well put and probably not my last word on warren

December 22, 2008

Whether it’s “strategic” or not, whether it’s what our “leaders” think we should do or not, it’s pretty clear that real actual LGBT people are done with the closet. We’re seeing things in a new way. We’re no longer willing to settle for simply not getting beaten to death, for being able to live in our constricted safe zones without fear of baseball bats to the head and getting fired.


5 responses to “well put and probably not my last word on warren”

  1. peptide says:

    Which is a good thing. It’s that kind of out in the open anger and energy that’s going to move this process along all the more.
    Reading that made me go back and read my post, where I found I didn’t agree with myself about it not bothering me. I didn’t mean to say ‘don’t be upset’ – and I’m sorry if I came across as encouraging you to just lump it. I was articulating my own rationalization.
    I agree that Warren’s views are a dehumanization of gay people. I also have found them shared by a lot of people. When I came out as bi to my dad he actually brought up kleptomania as a similar issue, to his way of thinking. It was bitterly amusing when Trent Lott made the same comparison in the public sphere later on. But through my being open with him and talking with him about it again and again, I’ve seen him evolve his opinion. Maybe not to where I’d like to see it – but it’s not in my power to control the opinions of others.
    That kind of change happens in lots of ways – part of it will be queer people saying, Enough of this second class citizen bullshit! Part of it will be compromisers like Obama easing the way.

  2. proteanme says:

    Thanks for the comment Amos. I very much appreciate it. I didn’t think you were telling me to just lump it. I think we are both exploring our responses and I appreciate it b/c it got me engaged and it’s so easy to shut down in the face of continuous disappointment.

    The thing is dehumanizing language really does lead to dehumanizing treatment, including violence. And that is where I draw the line and had hoped Obama would have drawn the line at his inauguration.

    I’ve done a boat load of education, both personal and community based. I agree with you on it’s value. And I support your continuing dialogue with your father. It’s hard work.

    I do not see Obama doing anything for queers. And would guess he, like Clinton, will just do damage, in the name of compromise. But I didn’t ever expect that he’d be an advocate; he never made any promises to us in the first place. Had queers voted on our equal rights, we’d have all just stayed home and kept our wallets in our pockets.

  3. peptide says:

    I guess I’m more optimistic about Obama and queers, and also have a different assessment of Bill Clinton’s legacy. Talking to a friend who works for the NYC Health Dept the other night he was telling me what it might mean if Bloomberg were to go, how utterly different the dept was under Giuliani. Right now they have a very proactive campaign to distribute free condoms throughout the city to combat stds – they place them all over, targeting populations at high risk. Under Giuliani they were basically pushing the abstinence only BS. There are hundreds of decisions, large and small, made by political appointees and those decisions impact real lives – not abstractions. When I see the people Obama is naming to his cabinet and compare it to Bush I see massive change, much of it not reported, mundane in a way. But those decisions all make a huge difference to our lives.

    Clinton was the first president to have openly gay members in his staff, to talk about expanding civil rights. He expanded visibility and in a small way helped mainstream gay issues, even if that was far from one of his main causes. He suffered a political defeat that led to the absurdity of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (which I heard Colin Powell, who came up with it as a compromise, say should be done away with in favor of no exclusion just yesterday). Having heard the back story from Barney Frank (involving Senate democrats who told him they’d block his domestic programs if they didn’t get their way), I’m inclined to cut Clinton slack on that one.

    I think Obama will push the ball further down the field, Warren notwithstanding. I think he’ll sign the bill that will get rid of D.A.D.T. – for one. His administration will be worlds better than Bush’s on this and so many other issues I care about. And I think in the long run he’ll make more progress for queer rights by forging bonds with people who are bigots than he will by excluding them from his counsel. I may be completely wrong, but that’s my take on how politics works.

    Is it going to be a primary issue for him? No. Truth told, had he made it an issue I think we’d be gritting our teeth for President McCain. So too with his oft-noted lack of defense for Muslims, which a friend of mine from Syria was ticked off about. Elections are, sad to say, popularity contests and those are unpopular issues with many, many of the people in Obama’s coalition. It’d be nice if we could win the presidency from a more openly enlightened place, but I’d rather win a little than lose a lot. I think it takes all kinds of actions and opinions to change the world – so I’m not advocating my middle of the road perspective – especially if this hits at you in a personal way.

  4. proteanme says:

    Well put. Thanks for the time and energy on this.

    All good comments and insights Pep. And by and large I agree with you on almost every point. An important note about Clinton; he didn’t just give us DADT, he gave us DOMA. That was a big blow.

  5. peptide says:

    Thanks for the dialogue. And good point on Clinton and DOMA – sometimes ‘compromise’ goes too far – and that’s a big case in point.

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