Projector Jay Kallio responded to my post, "The Changing Face of LGBT Victory," with this thoughtful comment about the uniqueness of the LGBT movement's achievements. I'd shared a video of Laura Flander's interview for The Nation with Queers for Economic Justice co-director Amber Hollibaugh about the changing face of LGBT priorities.
I highlighted this quote from Hollibough: "I'm not sorry we can now enter the military, and I'm not sorry that we can now marry. But frankly I come from a moment in time, and a radical vision in time, that never made marriage or the military my criteria of success. Are those victories? They are. Were they my idea of what we were trying to build as a liberation movement for queer people? No." Jay responds:
I want to strongly point out that the marriage equality issue has in large measure become a referendum on whether our society accepts LGBTQ people as equal and entitled to all protections under the law, and a win on that questions moves forward all the other items on the LGBTQ agenda which ride on it's coattails. The principle of momentum in politics is exceedingly important, and while all of us who advocate for social justice in areas far flung from the more conservative values represented by marriage and DADT still have much work to do to realize those goals, the elevation of our status in society increases the possibility that someday we, too, shall win. Marriage equality has acted as a spearhead on our behalf, and instead of attacking it's proponents, we should be cheering the massive shift in social consciousness that will be won.
As our successes accelerate and for the first time the possibility of full equality comes into view the uniqueness of our achievement should not be overlooked; we are winning a major non-violent revolution. Without a single shot fired or bomb exploded, with zero "collateral damage" of innocent civilians sacrificed, we are winning. As a minority group who have been rejected and reviled across almost every civilization for eons, with no army or riots or blood on our hands, within the space of one generation's lifetime we are becoming free. We are escaping from the prisons of secrecy, living under threat, being bullied, ostracized, discriminated against, shamed, assaulted, and murdered with impunity at times.
We did it with dedication. We did it with sacrifice; our own and of loved ones. We did it with telling the truth of our hearts and our loves and our lives without shame in the millions of tiny personal battlegrounds in families, workplaces, schools, sports, courts, elections, and the proliferating etheric cloud of the great web. We did it with reason, with organizing, with our last paychecks, finest creativity, and often by the skin of our teeth. We organized instead of mourning, though we had so much reason to mourn, and all that tenacity and resilience and the agreement to party on no matter how many setbacks we faced has over the long haul bourn fruit, as sweet as it is.
As we step over that threshold into full equality I pray we may be unique in one more extraordinary way. We are the one persecuted minority group who are born into all races, classes, ethnicities, ages, ideologies, and we span the tremendous divide between the haves of the world and the have nots. With all those unique resources and interlocking perspectives at our disposal let us take one more step and be the ones who never forget what injustice and prejudice and bigotry do to the human soul, and let us not leave anyone behind in the struggle for justice for all. Let us keep the gift of empathy and maturity offered by our experience, and devote ourselves to making certain everyone enjoys the fruit of freedom and equality, and the embrace of a society that places human dignity and justice above all else.
The original video of Flander's thought-provoking interview with Hollibough is after the break.