On Saturday, gina and I went to Silverlake to march in the protest/rally against proposition 8. I wanted it to be inspiring. I wanted to feel like we were really making a difference. I wanted to feel like it would change something.
When we got there, I was emotional at the sight of so many people coming together for one cause. Then I looked more closely and realized they weren't all coming together for one cause. There is so much justified anger directed at so many different places, it's hard to tell what we're trying to do. I saw a lot of signs aimed at the Mormon church: "Tax the Mormons!" or "Keep Mor(m)ons out of my politics!" Worse yet, I saw signs attacking other gays: "I heart the people who volunteered BEFORE we lost!" or "We needed you a week ago! Where were you?" None of the signs fully illustrated my frustration with the gay community more than this one: "I deserve the right to cum in peace."
Listen up, homos: nothing is going to change until we figure out what it is we want to change, and until we get it through the collective skull of the rest of America that we are not all that different from them. Yes, the Mormons should lose their tax exempt status, but is that going to give us the right to marry? And to those of you who "heart" the people who helped out before we lost, I have news for you: NONE of us did enough. If we had done enough, Prop 8 would have failed. And is now really the time to cause divisions amongst gay people? How will that help?
And to the young lesbian I saw holding the sign about cumming in peace: Do you honestly think you are helping our cause? When people think about "marriage," as in, straight marriage, do they think of sex? NO. They think of love, companionship, and family. No one is disturbing your right to an orgasm. You can f*ck whoever you want, whenever you want, and however you want, thankfully. THAT'S NOT WHAT WE ARE FIGHTING FOR. By holding up a sign like that, you are perpetuating the gay stereotype. It's no wonder people think we are deviant. All they see is b-roll from gay pride parades, with dykes on bikes and guys in assless chaps. (This is not to say that I am not a fan of gay pride parades - I go almost every year. I go because they are crazy fun, and to me, it's like the gay mardi gras. Yeah, we're crazy - this is the time of year we get to let loose!)
I was complaining about this to a friend of mine, and he shared a sentiment that he had picked up, that in order for the minority to be treated as equal, they have to be better than the rest. You will never convince the country that it's normal for men to parade around as drag queens or in assless chaps. And as long as that is the footage news organizations choose to show, America will never get it. What they need to see is how the majority of gay people live. They need to see that what we're after is not crazy gay sex, but a life not unlike theirs, a life in which our children and our partners are offered the same protections as theirs, and our relationship holds the same weight as theirs. And yes, we do get together and celebrate our gayness by waving rainbow flags and wearing fun stuff and getting drunk, but the other 364 days a year, we are just like you. We pay the same taxes, we go to the same gas stations, we vote in the same voting booths, we go to the same churches, we read the same books, we go to the same libraries, we eat at the same restaurants, we watch the same movies, we all pay rent or a mortgage, we shop for the same groceries, and we love the same way.
This is what we have to get across to America. I can't say for sure how we can do this, or how we can make this work, but I just gave you a bunch of examples of how NOT to do this. (Also, maybe we should organize a rally somewhere instead of the place that's second only to WeHo in gay friendliness??)
My frustration with this rally is not to say I think the rallies are pointless. I think it's important to be a part of the movement. I think it's important to show up. But like in any war, it's critical to know exactly what it is you are fighting for. Otherwise, you will most certainly be defeated, and you won't even know it.
The best sign I saw that night was one that read, "If only clever signs cured bigotry..." Whatever it is that we need to do, I know that we need to do it with one voice, together. Anything less will not work.