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Why are gay folks so patient?

Oh, I know why.

We have mortgages and car payments to make, and jobs to keep, and we don’t want to be seen as so Uppity that giving us rights is a scary proposition. Or we have children to worry about, or neighbors we don’t want throwing rocks in our windows.

We also know that things have improved from the days when we could be arrested, electroshocked, split from our children, or left to die in an alley with no-one caring.

Yet (to paraphrase myself from Twitter a few minutes ago) why is it I’m a full-fledged citizen when it’s time to pay taxes, but a second-class citizen when I want to marry? Why do I have the obligations of a member of a democracy, without all the rights?

And why again are we so patient?

Posted on this day, other years:

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11 Comments

  1. Amen, sister!

    Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
  2. And ditto for straight folks too.

    Everyone being too patient on this basic issue!

    Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 4:57 pm | Permalink
  3. Brooke wrote:

    Is it patience or fear of an ugly, violent fight? Thanks for speaking out on it.

    Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 7:30 pm | Permalink
  4. libraryguy wrote:

    I hope not

    Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 10:32 am | Permalink
  5. John wrote:

    Considering that homosexuality was considered a mental illness a generation ago, and was illegal two generations ago, and these laws were strictly enforced three generations ago, the acceptance of homosexuality in the West has been amazingly rapid — far more so than, say, African-Americans or women. I can’t think of any other minority class in Western history that has socially advanced so rapidly. Think of the progress that has been made — it’s simply unprecedented. Homosexuality has gone from almost universally ostracized throughout history, to the point where gay marriage is being debated in civil society.

    There’s a limit to how much change a society is capable of undertaking in such a short period of time. Cultures don’t turn on a dime.

    I’m sure, though, that’s no consolation to the individual homosexual citizen now, who doesn’t want to wait two or more generations for legalized marriage, but wants it for him/herself now. If I were gay, I’d be furious that I couldn’t have full civil liberties immediately.

    Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 4:44 pm | Permalink
  6. Sarah wrote:

    I don’t know if I’d say we’re being patient any more. We *were* patient for so long because we lived in fear (and many still do). Now that we’ve achieved mainstream acceptance, we can point to marriage equality as a civil rights issue. It wasn’t even on our horizon 20 years ago. It’s time now, the world is ready, and we have momentum. I’m frustrated by the Prop 8 decision this week, but it’s just a bump in the road. We’ve made great progress this year! Let’s not forget that! Thank you, Iowa!

    Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 2:04 am | Permalink
  7. Cal Gough wrote:

    Your post and those of others recently in reaction to the Prop 8 brouhaha reminds me of my favorite placard carried by someone in a protest march that appears for a split-second in a Meg Christian music video I stumbled across on FaceBook somewhere: “Hey, I didn’t get to vote on YOUR marriage!”

    I understand John’s point that, relative to other disparaged groups of humans, our tribe has made considerable progress in a short time for equal rights; I also believe that we’re all going to be chagrined and perhaps somewhat ashamed, later on down the line, that we didn’t insist on those rights more vehemently.

    In the meantime, every well-articulated, widely-circulated comment/argument/anecdote/slogan helps push this particular envelope, so thanks for blogging so eloquently (again) on this topic (instead of deciding not to).

    Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 7:31 am | Permalink
  8. Maia Schneider wrote:

    Is it patience? Or exhasperation, or exhaustion? It stymies me that the issue of equal rights for all is still on the table, as though it were somehow negotiable.

    But this isn’t just a legal battle, as much as we might like it to be. As we peek into the fear-mongering tactics of zealots, we have to acknowledge the real fear that some people feel: that acknowledging homosexual rights is a travesty unto their God. This goes beyond simple legal arguments; you cannot just move people away from their religious (or moral, but it’s the same roots) beliefs with simple logic. Until people see that their hatred and fear are the real insult to their God, it will be difficult to move them towards a more just and balanced world.

    California needs a Constitution Convention and I’m glad there’s now movement in that direction. Even if the issue of gay marriage is ultimately left off that table, how our constitution may be changed won’t be, laying the necessary groundwork for permanent change.

    Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 10:46 pm | Permalink
  9. Michael wrote:

    An excellent question!

    I consider myself to be patient to the extent that I know (after being out and politically active for 35+ of my 85 years) how the processes of social and political change work.

    I’m not at all patient when I hear LGBT people (especially my… pardon the expression… IDIOT Republican gay couple neighbors) claim either that it’s not necessary or that it’s too dangerous to be out and to demand civil rights.

    I was out to staff on my job in a medium/max men’s prison for 12 years, and I’m still alive.

    I can be out on the street.

    And I can spam my Congressmen every time they drag ass, and I can tell everyone I know WHY this is not about sex or religion but about Constitutional rights.

    BTW, when I glance at your URL, I occasionally see peripherally as Freer Angel Iberian. A secret identity, perhaps?

    :-)

    Friday, May 29, 2009 at 1:37 pm | Permalink
  10. I have friends in Southern California who married during the window of legality last year. Their marriage stands (so far), but they fight on for everyone.

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 7:30 pm | Permalink
  11. Amy Ranger wrote:

    Speak for yourself, babe. No one has ever called me patient! We routinely scream at the TV and email our congress-people. I thought Cheney was a total jerk for suggesting that gay marriage should come down to state-by-state options. If that were possible, I’d sponsor a ballot initiative to outlaw fat old white guys who can’t hit the broadside on a barn with their own gun from stepping foot in my state… but I digress.

    Let me conclude by saying that lately I’ve been humming the music to Marat/Sade a lot; especially the refrain “We want our rights, and we don’t care how… we want our revolution now.”

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 12:29 am | Permalink

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