Sunday, May 13, 2012


I told a friend that as a politically progressive married lesbian mom, I feel like I'm getting whiplash moving back and forth between happiness about Obama's evolution and frustration with the political goals of marriage equality.  The ABC interview was loving, but also troubling.  I think the word "monogamy" was a thorn for many of us. Badger and I are really the poster children for Obama's vision of marriage, but where does the extension of rights to those who are monogamous, committed, and child-having, leave the kinky, slutty, and otherwise disrespectable members of our community.  Where would our gay forefathers and foremothers fit into Obama's narrow definition of gay respectability.  In today's politics, it's acceptable to talk about rights and marriage, but not so acceptable to talk about gay sex.  Without gay men and lesbians who formed sexual subcultures, we wouldn't have gotten here to talk marriage, so best not to forget them.  I'm not sure that the drag queens of Stonewall, the radical lesbian separatist who rejected monogamy, or John Geddes Larence and Tyron Garner would make the cut.  Rights are rights, and you shouldn't have to conform to a narrow standard of behavior to be worthy.

So where does that leave me.  This anti-marriage agenda article by a progressive lesbian was published a couple days after Obama's statement, and even though I completely agree with the substance of her arguments, the piece felt a little petty and holier-than-thou.  This video (Making Newark Better) warmed my heart, and shows rather than tells the good (non-marriage related) work that committed glbtq activists can do-work that helps some of the most vulnerable community members.

Finally, I was watching Melissa Harris Perry's show. Perry always seems to come up with interesting analysis that goes beyond what you usually get on TV.  (I probably like her because she's a social scientist not a policy wonk.)  She used the analogy of slavery (and, of course, was NOT trying to say that being queer in the 2010s is like being a slave) to argue that gay marriage and a broad and inclusive gay freedom struggle are not in opposition.  Perry argued that slaves sought marriage and recognition for their relationships even as they sought the ultimate goal of freedom.  Wanting to be married did not mean that the did not want to be free. To mix some historical metaphors: we need bread, but it's not wrong to want roses too.

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