Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May 1, 2013

In case you hadn't noticed, Poppets, I have been silent recently on same-sex marriage. There's a reason for that. If you've been reading my articles for any length of time, you know I am a proponent of marriage equality. I'm a proponent of all kinds of equality, have even written about marriage equality here before, which is why I think many people have been confused by my recent silence.
First, let me say that I am still in favor of marriage equality. The benefits that will be bestowed upon couples once we acknowledge this basic right are vital. They are indeed rights, which means the debate should be moot, because humans cannot bestow rights on other humans; they simply exist. So, no, I haven't changed my mind about marriage equality and still believe in it. Strongly.
But here's the thing – I am distressed and angry over how all-encompassing it has become. Just as I have written about my support of marriage equality, I have also written of my anger over the fact that we, as a community, cannot seem to stay focused long enough to care about anything else. To change anything else. We weren't able to support McDonald's or JC Penney when they supported us. Why should I have faith we can stay focused on everything else beyond marriage equality that still needs to happen. Because there is so much else that still needs to happen.
Marriage equality will not end bullying in schools. Will not protect people from being fired, or evicted, or beaten. Will not prevent parents from disowning their LGBTQ children. Will not keep parents from losing custody in divorce proceedings. Will not address the homelessness faced by LGBTQ youth. Will not allow transgendered men and women to be respected as their correct gender, regardless of the bodies they were born into. Marriage equality would not have even prevented the man who was arrested last month for refusing to leave his partner's hospital room. They each had the other's medical power of attorney. Legally, he was the person who was supposed to be making those decisions anyway, married or not. He was still arrested.
Tell me again how important marriage equality is?
Now, Poppets, I want to be wrong. I want this to be the first step. I want us to achieve this goal and rally around the next one. I want this to be the issue that unites us, that actually makes us the community we claim to be. And if that is how it works, I will stand on every mountaintop I can find and shout that I was wrong. Okay. Maybe that's a bit melodramatic. I will, however, step up and announce it here. With great happiness.
I just don't think I'm going to be wrong. I think – I fear – we are going to get this milestone and then...forget. We will have gotten what we wanted and we will move on, without much thought to the bullies, or the employers, or the landlords, or the parents. To the LGBTQ people who really haven't been able to think about marriage because they were trying to get by day to day. Every now and then, we will change our facebook avatars so we can feel good about ourselves, but this level of engagement? This level of commitment? I don't believe we will keep it up.
Life and death. Legal recognition. Basic human dignity. Respect. The ability to put food on our family's tables. Rally around these issues, Poppets. Rally around them the way we've rallied around marriage. Children are dying, bullied to the point of suicide, and even flat out murdered.
Tell me again how important marriage equality is?
Look, I'm not saying marriage isn't important. I'm not. I believe it is. We just cannot let it be the only important thing, the most important thing. Let's use it as a first step, a really solid starting point. And then let's get things done. We can do this, Poppets. Prove me wrong. Please.
Until next month, Poppets, take care of you – and each other.

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