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Personal Thoughts on Prop 8 - The Desian Universe
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Thu, May. 28th, 2009 10:51 pm
Personal Thoughts on Prop 8

Back in November, when Proposition 8 won the popular vote, I wrote down some of my thoughts and feelings in the form of a letter to the State of California. At the time, I remember feeling angry, depressed, frustrated, and disappointed... and I share some of those feelings to a greater or lesser degree, now. I'm tired of being a second-class citizen, of living under a government that proclaims, "Equal rights for all! (Except for the gays.)".

I went to the protest in San Francisco on Tuesday. I did so because all those personal reasons aside, I have a duty to every LGBT person alive.

I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that a friend had to remind me of this duty. My excuse is that I am tired -- tired of being angry and frustrated and depressed, and tired of speaking to people who just don't understand that the current system hurts people--sometimes very badly--and feeling as though I'm banging my head against a brick wall.

Listen to me--there is nothing wrong with [us]. [We] are not sick, and [we] are not wrong, and God does not hate [us]. -- Milk

So I went, to be present and to add myself to the count of those willing to stand up for civil rights. I went to hear and discuss what's planned for 2010 and beyond; to help get ready for the battles ahead. I didn't go to protest the Supreme Court ruling -- it is what it is, and objections to it, at this point, are useless. In some respects, I think the Supreme Court had to make the decision it did, but I'll talk about that in another post.

I hope, time permitting, I'll be able to take a more active role this time. I know the best thing I can do is to out myself: "to live as an example of an out, successful bisexual man." My story, and the stories of countless other LGBTs--many of whom have endured discrimination of a nature far worse than I--need to be told. Our work is not done until no fewer than every single one of Earth's children understands the violence and hatred that is embodied in the meaning of the word "faggot".

Compassion is the most powerful instrument of all. It will stamp out anger, fear, and even hatred. We must share our stories, and we must be willing to listen to those shared with us.

Everything else will follow.

-- Des

Current Location: Homebase
Current Mood: determined determined


Fri, May. 29th, 2009 08:33 am (UTC)

*hugs* im sure alot of people who read this post will agree with much of what you said. If I was in the bay area I would join the marches too. I was active in the DC gay community around Dupont Circle while I was down there. Now im back in Boston I dont even know where our citys "gay village" is or if it even has one lol. But id love to get involved again myself.

Sun, May. 31st, 2009 05:08 am (UTC)

It's Boston -- of COURSE it has a gay community! You just have to find it.

I've never even visited, so I wouldn't be much help, I'm afraid. :/ But if nothing else, start poking around online and see what you find.

ReplyThread Parent
Mon, Jun. 1st, 2009 05:35 am (UTC)

Given all the people I know in Boston, yes. How to find them? Not sure.

ReplyThread Parent
Cogito Ergo Sum
Fri, May. 29th, 2009 10:50 am (UTC)


My partner Dave doesn't really get why I want to, and need to be out. Not just about being bisexual, but about being and living a poly lifestyle.

I think living in any kind of closet causes so much damage, not just to the people who are in the closet, but to society and the Cause in general.

I am part of a loving, supportive family. I live with four other adults, and three cats. Both of the men, and one of the two women I'm involved with sexually and romantically/emotionally (we need to find better terminology for that.)

If my co-workers get to tell me about how this past weekend, their brother picked up their daughter for a day at the zoo, and she said her uncle looked like the walrus, I feel I get to say I went to a movie with my husband, and then the next day my boyfriend and I went to an SCA demo.

I want to be able to demonstrate the normality of my life.

I'm dealing with some seriously strange shit at work ATM, and I'm not sure how much what they now know about my lifestyle is going to impact my future employment with this company. (And I live in fucking Gaynada!)

Be out and proud.

Sun, May. 31st, 2009 05:16 am (UTC)

The closet is indeed damaging. Living with the fear, and more importantly the shame, is ... well, it does poison you. Self-hatred is self-destructive, and it makes you sick. It sounds like a truism, I suppose, but when you're in its throes, that's not immediately obvious.

We should all be able to live open, honest lives. But I guess, as we grow up, we learn to tell little white lies to make other people feel better, and those lies just get bigger and bigger until we're compartmentalizing, shielding whole sections of our lives off from each other.

We no longer acknowledge those aspects as parts of us -- we treat them as if they were a series of masks we wear. "Diligent co-worker", "family member", "bisexual", "polyamorous", "cat", "geek", and so on.

I think it's one of the fundamental human tragedies that we can't, or won't be honest with each other.

ReplyThread Parent
Cogito Ergo Sum
Mon, Jun. 1st, 2009 12:52 pm (UTC)

Dave's not out to either his parents nor the majority of his co-workers about me. He wants me to be closeted at work as well, and I'm not sure how to explain to him why I can't do that for him (or for anyone else.)

We've mostly gotten to a place of "agree to disagree" I've met his parents, they don't know the true role I play in his life, but at least I got to meet them. He knows I'm not comfortable closeting myself when I'm around him, so I've simply asked to be excluded from contexts where I would have to lie, or put on a mask in front of his co-workers.

I guess there's just parts of him that are so heteronormative, and so conservative, that he just doesn't question them. One's work life and one's social life should be completely separate. The only real subgroups he's belonged to are geek and poly, he never had to grow up queer and live with that daily fear of discovery.

Mostly I like being out, because I like to take pride in who I am, and who I love. If I get to listen to a co-worker prattle on about their kid's first baseball game of the season, they get to listen to me about going out for dinner and a movie with my poly family.

No one is ever going to understand that poly is functional and normal, if they aren't presented with every day examples. I'm willing to go through the hassle and the discrimination, if it means at least one person down the road will hear about someone else who is poly, and will go, "Oh, yeah I had this queer poly co-worker, and her house sounded pretty cool."

And no one will support subgroup's rights, if they just think it's that group of argumentative freaks over there, not their sister/aunt/cousin/brother.

ReplyThread Parent
Fri, May. 29th, 2009 03:38 pm (UTC)

I'll be campaigning for 2010 when the time comes around, just like I did for 2008. Did it help? I'd like to think it did, if not even helping one person open his heart and show compassion.

The supreme court ruling...eh it just renewed the hatred between both sides. Nothing new was established, nothing surprising happened. The question was whether or not prop 8 was passed legally and it turns out that it was. For some value of legally anyway.

You didn't have me a couple years ago in the fight, but I've changed. You've probably seen it. You have me now and I'm not giving up. Neither should you.

Sun, May. 31st, 2009 05:26 am (UTC)

Every single person helps. Because ones add up to dozens, and dozens add up to hundreds... and so on.

You have changed. I've watched you change over the years we've known each other, and I can see those changes have been good. I'm proud to call you my friend.

Of course, we're never done changing.

I won't give up, either. But you knew that already.

ReplyThread Parent
Fri, May. 29th, 2009 10:03 pm (UTC)

*hugs* It can be very hard, very frustrating, and more difficult to handle - very disheartening. When we feel there is no point it is hard to keep up the battle.

The thing to always keep in mind - watch Milk, look at history. Look at how much progress we've gone through, how much rights we've gained. Then, look at the time line - often, these few rights took decades to accomplish. Our battle for marriage really began with San Fransisco's Mayor - and that's just 5 years ago, and we've already had it deemed unconstitional and had some gays even achieve legal marriage. So, timewise we are moving quite fast! :)

So, keep up courage hon, and know there are people in this battle for justice with you!

Sun, May. 31st, 2009 05:30 am (UTC)

I do know there's a point, and I do occasionally look back. Or sometimes, I look sideways. I see how much progress we've made compared to other states, or even other countries.

I do have hope, and I know that it's only a matter of time. But doing the work to get there is hard.

Even so, the work needs to be done. And I can't ask anyone to do it if I'm not willing to do it myself. So I will step up, as much as I can, and hope it will be enough.

ReplyThread Parent
Sat, May. 30th, 2009 11:11 pm (UTC)
vintage dreams

Remember that shirt I was wearing? I forgot that I have another that that actually is something about same sex marriage from that same time period. I don't think anybody thought it a particularly realistic expectation then.

It was right around the late 90s that a group of High Schoolers started being in the Chicago Pride Parade. Being a college group, we were right in front of them. In years past, we'd get big cheers. maybe we still did, but we could definitely hear the crowd get even louder when they saw them after us. As well they should have. Even if I'd been clueful at that age, I would have been terrified of coming out. As well I should have been probably. But also in that time period, we had the "howto come out" book published, and it started to be the expected thing, I think.

We were still fighting to get basic rights: to have sex (Lawrence vs Texas), to adopt, to have kids, to keep them (she's a lesbian, therefore, unfit to have custody of the kids), and how to make some kind of legal partnerships via legal contracts since there weren't other options. Domestic partnership type benefits were just starting to appear at companies. I'm not sure when DPs started existing in cities and states, but it took a few more years. Celebrities were just starting to come out (although I haven't done a timeline chart on this to see if it was in greater numbers; maybe "mainstream" is a better word).

We've come a long way. Even after seeing out-high-school students ten years ago, I never, ever, would have thought that ten years later we'd see states that have already passed same-sex marriage bills.

Around 2000(?) is when a bunch of transpeople pushed to get a version of the ENDA (Equal non-discrimination act) passed in Illinois. That was a big thing. We still don't even have that nationwide[*]. That was pure organization and quiet lobbying. We don't have the luxury of quiet lobbying here, so we'd better go with organization. ;)

[*] Even the version that was proposed in the House (Senate?) was a completely gutted version: it was sans gender protection. So they couldn't fire you for being a lesbian, but they could fire you for wearing pants or looking a little too dykey. Gee, I feel safer now. :P

Sun, May. 31st, 2009 05:38 am (UTC)
Re: vintage dreams

I'm very, very glad I didn't figure it out until College -- I was already really messed in the head during my K-12 education. That would have only made it worse.

In College, I had (or was able to build in fairly short order) a support system. I didn't know what the hell to do with this new knowledge about myself, but I knew people who did, and who were able to help me become OK with who I am.

My family had (has) even less clue about such things than I. Had I turned to my mom for help, for instance, I would've fallen into a pit of self-doubt, and remained closeted and self-loathing for much longer than I was. (Thankfully, that period lasted less than a year.)

So yes, we have made a lot of progress, and I've been immensely lucky in my personal experiences -- hell, we even have employment and housing laws!

I think soon, we'll be able to achieve equal rights. I'm a lot more optimistic now than I was even a few years ago.

ReplyThread Parent