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:
custody of children,
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.
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
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 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 ?
All the above notwithstanding, I am so happy today! --Dajenya on June 25, 2015