Stay Motivated: A Short Caution.
I was originally going to title this “stay angry.” Sometimes, it seems like that’s what’s needed to keep people motivated and engaged in activism, networking, and a sense of community, after a big win that makes people think that the struggle is over.
My position on the fight for same-sex marriage has been nuanced: that it shouldn’t be the #1 priority (and it’s disappointing that it has been, for so long), but also that we should have the capacity as a large community to work on several issues (including marriage) concurrently. One of the things I’ve been a stuck record on is with reminding people what transpired in Canada after marriage equality was achieved: there was a brief amount of celebration that the “last great battle” had been won, and then everyone disappeared into suburbia, leaving LGBT organizations underfunded, understaffed and under-equipped to deal with the serious issues that remained.
So that’s the first reason that I urge people to stay motivated.
2013 politics provides an interesting window for LGBT communities, right now. A person would have to live in isolation to not have seen the right-wing surge against abortion and funding of / access to contraception, over the past two years. When bans were impossible, efforts were implemented to regulate them to the point where they were inaccessible, and now that has escalated to direct court challenges, in a gambit strategy to have the precedents overturned. Just days before marriage equality passed, SCOTUS hamstrung the Voting Rights Act, an action that will surely negatively affect minority communities (of which we are still one, and still intersect with many). These are issues that many of us believed to be “settled,” and now the far-right spin machine is engaging against even The Pill:
[Operation Rescue’s Randall Terry]: “Do we want to make the pill illegal? Yes. Do we want to make the IUD illegal? Yes. The morning after pill? Yes. The patch? Yes. Anything that’s a human pesticide, they all have to be made illegal. A woman has to go to jail if she kills her baby…”
If that’s not an indication that these issues are never “over,” I don’t know what is. So that’s the second reason I urge people to stay motivated.
Marriage was never the most serious issue that LGBT people faced. Issues of poverty and disenfranchisement would have to be the most dire challenge: homelessness, trans issues (identification, medical access and more), HIV and STD outreach, sex worker rights, the war on pot, and the obvious growing economic disparity that is occurring… all of these seriously impact LGBT people.
So America, I’m going to harsh your buzz. Congratulations on achieving marriage equality.
But please, for your sake and everyone else’s, stay motivated, and stay engaged. And feel free to spread this short post far and wide and into perpetuity, to encourage others to do the same.
(Crossposted to The Bilerico Project)