OH MAN WHAT A YEAR!
I cant believe we have been making Youtube videos for over a year now. It really has been a year of big highs and gut-wrenching lows. Never before in my life have I been this plugged in to the comings and goings of politics and human events. It has been an serious education for us as well as an emotional rollercoaster.
Along the way we have met and made friendships with people from around the world that we would never have met if it hadn't been for a certain civil rights-stripping proposition. but that said...here is my take on some of the worst moments of 2009 in the world gay rights and marriage equality...so without further ado...brace yourself, lets rewind 2009...
Where would we be today if everyone who, safely could...came out? how much further down the road would we be in fighting for gay rights if everyone put their influence to work? 2009 we littered with examples of people with influence speaking out to help a cause they deeply believe in. Some when it had no direct effect on their own life. Portia De Rossi, Bruce Springsteen, Cindy Lauper, Margaret Cho...and many others came out supporting gay rights on a broad assortment of topics and didn't fret about the impact on their careers. And I for one am profoundly gratefull to them.
However, we got called to the carpet for criticising DaveyWavey of Youtube and Adam Lambert for not mentioning anything about important events in gay rights. Its not my intention to reopen the conversation about whether or not they owe anybody anything...I am going to have to agree to disagree with alot of people about this issue. A few gay celebrities even came out against marriage equality(I.E. Elton John). That makes no sense to this humble blog writer.
The main point that came up surrounding this was how divided the gay community can be on issues vital to all of us. There is a huge split between those that see marriage equality as an important goal and those that view it as a distraction from more pressing needs. We also discovered that there are many out there who think that if they don't mark themselves as different, that society won't either. I got numerous letters from people saying they are angry because we make everything about the word "gay". Sorry dear readers, but the word DOES matter. Just like the one we have been working so hard for...marriage.
Yes...I know..this is rather a large grouping of grouping of events but they all have one thing in common...negative religious influence. This year saw the National Organization For Marriages mean spirited attempts to block/rollback/ or directly attack marriage equality in every state they could. It also gave us Uganda's "Kill The Gays" bill and a whole host of homo-hostile, hatred encouraging comments from the Pope and the Catholic Church. Everywhere we turn we find ourselves embroiled in "culture war", that wonderfull fundamentalist uphemism for "our way or the highway".
It is my personal belief that it will take alot more than gay voices crying out in the wilderness in 2010. It will also take the voices of those of faith and the voices of our straight friends and nieghbors to counter the hysteria that groups like NOM have successfully engendered in the public at large this year.
I've talked a great deal about Uganda and now its ripples are being felt in nieghboring nations like Rwanda and Malawi. To me it was sad that it took so long for anyone to sit up and take notice while a whole group of people still face the threat of genocide, and worse..that its spreading. A few faith leaders stood up to condemn this...but most notably...the ones linked with the ideas that helped bring the situation into being, didn't stand up until it was a day late and a doller short. This highlighted the roll that America's fundamentalist churches have had in influencing foriegn nations to acts of hatred. The future of gays in many nations around the world are still in question.
My prayer for 2010 is that the over-the-top rehtoric of groups like NOM will draw a sharp line between the real message of love in our spiritual traditions and those who would use that impulse to persecute whole classes of fellow human beings. The more the general public notices the difference...the faster NOM will lose its hold on the public fear of gays.
Please don't make me drag out the laudry list of broken promises and promises deferred until an undefined "later date". That list would simply be way too long. We had high hopes that 2009 would see the beginning of the end for Don't Ask Don't tell and and The Defense of Marriage Act. President Obama time and time-again said that while he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, he wouldn't move to block any legislative attempts to bring parity to gays and lesbians, but then...his legal department has taken it upon themselves to block any attempts to challenge DADT and DOMA through the courts and he did nothing to stop the very offensive and negative comments that were made by his legal staff. He claims he wants congress to move to end DADT but has done nothing to initiate such an action even though he could stop military expulsions with an executive order...you know...being Commander in Chief and all that.
Further illuminating the presidents lack of motivation to move on gay issues is his association with churches that have very condemning messages about the GLBTQ community. Whether its Chicago’s Trinity United Church Of Christ or Rick Warren and Saddleback church, it seems that the President is willing to affiliate himself with organizations that are anything but tolerant of others. The image of him on inaugeration day, announcing the end of decades of discrimination in the U.S. while the flag flew in the backround...while Jay and I watched tearfully, broken hearted over prop 8, will forever be seared into my memory. Nothing has happened to change that contrast of image versus reality.
Don't even get me started on the rest of the Democratic party and how they have basically thrown us under a bus now that they have no need for us.
2) Maine/New York
Along with the victories we had this year came some surprising defeats. Much like California, I think most people held the belief that these historically liberal states would pass marriage equality, even if by a narrow margin. Alot of us remembered that same feeling in California and were much more cautious. Sadly, NOM and its catholic backers succeeded in bring civil rights to a vote again and further convinced the public that its pack of lies about the consequences of gay marriage were facts. I still can't forget the image I read about of an ederly lady on her knees in front of her church giving thanks for stopping gay marriage as a sign of the "end times".....thats how serious this is people.
New York handed us yet another example of how the Democratic party says one thing and then does the total opposite. The sad story of the Democratic representatives that voted against gay marriage and thier personal histories is a blog post in itself.
Regardless of the sadness, dissapointment, and broken dreams that came with these events, we also gained further resolve and a clearer view of the length of the road we have to walk to see full equality. I learned not to take defeats as crushing blows. Also and most importantly, I learned how important it is that we lean on each other for support and to give support even when it may not directly effect me.
1) Day Of Decision Prop 8
This sad, sorry affair occupies my number one slot...not because it has national or international significance, but because it was the event that launched Jay and Me into amature activism. It has immediate and profound effects on our family and community by setting us apart as a "special class". In addition, it excluded marriage from anyone who followed after us. I still believe that it was a cowardly act to puch a leaflet into the crowd explaining the ruling instead of sending a real human being...or better one of the justices responisible to deliver the news in person and explain themselves.
However, If it wasn't for prop 8 I would not be doing what I am today, and I am gratefull for the people I've met and the lessons that I've learned as a result of our decision to share our family on youtube.
That said...it would still be a whole lot nicer to get rid of our constitutional ban and allow marriage for gays and lesbians here in my home state. I really expect more from us and I don't think I was alone in being shocked at California's Supreme Court ruling....or at the anger that put marriage supporters against other Californians who felt that their right to vote was more important than anothers right to love.
but dear readers, we will have to say adieu until tomorrow and our "best moment on 2009"...until then..ciao