Today the California Supreme Court agreed to decide the fate of Proposition 8. So what? Does this mean we can breathe a sigh of relief, go back to what we were doing before, and leave it to them to handle? I think not. Regardless of the decision the justices hand down, the work of Gay Americans has only begun. I read recently that gays "can't keep marching forever". I was shocked. We've barely had two weeks of getting out into the streets, and already we are talking about the next step? This is not only premature, it robs us all of the right to express our ire and frustration in a conspicuous, OUT way. It strips us of the very visibility that is our greatest strength! This battle for freedom may be advanced in the coutroom, but it will be won on the streets. Only when everyone is forced to admit the fact that we are not going to go away quietly and allow these kinds of attacks to continue will we ever be afforded the same rights as the heterosexual.
At the rally this weekend, I kept hearing the same message: Be patient. Don't antagonize our allies. Remember that we need to be reaching out and building coalitions. All of these are good sentiments, but I feel they fall short of the true message. After hundreds, if not thousands, of years of persecution, it is my belief we have been patient enough. Our struggle did not begin on November 4, 2008. That day merely marks another event in a long list of atrocities committed against Gays by those whose sole purpose is to terrorize and victimize people they perceive as weaker than themselves. As for antagonizing our allies, if they are truly our allies, they will not be antagonized. If anything, they will be galvanzied in their support of us. No one wants to put themselves out for a lost cause. By showing our strength, we show we are capable of utilizing their support. By taking the offensive, we prove we are a force to be reckoned with in our own right. Strength brings alliances, but alliances do not always bring strength.
This leads me to the message that we need to be reaching out and building coalitions, which I find by far, to be the most insidious message of them all. In these words, I hear the cries of all those Gay boys and girls, rejected by their families and society, pleading for the acceptance they have so long been denied. I say acceptance has no place in this conversation. We do not need coalitions in order to have our fundamental rights recognized. We do not need majority approval to follow our hearts and pursue our own forms of happiness. Coalitions are wonderful and amazing things, and they are a powerful message that communities can come together to solve certain problems. But in the end, this is OUR problem to solve - with or without coalitions. So why are we reaching out to them? It is their responsibility to reach out to us. After all, Gay America encompasses every other group there is. By our very nature, all walks of life, races, cultures and socio-economic classes are included under our banner. There is no need to reach out. We are all-inclusive. It is time we demanded recognition of that fact rather than beg for it.
And if you need further proof, just look around.We are being called anarchists and rioters. It is being said that we are undermining the very foundations of democracy by setting ourselves against the will of the majority. What these slurs really mean is that this strategy is working! Our presence in the streets is having the effect of calling out into the open all of the evil that has been, and continues to be, directed our way. By marching, we bring the hate and bigotry into the light with us. The beauty of it is that Americans have seen this all before. By making it personal and public, we remind them of the struggles for equality that have already been fought and won. They have been down this road. They know where this will lead. They know in their hearts that some day in the future, this time and these attiudes will also be considered a dark chapter in our history. They know that one day WE will be celebrating the election of the first Gay American as President of the United States. However, that day will be farther and farther away if today we allow ourselves to become complacent and put our future into the hands of others rather than our own. There is so much more than Gay marriage to work toward, and the time is now to take back all of what is rightfully ours. Get out into the streets. Force the hypocrisy and bigotry into the open. Face it head on, and defeat it with pride.
I think this is best summed up in a chant I heard at the rally: Gay rights under attack! Take to the streets! Fight back!