The Toll of Assimilation

18862910-young-man-at-the-windowStephanie Donald—Publisher—LGBT-Today

I have a special window I want you to look out of. You might not see what I see, or you might not see anything at all after I describe it, but I feel obligated to try since it’s my job.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overthrow every part of DOMA except Section 2 (Section 2 being the very important part that contains the right of each state to decide for itself if it wishes to legalize Gay marriagegay marriage or not), everyone has been trying to decide whether or not to get marry. This is an issue many of us haven’t had to think about before, and I see many in our community taking this decision very lightly before “taking the plunge.”

Our community will suffer divorce rates that will not be much different than the heterosexual world. That means about 1 in 3 people who get married will end in divorce. We will also face schisms that straight people never have to face like expensive in vitro fertilization costs for lesbians or paying expensive costs to a surrogate to carry a baby for gay men while the divorce rates still apply.

Edna St. Vincent MillayEdna St. Vincent Millay, the Earthly vision of free love and anarchy. She might not be in style now but things have a way of coming back in style so perhaps my Goddess will return in my lifetime.I suppose I’m a dinosaur left over from another age. I’ve seen how we’ve been treated for 50 years and it’s probably best that my time is running out and no one is listening to me anymore. I think you can count the number of socialist, anarchist, activists on one hand these days. I make this statement as a precursor for my next statement.

Many African-Americans thought that once the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed, sealed and delivered that all their problems were over. The fact was that they were just beginning. The bigoted white police officers and KKK went into over-drive and started targeting their communities and things really heated up. The Black Panthers didn't begin until after the Watts riots, the Detroits riots and the assasination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Just a year later in the slum neighborhood of Los Angeles called Watts, two police officers pulled over a black man directly in front of his apartment for driving under the influence, which was over a grocery store. Now the police officers could have just let him go upstairs and sleep it off but they decided to not only arrest him, but they beating him with nightsticks in front of 60 or more other black people. The police officers made the assumption that their badges and being white would scare everyone and it didn’t Wattsriots-policearrest-locThe Watts riots of 1965 started over a single traffic stop and lasted for 6 days and nights. It was a year after President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act.work. The crowd beat the living hell out of the police officers, and being separated from their car, the crowd turned the car over and set it on fire. The violence spread and stores were set on fire and looted, the National Guard was called in and after six days, 34 people were dead, 1,032 were severely injured and close to 3,500 were arrested.

After I watched this horrible event unwind on TV, I remembered a black friend I had in 1964 who told me, “Now that President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, my mama said we can move to a white neighborhood!”

I wish to point out that while some white people did hate and still hate black people, the LGBT community is hated by the white community, the black community, and also the Hispanic community.

Where exactly do all of you plan to raise your children that it will be a “safe” neighborhood, free from bigotry and homophobia? Or did you just expect that the moment we get our own version of the Civil Rights Act, that all that bigotry and homophobia will just magically disappear?

We have moved forward as a community and that’s good, but the bad part is that we need to be prepared to explain to the young ones in our care why people hate and the history of that hate, and the parents seem to have no interest in learning that history. How do you plan to console your child’s tears when the other kids pick on them because you’re gay or lesbian? You need to make them proud of who you are and who they are, not cower in a corner.

We have a long and proud history of men and women who weren’t afraid to stand and announce they were homosexuals even when it was illegal to say so. Did you know it was once illegal to go to a gay bar? The cops used to raid them regularly and if you got arrested then you lost your job, your apartment and if you like many gay men or women, you had a cover marriage and you lost your spouse and children, because the newspapers took your picture as you were escorted out of the bar in cuffs.

The closer we get to equality, the closer we’re going to get to gay ghettos again. It’s inevitable. We don’t have to live in run-down dwellings, although we will Chicago-boystownprobably get caught in the unprovable job discrimination situation for many if you state you’re gay or lesbian on your job application and the boss is homophobic. The educated professional gays and lesbians are going to be the only exception—you know—those types you always see portrayed in movies and on TV series but hardly ever see or meet in real life? 98% of the LGBT community are just working class schmucks likes the rest of the world. Every now and then you get a George Michael or an Elton John, a doctor, a lawyer, but they’re a small percentage. The rest work in grocery stores, dig ditches or lay asphalt. Those will be driven in the new gay ghettos because they’d rather associate with other gays and lesbians and because the rest of the world would rather not see them.

Prepare for this future and think about it. If you don’t see the same view from this window then my sincere apologies. If your view sees nothing then consider this. If you see my view then I’m glad I could provide a glimpse from my world.

© 2013 LGBT-Today All rights reserved-No Portion of this article may be reprinted without express permission of the author

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