the age of 30 and ask them, “Who is Jack Nichols? Who is Dr. Frank Kameny? Who is Barbara Gittings?Who is Harry Hay? Who is Dorr Legg?”, you will be lucky if you get three people out of that group who know one or two of the names and even then they’ll tell you they’ve heard of them but don’t really know much about them.
Of all the pro-LGBT laws that have passed recently the one I personally applauded the most was when California Governor Jerry Brown passed the LGBT Mandatory History Bill for Public Education.
We need more laws like that where we recover our culture and learn about the people who came before us or at least those who were the leaders in the age when we had leaders.
For the past two decades we have slowly slipped into a leaderless community.
There are some who applaud the lack of leaders and the deficiency of any clear leadership as a sign that our community has turned toward true democracy.
I hate to disagree but the path we’re on is a very slippery slope indeed.
We’re doing things completely backward and playing right into the hands of those who would see harm come to us.
Take for instance the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
Now I have nothing against a healthy feeling of patriotism when it’s warranted, however, the United States of America, unlike their European counterparts and even their close neighbors like Canada and Mexico, have still failed to grant full equality to the LGBT community.
Hell, even Cuba has a lively and open LGBT community now thanks to Castro’s daughter, Mariela Castro. 2012 may well mark the year that the Cuban government passes full LGBT equality and they’re supposed to be our enemies?
So why should anyone in the LGBT community here in the United States feel pride in serving its military when Congress has passed a law banning same-sex marriage by military chaplains even if the state or nation the military base is in allows it?
Why would anyone want to serve in its military when you can legally marry your same-sex partner yet your own government has a law in place (Defense of Marriage Act) that prohibits your spouse from being included in the same benefits that heterosexual military couples enjoy?
The news is deluged these days with examples of pissed off military personnel and civil servants who are tired of having their spouses ignored by DOMA’s insidious bigoted and draconian anti-constitutional restraints.
One such case is pending in the federal courts in San Francisco over the rights of Karen Golinski and her legal spouse-a case that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder has instructed Assistant Attorney General Tony West in San Francisco not to defend DOMA.
Does anyone think we should have started here instead of trying to patch these issues after the fact?
We have just passed from LGBT History month into Black History Month and even the African-Americans forget one of the groups that one of the groups that helped them rediscover their own roots and culture were The Black Panthers.
If you look them up on the web you might see that they passed out copies of Chairman Mao but a closer examination reveals that they only did that to raise money for their organization. Yes, many of them were armed but the FBI labeled them as “terrorists” when the worst crime they were guilty of was passing out free food in ghettos and impoverished areas.
One of the founders of the Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale, said; "The first point was we wanted power to determine our own destiny in our own black community. And what we had done is, we wanted to write a program that was straightforward to the people. We didn't want to give a long dissertation."
We still need clear leadership in the LGBT community. Without it we’re simply wandering endlessly in the forest of whisper campaigns where the most popular equality campaigns are piecemeal items that attack cities, counties or states when we should be going after the bigger picture.
Todd Fernandez and Richard, the latter is presently traversing the United States on foot with a Rainbow Flag in hand getting signatures for the only logical pursuit of equality anyone has proposed, The American Equality Bill, which will do for the LGBT community what the original 1964 Civil Rights Act did for the African-American community by amending the same bill to include the LGBT people.
When Congress signs this bill (and they will because it’s not a matter of “if” but more a matter of “when” because the voice of our community is like a snowball rolling down a mountain; when it hits the bottom of that mountain it will have a strong effect) it will cancel DOMA automatically, erase all bigoted state laws and at least give us an even playing field to get marriage rights (if we so desire) in all states based on federal law instead of local legislation.
Fernandez and Noble deserve the titles of leadership in our community but can hardly be heard over the din of shouting in the bars and on the social networks.
Let them be our leaders through their example because I swear through whatever deity you believe in or even if you don’t believe in anything but yourself, these two deserve our trust because they live, eat, sleep and walk (in the case of Noble) nothing but for your full equality.
By Stephanie Donald
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