my Facebook the other night:
“'I’m just another queer not ashamed to admit that I am frustrated that the LBGT human rights struggle has been co-opted by the marriage lobby. Today is a victory, yes. But I should rather like to hear us fight just as loudly for LGBT living in oppression worldwide and against bullying of our youth and every other bona fide emergency… this actually just widens the enormous gay between the rich, (mostly) white, (mostly) male queer folk and all the other queer folk who get left behind because of immigration, mental health, poverty, gender identity, housing, HIV/AIDS status. When this is painted as a wholesale human rights victory for the entire LGBT community, there are a lot of folks on the margins.”
You’re perfectly within your rights to tell me that I have too gloomy a perspective on the matter, but as someone who was an active volunteer in my home state of Massachusetts when the gay marriage battle was fought there in 2004, I admit I have been tired and turned off by a struggle that I don’t see having as big an impact on general American’s perception of the queer community as many seem to assume it has had. Am I so wrong for thinking that a larger, less exclusionary tactic from a political and spiritual perspective is for queers of all types, especially those who get marginalized to live their lives out in the open, without apology?
This is why this year, instead of going to Manhattan Pride, I attended "Queers on the Beach", at Riis Beach, where transmasculine folk, dykes, femmes, and people who fit into none of these boxes (or more than one of these boxes) could feel comfortable to be at the beach with queer family and to take their tops off, if they wished.
When we were in the water, I saw the toughness that I see so often in my friends’ faces when we’re in public relax quite a bit. We were all together and we were safe. It was a truly remarkable day. It was one of those days where I felt like I was fully alive and present in the moment and in my community. Sometimes we have to fight for those days. And we need to cherish them while we have them, because, my friends, there are all too many reminders out there that life is short, and that our spaces and our most vulnerable family members will be swept aside if we don’t take care of each other.
Pride isn’t just a rally under a rainbow where we ask for the rest of the world to tolerate us and our sexual partners. To me, it actually has little to do with allyship. It is a call to renew community support internally. To tell each other as often as we can that we won’t let each other be lost or forgotten. We should be pulling each other in from the margins, not letting the most affluent set the agenda and tell us what victory means or how to rank and prioritize oppression. For many of us, our very being is a site of resistance. I can’t think of a better way to make a statement than to demonstrate our ability to enjoy life and each other, with our faces in the sun and the wind at our back. It really is a revolutionary thing, to allow your own happiness.