Rage and Referendum 74

If you live in Washington state, I hope you'll vote
for marriage equality. Vote Approve R 74.
You can even buy a yard sign

Or a t-shirt
And walk around all signage-like. Or, like me,
you can sit around feeling really fucking grumpy,
because this stupid referendum should not be on
the ballot in the first place. In February 2012
Senate Bill 6239 was signed by Governor Gregoire,
legalizing same-sex marriage to take effect on
June 7th. This referendum was thrown together
by haters to undo what had already been done,
to take away rights set in place to be granted.
Allowing THE MAJORITY to vote on
the rights of A MINORITY (hello American
history) is not okay. This referendum allows my
heterosexual friends, neighbors, yoga buddies,
colleagues, students, strangers, and passers-by
to vote on my rights. You get to decide
if I can get married,  if lesbians and gay
men deserve the rights you enjoy, or if we
should be treated as lesser beings. You get
to decide how I should be treated, not in
a personal or social setting, but in the public
sphere of the law. I'm hearing all kinds of homophobic/
heterosexist rhetoric these days, which is nothing
new, but my patience for it is just exhausted.
Watching my rights be put to vote is taxing.
It makes me angry. It makes me sad. It makes me
feel ashamed, humiliated, as if I've done something
wrong. It triggers (a word I hate, an overused
word, but appropriate here) internalized
homophobia, making me think, well, maybe
I really am a second class citizen. Maybe there
really is something wrong with me. Maybe
I really should be shunned at work, on the
street, in social gatherings. And if I am thinking
this way -- a 44 year old woman, a college professor,
an author, a well-adjusted, happy person -- how
must a 14 year old queer kid be feeling? How about
an 85 year old who was forced back into the closet
when s/he entered a nursing home? How about
someone with fewer resources for the things that
have kept me sane: therapy, healthy food, yoga,
a comfortable house, my dogs? If I'm feeling this
way, other more vulnerable people are feeling
this way even more deeply. Whether we win or lose
this battle, the battle itself has taken a toll. It is not okay.
I am furious. And don't kid yourself that this is
just about marriage, because it's possible to harbor
deep ambivalence about marriage and still feel
outraged. Like many women, I'm suspicious
of marriage as a historically misogynistic institution;
like many queers, I'm resistant to the assumptions
and customs heterosexuals tend to attach to marriage.
I know many people who value non monogamy
and polyamory; many people who prefer to live
happily alone; many people who love a partner
or partners, but don't want the state involved in
their relationships. Unfortunately, queer peoples'
debates about whether marriage was even the political
road to take were mostly silenced as the LGBT movement
took a drastically assimilationist turn over the past
two decades, responding with conservative political
goals after the losses and emotional turmoil of the
AIDS epidemic. The LGBT movement focused on
two issues: Don't Ask, Don't Tell and same-sex marriage.
The push was, and still is, to prove to straight
people that we are just like them, and want to live
in the suburbs. I'm dubious of this strategy; I hate
the suburbs; I still fuck like a queer and I refuse
to downplay my differences. But I also pay taxes.
So this is where we are today. It's not the fight I want
to be fighting, but it's the fight I've got, and it is
a fight about my access to legal equality. To full
citizenship. To what my heterosexual friends and
neighbors already enjoy (or, judging by some
peoples' relationships, don't enjoy very much at all).
Moral of this blog post: ask a queer person how
they're feeling this election season. Demonstrate
that you're aware that queers are going through
something painful and de-humanizing. Remind us
that you see our humanity as no different from your own.
Then vote.