Friday, June 19, 2009

Tracing parallels, finding reflections

There's a scene in the movie Milk where our hero is in a meeting with high-level Democratic strategists over the Briggs Initiative, an anti-gay initiative that was the Prop 8 of its day. The strategists are appalled by Briggs but counsel Harvey to keep the gays under wraps, since so many people are offended by them, and instead recommend that he argue the cause dispassionately. Harvey reacts by insisting that the gay community must come out to put a face on the people affected. Against all odds, the Briggs Initiative failed. A true story. (Would that Prop 8's opponents had learned the lesson...)

I am reminded of this by an offensive comment in the thread following one of the estimable Mark Harris's posts over at Praeludium. A conservative, "Allen", writes (speaking of Louie Crew)
If you want people to believe in the normalcy of the gay life then stop leaving the leadership to the loud, flashy, splashy, in-your-face and obnoxious leaders and start trotting out gay people that act a bit
Oh dear. I can't begin to enumerate the ways in which that is offensive. And of course the fallacy...since most gay folks "pass" pretty easily as "normal" and are still excoriated. Harvey was right, we have to come out, over and over again, to battle the insults of the Allens of the world who want to dehumanize and insult and make "us" a "them".

Other parallels abound, coming from that conversation and more. Apparently, it's all the gays' fault if someone's church community ruptures over gay inclusion. If the gays would just go away or shut up! It's their fault! They are ruining it for everyone!

The same sort of dynamic is occurring in national politics. If you aren't gay, you may not realize how much upset there has been over the last week, beginning with a Department of Justice brief that was filed supporting DOMA, the defense of marriage act. (If you're confused because the president opposes DOMA, you're not alone. I've discussed this extensively in a series of posts at Gay Married Californian). I won't review it all here, but the result has been a huge blog-storm that can boil down to "this is the wrong time! The gays are ruining it for everyone!" from much of the left.

I am constantly reminded of Dr King:
Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
It's amazing how my simple desire to live a humane moral and loving life, as a fully franchised and married citizen, can apparently destroy the lives of so many people whom I've never met. Who knew I had so much power? But now I am categorized and criticized as "teh gay" and of course the GLBT community must endure the increased volume of lies, insults, hatred and even violence. I feel bruised and battered and exhausted, unwanted, unvalued, and too often now, actually hated. And that is not a good place for any human to be.


Cany said...

It's a messy and terrible time that leads to change, as painful as it is. We are on the cusp, IT. It's getting ugly, more in the face, more controversial, all the conditions are right.

IT... please go here ( ) and watch this a hundred times.

This one video explains, actually, why often the black community at large doesn't equate the lgbt fight with 'their' fight and I know you will agree. It is pretty clear WHY they feel that way.

I am totally with you, IT, as you well know. But please, put this in perspective and realize that equal rights have never been easy and one has to seriously buck-up to get things done.

You are incredibly bright and committed.

You can do it. And ALL of us are with you and will stand beside you.

You are not alone. You are not powerless.

Марко Фризия said...

Re: ``loud, flashy, splashy, in-your-face and obnoxious leaders.

This description made me think of Akinola,

fred preuss said...

Atheists never have any of these problems.

David |Dah • veed| said...

Not true Freddie P., LGBT families suffer the same, regardless of their faith.

IT said...

After all, I'm an atheist, Fred.

Thank you, Cany, for the expression of support. But right now, for now, I've about had it.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

I'm with you IT, if from a distance...

Karen said...


Yes, there are those who fear and hate you for who they think you are. But those who know you, even just know you online, can see that you are an intelligent, articulate, talented woman and the love you share with BP enriches your lives and certainly can enrich the communities you are a part of. I wish we could get to the point that the law of the land recognizes that without so much pain on the way.


Paul (A.) said...

I've read the letter of Dr. Crew that "Allen" refers to, as well as the lead-up to it (although not the Nashotah House publication).

Evidently "Allen" is just as incapable of reading as listening.

Why is it that so many straight people's chips on their shoulders turn out to be beams in their eyes?

David |Dah • veed| said...

If I remember correctly, Allen is a very conservative TEC guy from rural Virginia. Once when he made a similarly stupid remark I called him a country bumpkin. He was incensed that Father Mark was giving me special treatment because I was some poor, outcast Mexican immigrant if Mark did not censor my comment!

(Does anyone know how to search comments on Blogger?)

Fred Preuss said...

No atheist says to gay people "You have to join a religion-you can't be an atheist."
And atheism is a lot less expensive-no church tithes, no vestments, no clergy salaries/benefits/insurance, you don't have to go to seminary to be an atheist....

David |Dah • veed| said...

Although there are many seminary graduates who are atheists!

Leonardo Ricardo said...

I don´t see anything different than always...really, standing up and participating by requesting full participation and justice is different than hiding, or pretending to slip through or ¨pass¨ for whatever folks find acceptable...however, now, right now WE HAVE found that ¨passing¨ to be just another angle on self-loathing (it IS our choice as we have crept around in the shadows far too long and are surprised now that we are noticed)...being hated isn´t new for any of us, and thanks Cany for the video which reminds me of how fortunate some of us are (of course those LGBT who are people of color have endured double trouble). The rewards for enhancing ones personal character are great but we must stand forward and be authentic and quit hiding (using our own individual best judgment on how to do that)...playing PRETEND is sick and allow the ¨haters¨ to get away with PRETENDING is as bad when we ALLOW them to do so.

My opinion only.

*Fred, jump in the lake, this has nothing to do with your pumped up insistance on interjecting dopey remarks to win your worthless arguments regarding topics we are not discussing. Besides, as everyone knows, that anti-religious cr*p doesn´t fly in Rhode Island (much)...but, ¨underground¨ corruption does...perhaps you ought find a different crusade to mouth off about and show us how brave you can be in the mouth of the IMMORAL know, one that comes a little closer to impacting your everyday life.

NancyP said...

Atheists aren't necessarily friendly to LGBT people. Atheists' views vary, but atheists are more likely to be up front about their "ick factor" being the reason behind their discriminatory stance. "Not Our Kind, Dear".

I suspect that no matter how many gay insurance agents, lesbian nurses, transgender IT gurus, and bisexual bakers are presented to the public, there will always be a segment of the public who considers LGBT people to be all diesel dykes and male hairdressers with lisps, or simply, all sex all the time. There's a segment of the population that is resistant to reality-based thinking.