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August 27, 2009

We Are Just Like Them - REALLY?

I ran across this on a new website here in my neck of the woods... I am happy to call Don a friend and appreciate his articulation:

By Don Davis


The gold equal sign on a bright blue background is an amazingly wonderful branding for the Human Rights Campaign (our largest membership national l/g/b/t/a organization). When I drive through neighborhoods and see that equal sign on the bumpers of parked cars or flying as flags from individual houses, I know I’m in place where people like me reside and thrive. When I see the equal sign (or a rainbow symbol) while I’m motoring down the highway, I always make it a point to wave wildly and smile knowingly. It’s important that we reinforce each other in our visibility.

The genius of the HRC symbol is its simplicity.

I wonder, though, how simple the message really is.

I read an article here on OUR OWN which declared, “We aren’t any different from our straight counterparts.” Is that what the equal sign means…that we’re just like them…that we are “equal” in that there are no differences between us and them?

I imagine it means exactly that for some. However, when I consider the word equal in the context of our struggle, I see “equal” as being a goal. That is, my family should be equal in our ability to marry, to serve in the military, to participate successfully in the workplace, and to not live in fear of hate bias crimes. I want to be equal in the eyes of the law. I am NOT equal currently.

I take strong exception to the notion that I, and most of my l/g/b/t family, is no “different from our straight counterparts.” Most of us were raised by heterosexual parents. We spent years hiding ourselves sexually for fear of losing our families and friends. Many of us were bullied at school because we were too butch as girls or too femme as guys. Lots of us have settled for small simple careers because with higher organization visibility comes more scrutiny and gays in charge in the workplace is still the exception. Many of us in relationships struggle almost endlessly to survive together and move forward because of the emotional damage we experienced early in our lives and we bring that baggage along with us to our new relationships. We struggle daily due to the general lack of support we find from our predominately straight biological, religious, and workforce families. For these reasons and hundreds more, we are QUITE DIFFERENT from our straight counterparts. We experience life differently. We see the world through bright pink shades of hetero-normative oppression which negatively affects us every day, in most every way.

I demand that laws be changed to make us queers equal. I am not, however, just like any straight person. We are not equal to them! The hurdles placed in front of us have been mean-spirited, ignorant, debasing, and shameful. Some in my queer family haven’t survived. For those of us who have, we are damaged, hurt, and often angry. We’ve had to work hard to overcome the strident homophobia which smacks us on the head multiple times every day.

While it’s true we all put on our blue jeans one leg at a time, that’s as close as we are to being the same as heterosexuals and the heterosexual majority.

Thanks Don, for your words... Over and most definately "Out" from my "gay"borhood in Portsmouth, VA

3 comments:

Larry Ohio said...

Thanks for the tip.

manxxman said...

Wow......that was some post.

ElfBear said...

Thank you for posting this, it gives me something new to think about and I always appreciate that.

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