Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Hate Apartheid

     How much is your freedom worth?  Your equality?

     Over the past two years the LGBT community has spent over $100,000,000 fighting off, and in most cases losing, the attacks upon our civil rights by religious institutions at the polls.  This is not just about  marriage rights, but also about our rights to raise our children, find housing, have jobs, to be with our loved ones as they die, not to be murdered simply because we're gay, and so on.  We've had to spend $100,000,000 to fight for the separation of church and state and to earn our equal rights by popular vote, in a nation where all are supposedly created equal.  And remember, that chunk of money came from our pocketbooks after we'd paid taxes, something from which the churches that are funding the traditional marriage crusades are exempt.

     We're at a double disadvantage: we're a tiny minority and we pay our taxes!  How are we ever supposed to garner enough money to pay lobbyists and our politicians enough money to finally make it worth their while to stand up for our rights?  How are we supposed to garner enough votes from frightened church goers, who believe the millennia old stereotypes that their beloved church leaders feed them from the pulpit and multimillion dollar media blitzes?  And, where does it stop?

     By not standing up for LGBT equality, by letting simple majority rule and strip the rights of one minority at the polls, are we not emboldening the Religious Right?  Are we not rewarding them for pushing the Pavlovian button at the polls?   A judge in Louisiana thinks so, refusing to perform an interracial marriage because he doesn't believe in "mixing the races that way."  But he's quick to point out: "I'm not a racist."

     This is the same rallying cry that I have heard from family and friends: "I'm not a bigot."  But, then they vote against my rights.  They send me DVDs of preachers condemning me to hell.  They tell me that their god loves me and made me in His image, but that I'm intrinsically depraved, even evil or Satan.  And then, they shun me and cut me off because I no longer believe in their loving, compassionate, inclusive, and beautiful god.

      I can't sleep.  Since reading the results of Maine's election late on Tuesday night, I'm sick.  The same foot that kicked me in the gut, knocked me to the ground, and then stood on my chest and neck crushing my ribs and trachea last year when California Propostion 8 passed by a simple majority and stripped my civil rights has returned with a vengeance following the passage of Maine's Question 1.  My body is a wreck.  My sleep is restless.  My dreams are fucked.  Hell, last night I even had a dream that SHE was cheating on me with two women, at the same time!  The Religious Right is even trying to make my dreams straight.  (By the way, that is only the third time in my entire life, that I've had a dream that involved heterosexual sex.  The other, 99.99999999999% have all been gay.  And they say that I was conditioned to be gay.)

     A year ago, I marched in the streets in protest.  I, literally, sat it front of traffic and risked my life to protest injustice.  I was inches away from police in riot gear, some of whom I'm sure were itching to bash in a few queer skulls.  I screamed "Shame on you!" at Mormon (male) elders who stood from the safety of their enclosed temple gate, smirking, mocking my loss, my pain.  I screamed "Separate church and state" on the steps of a monstrosity of a Catholic cathedral, while people, with whom I once shared pews, drove past me crying "faggot" and "go to hell" before entering their holy place and eating their Jesus with those same tongues.  I hoped that California was a fluke, and that the stripping of citizens' equal rights in this state would rally together the rest of the intelligent nation to fight for equality.  Events in Maine have proved me wrong, and events currently under way in New Hampshire and New Jersey bode poorly for the future.

    David Mixner best sums up the situation we face in our nation today.  In 2009, the United States of America supports Gay Apartheid:
     Refuse to allow any of our fellow Americans, President Obama or our allies to view this as a political issue who time hasn't quite come. America is in the process of creating a system of Gay Apartheid. We will not quietly sit and accept it. All over the place, this nation is creating one set of laws for LGBT Americans and another set for all other Americans. That is the classic definition of Apartheid. Either our political allies are for Gay Apartheid or against it. If they are against it, they must fight with us and no longer duck like President Obama did in Maine and Washington. There is no half way in fighting Apartheid.
     I will not quit fighting, even though my wounds continue to bleed.  I will write my story.  I will preach my word.  This great nation has forsaken its own.  Our great president who promised change and equality has abandoned us once again.  Our churches have sacrificed us to their holy gods.  But we will not go away.  This Gay Apartheid will end.  I only hope that SHE and I live to see it end, and that my nieces and nephews, should they inherit the great gift of being born gay, will live in a nation that truly values liberty and justice for all.