Monthly Archives: June 2011
I know, that title was confusing. That was the only way to sum up my feelings when I read this headline.
I’m going to give you a second to consider that headline. Read it over a few times. Let it soak into your brain…
AND SEE IF YOU CAN MAKE ANY SENSE OUT OF IT! BECAUSE I SURE AS HELL CAN’T!
I can’t even deal with this.
Appointing a North Korean to chair the UN’s only multilateral disarmament forum is like “asking the fox to guard the chickens,” says Hillel Neuer, of the UN watchdog organization UN Watch. Neuer is calling on the U.S. and European governments to protest the appointment, which he says, “damages the UN’s credibility.”- Fox News
I know I’ve said the UN is a joke before, but this is just ridiculous.
Edit: Had to add in a couple of great quotes from the article.
Iran, China and Burma were among nations that congratulated North Korea on assuming the presidency of the conference. This month, the U.S. Navy intercepted a North Korean ship suspected of trying to deliver missiles to Burma*, forcing its return to North Korea. It was the latest incident among many, as Pyongyang continues the proliferation of arms and weapons-related materials, despite UN Security Councilsanctions.
A diplomat from the North Korean Mission to the UN, which is notorious for not returning calls from the Western media, called Fox News to say that complaints about the appointment of their nation to lead the Conference on Disarmament are “just the continuation of the Western mindset that refuses to acknowledge that the Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) is fighting for disarmament.”
1.a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.2.the state or feeling of being proud.
Pride, one of the Seven Deadly Sins…if you believe in that sort of thing, which I don’t.
I don’t see anything wrong with having pride in yourself and your accomplishments. I have pride whenever I finish writing a particular good piece of fiction or a blog post that has just the right ratio of snark to facts. I have pride that I got into the school of Journalism, that I’m finally able to go back to college. I still have pride that I got into a prestigious school, based on my writing portfolio, even though I never attended classes at that university.
I take pride in things that I accomplish on my own, things that I’ve worked hard at.
Unfortunately I don’t understand the usage of the word pride that gets tossed around. Like Gay Pride, or Women’s Pride (Yes, these events do exist.)
Why don’t I understand it? Well, it’s because I’m not proud of being a women, or proud of being gay.I’m not ashamed of those things either, which has somehow become the opposite of proud. If I’m not proud of it, I must be ashamed of it.
Let me put it to you this way and maybe you’ll understand.
I consider being gay or being a women to be random draws from the genetic lottery. I am no more proud of being gay or being female than I am of being tall, having hazel eyes, dirty blonde hair, or tricky double jointed knees and elbows.
I’m not proud of these things because I didn’t accomplish them. Random genetic selection while I was a fetus, accomplished these things.
Now I’m not ashamed of any of these attributes either. I’m as out as I want to be, though I don’t wave a rainbow flag. I’m a woman, which I’ve never felt bad about. I don’t wear colored contacts. I dye my hair, but I admit to that (I just think my natural color was boring). I often show off my tricky double jointed knees and elbows to my friends, much to their delighted disgust.
But they are just parts of my genetic code.
Now I tell you what you can be proud of. The people involved in getting equal rights for gay people, they can be proud about all the good they have accomplished over the years. Every person who stood for Women’s Suffrage, they can be proud of their accomplishments. That’s because it’s something they did, both groups dedicated time, money, and, sometimes, their freedom, to a cause they believed in. That’s a reason to be proud.
Being proud of the genetic quirks of your DNA double helix, just doesn’t make sense. You want to be proud? You want a reason to have a parade? Then do something.
I got into a tiny, little debate in the comments of a blog post. The debate actually spilled over into a brand new blog post by the blog’s author, Gregory C. Cochran, which is titled ‘A Marriage Proposal‘. I finally realized that if I was going to say, quite frankly, brilliant things I might as well say them on my blog instead of simply in the comments. (I know, I’m so modest.)
Please, feel free to read both posts I linked to. I’m only going to respond to several points in the second one, but not quoting every single line, because I’ve already written several responses to the first post (which are easily found, posted under the name “MeredithAncret” in the comments.)
I have already stated that I fully believe that the concept of ‘one man, one woman’ is a fairly modern concept in society.
“What is marriage?”
Historically, there have been 3 different answers posited in reply to this question. The answers are as follows: Biological union, legal contract recognition, or beneficial economic arrangement. Of these 3 options, I would say that I have been arguing for the first, while Meredith has been arguing for the second. Why do I argue for marriage as a biological union? On the basis of reality. I assert that the reality of humanity argues unambiguously for heterosexual marriage.
By this statement, I mean to say that heterosexual marriage is built into creation. You may prefer to think of creation as the 19th Century followers of the Enlightenment did—as Nature (with a capital N). Or, in your current progressive milieu, you may prefer nature (without the capital N). Or you may have progressed already so far that you prefer to refer to reality in the laughable (yet often accepted) language of mother nature. In former days, some would have used the terms, common sense.
Whatever you call it, it argues for heterosexual marriage. I mean to argue for heterosexual marriage from the perspective of easily recognizable reality. When a man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to a wife, the two become a new family unit. The very natural outcome of the new couple’s coitus is, of course, children. Hence, humanity progresses through the process of a man and woman leaving two families to start another family. Nothing is more natural. Humanity itself is furthered by this conjugal union, a fact which ought to please the evolutionists among us.
In this sense, then, cultures and societies are built upon the biological, conjugal relations of a man and a woman forming a family unit. Contrary to what has been asserted, this notion is not the recent invention of the modern church. It has been around since the original couple, Adam and Eve
My main issue with Cochran’s argument here is that 1.) I was arguing both the second and third type of marriage (the legal and tax benefits of marriage are considerably entwined, so in modern society I believe they are nearly indistinguishable from each other) and 2.) Marriage has been used to cement legal and political contracts for as long as civilization has existed and 3.) I honestly don’t believe that marriage has a biological component.
Let me explain this as best I can. I fully admit I am not a scientist, I’m studying Journalism in college, not Biology.
Yes, there is a biological imperative in all animals, including humans, to procreate. Humans call it the biological clock, which starts ticking in both men and women and starts whispering “it’s time to have kids, come on, you know you want to.” Mine started ticking at 19 and I know the urge will continuously be there. However, scientifically speaking, marriage has nothing to do with propagating the species. In fact, from a scientific standpoint, the most logical thing would be to have many partners and as many children as possible. Population wise this would not be the best (or most rational) plan for mankind at this point.
However, you will notice that very few species in the animal kingdom mate for life. So why do the majority of humans feel the need to form monogamous, long-term (sometimes life-long) bonds? Because we have emotional needs that, for most people, are best met by having a single unit to support each other. This has nothing to do with biology.
So, in my humble opinion, I’ve blown the biological argument out of the water.
So why the second two types of marriage still remain? Because, while the biological imperative may tell us to have lots of babies and really doesn’t discriminate what partner we have them with, the social, economic and legal benefits of marriage are extremely useful. I borrowed a list of marriage benefits from Religioustolerance.org for another post already and that post is here. Historically, you can also add the fact that a stable family unit, with a mother, father and many children, were more easily equipped to run a farm or a business. For the more wealthy and politically powered in a society marriage was, as already mentioned, a great way to cement treaties and business/trade agreements or secure allies.
(thus the Matthew 19 reference).
Mathew 19: 4-6 is the verse he is referencing. A verse which he claims argues for monogamous, heterosexual marriage.
I disagree with this interpretation. I’m not a theologian or a student of religious studies (though I have picked up a thing or two from my brother.) but reading it with an unbiased and analytical mind should allow you to see that is not the case.
The verse says:
4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Verse 4 begins with referencing Adam and Eve, who were indeed made male and female, which would allow for the propagation of the species through sex. The fact that males and females are biologically compatible to have children does not, however, mean that homosexual relationships are invalid.
Verse 5 says that a man should leave his father and mother and be united with his wife. On the surface this seems to say that a man and woman should start their own family and it may seem to point toward monogamy. However, you have to put this in cultural context. The verse does not actually state that a man can only have one wife or a wife can only have one husband (and here the conversation goes from homosexuality to polyamory, sorry for the abrupt change). The culture of the time period of both the old and new testament was fully of polygamy, in fact it was extraordinarily common. David and Solomon, both beloved kings of Israel from God’s viewpoint, had multiple wives and concubines which God never punished them for. Paul, for all the harping he did in his letters to the churches in the New Testament, never once addressed polyamorous relationships. He talked a lot about celibacy and condemned orgies, but never once did he say that having multiple spouses was a sin.
Against this plain reality, an alternate definition is being proposed by Meredith, namely, that marriage does not mean anything except what society decides for itself that marriage means. Any attempt to establish marriage as inherently meaningful is so unreasonable that it could only come from religion. If it comes from religion, then it must be dismissed because there can be no religious influence in matters of state control. [I might be misunderstanding Meredith’s argument here, but this is the way I read it]. Therefore, marriage can only be given the definition of a social construct: Whatever society decides is right.
He did slightly misunderstand my argument. In that my argument posits that, marriage, as a legal contract, can be changed in any way to government sees fit. If there is an “inherent” religious meaning to the word marriage, it doesn’t matter, because the wall between church and state means that civil contracts created by the government can’t be influenced by religious ideals.
In that case, society and the government, give meaning to the word marriage.
After all, marriage has already been changed over the years. Divorce is now legal. Did you know that there was a time when the only way to get a divorce in New York state was to prove infidelity? Yeah, that’s changed. Which, considering the Bible is actually very explicit in it’s denial of divorce (only a few scant verses after the ones I just discussed) means that marriage has been redefined by the government already. And good luck trying to make divorce illegal again.
Against this, I would say that the ancient Sumerians weren’t “religious” if by religious we mean from a Judeo-Christian worldview. Nevertheless, they recognized the value for society of the marriage between a man and a woman. The Sumerians did not invent or define marriage, they recognized it as an inherent, biologically-based reality of the human condition. To make it something less is to make marriage meaningless. The notion that marriage is nothing more than what society decides is not pragmatically workable.
Wait, did he just say “value for society”? Yes, I agree completely, they did realize the importance of marriage in a societal context and their society at the time was predominantly heterosexual for many reasons (though there are several myths from Sumer, such as the epic of Gilgamesh, which contained fairly blatant homosexual relationships. Gilgamesh’s mother told him he would love Enkidu as he would a woman…so…). Society evolves and the value of marriage in a society changes.
Just as easily as society deems two men to be legally, contractually married, so, too, could society deem three men to be so or four men and two women. Why not allow families to define themselves instead of having government define families? Thus, the Manson Family would be every bit as legitimate as my family according to this definition.
Well I have to say that I don’t know much about the background of the Manson family, but considering I do support marriage rights for polyamorous relationships…yes I would say they are a legitimate group. They were fucking insane, but since when do we tell crazy people they can’t get married? As long as they are able to give consent and are consenting adults, it’s not anyone elses business and will never be anyone elses business, unless the group begins murdering people and committing violent acts. Even then, their marriage wouldn’t be wrong, it would be a matter of illegal activity.
I find it rather annoying and baiting to bring up the Manson’s in a conversation, as if by bringing up a group of murderers who happened to be polyamorous would change the argument. Their insanity and violence has no bearing the topic of their sexual relationships.
Or else, on what basis would society exclude [discriminate against?] these adults wanting to enjoy the benefits of marriage?
Adults of consenting age, who are capable of giving legal consent to marriage. That should be the only necessary requirement for marriage.
On what basis would you exclude an adult daughter from marrying her father, especially after her mother passed away?
Incest is something that pushes my squick button a lot, however the fact that is sort of freaks me out and I can’t understand it doesn’t mean I want to outlaw it (There are a lot of fetishes and kinks that I can’t understand either, but I don’t judge…or I try not to.) The only other issue is a biological component. The chance for birth defects would be increased through inbreeding and that rides a fine line between whether or not a child born of that union would be a victim.
However, I have seen the situation of unintentional incest actually occur. It usually ends up in the national news when a couple finds out they were actually siblings, but they had never met and were adopted by separate families or something, and meet and marry later in life. How do you deal with that?
Could a woman enjoy the benefits of being married to her dog? On what basis would that be excluded?
No, for several reasons. At what age would a dog be considered an adult? How would the dog give consent to the marriage? How would the dog sign the marriage license without opposable thumbs? All of these questions would need to be answered and I don’t see a way for any of them to be answered in this day and age, if ever.
If marriage is self-defined, then its definition would have a limitless range. In short, if marriage has no inherent meaning, then it has no meaning at all.
He keeps using the word inherent. The usage of it reminds me a lot of how Christians say that the only morality that is “objective” is God’s morality. Funnily enough, the meaning of inherent is quite similar to the meaning of objective.
inherent [ɪnˈhɪərənt -ˈhɛr-]adj existing as an inseparable part; intrinsic
How is the meaning inherent? The word is a word, translated from language to language that has been used to describe many different types of “marriage” throughout the ages. Where did he get the “inherent” meaning of the word? Inherent and Objective both seem to be funny words that are only useful in a theoretical conversation…or a religious one. The first has nothing to do with reality and the second…well it would be rude to say it has nothing to do with reality, but it has nothing to do with the American Government.
Viewing marriage as a mere social construct is untenable. I suspect that Meredith and others would not care if the definitions changed and morphed into any number of carnal contortions. Yet, that fact does not mean they don’t care about the definition of marriage. In fact, if marriage were a mere social construct, then there would be no effort from gay activists to redefine it.
Okay, the carnal contortions line is just ridiculous. That’s what we call the logical fallacy of “poisoning the well” and it’s insulting to my intelligence, the writer’s intelligence and the intelligence of the readers.
Also, his argument is flawed. Marriage is a social and legal construct, which means as society evolves, so must the law. Unfortunately it takes advocacy and years of hard work to reform laws, because the government (both Federal and State) is slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through molasses. If we let them go at their own pace, without a few nudges of encouragement along the way, nothing would ever get done.
Why are you unwilling to accept the definition the states (majority of society) have already embraced? About 60 % of the United States have constitutional amendments defining marriage exclusively between a man and a woman. The question is already settled. The states have defined marriage in the exact way they want it defined. Why seek to overturn this definition? On what grounds? You cannot answer that question without recourse to higher reality. You believe in the inherent value of things apart from social constructs, you just don’t want to admit it.
First of all, Cochran keeps ignoring that I’ve already stated that there is both LEGAL and SOCIAL parts to my beliefs. The legal part of that says that discrimination is wrong. He might as well ask “Why do all of these black people keep asking for equal rights? The states had already said they didn’t want them, the question is already settled.” or “Why do all of these interracial couples keep asking for the right to get married? The states already said they didn’t want interracial marriages, the question is already settled.”
Secondly, the state governments do not always act on the will of the majority. All it takes a few homophobic bigots, who don’t care what the majority thinks, to stop progress. 60% of states may have passed those amendments, that does not mean that the majority of people in those 60% are against same-sex marriage.
(I know I told Rys I would cease to get involved in this debate any further, but I really couldn’t help it. If I feel baited I always rise to the occasion…)
When a President who has never cared about states rights before (trying to force Obamacare down the throats of the entire country, regardless of whether they wanted it or not) starts saying he won’t pass federal laws for something because it needs to be dealt with at the state level…you know something fishy is going on.
So when Obama starts saying things like
Now, part of the reason that DOMA doesn’t make sense is that traditionally marriage has been decided by the states.
I start getting a little twitchy.
(Though I actually agree with that statement, damn him. I do think it should be a state’s rights issue, mostly because our federal government is too damn big in the first place.) (Full transcript of the speech here.)
Because he’s dodging the issue. He won’t deal with it honestly and he won’t tell us how he really feels. He’s never cared about state’s rights before, as I already said, so he wouldn’t really care if should be state or federal. He has a track record of letting the federal government run rough shod over state’s rights, why should this be any different?
I will tell you why.
Because his support of the gay community is only as deep as our pocket books and our voting numbers.
One of the commenters on the Autostraddle article about this speech said that “There are murmurings that he’s saving a marriage endorsement/even legislation for his second term and that this campaigning is a kind of wink to the lgbt community like, “Get me in again, guys, and I’ll help you out”.”
Yeah, maybe that’s what he’s trying. But if he hasn’t been willing to actually stand for what he, supposedly, believes in this term then what makes you think he will stand for it anymore the second term? And if he really doesn’t care about gay rights (which is becoming my theory more and more every day) then the second he doesn’t need the money, votes and goodwill of the gay community (i.e. If he gets elected for a second term. After that he has nothing to lose, he won’t need our goodwill because he can’t get elected again anyway.) he’ll dump us in the garbage like last week’s newpaper.*
The sad thing is, I actually hate to bitch the President out over this. He’s finally supporting state’s rights, he’s finally putting on the brakes of the massive behemoth that is our federal government…and I would love to support that. I just don’t believe he’s doing it for the right reasons, and the right thing for the wrong reasons doesn’t make him less of a smarmy, slimy politician. In fact, it just makes him worse.
*Yes, I put newspaper in the garbage. I don’t recycle, so sue me. My apartment complex doesn’t have a bin for recycling.
This sort of breaks my brain to even think about, but, apparently, there are actually gay people who PREFER to be a marginalized part of society. I can’t even pretend to understand their view point, though I’ve been trying valiantly for the last few hours.
I’ve been reading an article by Johann Hari entitled “The hidden history of homosexuality in the US” in which he discusses a book by Michael Bronsky, A Queer History of the United States.
Please read the quoted text from the end of the article. I apologize for the length, but that is merely a fraction of the article and the part that most applied to the topic at hand.
My view – since reading Andrew Sullivan’s masterpiece Virtually Normal when I was a teenager – is that the point of the gay-rights struggle is to show that homosexuality is a trivial and meaningless difference. Gay people want what straight people want. I am the same as my heterosexual siblings in all meaningful ways, so I should be treated the same under the law, and accorded all public rights and responsibilities. The ultimate goal of the gay-rights movement is to make homosexuality as uninteresting – and unworthy of comment – as left-handedness.
This section is, quite possibly, the most concise statement of my feelings on the subject of gay rights. It’s the statement I’ve been trying to write since I started writing about gay rights on this blog and I’ve simply never managed to make it sound so concise.
Sorry, I just had to fangirl a little all over the wonderfulness of having read something that sums up my viewpoint so well.
That’s not Bronski’s view. As he has made more stridently clear in his previous books, he believes that gay people are essentially different from straight people. Why is his book called a “Queer History” and not a “Gay History”? It seems to be because the word “queer” is more marginal, more edgy, more challenging to ordinary Americans.
He believes that while the persecution in this 500-year history was bad, the marginality was not. Gay people are marginal not because of persecution but because they have a historical cause – to challenge “how gender and sexuality are viewed in normative culture”.
Their role is to show that monogamy, and gender boundaries and ideas like marriage throttle the free libidinal impulses of humanity. So instead of arguing for the right to get married, gay people should have been arguing for the abolition of marriage, monogamy and much more besides. ” ‘Just like you’ is not what all Americans want,” Bronski writes. “Historically, ‘just like you’ is the great American lie.”
He swipes at the movement for gay marriage and Sullivan in particular, as an elaborate revival of the old social-purity movements – with the kicker that gays are doing it to themselves. (It’s easy to forget that when Sullivan first made the case for gay marriage, his events were picketed by gay people spitting this argument into his face.)
When Bronski argues this case, his prose – which is normally clear – becomes oddly murky and awkward, and he may not agree with every word of my summary. This is the best I can figure out his position: He does finally explicitly say that the gay movement should have fought instead to “eliminate” all concept of marriage under the law, a cause that would have kept gay people marginalised for centuries, if not forever. Of course some gay people hold revolutionary views against the social structures of marriage and the family – and so do some straight people. But they are small minorities in both groups. If you want to set yourself against these trends in the culture, that’s fine – we can have an interesting intellectual debate about it. Just don’t equate it with your homosexuality.
When Bronski suggests that gay marriage “works against another unrealized American ideal: individual freedom and autonomy”, he is bizarrely missing the point. Nobody is saying gay people have to get married – only that it should be a legal option if they want it. If you disagree with marriage, don’t get married. Whose freedom does that restrict?
It’s bizarre that Bronski – after a rousing historical rebuttal to the right-wing attempt to write gays out of American history – ends up agreeing with Santorum, Beck and Bachmann that gay people are inherently subversive and revolutionary, longing for the basic institutions of the heterosexual world to be torn down.
There’s a whole Gay Pride parade of people marching through Bronski’s book who show it isn’t so. I can see them marching now, down the centre of the Mall: the Native American chief with her four wives, Nicholas Sension with the whip marks on his back, the residents of Merrymount holding aloft their their 80ft phallus, Deborah Sampson Gannett dressed in her military uniform as Robert Shurtliff and the men from Physique Pictoral in their posing pouches, amazed to discover they are not alone.
Yes, they were all Americans. And no, they didn’t choose marginality and exclusion. They were forced to the margins. It would be a betrayal of them – not a fulfilment – to choose to stay there, angrily raging, when American society is on the brink of letting them into its core institutions, on the basis of equality, at long last.
I find that I agree with Hari’s views and completely disagree with Bronski, though I believe I would be interested in reading his new book. This is a topic I’ve addressed before in my blog, in fact I wrote a blog about it rather recently where I compared the fight for gay rights to the fight for mutant rights in the X-Men universe.*
In that article I made it clear that I want to normalize, I don’t want to marginalize, because being gay is not my identity and I don’t feel that I have a social obligation “to challenge how gender and sexuality are viewed in normative culture.”
To be marginalized is to allow your identity to be shoved into a tiny box based on some characteristic. For the gay community to choose to be marginalized and held apart from the rest of society would be like the Japanese walking themselves into the American concentration camps. Bronski is essentially begging us to uphold the stereotype that the religious right holds against homosexuals, that we are “inherently subversive and revolutionary, longing for the basic institutions of the heterosexual world to be torn down” and we don’t want to be normal. This is the stereotype that has hurt our fight for equal rights for so long.
I really don’t think Bronski needs to be speaking for all of us on this topic, unless I’ve been misinformed and this is how the majority of the gay community want to be seen. I always imagined that the majority wanted to be accepted as a normal part of society, but I could be wrong. I have been before.
*because I’m a nerd.
One thing that I can say for Obama is that he is certainly not a psychic.
If he was, he wouldn’t have said this in February of 2009.
That’s right, he said he would be a one term president if he hadn’t fixed the economy in 3 years.
Mr. President, that economy thing? Yeah, it’s not fixed.
Does this mean he’ll bow out gracefully and not run for office in 2012? It should mean that, but the other thing that we know about Obama is that he is a liar with a horrible case of amnesia when it comes to any of the promises he made during his campaign and after his election.
The only thing I can say is that hopefully people will realize that our economy CANNOT be fixed by this president, nor by any president who insists on liberal economic policy.
He has 6 months to fix the economy, by his own estimation, and if he doesn’t then he says we should consider him a failed president. From his mouth to the voter’s ears please.
Whoever started this rumor was lying…or at least very misinformed.
Because General Assembly resolutions really, really are not useful at all.
I am, of course, referring to the general mood of excitement that seems to have taken over the gay community because of the recent United Nations resolution that was passed on Friday (June 17th).
The United Nations is poised to deliver a historic call for gay rights Friday, when it votes on a U.S.-backed resolution that demands equality for people regardless of sexual orientation and orders a global investigation of violence and discrimination against gays.
I’m not saying this resolution is a bad thing, but I do question why people think this is going to change anything in any country?
General Assembly resolutions are neither legally binding to member nations, nor do they 100% agreement from the member nations to pass.
The General Assembly is not a world government – its resolutions are not legally binding upon Member States. However, through its recommendations it can focus world attention on important issues, generate international cooperation and, in some cases, its decisions can lead to legally binding treaties and conventions.
In fact I would go so far as to say that countries sign these resolutions for much the same reason that we buy an expensive, tasteful and basically useless piece of art for our home. It looks pretty and we can show it off to our friends.
So what the gay community needs to realize is that all the usual suspects played their usual hands in this vote and, apparently, more than 50% of the member nations agreed. It was a very slim margin, just so you know.
Following tense negotiations, members of the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council narrowly voted in favour of the declaration put forward by South Africa, with 23 votes in favour and 19 against.
Backers included the United States, the European Union, Brazil and other Latin American countries. Those against included Russia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Pakistan. China, Burkina Faso and Zambia abstained, Kyrgyzstan didn’t vote and Libya was earlier suspended from the rights body.
Does the list of backers and dissenters really surprise anyone? Alright…maybe the Latin American contingent in support surprised me slightly, but that is merely because I’m not well versed in Latin American politics. I keep up with the Middle East, Europe and North America for the most part.
My point is, does the gay community in America really think this is going to start a worldwide change for gay rights? The countries that backed it would have begun (or already are) making great strides in gay rights and the ones who voted against are still going to keep doing exactly what they’ve been doing for years (In the case of the Islamic countries, this would include stoning homosexuals to death) and the United Nations will continue to shake a finger at them and say “naughty, naughty, you shouldn’t do that.” which they will continue to laugh at, because they know what we keep trying to ignore…the UN is basically useless.
“This represents a historic moment to highlight the human rights abuses and violations that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people face around the world based solely on who they are and whom they love,”
-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (CTV News)
There are many lovely things about this quote (I’ve said it before, I like Hillary…at least more than I like Obama). For one thing, Hillary doesn’t pretend that this is the end of these abuses and violations, she simply says this highlights those abuses and violations…which it does. It might not change them or end them, but it will bring them to the forefront of the world’s attention, which could be useful.
Another thing I love about this quote? Hillary said it. We couldn’t even get a quote from our president on the topic of a UN resolution that our country supported. That’s a bit sad, but not unexpected. At least not to me, because I suspect that Obama’s tentative and vague support of gay rights and gay marriage will last just about as long as he needs the gay vote and their money to win the 2012 election.
I made a comment on my Tumblr account the other day to a friend who had just seen the new X-Men: First Class movie. I told her that the whole X-Men story line was a very poorly concealed “It’s okay to be gay” message. I was later corrected by a friend that told me that, at the time of it’s creation, X-Men was more about racism…which I can believe. However, if you watch the films made in the last 11 years, X-Men, X-Men 2 and X-Men: The Last Stand, (though not Origins as far as I could tell) you will see that the metaphor has already been easily adapted to fit the plight of the modern homosexual.
It’s obvious in the words of the politicians, the scientists, the parents and siblings of mutants. It’s a fairly obvious, and easily done, shift in the politics.
While I already knew this was true, it had been a while since I watched the X-Men trilogy, and since I’m going to see First Class tomorrow night I decided to rewatch the trilogy to get in the proper mood for geeking out on my date. (Yes, I’m taking my date to see an X-Men movie. We are nerds. In fact, I’m about 50% certain that I got this date because I asked her to see this particular movie…).
Over the course of two days I watched all three movies and I saw something interesting.
Despite all his faults, I have always like Erik Lensherr (Magneto). I don’t agree with him, but I enjoy dissecting his motivations and trying to understand him. He’s a Jew who was caught up in the middle of WWII in Europe, placed in a concentration camp because he was considered to be a lower form of life. He then grows up and becomes exactly the kind of person who he should have been fighting against. He decided he was superior to the rest of mankind, those who were without mutant powers, the un-evolved. He became the mutant version of Hitler and I honestly don’t think he even realized what he had become.
But that’s a topic for another time.
I was tying this in the fight for gay rights.
It took me an embarrassingly long time to come to the conclusion that I’m about to impart to you. In fact it wasn’t until half way through The Last Stand that the following line of thought finally ran through my mind.
You can split the characters in the X-Men movies into three (simplified and generalized) groups.
1.) The portion of mankind that is scared of mutants or hates them, which is basically the same thing in the movies. They want them locked up or “cured” or registered and watched constantly. They don’t understand that mutants are not evil, just by virtue of having superhuman abilities. They seem to believe that ALL mutants are dangerous and should be kept away from the general population.
2.) The Brotherhood, led by Magneto. They believe they are superior and, essentially, want complete autonomy. They don’t really care about mankind, seeing them as unimportant. They also don’t care about politics or the world in general unless the topic directly has anything to do with mutants.
3.) Humans and Mutants, The X-Men included, who don’t want anything other than to be a part of society. They want all the same protections and rights as any other person, but they aren’t interested in forcing people to do what they want…which they could do. Professor Xavier could manage that easily, but that isn’t the way he works. They don’t want there to be any distinction between humans and mutants, because they should be able to co-exist peacefully.
Can you see where I’m going with this?
Now let me clarify, I don’t think that the radical gay left is some sort of terrorist organization out to destroy straight people. This isn’t a perfect metaphor.
But can you at least see my point?
I want equal rights, but I’m not willing to sacrifice other people’s free will for it.
I just want to exist. I want to live in a world where people won’t think “gay” if I hold my date’s hand tonight at dinner. I want to live in a world where people just think “Aw, that’s sweet” or think nothing at all about it, the way I think nothing of it when a straight couple does the same thing.
I don’t particularly want to hang a rainbow flag outside my door or make a pointed statement by wearing t-shirts proclaiming I’m gay or get a pink triangle tattoo.
I want to live in world where I’m considered no different from my straight neighbors, because there is no need for labels like “straight” and “gay”.
Maybe that seems like I’m hiding, or I have a problem with being gay…I can assure you neither is true. Maybe saying I want to be “normal” has somehow come to mean “I want to be straight”, which would be the complete opposite of what I mean when I use the word normal.
Because “normal” has nothing to do with being straight or gay. It means “existing” in my vocabulary. It means I get up, go to work, bitch about my job, text the girl I like, make plans for dinner and a movie, go home and eat dinner and go to bed. It means I stress out about student loans and university housing and the drama I hear about from my family and friends. It means I worry about politics and the economy and foreign policy, and not just the ones that might affect me because I’m gay. It means a lot of things, some good and some bad, but it’s never meant “straight” for me.
Because one of the few things in this world that could never be “normal” for me is being straight.
Feel free to disagree with me, I’m just a nerd who likes to over-analyze everything, but I think the world I want to live in as a gay women, is the same one that Charles Xavier wanted to live in as a mutant man.
And he was the hero of the story, Magneto wasn’t. What does that tell you?
I wrote a post in February of this year that was title American Islamophobia, which was a commentary on a video by Pat Condell who is one of my favorite Youtubers*.
He has posted another brilliant video on the subject and so I decided to resurrect the topic as well.
I watched the new video and realized I had nothing further to add, at least not right now…I’m too busy sneezing constantly…so I’ll just post it here and hope it reaches a few new people.
*Ugh, never ever want to use the word ‘Youtubers’ again. There must be a better word for that.
There are an awful lot of things in this country that I think would be much better off if the government stayed out of them.
The United States Postal Service is point one. I hate the USPS, I much prefer UPS or FedEx.
But that’s not what I’m here to talk about.
One of the other things that I strongly believe the government should stay out of is marriage.
Yeah, you heard me right. I’m all for equality, but equality would be much easier to gain if we could stop bickering over what the definition of the word “marriage” is. At this point we just all sound like Clinton asking what the definition of “is” is during his trial.
100 years from now, our descendants will look back at this period of history and laugh and laugh and laugh and ask “Did they really need to get this worked up over a word?”
If the church believes the term ‘marriage’ is theirs…then give it to them. Strike it from usage as a legally binding contract. Civil Unions that guarantee all the same rights as the current legal definition of marriage can be used instead.
Here’s a short list of some of the current benefits of marriage. (borrowed from religioustolerance.org)
|joint foster care, custody, and visitation (including non-biological parents);|
|status as next-of-kin for hospital visits and medical decisions where one partner is too ill to be competent;|
|joint insurance policies for home, auto and health;|
|dissolution and divorce protections such as community property and child support;|
|immigration and residency for partners from other countries;|
|inheritance automatically in the absence of a will;|
|joint leases with automatic renewal rights in the event one partner dies or leaves the house or apartment;|
|inheritance of jointly-owned real and personal property through the right of survivorship (which avoids the time and expense and taxes in probate);|
|benefits such as annuities, pension plans, Social Security, and Medicare;|
|spousal exemptions to property tax increases upon the death of one partner who is a co-owner of the home;|
|veterans’ discounts on medical care, education, and home loans; joint filing of tax returns;|
|joint filing of customs claims when traveling;|
|wrongful death benefits for a surviving partner and children;|
|bereavement or sick leave to care for a partner or child;|
|decision-making power with respect to whether a deceased partner will be cremated or not and where to bury him or her;|
|crime victims’ recovery benefits;|
|loss of consortium tort benefits;|
|domestic violence protection orders;|
|judicial protections and evidentiary immunity;|
The complaint is that current civil unions or domestic partnerships (whatever you want to call them) do not guarantee these same benefits. That’s simple! The government needs to devise a system of domestic partnerships that do guarantee these benefits. They will be totally government based and no one from the Religious Right will have a leg to stand on when they say they are “redefining marriage” and destroying the very moral fabric of our society. I’m sure they will still protest and get mad, but they will just look ridiculous, because, c’mon guys, we made marriage a purely religious institution. No one is “redefining” anything. You got what you wanted, we got what we wanted. Chill.
Then again…they won’t really have got what they wanted, because once marriage reverts to being a purely religious institution the Religious Right will realize that there are an awful lot of religions (and certain denominations of the Christian church) who are completely okay with same-sex marriage as well as domestic partnerships and any gay couple that just really really wants that term marriage attached to their legal commitment will be able to find a church/synagogue/temple/wiccan order/etc. that will marry them.
Sometimes the best way to rip the carpet right out from under your enemy is to change your demands. Make this a legal fight, not a personal one. That’s how you’ll get the equality you want.