It’s a relatively easy question with no easy answer: What are the biggest issues facing the LGBT community?
This question surfaced recently on one of the community forums on LinkedIn and the ensuing discussion might have well been a WWE wrestling extravaganza! It even had tag-teams with the issues and everyone had a different answer to the most serious things we must overcome in our civil rights battle.
The lines were drawn between age and whether the issues facing senior gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people had any bearing on younger LGBT people at all. The younger people on the forum seemed completely disinterested in these issues while a good deal of the older ones seemed to feel the same about the young ones.
Of course the young ones never really stated that they had any issues at all. One very bright and lucid young lady said she worked with older LGBT people and learned quite a bit about our history from them and carried that knowledge to the younger ones at her local community center. She wanted to know more about LGBT history.
Okay, so we’ve identified that older LGBT people need more involvement with younger ones. We have very little mentorship and this is hurting our community a lot. Every older activist or person who is knowledgeable about the history of the LGBT gay civil rights movement should be donating their time to their local LGBT center to educate younger people on our history.
The current state of affairs of the gay civil rights movements is hideous, atrocious, fragmented heading in the wrong direction, playing into the right-wing’s plan; take your pick of one of those descriptions because at any one moment we’re guilty of one of those issues.
I’ll cite an example. Last year we saw the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. That should have been the last thing the LGBT community tried to reverse and I’ll tell you why.
Now that we have gay and lesbian service members serving in the open the real problems are coming out. Congress wants to pass a law prohibiting military chaplains from performing gay marriages in states where it’s legal and even if you can get legally married your spouse can’t get spousal military benefits so they had to start a new organization called, “OutSource”.
Did anyone think of these issues before they asked for repeal of DADT?
Now from where I sit, I tend to lean in the direction of The Black Panther Party back in the 1960s when they refused to serve in the military because African-Americans were being treated like second class citizens.
As homosexuals and gender challenged Americans we’re being treated like third class citizens or not even human at all and we have members of our community who actually want to wave flags and die for this country? Now we can be as out as we want to and the flag officers can station the fags and dykes on the front lines so we die first. No great loss to them, is it? Now that homosexuals can serve openly it just opened up a whole new venue for the military recruiters to fill the military with cannon fodder.
Some people in the discussion thought education was a major issue and that bullying was being encouraged by the attitudes of school administrations.
You might have a good point there but let’s look a little deeper as to why bullying takes place in the first place, who gets bullied and why because it’s a favorite subject of mine.
Yes, girls get bullied. Everyone gets bullied for different reasons but when it comes to being bullied for being gay boys top the list so you’ve got to ask yourself why that is?
I can remember when I was in school and listening to the boy’s coach when it came to performing in gym class. If a boy couldn’t physically do what other boys could then the coach would call them nice little names like “pussy” or “pansy” and accuse them of being “girlie”. Of course this would elicit all sorts of laughter out of the other boys because none of them wanted to be like “girls”.
Being gay is being like a girl because if you’re gay then you like men you must be a girl, right?
A few years ago I saw Whoopi Goldberg do a wonderful diatribe about ridiculous it was for men to think being a woman was weak. She stood there with that “I dare you to knock it off”, Whoopi-look that she gets before delivering the punch-line. “When men can push something the size of a watermelon out of something the size of lemon on their bodies after spending nine months carrying around a bowling ball in front of them then they got the right to think women are weak!”
If there are any heterosexuals reading this who think it’s easy coming out as a homosexual, bisexual or transgender person then think again. Most anyone in our group would tell you that it would have been an easier life if we had been born straight but we are who we are. Nothing more and nothing less than you are.
So if gay men are “girlie” then they’re no less brave than a woman is and women tend to be braver than men are when it comes to facing pain and adversity. That is those who survive the bullying.
So what does the LGBT community really need to address?
I would say it needs to face itself first.
And to talk of cabbages and Kings…
By Stephanie Donald
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