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Old 11-08-2008, 03:56 PM   #1
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Proposition 8 discussion continued

While I'm always a little hesitant to extend an often heated and emotional topic into a new thread, it felt like the discussion on this one wasn't quite over yet, and certainly the actual news story isn't over either.

In the interests of helping to keep this productive and purposeful, I would strongly suggest that at least for now, we stay focused on the specific title topic and the various lines of discussion about it that we already had going in Part One.
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Old 11-08-2008, 04:18 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Irvine511
it's shameful when gay people are anything less than saints. no anger is ever understandable, let alone justified. gays should simple smile, hug their partners, and resolve to do better next time. anything else is ghastly and horrible and such isolated incidents of racism are a reflection upon the entire community, and should be used as evidence that gays are secretly vile individuals and who deserved to have their civil rights taken away.
Nice dodge, but unintentionably revealing perhaps. You are not a racist, but your first instinct is to ignore or set aside evidence of racist behaviour by your peer group. This is the classic dividing 'special interest' politics of the left. What it is says to me is that leftwingers think 'MY gender/race/sexuality comes first, and everything else takes second place'.
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Old 11-08-2008, 04:31 PM   #3
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I had some things I wanted to follow up on from the previous thread...
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Think of me as a same-sex marriage skeptic.
You're really more of a same-sex parenting skeptic, aren't you? As I understand it, you have doubts about same-sex-headed families as a childrearing environment, and while recognizing that gays and lesbians do and will have children regardless, you're unwilling to see that USDA Grade A stamp of cultural approval placed on it. Is that not correct?
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the gays are still ghettoed, to a large extent, and most of us live in worlds where no one bats an eyelash if we hold hands with our partners while walking down the street.
I do think this is a big problem, both in terms of general public acceptance of homosexuality and more specifically in terms of parents' fears of their children "turning gay" or otherwise being "corrupted" in some way through social exposure to gay people. It does not create, but in the big picture certainly doesn't help the perception that gay people are "subversives," that simply being openly gay somehow constitutes an in-your-face attack on heterosexual culture--not that in reality there is such a thing, but families, monogamy, churchgoing, Joe and Jane Six-Pack stuff like that basically (think of McCarthy's witch hunts of homosexuals in government and slurs about "Commies and c***suckers" to the media). At the same time, the legitimacy and ultimate social advantageousness of maintaining intentional "safe spaces" for historically suppressed and still-stigmatized groups needs to be recognized.
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what a group like ACT-UP does is mobilize and shock into action members of said community. but, ultimately, what wins is the simple, grassroots, humble organization and the talking, arguing, convincing, and demonstration of lives that aren't all that different from yours.
I agree, when evaluating how "good" or "useful" a group like ACT UP is, you need to look not only at policy achievements (which they can claim quite a few of), but also at effectiveness in motivating the group in crisis to stop suffering in silent isolation and start self-reliantly networking and petitioning and awareness-raising. You could say much the same about the Black Power movement--contrary to what a superficial comparison of, say, John Lewis to Stokely Carmichael might seem to suggest, that wasn't some simple, straightforward study in morally generous hope vs. poisonously embittered cynicism.

I think the history books might do us a disservice with their tendency to compress the stories of civil rights struggles into a timeline of key legislative victories livened with biographies of civil rights "celebrities," seeming paragons of righteousness and devotion who inspired thousands of others to do the step-by-step grassroots grunt work--sometimes brilliantly and to great effect, sometimes stumblingly and to heartbreakingly little avail. In real life, breakthroughs are seldom if ever spontaneous and change can feel like it takes an eternity, even if in retrospect things might look to--and have--changed drastically in what by historical standards is an astoundingly short time.

I don't know that I have anything to add to them, but I thought melon had some great points and insights on this topic.
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When my sister in law first came out, I think her mom was initially disappointed because it shattered an image of her little girl one day walking down an aisle in a white dress, getting married. I also think she was sad because she knew how hard it would be for her (my S-I-L) in our society.
I'd add that for religious parents, and that's a lot of them, there's an additional sense of loss in knowing that your child won't be able to remain socially integrated in your religious community, unless it's one of the few that truly recognizes and honors the dignity of gay and lesbian people. Which ought to be a reason to seek to be a voice for change within that community...though that's perhaps (or perhaps not) a separate story from the thread topic.

I think the "ghettoized" perception of gay people plays a role here, too; parents may fear that their children will somehow vanish into a disconcertingly unfamilar social "underworld."
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...And parents I think don't want their children looked at funny. Think about the stereotypes and what that comes with. You look at a lesbian like Portia De Rossi, who looks just like a supermodel and compare her to a very "butch" looking lesbian and you'll see that people or a parent would probably be more accepting of the "pretty" lesbian because she looks like she's "supposed" to, she looks like a girl. The same for the gay man with the feminine voice.
Absolutely; even among straight people, it's disturbing and sad the number of men (especially in their late 30s through 50s) who recall being routinely psychologically brutalized by their fathers for being "sissy boys" who preferred art and theater to sports and tools, or women of the same age who recall being routinely shamed by their mothers for not looking and behaving "feminine" and "pretty" enough. And very often there are deep-seated fears at work there about what might befall the child, as well as what it might say about them as parents if their child "turns out wrong." In a world where sexual orientation truly didn't matter, that wouldn't be a problem.

I really like the thoughtful generosity in your posts, hope you'll stick around.
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Marriage is HIGHLY overrated.
If your expectations for it are on the order of nonstop romantic passion and continuously effortless mutual affirmation of what fantastic people you both are, then yes, you'll almost certainly be in for a nasty shock if you get married. (You could say much the same for parenting, except that particular relationship can't be readily terminated.) No one can ever know in advance which and how many struggles and disappointments lie ahead, so you have to have a robust and flexible shared vision of what you want from the future. And the self-awareness to know your own relationship weaknesses as well as your partner's...and the self-confidence to know that if it must come to an end, you can move on alone if need be.

That said, if you're suited for marriage and clear-headed about what it entails and, yes, have some measure of luck going for you as well...then from where I stand, it's one of the greatest and most profoundly enriching experiences there can be, to have love, intimacy, support, companionship and a shared project in life as the two of you progress through all its twists and turns, perhaps together with the children, born or adopted, you've committed yourselves to guiding into adulthood. With the support (and occasionally hindrance ) of family and friends--the ones who were there when you took your vows, and others you encounter further down the road. That would be tops on my list at least of reasons why formalizing, legally giving consequence to, and above all honoring the choice to make that commitment continues to be a tremendous social good.
Bottom line is that it would be unjustified and reprehensible to blow something like this up into a collective smear of the entire gay community, or to make simplistic moral equations between isolated incidents like this and the reality of pervasive homophobia in American society, including but by no stretch of the imagination limited to African-American society. But, having said that, a temporary rash of such incidents in the wake of what's happened shouldn't surprise anyone. All of us are affected to some degree by racist, sexist, homophobic and other prejudicial attitudes and ideas that we've been exposed to regularly since childhood. And particularly when you're hurting and angry over some recent deep affront to your dignity, those feelings are far more liable to suddenly surface, whether you even consciously realized they were there or not. A white lesbian might find herself blurting racist slurs, a straight woman might find herself blurting homophobic slurs, a black man might find himself blurting anti-Semitic slurs, a gay man might find himself blurting misogynistic slurs...etc. etc. And hopefully when that happens we catch ourselves, engage in some sober self-scrutiny, and take accountability for these self-defeating conflations of problems that reside in others with problems that reside in us. But, it happens.
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Old 11-08-2008, 04:52 PM   #4
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Nice dodge, but unintentionably revealing perhaps. You are not a racist, but your first instinct is to ignore or set aside evidence of racist behaviour by your peer group. This is the classic dividing 'special interest' politics of the left. What it is says to me is that leftwingers think 'MY gender/race/sexuality comes first, and everything else takes second place'.

Racist behaviour of his peer group? Seriously?

Why does the individual always equal the group with you, I don't get it.

So racist behaviour from a straight man would be racist behaviour of your peer group?

Your constant stretches in order to paint certain groups are getting tiresome...
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:21 PM   #5
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Nice dodge, but unintentionably revealing perhaps. You are not a racist, but your first instinct is to ignore or set aside evidence of racist behaviour by your peer group. This is the classic dividing 'special interest' politics of the left. What it is says to me is that leftwingers think 'MY gender/race/sexuality comes first, and everything else takes second place'.
So are you responsible for the collective behavior of all white people then? I think you've got some explaining to do with Hitler then.

Besides, I'd think you'd be happy to see bleeding-heart liberalism die a slow death in the gay community. I know Ann Coulter once implied why it would be in the gay community's interest to do so.
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:30 PM   #6
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Nice dodge, but unintentionably revealing perhaps. You are not a racist, but your first instinct is to ignore or set aside evidence of racist behaviour by your peer group. This is the classic dividing 'special interest' politics of the left. What it is says to me is that leftwingers think 'MY gender/race/sexuality comes first, and everything else takes second place'.



nice try, but your stereotypes and wishful thinking about those on "the left" really doesn't work here.

i'll point out, again, the fact that i have continually pointed out the epidemic of homophobia in the african-american community, and i point out how it kills gay black men often in the form of HIV.

what really sucks is when i'm somehow supposed to be called to account for racism on the part of a few isolated individuals in the wake of a very heated, emotional campaign where a particular group (gays) were viciously attacked by another (mormons) and a third party (african-americans) apparently made the difference at the polls (not solely, but in part). understanding that there's anger, that there's a need to blame someone, is far, far different from excusing or looking the other way at racism.

and, really, i have a tough time with what you've sited. 12 posts on someone's blog? someone may have used the n-word at a rally? i'm supposed to think this is evidence of rampant racism in the CA gay community?

what this seems to be is either, a) conservative fear-mongering (see michellemalkin.com for the best examples of this on the web) that's designed to reduce sympathy for the gays who were just bashed by their fellow citizens, or b) a tactic to try to break up the Obama "coalition" by pitting one oppressed group against another.
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:38 PM   #7
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What needs to be done here is to target several large states. Let's be blunt, who cares what Kansas thinks. What you need are large population centres and look for favourable court composition. If people want to complain about judicial activism, let's give them a reason to whine.

And then you need to litigate everything under the sun that in any way pertains to gay rights in those states. Everything. From employment law, to trusts & estate issues, benefits, etc. Anything with a whiff of discrimination against the gay and lesbian community, litigate it. Eventually you will build up so much persuasive precedent that you will have almost de facto court rulings in favour of gay rights. Then you tackle gay marriage as an afterthought almost.

There has been some talk of targeting Churches and their tax exempt status. I think this is a bad idea, mostly because they tend to have good counsel and stay just short of crossing the line. This is also very bad PR. But that brings us to the next point. The LDS Church needs to be eviscerated in the public realm. They really made an egregious error here in my view. Evangelicals think they're not Christians and are some kind of loons. Now the secular or quasi-secular left may also think that Mormonism is kind of strange, but they generally don't get involved in debating the merits of Christian thought. The LDS Church has crossed that line and has now become synonymous with something ugly among basically every progressive who would have in an indirect way been valuable to them. They've alienated people who never really had a problem with them to begin with and that will come at a high, high price long term.
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:44 PM   #8
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Massachusetts is still standing....
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:49 PM   #9
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Massachusetts is still standing....
You've been relegated to irrelevance along with Canada and Connecticut.
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:50 PM   #10
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nice try, but your stereotypes and wishful thinking about those on "the left" really doesn't work here.

i'll point out, again, the fact that i have continually pointed out the epidemic of homophobia in the african-american community, and i point out how it kills gay black men often in the form of HIV.

what really sucks is when i'm somehow supposed to be called to account for racism on the part of a few isolated individuals in the wake of a very heated, emotional campaign where a particular group (gays) were viciously attacked by another (mormons) and a third party (african-americans) apparently made the difference at the polls (not solely, but in part). understanding that there's anger, that there's a need to blame someone, is far, far different from excusing or looking the other way at racism.

and, really, i have a tough time with what you've sited. 12 posts on someone's blog? someone may have used the n-word at a rally? i'm supposed to think this is evidence of rampant racism in the CA gay community?
But this cuts both ways.

Understandably this has been an immensely disappointing vote for the gay community and I repeat that I very much regret the result of this vote, but a few weeks ago claims that the 'n word' was used at a Palin rally was in various blogs and forums cited as evidence that Republican conservatives are racists.

To me, that is a double standard.
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:53 PM   #11
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Nice dodge, but unintentionably revealing perhaps. You are not a racist, but your first instinct is to ignore or set aside evidence of racist behaviour by your peer group.
I see where you're coming from, but don't necessarily agree.

There are almost always a few whack-jobs at big rallies. Some comments are so 'out there' they aren't really worthy of repudiation. It just kind of goes without saying that some comments are ridiculous and regrettable.
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:53 PM   #12
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What it is says to me is that leftwingers think 'MY gender/race/sexuality comes first, and everything else takes second place'.
Nice generalization. If that were the case, I - a straight, white, female - would have voted for McCain Palin and yes on Prop 8. That sure as hell didn't happen...
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:53 PM   #13
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Bottom line is that it would be unjustified and reprehensible to blow something like this up into a collective smear of the entire gay community, or to make simplistic moral equations between isolated incidents like this and the reality of pervasive homophobia in American society, including but by no stretch of the imagination limited to African-American society. But, having said that, a temporary rash of such incidents in the wake of what's happened shouldn't surprise anyone. All of us are affected to some degree by racist, sexist, homophobic and other prejudicial attitudes and ideas that we've been exposed to regularly since childhood. And particularly when you're hurting and angry over some recent deep affront to your dignity, those feelings are far more liable to suddenly surface, whether you even consciously realized they were there or not. A white lesbian might find herself blurting racist slurs, a straight woman might find herself blurting homophobic slurs, a black man might find himself blurting anti-Semitic slurs, a gay man might find himself blurting misogynistic slurs...etc. etc. And hopefully when that happens we catch ourselves, engage in some sober self-scrutiny, and take accountability for these self-defeating conflations of problems that reside in others with problems that reside in us. But, it happens.



as i was riding home on the metro last night, Memphis and i agreed to meet outside the station and walk to our favorite indian buffet for dinner. a few stops from home, i got a text from him saying, "there are fucking mormons recruiting right here." i got instantly angry. and i my impulse was that i hoped the train would fucking hurry up because i wanted to go and pick a fight. not a physical fight, but get into an argument. i really did.

now, pause for a moment and consider that i've defended Mormons, at length, here in FYM. i knew at least a dozen Mormons growing up in my New England town, and i've always though, almost without exception, they were lovely people. i've stood up for diamond, and i've made the comparison that white protestant evangelicals really aren't in a position to mock the Mormons since may of us think their religion is pretty much bullshit as well. i think much of Mormonism is kind of wack-a-doodle, but i really don't care. without exception, the Mormons i've met are lovely. especially the one i made coffee for in the morning. ahem.

so as i was going up the escalator, blood pumping, i began to stop and think and realize that protesting the Mormon church itself is perfectly legitimate. that, were i to get into a discussion with a Mormon missionary and the subject were to turn to this and said missionary wanted to get into a discussion, that would be perfectly legitimate. if one were to knock on my door, i'd give him an earful. but to seek out and antagonize an individual who's merely doing his job is something entirely different. it took me a while to calm down and come to that conclusion. and by the time i got to the top of the escalator, there were no Mormons in sight. just Memphis. and we talked about this on the way to dinner. i do feel like "my people" have been assaulted by the Mormon church, and by many individual Mormons, but not by all Mormons, and certainly not by that individual Mormon.

now, as for african-americans, i'm well aware how they voted (at least according to the exit polls). and i think that gays absolutely have to reach out to the african-american community, and i think that black church leaders need to stop with the sweeping homophobia that often comes from the pulpit (and Obama, to his credit, has called them out on this; i hope he'll do more). but i've lived in what might be called the inner-city, alongside the black urban poor. never had a problem, never encountered any homophobia from a black person. further, since gay men tend to be urban "pioneers" and will move into "developing" neighborhoods much sooner than their straight peers, you'll find that in many cities, the first white neighbors a black person might have could well be a white gay couple.

so, obviously, my experience tells me that feeling affronted by black people or individual Mormons is bogus. but the anger is there, and when we're angry, we look for easily identifiable targets. and it takes a moment to calm down, take a breath, and realize what we're doing and what we're saying and figure out who our opponents actually are. it's not individuals, it's institutions.

what gay people must do is share their stories, and share their lives, and talk to straight people and appreciate those that stand by us. much responsibility falls upon our shoulders.

Memphis once went to a conference where B.D. Wong spoke. he said, "if you want to live in a world where you can put a picture of your partner on your desk, then you must put a picture of your partner on your desk."

it might be as simple as that. so let's get on with the work that has to be done.
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:55 PM   #14
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They've alienated people who never really had a problem with them to begin with and that will come at a high, high price long term.


the irony of the Mormon Church lecturing others on marriage really is hilarious.

marriage is between a man and several 14 year old girls?
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:57 PM   #15
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But this cuts both ways.

Understandably this has been an immensely disappointing vote for the gay community and I repeat that I very much regret the result of this vote, but a few weeks ago claims that the 'n word' was used at a Palin rally was in various blogs and forums cited as evidence that Republican conservatives are racists.

To me, that is a double standard.


the difference, i think, was that comments by Pailn were seen as trying to incite such statements -- "real America" and "palling around with terrorists" and "Barack Obama doesn't see America the way you and i do."
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