Monday, December 20, 2004

Common Nonsense

On, Greg Reisher has an editorial called "Marriage Lessons". In it, he proposes giving up the fight for marriage and pursuing issues more palatable to the general public.

It is no surprise to me that he used to work at the Human Rights Campaign. The HRC believes in assimilation and is willing to drop the quest for some people’s rights in the pursuit of rights for the ‘majority’ of their marginalized constituents. They did not include transgender folks in their push for ENDA, etc. for many years, because they considered TRs a deal-breaker with the mainstream. They changed this policy after gays started refusing to donate to them. After all, who among us is truly 'mainstream'?

I can’t help but think that Reisher is the type who would honor the drag queens of Stonewall while advertising for a “straight acting” man in the personals. The drag queens of Stonewall were people who pretty much didn’t - or couldn't - conceal their personalities. They were thus the first with the courage to fight for equality, as opposed to those who convincingly lied about who they really were. If it weren't for these less 'palatable' individuals, there would be no HRC.

I also can't help but think of how the abolitionists asked members like Susan B. Anthony to drop their quest for women’s equality because it would ‘hurt’ the anti-slavery movement. The feminists sacrificed their needs 'for the moment', hoping that their allies would assist them afterwards. It took over a half century before women got the vote, and that was because they took up their own cause again.

Perhaps I’m selfish, because I refuse to wait till I’m ninety-two for my rights. Perhaps, since I was raised to believe I was a valuable human being, I am outraged rather than cowed. Or perhaps I just understand that rights should not only be granted to the 'palatable'. Certainly no other push for human rights has succeeded using that strategy. 'Mine's better than yours' is just too tempting a game for most people.

If the gay community drops its quest for marriage, it won't stop politicians from using it against us with the 'slippery slope' bit: grant them ENDA, and they'll just ask for marriage next. Same-sex marriage scare tactics now have a proven track record for serving the interests of the Republican Party. Clamoring for those state constitutional amendments swept them to victory in state-level elections across the country in November.

Meanwhile, the efforts of the (mostly HRC-led) anti-ballot campaigns focused on shushing public talk so the Democrats, our nominal allies, could win. But by not being visible, no opposing view/human face was available when inserts began appearing in church bulletins across the country - and the Democrats lost all around. The GOP made damned sure that Democrat candidates were linked with support of same-sex marriage, regardless of their actual stated views.

The Human Rights Campaign needs to concede that the genie is out of the bottle on the marriage issue, and gays will lose as long as the GOP is framing the arguments. Reisher should do the same.

Sarah G

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

A Suggestion for Xian LBGTs

I know a bunch of you go to the MCC and other churches run 'by gays for gays'. Others have joined the Unitarian Church, but are still essentially Christian in your beliefs and practices. There are also some Christian denominations with 'open and affirming' congregations, and some of you have joined those fellowships.

Well, good. But you could be doing good, too.

Churchgoers across the country overwhelmingly said 'gay people suck' on November 2nd. I know, the spinmeisters amongst us claim it was only about the Christian definition of marriage, but think of the number of people who also voted to ban civil unions or domestic benefits in general. That goes a bit further than 'marriage is for straights only'. It doesn't take a degree in linguistics to glean the underlying translation: "You don't deserve anything good 'cos you went against God, you big sinner, you".

Naturally, the usual activist platitudes about 'continuing to educate others' are being mouthed. But letters to the newspaper, emails to your congressbigots, and speaking up in your supportive congregations isn't going to change much. Meeting the average churchgoer will.

I suggest that LBGT Xians ask the ministers, deacons, etc. of mainstream churches if they can visit services and speak to the congregation about LBGTs in Christianity. Don't shriek - I'm not suggesting you crash the local version of Westboro Baptist. Getting shot for the cause is highly overrated. I'm suggesting that you do what Christians are supposed to do - witness.

Stand up and share your background in Christianity - most of you weren't born attending MCC, and they may have even heard of your church. Heck, go back to your old church. Tell them about your relationship with Jesus. Most importantly, tell them why you continue to be Christian, despite the mass condemnations going on. No matter what your sexual or political persuasions, you have one important thing in common with them: your faith.

The more adventurous of you may want to join a mainstream church. If you become well liked, consider running for deacon or some such post, or even looking into the ministry. Yes, many gays and lesbians have been tried and defrocked for their courage, but their congregations become largely supportive of gays in the meantime, and continue to be so in the future.

The remedy to the current mantle of opprobrium is not seeking a hiding place 'among your own kind', but your courage. Self-respect is not the only reward you may find.

Sarah G

Thursday, December 02, 2004

A Reversal of Sorts

A Christian denomination gets it right, and the 'liberal' media gets it wrong.

The United Church of Christ is airing ads that show bouncers keeping a gay male couple out of a church, among other 'undesirables'. This is followed by the message: "Jesus didn't turn anyone away. Neither do we." People of all sorts are shown being welcomed into a UCC church, including a lesbian couple.

How refreshing! A Christian denomination besides the MCC with a gay-positive message. And they're mostly straight! How nice that some Christians, tired of the Religious Right claiming the high moral ground, are actually putting their own message on the air, where everyone can...

Oops, did I use the phrase 'on the air'? Better make that 'on cable'. Unfortunately, the ad has been deemed too controversial for the major networks. NBC simply said they didn't broadcast 'religious advertising' (overlooked the ones for the Book of Mormon, didn't they?), but CBS was more direct: "because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples ... and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

In other words, the President might not like it.

The outcome of the election seems to have been a factor: earlier this year, the network execs expressed their concern, but the UCC ads ran on NBC and CBS affiliates in test markets during March without incident.

This is scary: if the networks are afraid to displease an actually-elected Dubya by running a church ad, what else are they afraid to broadcast? What will their news crews not even try to investigate any more?

These folks need a good nose-tweaking. Please write them at:



Happy tweaking!

Sarah G