On SCOTUS, Privilege, and Internet Slactivism.

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

I should be writing chapters for the book project that I’m working on, but I’m going to take a minute to put down some of my many thoughts on today’s facebook/tumblr explosion over the cases for marriage equality that the Supreme Court heard today. As someone who is planning a gay wedding, I’m cautiously optimistic. The verdict should come down at around the time my partner and I are swapping vows. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, after our wedding, we didn’t need any special forms to make medical decisions for one another?

I’m friends with a lot of people who are a lot more radical than I am. I believe that their perspectives are, for the most part, valid and important. But if you are a cis-gender straight person who rejects the idea of marriage because it supports an outdated system of capitalist assimilation, we probably can’t be bros. There’s a certain amount of privilege (and denial of privilege usually) that goes along with trying to discredit the shit that a bunch of marginalized people are fighting for. I am psyched about the possibility to enjoy things like filing joint taxes, sharing joint custody of children, immigration benefits, health care benefits, etc.

While I’m listing off things that chap my ass, let’s talk for a minute about the idea that if you are psyched for gay marriage you are less concerned with AIDS research or equal rights for transgender and genderqueer folks. That bullshit implies that I can only focus on one thing at a time. You guys aren’t new, at this point. You know how many things I can wring myself into an anxious tizzy about all at once. I’m a talented multi-tasker. (If you wanted to do something rad for other causes near to my heart, please consider a donation to the Mazzoni Center, which does so many great things for so many people within Philly’s queer community.) I’m a gay lady who wants to tie the knot. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t rip me apart with grief every time I read about some queer or trans kid being the victim of a hate crime or taking their own life because some bully has tortured them so much that death is preferable to their abuse. Wanting to marry someone I love doesn’t mean that I don’t donate to and volunteer with organizations that raise money to further AIDS research. In the words of feminist Hulk, I contain multitudes. I bet you do too.

I’ve also heard a lot of people talking smack about the futility of things like wearing a shirt or changing your profile picture. I think little things like that are important too. It has been really validating to scroll through my news feed today and see all of these small gestures of support. It means so much to me that my friends and community members share my values, even if my family does not. That’s a huge deal to me. I’ve been thinking intermittently how much I will miss the presence of my aunts and my grandma at my wedding – this small gesture of support, done en masse by the totally amazing people I’m friends with – goes a long way to help that. And you know what? Queer shirts sometimes financially benefit queer causes. They also give hope to the hearts of people who might be struggling with their sexuality and offer people who aren’t visibly queer a way to show support. I think it all counts – every gesture of support – no matter how small.

Thank you for reading this. Thank you for your support and respect. I look forward to a day when marriage isn’t an issue and we can get back to arguing about important stuff on the internet like who wore it best or whose mom sucks worse.

Read Related Posts...