The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
First the Good
Like many San Francisco Bay area folks I stayed up late to watch the reports from Albany last night. In particular www.bilerico.com had a live stream as well as a particularly riveting live post by a reporter in the state capital. I watched, delighted, as the viewers counter twirled from 400 something to over 8000+ in minutes. Everywhere Gay people were watching them in the capital.
The news came and Governor Cuomo signed immediately, making his moving remarks about how fitting it was that this be happening finally in the home state of Stonewall which 43 years ago took the Gay Liberation struggle out of the closets and into the streets.
The Empire State Building lights were turned on and blazed rainbow colors in the Manhattan night sky. That image alone went viral in seconds. There was jubilation on Christopher Street all night and well into the morning light.
I guarantee you that between yesterday and today most Gay people in the United States and in the world will know what happened. And they will be proud. It could not have come at a more auspicious time.
Then the Bad
This morning I read an article called “World Reactions to New York’s Legalizing Gay Marriage”by Ujala Sehgal in The Atlantic Wire http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2011/06/how-world-reacted-new-yorks-passage-gay-marriage/39262/ part of which had to do with opponents of Gay Marriage legislation. It seems that a major opponent to the Gay marriage law was Archbishop Timothy Dolan and the Catholic Church. He, who fought the legislation “tooth and nail,” in the words of Irish Central, released a statement: “we…strongly affirm that marriage is the joining of one man and one woman in a lifelong, loving union that is open to children, ordered for the good of those children and the spouses themselves.”
Really? I don’t know about anyone else, but I get a little queasy when a priest begins to pronounce about marriage and it being for the sake of “the children.” It isn’t as if they are moral authorities on the subject, is it? Given their track record, are they really to judge what kind of marriage is best “ordered for the good of those children and the spouses themselves?” The thought of listening to a priesthood which has, at best, zero experience in marriage, and is, at worst, a cult of morally corrupt recidivist child rapists, make pronouncements about why I cannot be married and have my legal rights is preposterous, insulting even.
Having formerly been a member of the Roman Catholic clergy, I can tell you as fact that those ordained fall into 5 categories: self-loathing gay, pedophile, asexual, sexually dysfunctional, and/or misogynist. Period. I ask again, are these the people I want to ever trust my legal rights and sexuality to?
I learned that once a church controls a person’s sexuality they control the person. I also heard a religion professor at Notre Dame say (to a priests’ retreat) that the priesthood is spoiled and just a self perpetuating boy’s club. And having worked behind and on an altar, I tell you that smells and bells don’t equate to holy or moral perfection. Not by a long shot.
We in California are most concerned about our own Proposition 8 battle, which has been primarily funded by the aforementioned church in union with one of their archrivals, the Mormons – you know – the polygamists’ church. Once again a question arises: are those who illegally marry many wives the best arbiters of “marriage…(as)…the joining of one man and one woman?” Obviously not.
And Finally the Ugly
Then too we have the news, during Pride, that members of the board of GLAAD, which has done such important work fighting defamation on our behalf, have resigned in scandal. That one of them was a spy, a plant for a major corporation which donated heavily to GLAAD. That another presumed to write to the FCC endorsing a merger as in the best interests of the (Gay) community…on our behalf.
At a time when some younger Gays are moving into a self styled “post-political” mode, where they enjoy the liberties fought for by their elders and care naught for the politics of being Gay, even when Gay teens are still bullied to the point of choosing suicide over another day of endurance, we do well to take stock and size ourselves up.
We began Gay Pride as the antidote to shame and degradation at the hands of oppressors. We chose our own name consciously to belie the majority’s loathsome labeling of us. We chose our identity intentionally. We took back our power. Through the era of AIDS we fought nearly single handedly the powers that be for our own rights even as we buried our dead. And finally we come to the point at which we are granted our rights in some states and only on the state level. Amazing.
Put that way it is clear that we have come far, but we have so very very far to go.
I propose that this Gay Pride is all about community and celebration. Unlike the AIDS years when we were defined by our losses, now we can be rightly hopeful for the future.
But we must also be wise. Let us make sure that:
- the NY courts not yank this right away from us now – as was done here in California – temporarily,
- departing GLAAD board members not receive severance packages – clearly the reasons are obvious,
- GLAAD vet its board prior to their hiring (unlike T Coronado and his prior work at Heritage Foundation) and do their job and choose wisely next time,
- community efforts continue to soar to combat the pandemic teen suicides -which have not gone away simply because they are no longer considered newsworthy ( The leading national organization providing crisis and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth. The Trevor Lifeline: 866.4.U.TREVOR (866.488.7386) http://www.TheTrevorProject.org)
- we are cognizant that beyond empty promises (which can be rescinded) and talk, those politicians courting our favor must have track records to back up their words and must earn our votes,
- we remain aware that our struggles are far from over,
- we continue to be aware of Gay political struggles throughout the country,
- we remain one community and support one another always,
- we remember we are still a disenfranchised minority people locked in a political battle for our lives and our futures.
See you on the Mall, San Francisco. You’ve never looked as good as you do this year!
Gay Pride. Gay Power. Gay Love.