R Conrad

More Queer/Trans Maine Activists Speaking Out Against Equality

Filed By R Conrad | January 21, 2010 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media, Politics
Tags: assimilation, LGBT civil rights, marriage, neoliberal, radical

More and more queer and trans activists in Maine are finally speaking out against the parasitic campaign for gay marriage here in the pine tree state. During the last election in November 2009 any dissent around the issue, particularly why there was so much money being poured into a campaign that was not identified as a priority issue in numerous community needs assessments was met with deafening silence. In the following months after the election I embarked on a video project documenting first hand experiences of queer and trans activists from across the state who were critical of the issue from the start.

The following video, just over a half hour long, consists of eight short multi-generational interviews with queer and trans activists across the state. From the rural western mountains to southern metro areas, from central working class mill towns to small northern cities, these activist are saying no to the mainstream gay marriage campaign and its opportunistic tenure in Maine.

This video originally appeared in the January episode of the Maine Video Activist Network, a monthly news reel created by independent video journalist across the state. It has aired statewide on the cable access channels and streams online. It's after the jump.


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You're going to be fielding some interesting reactions to this, just to warn you! Good luck and welcome to Bilerico! Lol. Just don't take anything personal, and try to stay above the fray! ;)

Gee Conrad, I watched the whole video. Couldn't you find at least one happy or hopeful Socialist.

It's easy to find a bunch of malcontents that are anti-marriage (and of course anti-same-sex-marriage), very willing to blame "white upper class gay men" and who can only "complain" about the lack of resources for their cause. You'll have to do much better to get funding and support.

A few corrections for your participants:

1. Half of Maine didn't vote against same-sex marriage - 266,324 people did, only 20% of Maine's population. 80% of the residents of Maine didn't vote against us. What are you doing to enroll them in our effort?

2. I'm not aware of anyone who funded or helped support the effort in Maine saying or even suggesting that "marriage is the solution." Equality is the solution.

3. As a movement (as dysfunctional as it is) we have a chance at progress when there is hope, instead of complaining about "misguided" resources - instead of making your own plea for those resources.

I would suggest making a video that tries to solve the problems in Maine. Something that encourages participation. Pissing on people you disagree with, stopping short of blaming them, isn't helpful. Asking for help, might be a better approach.

How can we help?

Joshua Mitchell | January 21, 2010 4:18 PM

Andrew, the interviewees express much more ambivalent views than the ones you describe. Why do you enroll them among the "anti-marriage malcontents" when it does not seem that that is a position they are all articulating?

P e r h a p s you should watch the video.

Denise: "All this money could be used for other issues. [SSM] is sucking ALL out resources."

Jesse: "People are getting duped by the Gay Marriage issue - it's a fight for money."

Liam: "I don't support the institution of marriage. It has sucked ALL of the resources."

Brooke: "Gay marriage gutted all other forms of queer activism."

Ellis: "I feel left out."

Emily: "I don't believe in marriage."

Jean: "I was disappointed by the Campaign."

Conrad: "I was bummed about the whole thing in the first place."


You're deliberately cherry-picking to make a point that doesn't even get at the issue raised by Joshua: "it does not seem that that is a position they are all articulating?" Many of those very same people also record *ambivalence* about and even support for marriage. The point is not that every single one of them is completely against marriage and many state their sense of shock and sadness. The video, on the whole, records a complex set of emotions felt by many people.

But, of course, that much is clear to anyone who's actually watched the video *and* is willing to be truthful about what they watched.

It's interesting that so many who paint gay marriage as a movement for justice, compassion, fairness, equality and so on are also the same people who have no trouble rendering silent even the ambivalence and conflicting emotions of those who might actually be on their side. It's little wonder that the marriage movement is floundering.

I don't have to "cherry pick" comments - Conrad already did that - all 8 participants.

Then, he introduced the video here by saying:

"More and more queer and trans activists in Maine are finally speaking out against the parasitic campaign for gay marriage here in the pine tree state."

It's not complicated. If this group of malcontents doesn't support same-sex marriage, then don't. But please don't try to abuse us with how "wrong" it is - we've had enough of that. Really, we have.

If you want to be effective, make a video about that.

I gotta say the "queer" (queer is a political identity, not a sexual identity) "activists" are full of shit. I'm so tired of these well-meaning but ignorant people LYING about the marriage equality movement. Bourgeois, heterosexist institution blah blah blah... This movement is not about the state, religion, or monogamy. It's about equality and civil rights. These ignorant people don't get that. If we can't fight and win on an issue as seriously harmless as equal marriage rights, then we will NEVER win sexual liberation for all and certainly not rights for transgender people. These "activists" are clearly out of touch with reality. The marriage equality movement isn't the result of some brainstorming session by Gay Inc. It comes from the very real, very meaningful discrimination faced by lgbt couples and families. Has the movement been hijacked by Gay Inc? Absolutely. Just like every fucking social movement has been hijacked by liberals more interested in fundraising and voting for Democrats (instead of winning equality or liberation). But to shit on the demands of real working lgbt people who are suffering in the here and now is to paint yourself as an irrelevant reactionary who stands practically on the same side as the bigots who want us to go back into the closet. The marriage equality movement hasn't narrowed our goals. In fact, it's expanded our goals. Without the explosion of activism in response to Prop 8, we would not have seen the size and number of protests against transgender discrimination. I went to my first Transgender Day of Remembrance this year precisely because I became of aware of this event through activist work after Prop 8. These pathetic children dreaming of revolution yet acting like reactionaries need to read fewer books on anarchism, identity politics, and queer theory and learn from the history of the lgbt struggle in this country. Their comments are not even original. They are simply regurgitating what privileged college professors have argued. It's easy to abstain from a movement for certain benefits and rights when you have a cushy professorship.

Calling them "well-meaning" is a little too charitable, I think. Most of the "queers" I've encountered are art school hipsters and punk rockers who criticize everything that seems "conformist" and reflexively embrace whatever "radical" idea they read in some anarchist magazine. That's why they're so good at coming up with impossible utopian ideals but fail to come up with practical solutions to real-world problems.

lourdes hunter | December 10, 2010 7:53 AM

SO if ME is not past we will never win equal rights for Transgender individuals... That is hilarious. One has nothing to do with the other. Here we go with that, Lets get this first and then we will come back for you theory. Why do you think queer and trans people are fed up. ME is not that important to everyone. Some of us just want jobs and equal opportunity to get one. We also want housing and health care and not to be stoned or killed or harassed or attacked bc we dont fit in the nice and neat package of socially constructed gender norms..

I'm a little fatigued with the "marriage equality has hijacked the movement" rant. I admit to feeling that way about "Gays in the Military" back in 1992, wondering how a movement about the right to love seemingly overnight became about the right to kill.

Now, when the movement is finally focused on the core issue of our identity and struggle - the essence of our relationships and our inalienable right to love the person of our choice and have our commitment to build a happy life together be honored on an equal footing with other familial relationships -- we get this blather that the movement is off-kilter and lost in some monkey-see monkey-do middle-class white homogeneity.

With all due respect to the other issue of import, poverty, healthcare, employment etc., it's the same sex relations that define the oppositional angst. As the pinnacle of "relationship" in our society - like it or not, good for our sex lives or not (Yasmin) - marriage equality hits the nail on the head.

As concerns our "movement" priorities, I offer this aside.

I am a pastor in the United Methodist Church. The UMC Book of Discipline, which isn't near as fun as it sounds, provides that as a gay man I cannot be a pastor. Oops. So my job hangs in the balance every day. The BoD also requires "celibacy in singleness and fidelity in marriage." Although I married my partner of 20 years during California's Rainbow Summer '08 and have subsequently (you were right Yasmin) gone from fidelity in singleness to celibacy in marriage, I cannot "conduct ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions" or allow them to take place in my church in West Hollywood. Oops again.

That said, we recently had a case of a transgendered pastor go all the way to the UMC Judicial Council (our Supreme Court), which found that short of that pastor "self-avowing as a practicing homosexual" in her new body", there was no grounds to remove her from the pulpit she occupied before and since the change. So even in a clear transgender employment case, the rub was still around the potential same sex relationship. While I don't suggest that this is normative in terms of employment non-discrimination, the church being the strange beast that it is, it is demonstrative of the central hurdle to progress across the spectrum of LGBTQ equality, namely who we love.


Pastor Scott

well, one tone argument so far that ignores the basic fact that money donated to groups for purposes other than marriage was, indeed, shifted to marriage efforts.

As a friend of mine has noted recently, accountability is important. And all too often, those accountable find it rather uncomfortable.

Accountability is critical, but there is NO evidence that money was "shifted" from "non-marriage LGBT groups." It's speculation and it's divisive.

I would remind those that are upset that SSM gets funding to create their own request for funding. I've contributed a substantial amount of money to LGBT efforts and never re-directed or shifted any of it. I have never seen any evidence that that has happened. I've only seen the claims (complaints).

We can do better.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | January 21, 2010 5:26 PM

I also resent this "upper class white gay men" or even just "white gay men" stuff. My African-American longtime partner and I are reasonably comfortable in retirement, but feel that we're discriminated against because of restricting marriage laws while at the same time have contributed time and time again to support other parts of the diverse LGBT community. Until we stop stereotying each other within the community, how can we ever be critical of our common enemy of doing the same thing?

Don,

You're not seriously expecting that your interracial relationship will make us rethink the fact that the gay movement as a whole *is* dominated by privileged men who are more often than not white, are you? And do you feel that it's a give-give situation: you support "other parts of the diverse LGBT community" and in return they must support the marriage movement, even if they don't agree with its politics? Surely, you didn't support these "other parts" just so that you could one day extract their support in turn?

And have you watched the video? As Joshua has pointed out, it expresses a range of ambivalent responses. The first person actually said, "I would have liked it to have passed...because there are people who want to get married and should be able to..." Others are even more in support of marriage. I could go on transcribing quotes for you, but it might be best if you actually watch the video. If anything, it dismantles a few stereotypes that pro-gay marriage folks have about those of who are critical of the emphasis on GM.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | January 21, 2010 6:44 PM

Yasmin, it's fair point to ask if I have viewed the video in question. The answer is that I have not, and I will do so before any further response to your other questions.

It may or may not be that the video does not reflect what I believe has largely become the norm for screeds against "rich white gay males" concerning these matters. My initial comments were a more general observation concerning the totality of what I perceive rather than sny particular expression which might deviate from that norm.

Very honestly, and let us be honest here, employment, housing and basic identity protections are of deeper urgency and necessity to much of the LGBT community than is or was marriage.

This truly is, on a very real sense, the adaptation of the white middle class straight paradigm to our queer culture. The problem is, not everyone benefits.

Further, the comments about the revolutionary bona fides of the interviewees are to be taken with a huge grain of salt when they come from morning-coat revolutionaries of the gay rights movement themselves.

Brava, Yasmin!

Then RAISE MONEY for that. If you are against the simple idea that people who wish to support LGBT issues have no right to choose which issues are important to them - then I think you miss the simple principles of freedom, independence and equality.

Instead of trying to garner support (and resources) by demeaning ideas you disagree with, how about just making your case. Try doing it in a way that will inspire people to participate. I would suggest being positive.

Thanks, Maura.

And Andrew,

Let me get this straight:

You don't think that things like housing, employment protection, education are owed to anyone, right? They are not the purview of the state and the schmucks who don't have these should suck it up and figure out a way to fundraise effectively to get these basic benefits? You can frame them as abstract principles like "freedom, independence and equality" but you already have a lot of that. What you REALLY want is for the state to legalise your status as married individuals by giving you state benefits.

You want that same state to grant you those "1000+" benefits. On what grounds? You're free, independent, and equal enough to get married in a church tomorrow. Clearly, many religious institutions, like churches, will happily marry you and your friends will come bearing gifts. Why should the state give you anything more? Why can't YOU just "RAISE MONEY" for anything more?

Why should some of have to beg for the basics or support for the same from donors while people like you get those same benefits from the state?

Logic, 'tis a beautiful thing, no?

What Gay Inc. is really saying is: the lives of married and well-off people who don't need to worry about essentials like health care matter more than the those who have to worry about keeping roofs over their heads. The mainstream marriage-wallahs care not a whit about the poor among us, except when it becomes convenient, as in their occasional assertion that marriage will somehow benefit the poor.

But, oh right, I forgot. The poor should just "RAISE MONEY."

And let me be clear: The "you" here is a rhetorical device - I think AndrewW's views are representative of a significant number of gay marriage supporters (although definitely not all, as we can see in the video). So anyone should feel free to jump in.

Andrew,

The complaint isn't about how you spend your money -- it's about how organizations do. If I'm donating to Marriage Equality or the No on 8 campaign, there's no surprise when all the money goes to marriage. But if I want to donate to support trans youth in the school system, sometimes my only choice is to donate to a broader LGBT organization. And when 60-80% of my money then goes to marriage, I'm a bit frustrated.

I do raise money in fact, and so do several other folks critical of a marriage first agenda. But even if I didn't, everyone who has a stake in the LGBT movement should be allowed to voice their concerns -- even if they don't have answers or solutions. And much of what you cite ("I feel left out" and "I was disappointed with the campaign") is hardly worthy of "malcontent" status.

After all, you seem to be voicing some very strong concerns with what the folks in this video are saying, but you're not offering any solution for them beyond "shut up." What do you propose is an effective way to deal with the situation when you volunteer and donate to the one state organization supposed to represent you yet you feel like they are failing to represent your interests?

I do those things Andres.
I object to the dismissiveness that the oncerns of a portion of the LGBT community are treated with.

I object to the dismissiveness and disdain that the political views of these young people are treated with.

And NO ONE could possibly claim that Gay Inc has been anything but wholly obsessed with the marriage issue and ignoring other pressing and perhaps more "gay global" issues in the process.

I've been a revolutionary Andrew. I got my "street creds" on a barricade in Madrid opposing a takeover attempt by Franquistas backed by the Catholic Church. Prior to the day of the attempted coup, you would have dismissed the lot of the women who stood there as being whiney socialists like these students. Don't dismiss their views, their dissatisfaction or their desire for equality. At the end of the Obama administration our rights may depend upon the fire of people like them.

If you don't want a gay marriage, don't have one.

Hmmm..I say that to raving bigots all the time. And now here at Bilerico.

Lucky you got rid of that Gold fellow.

Hmmmm, interesting age range. Only one person seemingly age 40+. Rest a bunch of college kids or persons freshly out of college.

I've heard those with college education at some point get to enjoy some nice disposable income, as opposed to less financially advantaged brackets who see more benefit in marriage.

I also notice they use "queer" as their identity label or a label to paint ALL LGBT (regardless of sizable sectors of the population that would repel such a label) persons. So a particular set of people. Funny that they presume to know what the community wants or needs (assuming there's even a community; I'm starting to feel there isn't one).

Then you look at the couples that are getting married, usually in the age range of 30+ with some 20's sprinkled here and there, and you have to go "Hmmmmmmm, talk about perspectives".

Though it does not endear your position to those who favor marriage when you call their rite "unimpressive" or characterize it as an unfair leech of resources.

1. As Guest2 above said, if you don't want a gay marriage, don't have one. Queer individuals who tell me they don't support the institution of marriage and use that as a reason to oppose expanding basic rights have, unfortunately, a very narrow-minded view. I am fine if you feel you cannot get yourself to actively support a campaign. I myself am a partisan Democrat but I can't bring myself to do much for candidates like Creigh Deeds. But there is no excuse for actively opposing campaigns to expand equality for people who need it.

2. I did not hear a single individual actually cite any data to support claims like "marriage has sucked ALL of the resources". It is all anecdotal feelings- even from people who admitted they don't actively participate much in the LGBT community.

Additionally, people have a right to participate in whatever forms of activism they feel. Too many people have this misguided notion that this all happens on a macro, institution level. People actually dug deep in their pockets to give to the No On 1 campaign. So I find it incredible that some of the people in this video actually complain that people who want to be married have "sucked resources" away. Um, what business is it of yours to tell someone that? I gave $10 to Doctors Without Borders the other day. Whoops, there's another $10 that didn't go towards another cause. There I go "sucking away" resources from issues that are less important to me. Shame on me.

People have a right to prioritize their own interests and causes. There are a million causes on this planet. If not enough people are giving to/otherwise supporting whatever your cause is, that is at least partly your fault. Figure out how to make it more relevant to their lives, or make them care more. You don't have any business telling people who need basic rights like hospital visitation, not to mention equality with heterosexual peers, and engage in activism to achieve such, that they're "sucking away" resources from issues they actually care less about.

3. I sincerely hope this is not one of those drive-by posts without any participation by the author, a la Ronald Gold.

As someone who myself can get pretty emotionally invested in the comments to my own posts, its wise to sometimes take a step back, let the discussion play out a bit, and then come in with a little less reactionary, more measured reaction to the comments. Conrad is clearly very invested in this point of view, and he may be wise to let comments play out a bit first before he comes in.

I myself refrained from commenting to some of the responses for that same reason. I'm pretty emotionally involved in this myself. I've been trying to await the best time to jump in.

This is a really divisive issue in our community, and Conrad is not on the side of the issue that we generally hear from a lot. In fact, rather than blow his whole wad respond in comments, he may want to turn his reaction into even more posts.

No matter where we stand on the matter, thanks go out to Conrad and the other posters that go against the grain. If anything, it keeps those of us slightly more conservative on our toes, and keep us from falling into ruts and groupthink. I like being challenged, personally, and I always want to know what other sorts of notions are out there. As long as its respectful and not personal, its nothing but constructive.

Just make sure its kept respectful and not personal, though. This debate generally degenerates into childish name-calling quickly. Be willing to see things from the other side--and I say this to both sides.

Destroying inequality in all of our society's institutions needs to be the backbone of our movement. If that means completely abandoning some of those institutions, that has to be a conversation we have as a greater society. In the mean time, we must eliminate the inequalities that exist. As much as I spend a lot of time on non-marriage issues in the LGBT community, I completely disagree with the attack on marriage activists as anti-movement. Its completely false to call this a 'rich gay' issue when the privileges of marriage benefit those that live check-to-check more than those more financially solvent.

Also the idea that keeping same-sex-couples out of marriage will save them from domestic violence is just hogwash. We have same-sex marriage in six states, and we have massive domestic violence problems in fifty. Domestic violence is a major problem in our community now, and marriage is not going to make this better or worse. If Ohio taught us anything, legal recognition of relationships in the case of domestic violence is really important.

A final note of advice: this video is emotional and compelling, but it could be much more compelling with editing that bring out some focus. I was not much convinced by someone taking a break to play with their dog. I was compelled the most by the woman originally from Georgia who spoke to specific instances and issues. I wish you luck and I look forward to more of your posts! Even if we don't agree, I do think that your voice is important, and this is a point of view often lost in the mainstream discussion. Let's bring more voices into the conversation.

Well said.

I would add that opinions without solutions are not productive. It's easy to complain. It's much harder (and more meaningful) to actually try to create the result you desire. I want to be enrolled, not insulted.

If there is an appeal (somewhere in here) that we change our thinking or how we use our resources - it wasn't in this video. This video was anger, frustration and disagreement. We've all had enough of that. How about some ideas? Some plans? Some requests for help?

We can do better. We must do better.

I protest the amount of money the first interviewee spends to feed her dog and on slogan T-shirts....sucking the money from real solutions to real problems!

AND, Tovariches, when are you going to rise up and cast off the Assimilationist Shame of the most traditionalist, heteronormative brainwashing of all: SEX!

Why are we still slaves to trying to be like them! In addition collaborating in the perpetuation of this evil institution, don't you see the many ways you're helping to fill the greedy coffers of diabolical international corporations that oppress working class and poor black and brown people around the world, not to mention how much money is sucked [no pun intended] away from real solutions to real problems when spent on condoms and lubricants and Viagra and dildos and vibrators and batteries and "sexy underwear" and porn and nail clippers and deoderants and tweezers and laundry detergent that poison the environment just because you have to wash your assimilationist sex crazed sheets!

Did you not here the plea for help, the call to rebellion when the Divine Miss M said, "We've washed! We've showered! We've shaved! We've FDSed ourselves into a stupor!"????

Penises, clitorises, breasts: nothing but tools of our OPPRESSION! Just say NO!!!!! Hands above the covers! Eyes on the prize!

"Hands above the covers! Eyes on the prize!"

Hysterical!!!!

Hmmm...

I'm kinda with Phil on this in that I think it's wonderful to see diverse commentary in our community and on this issue. Why let Yasmin have all the fun! :)

Even though I will admit to being somewhat sympathetic to Conrad, I do support gay marriage because, indeed, it DOES change the definition of marriage. Our relationships do need to be recognized in an equitable fashion.

And just as the gays change the "definition of marriage," there nothing that says that the "definition of marriage" can't be further changed, maybe along the lines that Nancy Polikoff has envisioned.

To the person who was droning on about not trusting the state and that gays and lesbians who want to get married should simply find a sympathetic preacher, I say find a sympathetic doctor, carpenter, and grocer. If one wants to play at outsider politics one should probably get used to being on the outside.

I've always been of the opinion that a fully-inclusive ENDA is overall the best thing we could do for our community.

On the other hand, if we had marriage equality, then I'd have health insurance and wouldn't be staring bankruptcy in the face.

The fact is, these are *all* vitally important issues for somebody.

Exactly. As a community ALL must be "vitally important issues." I support equality. That includes marriage equality. I don't make that more important than any other LGBT issue and I certainly don't piss on anyone else's parade.

Some of the above comments are simply expressions of anger. We should have already learned that anger may inspire and even motivate us, but it has never accomplished anything.

"pissing on someone's parade" is responding in anger as well, though.

The idea that marriage equality is a bamboozle is not a popular notion in our movement, and we often react with vitriol to those that believe this, rather than try to understand what they're trying to teach us. No wonder they feel silenced and pushed out.

The view ought to refresh the rest of us in the movement, not enrage us. We need to be able to own the charge that sometimes the whole movement does get boiled down to marriage equality, and this does take away from many of the other issues.

Massachusetts gender identity employment protections is a prime example.

Let's own this criticism and--rather than bury it--lets try to make it better. Now, I do believe marriage equality SHOULD be a goal of the movement. However, lets always try to keep shedding light on the other goals as well and the hard work being done on them--especially employment discrimination. Until we have a Federal employment discrimination law that protects gender identity, we'll have inequality all over this nation--including in the marriage equality state of Massachusetts.

We should also be finding ways we can continue to obtain marriage equality where we can. Lets focus our energy on smart fights, though. States whose Constitutions can't be amended by referendum, nor that have a "people's veto." Iowa was a smart win. If we can get victories in states where the win secured is less precarious, we won't have to have massive Prop 8, Question 1 style campaigns that bring the fight to us, and force us to pour all we got into protecting our gains. In the mean time, as we weave our way through marriage victories of higher quality, lets focus on getting employment discrimination equality for gender identity and sexual orientation EVERYWHERE.

Andrew, I can genuinely say that yours are the angriest comments of all, and this tends to be the case in every single post that expresses the slightest bit of skepticism toward the institution of marriage. You might be a little less quick to accuse others of angry commenting.

AND THIS is the reality for many of us. Thank you. Perspective.

We can yell at one another for assimilating or yell at one another for droning on or whatever, but in the end how do I make it another month, happy, healthy and above water.

Our social institutions ARE screwed up and create horrible power vacuums. How do we help people now? How do we keep people afloat today while we continue to convince a highly skeptical society to make more massive leaps to include everyone? Noone's wrong here, we're just having a really hard time admitting that we're not the only ones who are right. That woman who Greg said was "droning" made brilliant points. She was actually the most compelling argument in the video for me, personally. And the society she wants to build is one I'd like to move toward, but in the mean time, there are lots of people whose lives could be improved--even just a bit--by making our current institutions MORE fair and equal than they are.

This may be thought of as wasted energy. Perhaps it is. But at the end of the day, how can we keep what happened to Phoebe from happening to more people? One way--not the only way--but one way is to include same-sex couples in the institution of marriage.

At the same time, Phoebe sweetie, if I was facing bankruptcy, I would not have been nearly as diplomatic as you when responding to this. I'd have been a lot angrier. I wish you luck, and I hope you get things sorted out, and I pray to God that you never have to suffer anything like this again! You don't deserve it! May these trials be followed with nothing but prosperity.

Phil there will always be people whose lives can be improved. That fact is completely independent of my desire to get married if I want. The same sex marriage debate isn't what's standing in the way of universal health care. It isn't what's screwing up the economy.

The woman who does not want me to trust the state for a marriage license may or may not have a point. Who exactly though does she suggest I trust to protect my employment rights, or to underwrite universal health care, or keep the air and drinking water safe?

Thanks for posting these great perspectives!

I am a member on a healthcare board here in AZ.
I know healthcare is not nearly as sexy and exciting as marriage. And I do believe we should have full marriage rights. Why have one trump the other ???
I also think we must have a Trans inclusive ENDA.
And gender identity/gender expression and sexual identity should be protected categories in jobs, schools and housing. Why should one be more important than another- they are ALL important.
I think the 'gay marriage' thing is the focus and cause du millisecond simply because the winguts are so freaked out by it. They know that firing people from their jobs due to things like sexual orientation or gender identity is not really a great idea-they will eventually have to fold on those issues. And we will have to continue holding them accountable. But 'marriage' is a huge huge hot button issue. It's not even our community that has this focus under control. It is the primary focus of our enemies. If we were all single then at least (in their minds) maybe we would be ok or even change our minds or something- yeah right...but once we are in a committed relationship- the right wingers really really get scared - and feel that the definition of their very identity is at stake.
There's a great bumpersticker from Canada or Massachusetts I think - written by straight allies- 'Our marriage doesn't NEED defending...sorry about yours'...
I agree that marriage is important- and so is HEALTHCARE and job security (hah I know not in this economy) and ENDA and basic EQUAL rights.
So I will support ALL efforts toward equality.
But not necessarily one above the other. Incidentally I am 40 years old.

flabbergasted | January 22, 2010 10:02 AM

Why is it on every single bilerico thread, the same names appear over and over -- and only these names. Is this some weird private message board shared with the public for some reason? Does the poster named "yasmin nair" own bilerico? They seem to comment (putting it politely) on every other person's comments on every single thread by ripping them to shreds. The other same names do the same thing. This is dialogue? No this is a house party for a handful of loudmouthed privileged bullies it seems to me.

I completely disagree with your characterization of Yasmin. If anything I'M all over Bilerico. Yasmin and I may often disagree, but I personally wish I saw her speak up on MORE threads. Her views, Tobi's views and Conrad's views ARE relevant, even if they challenge my own, and the often silenced in the comments up in here. In fact, I am thoroughly disappointed we don't hear from Tobi more, because I feel I learn so much whenever she jumps in.

We can't say STFU to people just because we disagree with them. That's not intelligent debate.

I'm a pro-marriage activist, and I can't answer all of their questions. Can you? How have we allowed the entire movement to become almost solely about marriage, when employment discrimination and--worse yet--social violence and isolation is still a problem?

I'm a firm believer in continuing to fight to secure legal recognition and equality, but I need to be able to justify that against counseling and community programs that are shutting down because not enough money is flowing to them, while we keep waging expensive and often disappointing fights for marriage equality. I'm not sure how to answer to that charge, but I certainly can't just dismiss it with the wave of my hand.

Actually, "flabbergasted,"

I own stock in Bilerico, and I show up here in order to boost readership and thus increase my profits.

Seriously, though, as you're probably well aware: Some posts attract certain kinds of audiences, others don't. Of course, some of us post using our real names, which you might see pop up often. The marriage issue is of particular interest to some, trans-issues are of special interest to some, family issues are of special interest to some and so on. While many people have to remain anonymous for perfectly legitimate reasons (such as serious privacy concerns), others roam around the site using different nom de webs just so that they can post a lot of random comments, thus making it seem like they constitute an irate crowd. Funny thing, though - no matter how many names they use, it's always easy to discern their identities, either from their IP addresses or their distinctive writing styles.

Writing styles are like fingerprints; someone can use as many names as they like, but they can't hide their "voice," no matter how hard they try, and it's always a dead giveaway. Very few people realise that. ;-)

gasterflabbing | January 22, 2010 1:02 PM

No content. All snark. The bilerico style. How does your quasi FBI-threat to reveal identity ramble address the question of your ubiquity on every post here at bilerico. How does your nasty snark address the topic of YOU endlessly hogging every thread with your attacks? Address that please. Of course you can't. You can only attack and snark and threaten. Learn??? from people like the bilerico goonsquad? A lesson in bully tactics maybe.

THIS is snarky? Oh honey, you've never been to PHB, Queerty, G-A-Y... or pretty much a plethora of other LGBT blogs out there. If we're going to call Bilerico snarky, what do we call them!?! ;-)

Ok, that was snarky.

Perhaps there are some who would like to know about some of the dynamics, and consequences, of a successful equal marriage struggle: the one in Canada.

A long term struggle, which received a sizable, and anonymous, donation from the United States--only for marriage--there were always signs that the infrastructure would be used not only for the struggle for transgender and transsexual people, but also for the many common causes along the road to freedom.

However, the skills necessary for developing true coalitions were never developed, because since everyone was gay there was no need; everyone understood what it was about, even though public statements place this struggle within the larger struggle for freedom. There was a wide array of professional organizations, including social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, churches--and transgender and transsexual people, including me--many whose goal was not for marriage for themselves, but for the rights of gay and lesbian people to do so if they wished, but also as part of a larger struggle for equality.

In retrospect the claim is made this struggle was by gay and lesbian people, for gay and lesbian people only--no one else had anything to do with it. And this justifies the complete abandonment of any future struggle for equality.

The constant fundraising by both Egale Canada and Canadians for Equal Marriage, every month, like clockwork, over the years became onerous. The refusal of Egale Canada to seriously consider the struggle for the rights of transsexual and transgender people, even to make plans for the future was reminiscent of Yasmin's comment:

It's interesting that so many who paint gay marriage as a movement for justice, compassion, fairness, equality and so on are also the same people who have no trouble rendering silent even the ambivalence and conflicting emotions of those who might actually be on their side. It's little wonder that the marriage movement is floundering.

Now, five years later, the movement that promised so much for the future has collapsed.

There are no known plans to extend the campaign to the needs of transgender and transsexual people--there never were plans to extend the campaign to gay and lesbian people who never fit the image of middle-class, middle-age and white: youth, seniors (now the very activists who won this struggle), racialized.

The voices of gay and trans youth during the campaign were ignored. The voices of transgender and transsexual people were ignored--and purged.

I have previously cited arguments made about the strategic decision made in 2004 to ignore opinion survey results that showed decisively that rights for transgender and transsexual people were more popular that gay marriage, and to proceed with campaigns for same sex marriage, energized the Evangelical base and was a significant cause for the re-election of Bush.

These voices, these arguments must be heard.

There is no reason people shouldn't proceed in the direction they are determined to proceed in, regardless of how reactionary it is.

But all should be clear of the consequences.

One of the speakers on the video pointed out we need some more creative thinking when working on these issues.

Here's are some ideas ---

Point out to the anti-gay-marriage folks that they are asking the government to step into the churches' private business to determine who the churches can marry and who they can't. Does the Christian right really want the government to interfere with the churches? Do you really want the government to tell your pastor how your church can do marriages?

Opponents of gay marriage say that they don't want to discriminate against lgbt people, they just want to "protect marriage". Put them on the spot and get them on the record as to whether or not they support civil unions. Use their words later when civil unions come up for a vote.

On another note, the video didn't strike me as anti-gay-marriage, what I got from it was that these people felt that gay marriage was one of many issues to fight for, which is pretty much how I feel about it.

Well Conrad... you go ahead and be against Marriage Equality. Fight the fight.

Yasmin and Tobi... bitching about where the money goes, has a familiar scent to OUR TAX DOLLARS PAY FOR THIS?

Personally, from what I have observed... the same people bitching about Marriage Equality are the same people who are bitching against any DADT campaigns. They think that is a ludicrous effort too.

But it's not in my experience. In my history. In my life DADT is very important. W/all the "radical" focus of equality, health care, careers/job opportunities... historically the Military provided all of that w/a Presidential signature first to men of color and then to all women who enlisted or commanded.

Same pay for the rank. Same job. Same opportunity. Queer radicals don't like the Military... but the historical evidence is there.
It's not a pretty history either, but whenever anything changes... it's always a ugly duckling at first.

POC received opportunities for careers in the Military before Civilian Society even considered a Black Airline Pilot. Women were/are paid equally penny for penny, before civilian society has even TODAY caught up.

The greater umbrella ella ella of the LGBTQRXY&Z's don't all have the same life.
We don't.

Acknowledging so is okay. Supporting what is important individually... is also okay.

So I say take some advice that has been given here in the comments and support/raise funds/positively campaign to what is important to YOUR life experience.

I have no intention to diminish your life/experience/beliefs/history.
But mine are just as important.

Dieks;
My complaint is that Marriage became an all comsuming obsession to the detriment of other issues. We need balance.

And, "lefty liberal Lesbian" though I am(exactly when did that become a bad thing on an LGBT board? Did I miss the GOProud takeover?) I served as a naval officer, both in the naval advocate's office and afloat. Mother of a serving soldier, I am hardly anti-military.

We are not going to make any more than very small further progress on marriage for awhile. We desparately need to shore up our civil rights status prior to the loss of democratic majorities in Congress. This means ENDA and DADT.

Maura, I specifically stated the user names "Conrad, Yasmin and Tobi" in my OP for a reason. That reason being, that I have witnessed when a BP Contributer makes a post regarding DADT they have made their opinions regarding the militarty quite vocal.

Which is ABSOLUTELY their perogative, experience, life-style and beliefs.
Go for it!

I don't agree w/those opinions... but then again, I'm not BP writer, I'm not here to tell them what they should believe, live, focus or contribute too.

I find many of those who are RAILING against the umbrella ella ella LGBTQRXY&Z focus on Marriage a tad Chicken Little.The sky is falling... the sky is falling! reactionary and all because a acorn plopped them on the head.

The alternative of not sitting under a acorn tree and finding some better shade, find the tree that makes you feel less panicked... seems like a more reasonable/realistic/responsible way of communicating.

I've witnessed half... HALF of this Country's population battle out rights for women. Whether they be for equality, birth control, WoC, L/B issues, health care, career, stay at home mom, don't even get me started on breast feeding La Leache League Nazis, etc.

Half the population still doesn't have it, get it or have any type of unity. Women in their own community of being a woman can not agree w/the priorities.

They are still paid less. Health care for a woman is a JOKE. Single mothers have deadbeat dads affording new families and vacations... but cant seem to pay for child support. Women are losing their rights to even control their own bodies. Every two mins. a woman in this country is either being raped or physically assaulted.

Every two minutes.

So excuse me if I don't panic about how a portion of the Great and Notorious Oz... I mean LGBTQRXY&Z's wants to focus on Marriage.

That's the tree they like and the shade that makes them feel comfortable.

Nothing wrong w/that.

I will pick what is important to me... DADT. Because that is what is important to me.

As a "diverse" LGBTQRXY&Z community, I actually recognize that under this HUGE umbrella, someone is eventually going to get wet.

Half the US population has done it for a for a few years... and it's been mostly half that populations own fault.

I appreciate and thank you for your time served as a US Military Officer. My prayers are w/your son. I acknowledge that you are a very valued/life experienced lesbian leftist woman who makes herself visible.

But as a prior service enlisted, w/a loooooooooong history of DADT, a mother, a granddaughter of Immigrants to this country and a invisible lesbian woman...

I wasn't born w/equal rights.
I never lived a life of equality...
And I still got through it all.

The story of priorities is really freaking long for all of us.

THAT is what we all have in-common under the LGBTQRXY&Z umbrella ella ella.

Different priorities.

Diversity isn't about all of use agreeing and being "the same".

Dieks;
I was not in the US Navy. I served in the Armada Espanola. My son, however, is in the US Army...

And I am in agreement with you overall...

Y'know, it's interesting how while it's great to hear this coming from many different perspectives in the LGBT community, it wasn't all that long ago that it was mainly transfolks singing this refrain and being routinely ignored (think Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, federally).

Hopefully, people are finally coming to understand that when you try to advocate your own "equality" by achieving it at the expense of the rights of others what you may gain may make your own life easier, but it is by its very definition not real equality.

Speaking on behalf of the Transsexual Taliban local 678 of United Classic Transsexuals and HBSers we stand in vaginal solidarity with Jasmine on this issue.

I hope this clears all this up.

Catheryn, you just won the best post award from me on this thread.

And I'm fairly sure everyone here knows how poorly you and I get along, lol.

This one will have me chuckling for days.

Now if only you could get a few more of the Union members to remember this approach (although my suggesting almost certainly damns any chance for that, eh?)...

There's got to be a t-shirt. I love "vaginal solidarity!"

Oddly enough, I have been accused of exhibiting anger on this site. I have not. In fact, I have expressed the disagreeable idea (for most on this site) that anger does NOT serve us well. Anger may inspire, but there is NO evidence it produces anything - in fact, it does the opposite.

My response to this video was that there wasn't anything new or positiveproductive in the 8 minutes. The comments amplify that opinion.

There are very real divisions in the LGBT Community and most of those divisions are about priorities. It is healthy to have a discussion about the best use of our collective resources, but it isn't helpful to angrily condemn or dismiss any efforts. That type of exchange, if honest and objective, would be about STRATEGY, but we never make it that far.

The predominant theme in this collection of comments is that resources are not being spent effectively or efficiently. Each of us has our own perspective on the best use of funds, but none of us has the truth. That will only happen when we agree to be fully accountable (and honest) about every tactic or strategy. THAT is the fundamental problem with our dysfunctional movement. HRC scores politicians, but nobody scores HRC.

We must, at some point, drop our favorites and our particular cause and seek the greater good for ALL LGBT persons. It is only that then will we be able to see a clear path to our equality.

During the last year I have spent a considerable amount of money on research and I have held more than two dozen meetings in several US cities. Initially these meetings were advertised as a "Conversation to Create an LGBT Equality Strategy." It was (and is) clear that our movement does not have a strategy. Instead, we have many competing organizations using a variety of different tactics. There is also a significant amount of waste in duplicated efforts.

At these meetings the conversation quickly turned into a fight about resources and why different tactics were better than others. This lead to shouting matches and many people leaving the conversation frustrated and wounded. The idea of gathering people to create a cohesive strategy was lost on single issue advocacy and competition for money. It failed.

I decided to change the purpose of the meeting with a very specific request: "How and When Can the LGBT Community Achieve Full Equality." A completely different crowd showed up. Gone were the board members of HRC and other organizations. Gone were the direct action activists. Gone were the political groups, including Stonewall Democrats and the Log Cabin Republicans. These re-defined meetings were attended by a primarily young crowd that was NOT part of any LGBT movement or non-profit advocacy group - they were inexperienced and they didn't bring any favorite ideas or tactics.

We explored one question: How and When can we actually WIN our equality? We had dismissed the uninspiring goal of "one of these days" and the idea that all progress was "incremental." We also acknowledged that there had NEVER been a strategy or idea that had been presented with a timeline and a promise of success. Just because that had never happened, we didn't believe it was impossible.

After several months of meetings I was presented with four separate ideas that working together created the ability to win our full equality. They are four ideas that have never been present in our 50 year struggle and they included MATH. Math that enabled the ability (with a great deal of accuracy) to determine exactly when full equality could be achieved.

The HOW and WHEN had been discovered, researched, developed and packaged. I have since acquired these ideas and have spent the last few months developing seven separate media campaigns to support the effort. These media campaigns were the result of an honest acknowledgment that for decades we have been defined (even branded) by others, yet we have never defined ourselves or re-branded what it means to be gay or queer. That will happen this time. It will happen in a way many of us have imagined, but also believed, because we simply are the most creative, clever and talented community on earth. I think we'll do a great job defining ourselves, for a change.

I engaged in this effort because I believe we will never re-ignite our movement or gain the necessary participation we require UNTIL we believe we can WIN. Too many in our community have participated only to become further disappointed and even disillusioned. Only one-out-of-ten of us does anything to further the goal of full equality. That level of participation will never allow us to win this battle.

I share this with readers because I have a great deal of concern about how we fail to objectively look at our own Community and our faltering movement. There is a great deal of internal anger - whether directed at HRC and others Gay Inc., or at competing tactics. It is because of that anger (which I experienced firsthand at the initial strategy meetings) that we never get to the work of figuring out HOW to actually WIN.

Well, a few individuals did that work and they will seek to enroll the entire Community in the near future. I hope each one of us has the ability to let go of our preconceived notions or favorites and even our priorities, long enough to see the ability to WIN. I now believe our equality is achievable within 3 years. It is possible. It can only be rendered impossible by us.

My background in business and entrepreneurial efforts has taught me a lesson that should apply to our community and our movement: there is ALWAYS a solution if we remain committed to the goal with open-minds and honesty.

I invite each and everyone of us to consider the possibility of winning. I believe 2010 will be the year we start doing exactly what we need to do to WIN. I say that with the reminder that winning includes ALL of us.

The problem is one of history. When one group succeeds in getting their rights they forget about the others. This goes back to when black males were freed they thumbed there nose at Susan B Anthony and it too another 60 years before women got there rights. Human rights then was the argument and still is now. All need to recognize rights and to get them for all. Remember when setting priorities the ones that did not come to the top of the list are not forgotten because that is inhumane.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | January 22, 2010 11:30 PM

Michelle, firstly it was voteless Caucasian women, primarily, who advocated for emancipation and they did so on religious grounds. It was a presidential proclamation during wartime that ended America's "peculiar institution."

What exactly are you expecting freed African Americans, *from states where it had been a crime to teach them to read,* to do for womens rights issues circa 1870-1890? In that their experience would have included seeing their children or spouse or themselves sold away from them to another plantation I would hardly expect much. I would expect rightly that their first goal would have been day to day survival awaiting their "40 acres and a plow."

@Michelle.

'We are here to say that in respect to political rights, we hold women to to be justly entitled to all we claim for men.'

Frederick Douglass 1848

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | January 22, 2010 11:12 PM

Congrats to Conrad on an interesting first post. I wanted to respond close to Andrew, in part, so that stockholder Yasmin could compare our IP addresses as this appears to be her new area of responsibility. :)

Andrew I respond to you that we will obtain the kind of country we will tolerate. Those who pretend that fund raising from others purses for specific goals is inherently somehow removing "their funding" should remember that plenty of people would not have contributed to anything other than a Gay Marriage platform. Last time I checked it is not a crime (and almost certainly a virtue) to *discriminate heavily* about those charities and political action organizations you support. Gay fund raising has had scandals enough of it's own to make anyone cautious.

I would take issue with your dismissal of "incremental" progress as each town and city that passes LGBT employment, housing and access protections becomes a sanctuary in a turbulent sea we call America. For many with no ability to speak for themselves national programs make little difference. For LGBT elders the prospect of discriminatory inheritance laws could leave a surviving life partner in poverty which always amazes me because we white guys are all supposed to be so rich.

To the absolute chagrin of many, my first support would be to end DADT well before "marriage equality." All federal recognition of our rights (as well as the respect deserved to LGBT veterans who served honorably) will serve us to a greater degree than a state conferred marriage contract.

What I do see clearly is the generational envy that comes from those who can contribute nothing beyond their internet comments insisting upon driving the car, they did not pay for, in the direction of their extreme fantasies.

As a retired entrepreneur myself I applaud your "can do" spirit and look forward to knowing more of what you propose organizationally. If there is a site you can recommend to illuminate your plans that would be welcome as well.

Thank-you Robert.

I'm not dismissing "incrementalism," it does contribute to progress. I am suggesting we focus on winning, with a very specific strategy and plan to do so. Unless people believe we can "win," we will not get the participation required.

So, Andrew,

Will we ever see a website? An agenda? Names (such as your real one) attached to this magnificent project? Even the name of the place you're located in? You appear to be a mysterious Howard Hughes-type figure, funnelling loads of money into a project that bears a resemblance to nothing more than a figment of your imagination, and yet you keep inserting yourself into these discussions as if your plans have any base in reality, all the while reminding the rest of us that we're abject failures. At least the rest of us, even when we disagree vehemently with each other, can speak of real projects and real goals in real life. Giving tangibles might make your contributions to these discussions less angry and vitriolic and more, well, like actual contributions.

Otherwise: On teh internetz, everyone's a kingmaker/anonymous New York Times Bestseller List author/ major philanthropist/ Zarathusthra.

Howard Hughes accomplished a lot in his lifetime. Thanks for that.

The balance of your comment seemed to be more about you and your behavior on this site.

In other words: You've got nothing.

Okay, then. You had the chance to provide details but it appears that we'll all just have to wait for the big reveal.

Until then, the rest of us can all get back to the real issues raised by Conrad's original post.

@ andrew - if you haven't noticed, i haven't much replied to any of your comments. i am having a hard time understanding how a guy from plano, tx can believe that he has so much insight into the geopolitical specificity and affective impact the gay marriage campaign has had on queer and trans Mainer's. particularly the almost exclusively non-metro area queers and trans folx interviewed in this video. not to say there aren't ways for non-mainer's to understand and sympathize or criticize the folks in the video, but you seem to think you know more than everyone else in maine and/or that these people don't or shouldn't feel the way they do about the national gay marriage agenda descending on our state: critical.

guess you cant reason with the unreasonable, or rationalize with the irrational.

good luck chasing your tail.

Much in the same manner as your friend Yasmin, all you've done is complain and insult.

In my original comment I simply suggested you try to appeal to people and perhaps enroll them in something, not just refer to gay-marriage efforts as a "parasitic campaign." You have proven how easy it is to complain. But, that's all you've done.

If you and your friends want to attract support and resources - learn how to do that. I don't think this video or your attitude (along with Yasmin) does anything to change or improve your plight.

"all you've done is complain and insult" hmmm..... my point exactly.

xoxo/conrad

Can I be an exotic dncer with ties to the Republican and Communist parties on the Internet Yasmin?

Sounds a lot more exotic than being a lawyer-immigrant in New York

:-) Of course! The internetz - it's full of possibilities! I'm a Nobel Prize winner, btw...

Me too!

In addition I hold 18 separate Phds in whatever subject you can to raise and I poop pure gold nuggets and pee champagne.

Just call me Doctor doctor doctor doctor......you get the drift.

I also was awarded the world's first Pulitzer for blog commentary and thus wonder why Bil-ly boy won't make me an editor let alone a contributor.

Now excuse me a minute while I try to get my tongue out of my cheek.

There is no "queer culture" any more than there is a "gay community." We are as diverse a group of people as it gets. It is this very diversity that cripples the gay rights movement in general, and the SSM movement in particular. And this is made apparent time and again on this website. I always come away from posts like this feeling that we are our own worst enemy. How sad.

Marja Erwin | July 27, 2010 9:14 PM

And what of the lesbian rights movement? A gay-only rights movement is one which already marginalizes more than half of us. And to pursue only gay and lesbian issues is to ignore trans issues.

As someone who grew up around models of hetero marriage that were intensely sexist and oftentimes abusive, I decided very early that I never wanted to get married. Marriage does come from a history of subjugation of women. Wives were, at one point, literally property. For about half of this nation's history, married women could not own property. There were areas of this country where marital rape was legal until the 70's and there remain areas where marital rape is considered less serious than nonmarital rape. Married women do more housework, earn less money, carry more childcare responsibilities than comparable unmarried women.

That said, of course there are material benefits for marriage, thousands of federal benefits.

If it were not for those very real benefits, including child custody, health care, social security, etc. I would be firmly against gay marriage. But, I understand that there are real people suffering because they desperately need those benefits. Of course, LGBT/queer folks should have full equality under the law. Of course, DOMA should be overturned. But I do really hate the way that this marriage campaigns treat marriage as some sort of perfect, unproblematic ideal. I also hate the fact that these movements tend attack polyamourous people in an attempt to gain broader support. I really do feel that the gay marriage movement is centered around upperclass, white, ablebodied, gay cis men. It is not the people that I feel for who seem to be really fighting for those thousand rights to have security for themselves and their families that I see represented in this movement.

It does not have to be gay marriage or ENDA, I agree with that, but I think that the way this movement, for the most part, has positioned itself is one that is does reinforce a lot of current oppressions rather than breaking them down. It is not that I would nessecarily have a problem with any movement for same sex marriage, it is that I have huge problems with the way this movement has actually been taking place. Demonization of polyamourous and kinky people, erasure of Bs, Ts and people who have more flexible/variable sexualities, ignoring the needs of lower income folks, dismissing feminist and other concerns about the deeply troubled history of this institution, the racism after Prop 8, attacking other groups that have worked around issues of marriage oppression rather than seeking solidarity (this includes antimarriage groups seeking to make those 1000 rights more available to people who choose not to marry), and the obsessive focus to the point of exclusion of other types of advocacy work.

I kind of see this issue the way I see my involvement with the prochoice movement. I consider myself prochoice and am a Planned Parenthood volunteer, but I find myself cringing at the disgusting levels of ablism that pop up in some disscusions of abortion, especially when I see them coming from my side. I am not critical of some of these fairly mainstreamed movements because I hate choice, I am critical because I want to see this movement be one that is about liberation and respect for all of us. It is the same with the LGBT/queer rights movement. I am not criticizing the gay marriage movement because I do not think LGBT/queer people deserve full equality under the law, I am critical because I want these movements to be better. I want LGBT/qeer movements to be about ALL of the community. I want our movements to not perpetuate other forms of oppression.

I support same sex marriage. I despise the gay marriage movement.

I just have to note this fact.

In Massachusetts, same sex marriages from 2004 thru 2008 breakdown as follows:

female/female 7818
male/male 4539

I could make the claim that marriage equality in this state has been driven by women.

And marriage is not only for those who don't have to worry about health care, homes over their heads, etc...

Those are not only ignorant comments, they are dismissive of the majority of married same sex couples.

You could also say that Janice Raymond and Mary Daly outnumber Barney Frank so that cis womyn are driving transphobia in Massachussets as well as same sex marriage...

I live in Canada. I am a trans lesbian. I like that we have same sex marriage because my girlfriend might legally be the same sex as me depending on how far along my legal recognition and hers are. I like that immigration will now recognize, in Canada, the validity of such a marriage.

But I still don't have the right to housing or employment non-discrimination while cis gays and lesbians do. While it is illegal to say homosexuality is inauthentic and a choice, one that is repugnant, in Canada, as that's fostering hatred, saying that transsexuality is inauthentic and a choice, one that is repugnant, will get you elected to the boards any number of Vancouver activist groups, like Vancouver Rape Relief, which proudly carries an article referring to trans womyn as "Men in ewe's clothing". And of course, the MP who introduced the bill that preserved this sorry GL/T dichotomy was Svend Robinson, openly gay member of parliament for Burnaby Douglas at the time the bill was introduced (2003)

Trans inclusion wouldn't have sunk the bill. The only time it came to a recorded vote, in the less socially progressive Senate, it passed 59-11.

What bothers me is not so much the homonormative attitudes that look at straight transsexuals as inauthentic gays and lesbians transitioning for partner access. Mainly I'm not bothered because I'm not straight. What bothers me is the erasure of trans lesbians and gays, especially when, being trans makes one an order of magnitude more likely to be exclusively attracted to their own gender. I'm not some straight man playing with lesbian imagery. My girlfriend wouldn't have me if I were. I am a trans lesbian, and while marriage is great, bodily and socio-economic autonomy, something more frequently denied persons of trans history, is far more important, to my mind, to creating a society of equals. In this regard I am not a majoritarian, but a utilitarian.

Any way, my two cents.

Also, stop comparing this to Ron Gold, please. Most people here are either pro same-sex-marriage but against concentrating on this, or they are for legal marriage equality via its abolition. They do not say that the desire for equality, autonomy, and the right to define and express one's self with authenticity is somehow delusional.

To Valerie- Brava for dealing with all that idiotic crap- I had no idea Canada was so transphobic! It makes me very disappointed, angry and sad. I thought Canada would have been more accepting. And as I am thinking about all this- you are right. Basic things like equal rights on the job (and housing etc-) really should come first in importance, as they do in real life. Marriage rights are important as well- but as I mentioned earlier - it's more of a hot button issue for the rabid LGBT hater crowd. Obviously, much more education is needed.

"...And what of the lesbian rights movement? A gay-only rights movement is one which already marginalizes more than half of us. And to pursue only gay and lesbian issues is to ignore trans issues." (Marja Erwin)
SO TRUE!!! And of course there's also the InterSexed commuunity as well...Many LGBs don't have a CLUE about Trans or IS issues...I may not have any doctorates- but I do try to educate within the community. It's amazing how many people are truly ignorant about the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation.
And I love that Trans and IS people blow the binary out of the water. And Toni- I like 'vaginal solidarity' as well, though 'Sisterhood' still works for me!