The “problem” is our existence

MAJeff here, getting all gay and stuff. It’s been a pretty big year for LGBT folks in the U.S. A couple weeks ago, the state in which I live repealed a law enacted during the height of anti-miscegination activity, and is now allowing same-sex couples from anywhere to marry here. Prior to that, California joined us in offering full equality to same-sex couples. That victory may be short-lived, though. There is an effort underway to take away the right to marry. Folks here can help out by contributing to Equality California who are leading the NO ON 8 campaign.

I had to chuckle the other day when I came across this post at an LA Times blog about their meeting with the folks trying to make life worse for queer people:

The measure’s supporters are generally careful to avoid appearing anti-gay, probably because they realize that, for all the voter split on same-sex marriage, Californians generally support gay rights. They professed in our meeting to have no ill will toward gay people…until the talk went deeper.

Wait, you mean they’re lying when they say they have no problems with gay people? I’m shocked! Shocked, I say!

The LA Times writer continues:

one Prop. 8 supporter said, gay rights are not as important as children’s rights, and it’s obvious that same-sex couples who married would “recruit” their children toward homosexuality because otherwise, unable to procreate themselves, they would have no way to replenish their numbers. Even editorial writers can be left momentarily speechless, and this was one of those moments

Ah, the recruitment line, code for “They’re coming to rape your children.”

The Times blogger is right: the anti-gay folks are careful to avoid showing their true colors; they work very hard to hide the anti-gay animus that drives them. But, lurking beneath the surface of their “We only want to protect marriage” lie is a deep and abiding hatred of queer folks and our communities. Their problem isn’t that we want equal access to the same rights our heterosexual counterparts have. No, their problem is that we exist at all.

That was brought home pretty clearly in a recentletter-to-the-editor in the Boston Globe:

ENOUGH ALREADY with the Globe’s gay agenda. How many front-page stories do we have to see to know that your agenda is to promote the gay/lesbian lifestyle? The July 21 article “Bloom’s off the brick row house: Buyers picking modern high-rise over classic style” could and should have been written from the heterosexual perspective. What you’re writing about is not a gay issue, it’s a human issue, and casting the story in a manner to feature gays is inappropriate. It’s time to straighten out, and I mean that in all senses of the word.

I have my own problems with such stories–namely that they continue to put forth an image of gay men as wealthier than the general public, when there’s actually a wage-penalty attached to those of us who aren’t hetero, and, regarding marriage issues, gay parents are getting by with fewer resources than their straight counterparts (that report is specifically for CA)–but that’s not the point. The bigoted letter writer isn’t concerned with accurate presentations, he’s concerned that there are gay presentations at all. Housing issues may be universal, but the universal is particular–and it’s straight.

I’m sure some folks will trot out the, “Just because I’m against gay marriage doesn’t mean I’m anti-gay” or “just because I disagree with the homosexual lifestyle doesn’t make me a bigot.” Well, it does. What they’re saying is that they want us gone. They want us to disappear. They want gay life to cease.

When folks come out and say they’re opposed to discrimination against people but actively foster such discrimination, they’re lying. They are pro-discrimination. That goes for John McCain, too, who recently said a pro-choice running mate would be acceptable, but not a pro-gay one. He has opposed every effort at including gay people in the institutions of American life. He may not be one of the crazy-ass-type fundies, but he’s also no social moderate. He’s just a “nicer” version of the “agents of intolerance” he “denounced” 8 years ago. His policy preferences on issues related to sexuality are very similar to those of Pat Robertson and John Hagee and Pope Nazinger.

McCain, Robertson, Hagge, Nazinger, McConnell…. These folks and the organizations they lead aren’t just opponents of gay rights, but enemies of gay people. They are all pushing for a return of the institutional closet. They want us neither seen nor heard. And, as ACT-UP so accurately put it, Silence=Death. They may not always want individual gay people to die, but they want our communities to do so.

I take that back, by attempting to push us back into the closet, they do want us to die. There is no life in that miserable space.