Putting it all in a diverse perspective
Recent events (i.e. Dennis Prager's very hateful screed against Congressman Ellison and Box Turtle Bulletin's report on the lies of the Family Research Council) makes it more important to me that the gay community knock down the pedestal of virtue that so-called pro family groups place themselves on when demonizing our community.
Historically, almost every group has had their problems with profiling. African-American men were lynched because it was thought that they were unintelligent brutes out to rape white women.
Jewish people were persecuted throughout history for various reasons; including the idea that they conducted sacrifices of children.
Even Christians were accused of cannibalism in the Roman Empire when some Machiavellian individuals distorted the passages in the New Testament about the Holy Communion.
And now, the gay community have been vilified as diseased, oversexed, and all around violent individuals whose "agenda" must be stopped for the good of the nation.
Things don't change and I have always been amazed at the naive notions that somehow we can get rid of ideas of superiority. As long as man exists, there will be someone pointing the finger at a group and blaming them for whatever ills of the world at that particular time.
Now, more than ever, is our turn to be blamed. And it is crucial that we have the intellect and common sense to refute the lies.
But the gay community is squandering our opportunity. Many of us like to compare our movement for equality to other pasts social movements, such as the black civil rights movement or the women's movement. There is a point to be made with the comparison.
At the same time, I can't help wondering whether or not we have the maturity of those movements. Women and African-Americans were able to unite themselves and connect their fight for rights to that of a large social movement for equality.
We haven't yet and I really wonder whether or not we really want to. So many of us want to have it both ways. We want to simultaneously unite all of the gay community and yet hold on to the things that make some of us feel as if we don't belong.
The fight over same sex marriage illustrates my point.
This fight over same sex marriage, or marriage equality, has done more to highlight the divisions in our community. It is the issue that constantly bombards us and seems to be on the front of our agendas.
And this is a huge mistake. To some of us, same sex marriage is not the most pressing issue in our lives.
African-American gay men, for example, have to constantly deal with the fact that we are a minority in the gay community. We have problems of health and self esteem. But no one seems to be listenting or respecting what we can bring to the table. There is nothing in the larger gay community that speaks to our experience.
Apparently we are supposed to be satisfied with Lance Bass, Brokeback Mountain, or whatever is the newest scuttlebutt, even though more often that not, we cannot relate to them.
And when we do attempt to celebrate ourselves as gay people (like having events such as Black Gay Pride) we are called separatists by people who cannot seem to understand that being gay means more than having a cliquish circle of white friends (and probably one or two black friends.)
How many gay black men and women are in the public eye? Can anyone reading this column name any public black gay spokespeople?
I know of several, but I bet none of them will be featured in The Advocate, Our or any other gay issues oriented magazine.
Unity in a community means respect for every aspect of the community, not whittling it down to those who should lead and those who should shut up and take whatever is given to them.
Until the gay community learns this, we will never inherit our full potential as a social movement.