Thinking of gay marriage reminds me of Detroit. Here was a team that did everything wrong; up until the third game of this season they hadn't won a game since 2007. The stadium rarely filled up. The sportscasters used them as a joke. The players dealt with humiliation at every turn. The difference between them and us? The Lions tried new things until they found a way to win. They broke their losing streak at 19. We're 0 and 31.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars poured into Maine. We out-fundraised the opposition three to one. We even forced the opposition to change their rhetoric halfway through the campaign, making them recognize our importance as human beings. They beat us by six percentage points to deliver our thirty-first loss on gay marriage. I'll say it again, because it's quite important: 31 losses. Thirty. One. Millions of dollars invested, and the religious right remains undefeated.
Meanwhile, a smartly-deployed, grassroots campaign in Kalamazoo, focused on basic civil rights for all LGBT people, passed by an overwhelming majority. Hundreds of thousands of dollars weren't spent on the campaign, and the media didn't swarm over the city. But Kalamazoo was a stunning success, and dollar-for-dollar one of the best investments of LGBT resources in this election cycle. Why do I say this? Here's a news flash: some people in the LGBT community - myself included - are not homosexuals.
That's right: I'm a straight transgender woman, and I want my rights too. Take a second to think that over before hitting the jump.
Monica over at Transgriot shares some of the same sentiment regarding the LGB losing streak:
Politicians are also looking at that 0-31 number as well. If you folks thought they and the general public weren't paying attention to that stat plus the four decades of shady behavior directed at the trans community, they were.
The noted the legions of gay and lesbian people actively working to cut trans people out of legislation we desperately needed while uttering the words 'we'll come back for you', 'they need more education on this issue', 'get over it' or 'you're not part of 'our' movement'.
After watching that, I wouldn't doubt politicians have in the back of their minds, 'If this is how they treat their allies, how loyal are they going to be to me?' [...]
Now you know what it's like to walk in the trans community's shoes.
It's aggravating to have rights that you already possess taken away, as transpeople's marriage rights are thanks to the conservabacklash from your gay marriage push.
It's not a fun sentiment, but it's one I have to echo. Gay marriage doesn't affect me directly. It's an expensive campaign that doesn't help earn my civil rights. Sure, an argument could be made that gay marriage would matter to me in, say, Tennessee, or a few other states of the union, but the fact remains: I'm a straight woman. I'm not gay.
While millions of dollars pour into a 0-31 marriage campaign, people like me are regularly denied employment, subjected to humiliation and ridicule for just living our lives, and generally treated like perverted, degenerate people who must be hidden from the world. Our needs are excluded from health insurance because of a disproven statistical study in the 1970s, and getting care requires doctors who are willing to work around an uncaring system. Passing as our chosen gender, while a touchy subject within the trans community, is a survival tactic in the real world, as transitioning persons have barely any rights to health, employment, or happiness in our world.
Gay marriage makes none of this go away. None. It actually makes things worse: as gay marriage is pushed, anti-gay forces are on the lookout for us trans people, potential imposters trying to slide by with a same-sex marriage, and denying or annulling our marriage licenses. We are worse than gay - we are super-gay, going above and beyond the call of duty to push the homosexual platform. Thus, while gay marriage goes 0-31 at the polls, trans protections become also-ran issues that are easily brushed off as outcroppings of the marriage question.
Yet Kalamazoo, running on a budget that is, proportionally, a fraction of the size of Maine's, pulls a stunning victory on a civil rights platform that helps everybody, even us straight transgender women.
I'm not saying that marriage isn't important, because it is. I'm simply saying that we're putting the cart before the horse on the issue. Let's take a step back, scoop up the whole community, and try to win some basic human dignity and protections for who we are. There's no reason we should continue a losing streak while we have the ability to enact positive legislation that helps everybody.