There are days in this world that will be remembered, yesterday was the day that Thatcher died, leaving us at the mercy of her bastard stepchildren, but today I hope will have significance, because the Secretary General of the United Nations has made it clear that no country can justify homophobia or transphobia, even if their culture demands it.
Yes for the most part he’s the head of a minarchist government of squabbling childish nations, but his voice does have weight, it does have power, and when you have Iran, Egypt and Russia all trying to block basic human protections for their queer citizens, its telling that he refused to take the middle road.
I grew up lucky, there’s no other way to describe my circumstances, I got all the advantages of being the child of two long term middle class families (with a touch of aristocracy thrown into the mix). There’s no-one in my family I can think of who suffered unduly financially because of Thatcher’s policies, and I’m fairly certain that we probably benefited in many ways from her ruthless policies.
So unlike many of the people in my life today, I grew up being told of all the good work that Thatcher did, how it was the socialists who were the boogeyman threatening to drag us back into the dark and fear. So as one of those who grew into adulthood in a post-thatcher world, what do I as an individual (no caring for our fellow britons after all) have to complain about…
Well actually Thatcher was not “mostly harmless” to me and my family…. because she was a homophobic bigot of the order that Christian Institute members have hot sweaty “sinful incidents” about.
Today we think of the current queer rights movement as scarily young, and most of us wish we could have started out at schools like those that exist in 2013, not those that existed 1986 as I did. I grew up in terror, in fear that people would work out I was different, and not just in the obvious socially awkward introverted ways that were all people saw of me.
I didn’t get the chance to be who I was at school, I never got to explore being what a teenager was, I didn’t even get the chance to explore at university, because everything that mattered about me, was strangled, gutted, and buried under a concrete slab of self loathing and fear. It wasn’t just the legal framework, it was the social climate that she reflected, embraced, and promoted, one in which I had no right to exist.
There’s a lie I told above, that the queer rights movement is “scarily young”, it actually became something important and world changing more than a decade before I was born, when young queer people braver than I am said they were not going to be trodden on any more. The first move for marriage equality in the US was submitted to the supreme court 2 years after Loving vs Virginia was handed down, In politics Harvey Milk and a few others overcame huge hurdles and fought off the homophobic backlash levelled at them. When the British Gov’t had determined finally that decriminalising homosexuality was right, the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time (in the 1950s no less) said it was immoral to prosecute people for their inbuilt nature, so our generation did not need to be one that lived under the shadow of institutional homophobia.
Then came HIV, a new kind of virus, never documented before, slow, silent, invisible, deadly, and transmitted only by the most personal and intimate of connections… it ravaged communities who thought that the era of disease was over, and into this age of paranoia and misinformation stepped two cowards, named Reagan and Thatcher. What was needed was for these supposedly iron backbone politicians was to be leaders, to tell the truth, and to remove the fear and ignorance, but of course they both fed it.
With Reagan, while courting the evangelical hate, he purposefully ignored the situation. He refused to address or act on what was known while thousands died and hundreds of thousands more got infected. What Thatcher did, was far far worse. She attacked every single queer person in Britain for daring to exist, then she heaped on more bile and rhetoric before her coup de grace, section 28. This was a bill that made “don’t say gay” in Tennessee or Henepin County’s “neutrality” policy look like positively queer friendly policies, and I and so many like me still feel the scars because of it.
Now I’ve seen some people attempt to defend her, by claiming she had no choice, or she didn’t know better, but these fly in the face of two undeniable facts about her.
Throughout her prime ministerial career she never did things for political expediency, she never changed her course because it was inconvenient or hard, and this is something that people laud about her, so either she was a hate filled bigot acting on principle, or on gay rights she abandoned her backbone and kowtowed to the homophobes in her party.
Secondly one thing you could never accuse Thatcher of being was ignorance, she was stone cold brilliant, she was a grocers daughter who went to Oxford in 1943, which was hardly a bastion of feminism or egalitarianism at the time. You are left with trying to explain how someone who should and could have known better gave into her inner homophobia and unleashed it on a vulnerable population.
Now maybe even in a world in which Thatcher wasn’t an ignorant bigot on queer issues, I wouldn’t have had an easy ride being open as me at school in the 90s, but maybe I would have been strong enough to walk along a hard road, rather than the impossible road she turned it into.
So this is why, even if I were one of Thatcher’s bastard stepchildren, embracing the self serving vicious Randian policies she implemented, I would still loathe her for the harm she did not need to do to people like me.
But its not the 1980s any more, and I’m here, I’m really me, I have a good job, I have someone in my life who makes me very happy and I’m surrounded by amazing queer people who flourished in-spite of . My future is bright, and full of hope, and Thatcher and her hate filled social policies are dead, and soon to be buried.
You would leave the vulnerable unprotected from the unchained ravages of bigots. Its nice to think that you can talk the bigots down, but sometimes you have stand up, and fight back. The bigots sometimes need to be chained, in deed but not in word.
Gary Johnson is no friend of the Queer Community, he’d strip us of all the protections we are working for and have worked for over the past 2 generations. His solution is to throw us to the wolves, and hope some of us survive.
I came across this article by Jordan Sekulow attorney at the ACLJ, claiming that associating the Christian Dominist Movement with fundamentalist Christianity was unfair, because fundamentalist Christians really want freedom for all.
This was the response I posted:Except that the ACLJ and much of the Christian Right is constantly taking religious values and laws, and trying (and sadly sometimes succeeding) to bring them into civil law. Now there’s a multitude of examples in different areas where the Christian Right shows its Dominist values. However there is one example where Jordan and his pack of lies about freedom can be hoisted on their own potard, and thats the religious right and their treatment of Queer americans. The claim is of small government, freedom of choice, and personal responsibility, provided its small government in areas that do not affect you if you are a straight white fundamentalist christian man. The tea party, and the evangelical movement are already lining up their attacks on Queer americans, on every issue from marriage equality, through to attacking the repeal of DADT. When I want to marry the woman I love, where is my freedom? The claims of wanting freedom are nothing but pure hypocrisy… its saying you are free, provided you do what we tell you to do. Jordan can claim until he’s blue in the face that Fundamentalist Christians don’t want a theocracy, but those of us who already suffer under the theocratic laws that his kind have inflicted on this country, know better.
I was watching Ashley Love confront the absence of Trans panel members at the NAACP,
Now the argument that Don Lemon was trying to make is that we are all gay, which honestly on some level is not entirely accurate. I’m a transwoman who’s also mostly lesbian, however if I were a straight trans-woman, then I would consider myself not covered by the label “gay”.
However I feel that the label Queer does cover everyone no matter the identity. Don Lemon needs to realize that by putting “Gay” as the front term, he ignores the needs and presence of Bisexuals, Lesbians, Transgender and many other orientations and identities that face prejudice, sometimes even from within the Lesbian and Gay communities.
So if you want to use the term “Queer Community” as an umbrella term, but “Gay Community” is inaccurate, and excludes many people who are part of the Queer Community.
In 2004, the republican party used hate against queer people to help drive a wedge between independents, blue dog democrats, moderate republicans and the Democratic party. Its sad to say but it was a successful campaign and highlighted the fact that despite many improvements in queer rights and acceptance there was still an undercurrent of hatred for queer americans.
Its now 2011, and its so different from attitudes 6 years ago, and we should recognise that fact, as should the Democratic party. The majority of the country wants not only basic respect for Queer americans, but also marriage equality.
Currently the only viable republican candidate has refused to sign NOM’s hate pledge which includes calling for witch-hunt investigations of Queer rights groups who’ve attacked anti-equality organisations by calling them Hate Groups. Jon Huntsman has refused to sign the pledge, but in his view marriage equality is not on the cards, he’s a supporter of civil unions, but he makes it clear that they are second class relationships. Huntsman doesn’t even disguise the fact that he’s calling for “separate but equal” treatment of Queer americans.
Now Obama’s record on Queer Rights is far from great, he’s had opportunities to fight for true equality like ENDA and Repealing DOMA when he had huge majorities in the Senate and House, but he’s now supporting a limited marriage equality bill that he knows has no chance of coming law. However under Obama, despite his lack of action, hate for Queer americans is no longer the explicit policy of the US government which is a huge improvement. Under any of the republican candidates, the lives of Queer americans will get worse, varying from HHS rules forcing hospitals accepting medicare and medicaid funding to allow partner visitation rights, to the recent “consideration” DHS is now applying to binational queer couples as far as deportation is concerned.
Forty years ago, Harvey Milk said, that we had to step out of the shadows and be heard, that we could no longer be closeted from our friends, our families and our coworkers. Across the US, in a wave that was not unlike the “Great Awakening” in True Blood, Queer americans stepped out of the shadows, and started to find their voices.
Now we’ve become a generation of Good Queers, who’ve accepted that our republican and independent friends cheerfully vote for people like Bush, McCain, and others who relish the thought of hurting us. The republican party has chosen to make hate part of their platform. Barack Obama has been a centrist President, and I’d challenge anyone to argue with a straight face that any of his policies have ended up being anything but centrist, if not center right. So its time to go out and tell your friends and families about the hate they are considering voting for.
“A vote for a republican president, is a boot stamping down on the faces, lives, families, and livelihoods of your Queer friends and family members”
Throughout the site, I’ve been forced somewhat to use the unwieldy but accurate term to describe our community which is LGBTQIAPPQA. It covers every orientation and identity of our community, but it fails to be something that is easily sayable, describable or memorable unless you are an lgbtqiappqa rights activist like myself.
I think its important not to shorten the term to LGBT because we are not all represented by groups like the HRC, there are other identities and orientations that need the same respect and support as the easy to define and pin down Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities. I’m someone who is interested in queer culture, in questions of where our society might go, thinking deeply about how a post-orientation, post-rigid identity society might look.
There’s lots of talk about trying to find a word to describe the community and communal identity, and while words like “Rainbow” or “United” sound nice, but words have need to have power and meaning. There is a word, that some already use as an umbrella term that I think is very appropriate, very apt, and all inclusive.
Every one of us has been described by this pejorative and offensive word. Its been spat, hurled and spray-painted to make us afraid and ashamed, and its been used in our most memorable chant, “We’re here, we’re ****, get used to it”. During the lavender scare pogroms and before, it was all about hunting those ****s. Before we had the name Gay, Transgender, before we were recognised as more than a pathology we were ****.
So from now on, when I say Queer, it means Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex, Ally, Pansexual, Polyamorous, Queer, Asexual and everything between. This isn’t about being accepted as what we are in a hetero-normative world, its about being who we are in a better world that we are helping build.
We’re here we’re queer, and we are united for equal rights and acceptance for all of us.