Right to marry (or: have we been completely co-opted?)

 

I have this nagging feeling,

like an itch I can’t quite reach to scratch,

that this total focus on the right to marry

is somewhat reminiscent

of the fight for the right

to kill and die

in the U.S. military.

 

Why should that be?

Certainly to marry

is not the same as to kill;

not today, anyway,

when marriage is no longer all about

the complete and utter ownership

of women by men.

 

No, marriage is now about

all sorts of good and necessary things:

hospital visits,

custody of children,

shared finances,

or simply a symbol of love and equality

 

But if our struggle is really about

such good and necessary things,

as opposed to the emulation of mutual ownership

and sexist power imbalances,

than why so many bridal gowns?

 

A tux may be merely formal wear

but a bridal gown…

   the epitome of the trappings of enforced “femininity”

   the bound-feet of wedding wear

   the total capitulation to patriarchal determination of women’s role

         and  purpose in life (to be a wife)

 

What ever happened to

Lesbians at the forefront of feminist consciousness ?

 

But wedding wear aside,

it is the singularity of the focus that leaves me so confounded.

 

Is discrimination in employment or housing

on the basis of sexual orientation or cross-gender

now a federal crime ?

 

Are we not still denied the right to adopt or foster

in many parts of this country?

 

Are lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transsexuals

no longer murdered in this country

for being who we are

or for not hiding?

 

Are our young people no longer

harassed to the point of suicide

in middle and in high schools

throughout the land ?

 

When did it happen that marriage became more important to us

than anything else in the world ?

 

and how fortunate for homophobic forces

if this is all we are willing

to fight for anymore.

 

How fortunate for all the powers that be

if all the queer community wants anymore

is to get married.

 

Right now our government spends

billions of dollars each week

killing folks in Iraq and Afghanistan

while millions of Americans

lose jobs and homes

and go without needed health care.

 

Right now

The governor of California proclaims

that a vote to not slash and destroy

the health care of children and the mentally ill

is actually a mandate to slash and destroy

everything?

 

Where is our collective outrage on these issues?

 

I can not help but suspect

that this singular priority

reflects an internalized homophobia

that requires approval from an outside source;

that yearns to be assured by others

that we have a right to exist

to love

to be equal

and to take part in equal measure

in a status quo

which is quite oppressive to

the entire planet.

 

It feels uncomfortably like

witnessing a child in a domestically violent home

siding with the abuser

to win a little protection for himself.

 

When did our movement completely stop questioning

the presumed superiority of the institution of marriage,

and stop challenging sexism in all of its forms ?

 

Whatever happened to

joining forces with others;

being a visible presence as out queer people

in struggles for peace and freedom and jobs and rights

for every one?

 

Whatever happened to loving ourselves

and knowing we have the right to exist and be equal and free

and love who ever we want

regardless of whether or not the state sanctions anything ?

 

Don’t get me wrong.

I am not against gay marriage, limited though it be.

Of course my vote would always be cast for this as for all of our rights.

 

But why is this,

of everything that kills us and others today,

why is this

the only thing

that we seem to be fighting for now ?

 

                                                  2009



All the above notwithstanding, I am so happy today!  --Dajenya on June 25, 2015



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