Sara Whitman

They are Marching in the Streets

Filed By Sara Whitman | November 07, 2008 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: California, gay marriage, gay protests, Los Angeles, marriage amendment, Prop 8, Prop. 8, San Diego, San Francisco, West Hollywood

I asked for this and it's happened.

NoOn8Protesters.jpgIn San Francisco, in West Hollywood, in Los Angeles and soon in San Diego, night after night, they have been marching.

Thousands of people holding their No on 8 Signs, politicians, activists have taken to the microphones and made speeches vowing to fight, and fight and fight until we take back the constitution and eliminate discrimination.

Yesterday, they stopped issuing marriage licenses for same sex couples.

In turn? We took to the streets. Marching, shouting, listening to speeches, filling public spaces with our anguish.

*Photo courtesy Karen Ocamb

Our despair at being treated like garbage for too long. For the hate crimes, for the job discrimination, for the loss of housing- all because of who we love. Gay, straight, Trans, bisexual, Black, White, Asian, Latino, old, poor, young- because half the people voted with us and half the people are all those things.

It is not a time to point fingers at other minorities. It is time to reach out and ask for their help. Because we are their long lost sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers.

And they are us. They face the same uphill battle. The same loss of rights and hate crimes. Those invested in keeping LGBT people out are invested in keeping all of us out.

A friend of mine is still out there. I'm not sure he'll come back. He's young, single and the moment in history is now. I believe he will stay to be a part of it. I'm proud of him.

We have finally come back to our roots- protests. Peaceful protests.

With thousands in the streets.

We will win because in this country, everyone values equality.

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I just think it's totally undemocratic that outside groups can influence the elections in another state. If you don't live in a state, you have no business funding its elections. Period.

The no on 8 side was on the receiving end of quite a bit of outside money. Do we really want to go this route?

Greg, I see your point. But I do think it needs to be limited for both sides of any issue to maintain a consistent standard. If you don't live somewhere and you can't vote there, I don't think you have a right to fund their elections.

Reformed Ascetic | November 7, 2008 2:03 PM

What about the national parties sending sends around the nation?

What about the regional and local LGBT pols who received funds from around the nation, and won. I'm suer there are those who would be quick to claim that outsiders bought the election.

I am offended that religious untaxed organizations can so openly get involved in political struggles. Bu the worst that can be done, even if it's proven that they violated their rules, is to remove their tax exempt status. Personally, I hope investigations are done.

However, this is a really easy rule to get around and a rule that the government has been loathe to enforce.

So, you loss the right to get married in California. It's an important right to fight for, especially since California HAS ALL THE OTHER DAMN RIGHTS MANY OF US DON'T. Gee. There is a point when my sympathy is taxed to the limit. LGBT people are still getting FIRED from their jobs here in Georgia and many other states for just being who we are. Please. Forgive me if I don't shed a tear for your "loss."

Monica, you have a lot to learn about fighting for justice. First thing is, if you're living in GA, you have the unreasonable demands of an urban coastal gay rights movement to thank for your right to have sex in your home without fear of arrest. When I came out, I was a criminal.

More important, though, is that we all need to pull in one direction: toward full citizenship for all LGBT Americans. Do you feel as entitled to insult a Marine who wants her honorable discharge? What is it about gay couples leading happy, full lives that triggered your ire exactly?

A couple of books you might want to pick up:

Why We Can't Wait, by MLK

The Children, by David Halberstam

The Times of Harvey Milk is a movie--things get set on fire near the end, so stick with it!

Meanwhile, you're welcome.

To Monica,

Your tears are not what's needed, your solidarity with your gay brothers and sisters is what is needed. Right to marry is not about right to marry don't you understand that? It's about being second-class citizens, about the ability to terminate someone's employment JUST BECAUSE THEY"RE GAY. It's about civil rights. Rights we already have, but are being denied us by the people who have and enjoy them daily. And it's only because we're gay.

No,I won't forgive you Monica,until you acknowledge it's not about sympathy, and it's not about who has what. It's about equality and being able to live in the world as though we matter. We shouldn't be denied anything because of who we love, but those who profess to be "Christians" would do that very thing in the name of their God.

And you'd add insult to injury by betraying your gay brothers and sisters by joining them. Shame on you.

What I find missing from this conversation is that the LDS church for many years did NOT define marriage as a union between one man and one woman...

They certainly didn't mind if it was

Many still don't mind polygamy even if it is not openly supported by the church. If they don't care what goes on in their own bedrooms why are they trying to legislate what goes on in mine?!

Reformed Ascetic | November 7, 2008 2:07 PM

As Jon Stewart said, "They had to create a whole new state because the country wouldn't accept their marriages."

To all who think they understand my point of view, you don't. I've been in the advocacy "business" for over a decade, long enough to see gay and lesbians turn their backs on my trans brothers and sisters more times then I can count. Marriage equality has always been the knife that has always been thrust in our backs, in place of fighting for hate crimes legislation and employment protection.

In 2004, the entire GL "upper management," spent time away for other issues that had a chance of passing to fight marriage equality. It set us back years on many other issues. On Feb 14, 2004, I stood on the steps of the Georgia State Capital Building and gave a passionate speech about the GA State Assembly working on putting a ban on same sex marriage in the state constitution. I lobbied against it and contributed a lot of time fighting it.

I also came up with a plan of fighting this amendment that was a radical idea, which would have thrown the legislators into a tissy and took a lot of time away from the dileration, but the head of Georgia Equality wouldn't listen to me. It easily passed the State assembly and then got 76% of the vote in November. But, GA is still one of a few states in the country with NO hate crimes legislation, and it has no ENDA for LGBT people and nothing else for us.

Meanwhile, for a whole year, I kept seeing stories of the Govenator signing bill after bill giving various protection to LGBT Californians. Georgia still has squat. And, now I see this in CA?

I have given my support for the defeat of these bills. I have given my money for the defeat of these bills. I have given my time and now my blog space on these issues. I have taken time and money away from the things I have been working on directly - transgender veterans issues - to fight the discrimination against people who want marriage equality.

I have yet to see anyone trying to support equal rights in the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement. I have yet to see anyone but transgender veterans support the issues facing them. I have yet to see HRC support fully inclusive ENDA. And yet, I get chastised for thinking that Californians are acting too self-centered. You spend a whole damn decade being ignored and discarded by those who are suppose to be your friends and those YOU have supported and see how it feels. If people don't like my attitude, then TS, and that doesn't stand for "transsexual."

Andy Gilden Andy Gilden | November 7, 2008 1:02 PM

Jadi-- you make a really important point about the LDS position. It's really not that they care about marriage being the sacred union between one man and one woman and upholding the traditional archetype of the nuclear family. What gay marriage potentially does, in stark contrast to polygamous marriage, is mix up the proper gender roles of men and women in relation to one another. While there is certainly queer support for polyamorous relationships, the mormon tradition is deeply, deeply patriarchal in a way that is antithetical to the LGBT movement.

Andy Gilden Andy Gilden | November 7, 2008 1:16 PM

I think Monica's frustrations actually underscore many of the political weaknesses in the LGBT movement that this week has revealed. By focusing so whole-heartedly on marriage, which only directly benefits a relatively narrow slice of the LGBT population, we have neglected opportunities to cultivate a broader-based, geographically-, racially-, and economically-diverse coaltion that might allow us to stand up effectively to christian conservatives. It is certainly tempting to seek every opportunity to obtain the undeniable symbolic benefit of marriage equality, this past week has shown that there are serious flaws in building a social movement around the interests of mostly rich, white gays and lesbians in liberal parts of the country. While unlike Monica, I certainly did shed a tear over the loss on Prop 8 (and initiatives in FL, AZ, and AR), my tears came from the realization that we have so much farther to go.

Damn. You got me crying, now. It's for all the issues the LGBT community have had setbacks in. Ten years is a very long time to be frustrated. I can successfully place those frustrations in the dark recesses of my mind, but in times like these, they become open wounds once again.

Andy Gilden Andy Gilden | November 7, 2008 2:13 PM

Hope i didn't aggravate any wounds. At the same time as I shed tears for our movement, I also was incredibly moved by the cathartic tears of african americans upon Barack's victory. While 10 years is certainly a long time, I am incredibly thankful that my own catharsis doesn't seem to be centuries away. Let's keep working, talking, shouting with the knowledge that success can be attained one day.

Andy, you're fine. I know that compared to the historic moment of last Tuesday that took over 1.5 centuries to occur, my ten years ain't shit. But, it doesn't make those ten years any less painful or any less frustrating. The fight for marriage equality has been in forefront for less than ten years, now, and it has trumpted everything else the LGBT community was working together to accomplish. It trumpted any other progress in Mass. It trumpted it in other places as well. Whenever marriage happens to come up, everything else is dropped in a New York minute, especially if it has to do with trans people. "We'll come back for you." Yeah, and the check's in the mail.

Perfectly said, Andy. Perfectly.

As for marching in the streets: It's about goddamned time.

Reformed Ascetic | November 7, 2008 3:07 PM

I agree Bil. It's about goddamned time.

Things don't change in society until they have to change. People will act to maintain the status quo until they understand it just won't work anymore.

The only way I could be happier about the marching in the streets would be if everyone who voted No got out and blocked every major thoroughfare until everyone recognized the crisis.

Excellent idea, actually. It has been done with success, here in the very county I live in. It was called Oclypics Out of Cobb. At one time, they took the primary freeway into and out of Cobb County and had a car in each lane, all driving at 40 mph, the legal minimum. That was just one of their methods. LGBT people need to do that in LQA, San Fran, San Diego, and Salt Lake City, for good measure. Do it in the middle of the day.

No Special Rights For Californians

Or, Equality For All, Dammit

More and more I feel like a minority within a minority. Should I march not against those who would vote on the lives of real people but instead march against those who are (alleged to be) my own people? It's hard to say.

Californians are upset about the passing of Prop 8 (and so am I) but while they're having their pity party there are those of us in the GLBTQ rainbow who don't even have near the same legal rights as Californians do.

That's the thing that strikes me most; how the Californians seem to forget that while marriage equality was struck down in their home state there are many of us in the community who don't even have the seemingly luxurious legal rights that Californians will still enjoy. Californians still have a very strong domestic partnership law on the books so what have they really lost with Prop 8? In five months they've gained, lost, and still retained more rights in California than I can even dream of here in Indiana.

I see it as being very simple: Our cousins in California wanted another piece of pie - actually a much BIGGER piece of pie in addition to what they've already got - while we, their poor cousins, won't be allowed ANY pie.

I see and acknowledge the point of fighting against Prop 8. I know what it means for the "big picture".

It's just sad to see that some of us aren't part of that "big picture".

Equality for all means all. What part of that confuses you?

The ENDA nightmare is another example of how fractious our community has become. National groups such as the HRC showed us their true colors with their willingness to throw transgendered individuals off the equality bus, promising that it was for the "greater good". How can it be so? You'll fight for your rights. Yes you will. But you're willing to abandon a very specific group /in our own community/ just so you can have /your/ rights. Did the Yes on 8 crowd not do the same? How is it for the "greater good" to so selfishly abandon anyone? What message are you sending to our transgendered cousins just because you're afraid of scaring the straights?

I am not personally aquainted with any transgendered individuals but that doesn't matter to me. I realize that they're people too and are entitled to all the same rights that I'd grant myself if I were able. Our transgendered cousins must be very tired of hearing "just wait and see". Weren't you tired of being told "just wait and see"?

I've been saying the same exact thing you said here. I think you did a great job is saying it. There are more rights for LGBT people in California than in any state of the union. No other state has banned the panic defense. No other state has laws that protect transgender people from health insurance discrimination. These are things on top of all the other things the few other states have. MA and CT may allow same-sex marriage, but they don't have nearly as much in other protections that California has. I'm glad to see I wasn't the only person seeing how self-centered and uncaring about the rest of the country LGBT Californians can be sometimes.

I must respectfully disagree. so should we all sit and twiddle our thumbs until Idaho recognizes rights of all LGBT citizens?

I think that's crazy.

should we all be working? yes. but in California, that means pushing for this piece. in other states, it means pushing for other pieces.

I mean, people still get killed in different countries in Africa for being LGBT. should we all come to a screeching halt until we fix that?

so what there are more rights in CA. we have marriage in MA- should we stop? hell no. we're pushing for more. every envelope should be pushed.

don't poo poo on someone else's struggle. it's insulting. so you think marriage is stupid. I would say marriage and the campaign around it, normalizes LGBT folks to many mainstream americans. it' helps your struggle beyond measure.

it has been the single most effective tool used so far in the struggle for rights.

I, personally, never said marriage is stupid. What I think is stupid is people basing their entire self-worth on their ability to get married or not. It's stupid to say that because they lost the right to get married in yet another state, but their state, that it is the defining moment that makes them less equal and makes them feel less of a citizen, while they bask in the other rights the rest of the nation doesn't yet have.

I'm questioning gay Californian's skewed sense of priorities. Gay Californians are so used to winning all the time that they can't handle defeat. Their entire world isn't going to crumble because they lost one out of a dozen issues. There is nothing stopping this from being readdressed later. There is nothing stopping the court cases from challenging Prop 8.
Stop whining and work on fixing the reasons it passed. It's how you win the next time.

I have no job protection here in Georgia from being a trans person or lesbian. I don't base my entire self-worth on that one issue. It's not healthy. I also don't base it on the fact that we have no hate crime laws that include me. I don't base it on the fact that Georgia courts will still allow the panic defense if someone wanted to beat me up or kill me. I don't base it on the fact that we don't have domestic partner protections in this state. I don't base my self-worth on the fact that Georgia allows insurance companies to discriminate against me. Georgia allows discrimination against me in hospitals, homeless shelters, places of higher education and even if I use a public restroom. I don't base my self-worth on any of those things, because if I did, I'd be living in California where none of those problems are legally allow to exist.

If anyone in California wants to get married that badly, then I suggest you fly into New York City, drive a car to Connecticut and get married there. That's what the rest of us will have to do.

Andy Gilden Andy Gilden | November 8, 2008 2:02 PM

While I agree that we should all work as hard as possible, I think it was a shame that such a disproportionate amount of lgbt resources were diverted away from places like Arkansas, where many LGBT couples have now been essentially foreclosed from raising children. If there needs to be prioritization of resources, we should probably put material benefits (adoption, property rights, job security) over symbolic ones, of course balanced against the uphill battle faced in each case. Prop 8, on both sides, was a national political campaign, and we are much more likely to win when our friends in conservative areas of America feel like there is something in it for them.

Marching in the street? Really? For marriage?

Well, this is starting to look like an actual civil rights movement.

it's not about marriage as much as it is about equal access to every institution recognized by the government.

it's about being able to go to City Hall and get a license. just like everyone else.

and it's about strategy- Monica this is strategy. the harder we push the edges, the better it is for the entire movement. I'm not saying I'm not spoiled in MA- I am. but I also know we don't have a trans inclusive civil rights bill.

that's ridiculous.

with all our "protections" people still are victims of hate crimes.

if marriage is an institution main stream amercia understands, then let's go for it.

it has been the single most effective strategy to date.

doesn't mean we all go take a vacation after we get it. it means we continue to push for more, knowing we've educated people along the line. at this point? we're going to get our trans inclusive bill passed here.

could we have before marriage? we tried. it didn't work.

is that the first thing to do in Georgia? I don't know. I don't know your state nor it's politics. but I'm damn glad people are marching.

because they are fired up. which means movement. action.

it's a start.

I am not devaluing my self worth. good lord, that's ridiculous.

we are not hearing each other, I think, Monica.

I see a strategy that works. it's a good one.

what hurts? is seeing people standing on street corners shouting out hateful things about marriage being between a man and woman, not faggots, lezzies and queers.

I can easily see we are not "hearing" each other. This seems to be a conversation where words on a screen lose their meaning and no good back and forth exchanging of ideas can happen unless talking on the phone or face to face. Sorry, if I upset you, Sara.