It’s been a rough November. And we’re not quite half way through it.
It’s no secret that I’m pretty left of center politically speaking. Moving to MI after living in GA where, because I lived in a pretty left of center part of Atlanta, I could be sure that at least one of the people I voted for in November would win (usually the person running for House of Representatives), I had hopes of happier days after the election, more equitable living, etc. I mean, the South is much maligned as the most racist, most homophobic, most uneducated, and on and on and on part of the country. Even when I gave a job talk at a fancy private university (Syracuse) about my dissertation (topic: the intersections of homophobia and religion in preservice elementary education), a faculty member asked (in 2005, when, apparently, all bigotry was gone! amazing) if my research would even be relevant up in the great blue north. And, you know, there have been some descent years here, politically speaking. But lately? Shit man.
Two days after our governor got reelected, the sixth circuit court of appeals decided against marriage equality. We all know how the rest of the country is going on this (and, for real, I’m tired of regionalism. “Now we’re worse than *name a state that is characterized as ass backward by liberals*” is tossed around a ton. Shut up people. Even if we had marriage equality in MI, the bigotry that caused the ban to pass in the first place won’t dissolve.). I am on the record here, and basically everywhere that I write anything on social media, as saying that I find it problematic that marriage equality is THE fight of the queer community. It benefits those who already have privilege more than anyone else, and I think there are more important civil rights for LGBT folks needing attention, but more on that in a minute. That said, I was stunned. I was stunned by the decision, and stunned by how upset about it I was/am. I said to a friend that I felt like I woke up in 2004 with a hangover. I mean, I already got over that shit, and now I have to deal with it again? Plus, I still don’t have a legal connection to my child. Plus, it’s just stupid that we’re still talking about it.
The reason I think it is stupid is because of what is happening THIS week here in Michigan. The state is trying to pass laws that leave out protections for trans* folks. This, of course, means that people can get fired from their jobs, not have equal access to housing, etc. Maybe two years ago at this point, but in some marriage equality conversation where my lovely partner asked if we could just move on, a lesbian acquaintance who is very very very concerned with marriage equality wrote something on my Facebook page about how she wished that perfectly acceptable women weren’t lopping off their breasts and pumping themselves full of hormones (paraphrase except the lopping off of breasts and pumping full of hormones. I still can shake those words.). I kept and keep thinking that if we as queer folks are moving in a community that has SUCH disregard for the identities of others, such an ego that decides that our identities are the only ones worthy of rights, that ignores the experiences of others because they don’t match our own, how can we expect society at large to change? To be more humane?
I feel sad and angry that I don’t have the rights that would make my already privileged life more comfortable and more sure. But I feel outrage that the government of the state I live in sees fit to treat humans as not humans. To not care about the employment, housing, basic humanity of citizens who, at the very minimum pay taxes, and contribute to society in a variety of other ways. I don’t really give a shit if governmental officials, employers, employees (and, shit, LG and B folks) aren’t comfortable with one identity category or another. Lives should not be up for vote, devalued systematically, or be legislated as wrong. That does not sound like democracy to me.
anyway. that’s what I’m thinking about.