After the passage of Proposition 8, I was angry, saddened, and disappointed – as many of us were. And like many of us, I couldn’t just shake it. Here we were being confirmed as “lesser than” simply because of who we choose to love and live our lives with. Many of us, especially those of us who live in places like San Francisco, had gotten complacent and didn’t feel the sting of discrimination as sharply as perhaps those of us who live in areas where religious and government-based persecution of queers is the norm.
But the passage of Prop 8 reminded us once again that, like our LGBT brothers and sisters living in communities of intolerance, we were all in the same boat. Many queer folk like myself aren’t activists – most of us just want to get on with our lives and live it in peace. But as we’ve learned in the last few weeks, we will never live in peace until we live in justice. And injustice against our community is in full-gear, as we saw in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, and California.
As much as I’ve tried to temper my anger into positive action, this blog originally became a way to not only attack the heteronormative mindset of the anti-gay bigots, but also attack heterosexuality itself. Although I tried to make many good points, even I could read afterwards that my anger was misdirected and had the capacity to alienate our friends, family, and allies in the straight community. Taking on the propaganda and hate of the anti-gay Right, like those in the AFA or people like Peter LaBarbera, and substituting the word “heterosexual” for “homosexual” didn’t satisfy me at the end of the day. Instead, it made me feel like an accomplice to hate instead of an agent of love and reconciliation.
We won’t win this fight by dividing people and speaking in shrill tones to people who, not only are already on our side, but those who might be convinced to renounce their anti-LGBT beliefs and support equal rights.
My change of heart concerning my activism came from several avenues. The first avenue is my committment to living the life of someone who loves God and loves God’s creation with impartiality. Although I don’t hold many of the traditional dogmas of the Christian faith, many of which I think are a perversion of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, I continue to look towards the words and acts of Jesus and the early apostles (and most recently, Paul, whom is a confusing and misunderstood figure in the faith) as one kind of example of how to live.
The other avenue has been watching straight people stand up for equal rights. How easy it would be to divide the world into black and white, or straight and gay. But the fact is, this movement about equality has left the gay ghetto and has been taken up – though it still has a way to go – by our straight friends, families, and co-workers. We cannot make progress simply by demanding straight people support us – we must, if possible, integrate into their communities and them into ours. However, integration is not assimilation and we must continue to make the case for diversity and respect as companions to equal rights. Not all of us will choose to emulate the way some straight people live, and neither will they suddenly choose to emulate some of us. Like it or not, we sometimes have distinct cultural differences and we must respect each others differences while fighting for the right of everyone to be treated equally under the law.
Lastly, this last big rally at City Hall (November 15th, 2008) began the process of healing my heart of the pain and anger caused by the revoking of our rights to be treated equally by the State where marriage is concerned. I came away from that rally changed, and charged with love. I vowed then to not fight hate with hate, or anger with anger, but to work and use my skills for the cause of good, for the cause of healing, and for the cause of changing hearts and minds.
So why focus on the anti-gay activists if I want to change hearts and minds? Why dwell on the persecutors of the LGBT community?
For me, it’s my way to understand who these people are that attack us. We may never know why they attack us, other than they just hate us, but I feel that when we know who is attacking us and from what angle they’re attacking us, we disable the “surprise factor” that often leaves us confused and bewildered. A Chinese General by the name of Sun Tzu once conveyed this when he said:
“It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.”
So while we are learning that we aren’t alone in our struggle, that we know ourselves and who are friends are, we must spend an equal portion of our learning time to understanding who is waging war against us. That is why this blog resource exists.
It is my hope that it is but one resource that contributes in our struggle for full equality and respect the world over.