Kudos to Dick Marshall of Crafton for penning a letter to the PG on the topic of gay civil rights.
Hearing so many voices from the pulpits in this country condemning relationships like mine while not so subtly telling us whom to vote for is both hurtful and incongruent with the hope that many of us finally felt with this election. If the majority in this country were to have the power in this country to vote on many of our civil rights, we'd still not be permitted to have interracial marriages and we'd still have vast segregated parts of this country.
I have now seen that anyone can achieve his or her dreams in America, but I wonder if I'll ever see a day when every child can grow up to marry the person they love. That really seems like a basic human right.
Dick, I've been reading that our community needs to do a better job of reaching out to those who don't distinguish between civil and religious marriages. Your letter is a great start. Keep this dialogue going in the PG, my friends. The politicians do read and pay attention to those whom are motivated enough to write letters.
An excerpt from Leonard Pitts' most recent column about the lurking fearmongerers in the GOP:
The names change, but the playbook remains the same: Your way of life is threatened by these people and only we, the GOP, can save you.
That was the message when Jesse Helms ran a TV ad showing a white man's hands crumpling a rejection letter for a job that had to be given “to a minority because of a racial quota,” and when George H.W. Bush ran for office against a black career criminal named Willie Horton. It was the message during the debate over illegal immigration, and it was the message when Rep. Tom Tancredo advocated bombing Mecca and called Miami a Third World city. It was the message when President George W. Bush thought the Constitution needed amending because of the threat posed by gay people in love.
“Let us save you from them” arguably has been the GOP's most enduring message for four decades, a promise to people shaken by change that the party will repeal the '60s and reinstate the '50s. Never mind that this would mean returning women to the kitchen, Muslims to invisibility, gays to the closet and blacks to the back of the bus.
Consider the recent rallies around the country in response to the passage of anti-gay initiatives in California, Florida and several other states. Consider the defiant signs and the upraised voices in the face of setback and ask yourself if those look like people who are about to go meekly and complaisantly back to the shadows.
They do not. Even the archest of arch conservatives must realize this by now.
The tie in, nicely made by Pitts, between the gay community and the struggle for civil rights is connecting the attempt to force us back into shadows. There's no need to compare the bus to the closet; the point is that we shouldn't be forced to dwell or sit somewhere against our will. The POINT is that we aren't going back down those paths without a hell of a lot of noise and protest.
I do need to give a little shout out to Tony Norman for oh-so-not-delicately pointing out the obvious that many gay people are feeling and struggling with across this nation.
Blacks who supported Proposition 8 in California. Black folks voted 2-to-1 to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry even as they were turning out in record numbers to vote for Barack Obama. Irony is definitely lost on this bunch. Can anyone say “Loving v. Virginia”?
The challenge facing the queer community is to walk into that seeming contradiction and wrestle with the perceptions rather than merely condemn. Pittsburgh is a great example — our gay community is as diverse as any other Pittsburgh group, except for the younger crowds. The next big opportunity to get this right is the Mayor's soon to be appointed LGBT Advisory Committtee. Let's hope his team finds a way to create a dynamically diverse group of folks who do not have deep pocket ties to his office. Let's get this committee sitting down with Ricky Burgess to talk about the divide between local gays and local blacks around marriage to see what we can do about it. Probably a pipe dream.
Second chance, local membership groups amping up their outreach to black gays in Pittsburgh. If you are reading this and you are not a member of Steel City Stonewall, I challenge you to get involved.
Now, here's the part you weren't expecting. I have to give a big shout out to Cat Specter for writing a nice piece of advice to a lesbian out there in PG land. While Cat still lists toward a bit of the “you go girl” side (it must be the tilt of the beret), her advice has improved and she makes no distinctions whatsoever between her hetero and homo advice-seekers. I'd still like to see her revisit her advice on a racist landlord and redirect readers to more impactful and legal solutions when confronting racism in such situations, but maybe someday … For now, Cat is maturing in her advice and that's a welcome change. Maybe I was wrong about her.
Maybe Tony Norman will take us to lunch one day.