Yesterday's mail brought word that West Virginia has established their first state-wide LGBT organization. Fairness West Virginia has an immediate goal of recruiting 1000 new members in their first twenty days - an ambitious target for a state not known for its equal treatment of citizens.
One thing that immediately stood out as I watched the news spread across the blogosphere was a diary post on Pam's House Blend that has Pam's readers talking quite a bit. The author immediately criticizes Fairness West Virginia for their name.
Rather than fight for equality, it seems that some LGBT folks are now willing to settle for fairness. This is something that I find to be quite disturbing.
Here in Monterey County [California], we're not making a plea for fairness. We are working for full equality under the law.
Some will argue that things are different in Appalachia. Homophobia is definitely a problem there. But, is the Salinas Valley really that much different? Just ask those of us who live in the area and you'll find out that discrimination against LGBT people is a serious problem.
This is the same self-serving narcissistic attitude that drives me nuts around the whole marriage debate as I mentioned in my post on GLAD's lawsuit challenging DOMA. The shallow criticism of the blogger only reinforces my belief that queers from more progressive states on the coasts have no f--king clue about life in flyover country.
The blogger obviously hasn't spent time in what the McCain campaign deemed the "real America." Especially rich was this tidbit:
Here in California, gay and lesbian couples have lost the right to marry. That's not fair. But, asking for fairness is not the answer. Asking someone to be fair implies that there is a legitimate choice involved in the matter -- a judgement [sic] to be made. That element of choice must be eliminated in order for us to be equal. No one should have the right to judge us and make us second class citizens.
We can't settle for fairness. We must demand equality.
The poor, poor dear. He lost his right to get married and whines, "That's not fair" like a 4 year old who didn't get their way. It's a tinny complaint that thankfully falls on mostly deaf ears on PHB.
Let me tell him what else "isn't fair":
- In Indiana LGBT people can still be fired for having a picture of their spouse at their desk.
- In Wyoming another young gay man could be beaten until almost dead, tied to a fence post and left to die without it being classified as a hate crime.
- In Tennessee yet another trans woman can be brutally killed or tortured by the police with hardly a murmer from the larger community.
- In North Carolina the recent GLAD lawsuit could spark another big push for a state amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions.
- In West Virginia there are still places where driving through the town with any sort of pro-LGBT bumpersticker can get you pulled over by the police and harassed.
- In Indiana there are still towns where LGBT people or other minorities are verbally threatened, attacked or, at the very least, encouraged to get the hell out of town as quickly as possible.
Instead, the blogger seems to be insinuating that the new group won't be fighting for full equality for the state's LGBT residents by comparing apples and oranges. Yes, California's Salinas Valley is different from West Virginia. Yes, homophobia is a problem across the country.
West Virginians, however, don't have the luxury of enjoying all the protections that come from living in the Salinas Valley. They're fighting for basic fairness - a stepping stone to equality. You have to walk before you can run. These are "luxuries" that California enjoys that a lot of the rest of the country simply doesn't.
The fact that the blogger has no clue how privileged and elitist his post is, only reinforces the notion that many LGBT people have no f--king clue what life is like outside of their narrow liberal bubble.
To pick at the new organization for choosing the name Fairness West Virginia? That's just, well, not fair.
And it's pretty damn petty to boot.