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  • « The Week on GNW (Nov. 30-Dec. 6) | Main | NY Dems change their minds »

    December 09, 2008

    Politically correct window-dressing: A+ ... Actual work: F

    Posted by: Kevin

    Kamp_kumbaya_2

    For as long as I can remember, the leading national gay rights organizations (and their statewide cousins, in terms of imperial attitude) have made a great deal of noise to indicate they were "working hard" to reach out to the African American community in the United States.  This was often couched in the language of building political coalitions to advance gay rights legislation and policy, as it should be.  We need to do it.

    Well, the results are in.  And to say that their efforts were an abject failure is being kind. 

    The 2008 election proved decisively in California, and hinted strongly in a national way, that all the flowery announcements by Human Rights Campaign directors past and present, as well as the multi-hue-drenched righteousness peppering speeches at NGLTF's Creating Change conferences, amounted to a lot of hot air in an echo chamber.

    When you read the latest Gallup Poll on African American moral and political attitudes on homosexuality, you can't help but think of the bullshit events on "diversity" sponsored by your state's left-wing gay rights juggernaut, or the dumb multi-racial hack love-ins among left-wing Democrats under an HRC logo-banner over the last 15 or so years.  In reality, any statement by HRC or NGLTF today boasting of their outreach to the African American community smacks of Kenneth Lay telling investors that Enron was solid bet, just before the truth was revealed that he knew it was a sinking ship.  Enron's stockholders had bankruptcy, we have the lovely Proposition 8 - and whatever else awaits us.

    This is not to say that building a strong political coalition with black Americans isn't absolutely necessary.  It is.   But what this Gallup poll says is that our current and past gay leadership did nothing effectively, and continues to be a total and complete failure at this.

    Since Prop 8 and the key fact that 70% of a tidal wave of African American votes in California voted against us on it, the issue of race has resurfaced for good reason.  The gay African American voices have run the gamut from pointing the finger where it belongs -- at those hypocritical gay organizations with money and clout who pay lip service to this hard work but never listen or apply themselves to do it right -- to the same old blaxploitation songs of "gay whitey" this and "gay whitey" that.

    But what is so interesting about the Gallup poll to me is the headline: "Blacks as Conservative as Republicans on Some Moral Issues."  In a white liberal context, that headline must be like the sound of hand grenades going off:  "conservative" (boom!)..."Republicans" (bam!)....."Moral" (ka-BOOM!).  Because left-wing political hacks don't let themselves hear, say or deal with those three words in any real way.  And now we're all paying the price.  Because just like the way HRC did its "building bridges" with "fair-minded Republicans" after the 1994 election basically forced them, the gay establishment's outreach to the black community has been a front.  Not real.

    I will never forget one moment at the 2000 Creating Change conference in Oakland, California.  I think it was the only one I ever attended, basically because I was a speaker on a panel.  But I sat in on a different panel on "people of color" issues, and behind me were two folks who I guess were local gays from Oakland.  The panel was the usual suspects whose jobs it seemed (to me) were to blather endlessly in person and in print in talking point-ese about "POC issues" (I always cringe when I hear that term).  The panel moderator beamed regally while a usual suspect gushed about some meeting in what sounded like the most marginal, way-left church-of-the-misfit-toys in some mid-sized city, where "we melded in song" about "the equality of peoples."  One of the folks behind me said in a stage whisper to his friend: "What the hell are they talking about?"  I chuckled to myself, in agreement.  It was funny to see these left-wing hacks talk about religion and morals the way an alien might discuss life on Earth.  Or the Republican Party.

    And here's where a gay Republican with a lot of experience with this now-generalized brand of incompetence can give advice to any African American gay activist who wants to channel their anger effectively right now.  First step is to wake up.  This isn't about racism - it's about competence. 

    The reason they failed is because they didn't do their jobs.  The reason they didn't do their jobs is because they have no fucking clue how to build political coalitions outside their extreme political comfort zone -- be they white, black or fuschia in skin tone.  They know how to hire people with the right color skin to run around saying "look at me, I'm Mr. or Ms. (fill in the blank) Outreach!".  And as circumstance would have it, they've never been pushed to the wall so blatantly the way the Prop 8 results have nailed them.

    So, don't lobby for them to hire some token staff person or launch some bullshit "outreach campaign".  You'll just be participating in the ongoing failure.  Think of the gay movement like a business - someone isn't do their job, you fire them.  Demand the heads of those responsible, and demand they be replaced by someone of any race, any gender, who has the political and intellectual and moral skill to do the job in the African American community that nobody has been doing in this movement for decades.  Someone proven.  Someone who would be honorable enough to look at Prop 8, and at the Gallup poll results, and resign in disgrace. 

    Right now, this movement is all about electing Democrats, with this as the only result worth any real investment of time and money and effort.  You see what that has gotten us.  So let's make it about advancing the gay cause again, and let's leave absolutely nothing to window dressing or lip service anymore.  Let's be bold and courageous, and demand leaders who get the job done.

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    Comments

    1. mademark on Dec 9, 2008 12:18:03 PM:

      While I agree with what you're saying, it appears you're pointing out the problems loud and clear but not offering solutions. What, exactly, are the replacements for the incompetent gay leaders supposed to do to be effective, for instance, in reaching out to Black people? I'd love to hear your ideas. I'm not quite sure how one approaches a population who, according to the New York Times op-ed this weekend, considers me 'repugnant, both morally and sexually.' It seems like a very hard wall to breach.

    1. Kevin on Dec 9, 2008 12:47:24 PM:

      Mademark:

      Well, ask any gay Republican who did this kind of outreach in the 1990s (me for example). It's the same basic structure. Here's a shortand version:

      You start with opinion leaders and you ask them to be brave on your account, and to open the doors with the next layer of opinion leaders who are less friendly, or need some cover in order to take a bold step. (A bit of this has been done, but this is the outer layer of efforts so far.)

      Then you identify the key local communities that are the most important in influencing broader opinion within that target constituency. Send competent, intelligent people in who know how to do long-term field work. Talk with the local gays in those communities and LEARN what the breach is, in detail. What are all the reasons motivating folks to be against us there? What's behind it? Not just some poll of 1,000 people read out at a staff meeting in D.C. -- real work. (The motivations for their stands are much more complex than a phrase from the New York Times, you see. It involves layer upon layer of fears, with barriers of ignorance in front, and a great deal of invisibility of gays close-in to their daily lives.)

      Then, you assess what can be done EFFECTIVELY to mitigate the fears, lower the ignorance, and bring the local gays out into visibility safely, and you make sure all your friends up to that point are with you. The goal would be to turn more and more local opinion leaders to our side, and to get into the actual churches with that message, not by picketing them on Sunday but changing minds of the congregation members from Monday to Saturday.

      Then you put all you've got into that effort and you stake your job on its success.

      And I bet there are many African American gay folks out there who can tell you flat out what all this is going to take in order to really do. They can tell you in five minutes. I've just scratched the surface here.

      This is the template for going into hostile territory and changing hearts and minds for good, and making friends out in formerly enemy territory. It works for Republicans, too, you know. I did this kind of stuff for ten years, and we at Log Cabin never had the moral, financial or political support of the gay community to do it well enough.

      It hasn't even been tried in any real sense in the African American community. The level of frenetic energy that is put into a black tie dinner at the Washington Convention Center on one night is what is needed for weeks on end, without a gun to our head like Prop 8. It takes longer than an election cycle, and it has to be unrelenting.

      And if it isn't done -- in the black community, in the Latino community, in white conservative communities -- we might as well all just forget about this movement, people.

    1. mademark on Dec 9, 2008 1:16:28 PM:

      Thanks, Kevin, that gives me a much better understanding. I tend to react defensively when someone considers me repugnant (if the NYT piece is to believed) - whether it's Blacks, white evangelicals, or anyone else. You say "Talk with the local gays in those communities and LEARN what the breach is, in detail." I've thought since all the talk about failed outreach that white gay people can only do so much. It's the LGBT people and the organizations that support them from those communities who will be most effective - the Black lesbian couple next door, the choir director who longs to marry his partner. It also involves coming out, something I think, for all our faults, white gay people have been more willing to do since Harvey Milk said "if they know us, they don't vote against us." The reasons for that are all in the mix you speak of. Hopefully we'll get there.

    1. Pender on Dec 9, 2008 2:12:30 PM:

      Any concrete suggestions? I agree that the HRC is a waste of funds, but I don't know whom to contribute to instead. Does Lambda really need more money? Or should I just contribute directly to gay-friendly politicians on the state and local levels?

      Second, I'm not sure that bringing around black voters is necessarily the right strategy. Is there any evidence that they'll be easier to convince than Republicans? Hate to say it, but they might not be the lowest-hanging fruit among our opposition.

    1. mademark on Dec 9, 2008 3:10:40 PM:

      Pender, yes to your second point, I don't think we actually need some of the people we reach out to (equality will come with or without them in the long run) but it might make for a less hostile world. As for funding, I'll stick with local community organizations (MCCNY is a fine example). It will be a long time before I donate to another EQCA/No on Prop 8 (and never to HRC), unless all their heads have rolled. My money's on Amy Balliett and the Twitter generation - I'm waiting to see what evolves from them.

    1. infidel on Dec 9, 2008 5:26:01 PM:

      I think I found a video of the HRC leadership after the election: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JN99jshaQbY

    1. VirtualGalt on Dec 9, 2008 7:06:15 PM:

      Is it better to identify and increase turnout among our "likelys"? I know a lot of LGBT people who habitually don't vote. Seems that would be easier than getting "hostiles" to change their minds.

    1. Attmay on Dec 9, 2008 7:42:32 PM:

      If gays can have their rights subjected to a vote, who's to say some other group wouldn't also? It's important to keep that in mind.

    1. Thanks, but no thanks on Dec 10, 2008 1:14:36 AM:

      The means of outreach to the black community would involve black people coming out. Given that the gay community, which you admit is run by whites, view blacks as ugly and aids-ridden, I just don't see the cost-benefit analysis panning out. In fact, I see the white gay community, post-marriage, as swerving sharply to the right in order to protect their interests: anti-immigration (immigrants are homophobic), pro-"right of association" (de facto segregated clubs are awesome!), etc.

      I remember a Blade article on the death of Luther Vandross which openly discussed how ugly ("unattractive") gays think blacks are, how this affects how blacks are treated, and the logical implications for blacks coming out of the closet. It was quickly scrubbed, as are all honest discussions of the racial hierarchy in the gay community.

      HRC was paid to simulate a diversity that doesn't exist; it didn't fly. The racism that followed 8 did not happen in isolation--but since you don't have black gay friends, you tend to view comments to the contrary as 'drama'. Face it: you don't want non-whites as lovers, friends or even neighbors. Don't expect our 'activism' or votes.

    1. Lucrece on Dec 10, 2008 1:35:10 AM:

      Seems like someone has taken the road toward twisted rationalizations for getting blown off ;).

      One point you do make correctly, though: Queen Latifah needs to get her cowardly "I don't support gay marriage" ass out of the closet after having ridden the coattails of the CA SC ruling to get her relationship recognized.

      Jet magazine and Ebony, along with BET, could use some "diversity" too, actually depicting gay people in consistently positive roles (as opposed to not existing or being insipid, barely noticeable characters).

    1. Chuck on Dec 10, 2008 3:36:42 AM:

      Before the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act, black people in America had gotten absolutely nowhere being nice, being polite, being Uncle Toms or begging their white oppressors to give them a break and treat them with the equality that they deserved.

      White supremacists were as hard to reach, as the Christian right that just voted our rights away and trying to "build bridges" with them was just a waste of time. Only when black people began to stand up and demand their birth-right and got bold enough to commit acts of civil-disobedience and set a few American cities ablaze, instead of knuckling into the same mind and spirit mashing that blacks had to endure for so long, did they begin to make any progress in obtaining their civil rights.

      One thing that always puzzled me, however, was why they chose to burn their own ghettos down instead of burning "honkey" neighborhoods down instead. Go figure.

      All these years later, and in light of those developments, I am having great difficulty understanding why we gays, should have to go with hat in hand, begging black people to love, understand and be sympathetic to us so that they will vote favorably on gay rights issues that in no way affect them and should not even be any of their business.

      To my way of thinking, that simply plays right into the idea that our civil-rights are not as important as black civil-rights, that we have not suffered as much as the blacks have (a comment I have heard often on gay blogs) and that it is perfectly okay for the black community to believe that they have the Baptist Church backed and God-given right to vote our rights away, simply because they too find us repugnant, morally and sexually.

      Sorry folks, but I don't think ass-kissing is the way to go. It's the same old LCR bullshit and Christian "turn the other cheek" crap I've been hearing all of my 72 years on this planet. If I will not kiss the ass of a white Christian bigot or the pasty white ass of a Republican facist, I see no reason why I should have to kiss the ass of a black man to get my rights either.

      Just sayin'...

    1. Kevin on Dec 10, 2008 5:05:35 AM:

      I find it interesting that some folks argue to do only what is easier, or equate necessary coalition building with "ass-kissing." I think we may be starting to put our finger on the mentalities that are in our way within our own fold.

      I'll say it again: if we don't do this hard work in hostile territory, we might as well give up because we will NEVER achieve lasting equality for gay people.

      Funny who is on each side of that question now.

    1. Thanks, but no thanks on Dec 10, 2008 8:17:51 AM:

      "This wasn't about racism, it was about competence."

      'Wasn't' is the key word. I feel forced now to make a choice between gays and blacks--and I won't choose gays. Why? Because one provides a culture of which I am a part, and the other is entirely manufactured to sell products to people who have no heritage at all. As a community, gays lack the obligation of blood. When I see the March on Washington, I am aware of members of my family being there. You lack blood between you, so everyone's a closet libertarian, waiting for equality to shed community altogether. Really, who is Matthew Shepard to you other than a figurehead? He isn't, as Milk would put it, a "brother or sister". He is, however, blond.

      Where is the coverage of fatal hate crimes against gay minorities? Look at the comments sections of stories about non-white gays, and notice the difference in the amount, depth and sympathy of the responses. Look on a gay chat website; see how 'diverse' a random selection of gay people's "friends" are. You know that people are unwilling to change their patterns of association, and so you wish to go over the heads of minorities and speak directly to leaders. The problem is that there is no 'culture' there to back it up.

      You are a corporate whore, Kevin. So you concentrate on 'networking'. It's people like you who corrupted the gay rights movement in the first place. While you were pressuring big conglomerates to furnish your class with benefits, you left the grassroots work to HRC, et al. And they fumbled. It was once the case that people came out because they were strong enough to do so; now, it is because everything is all set up for them. And should the gay dollar lose value in this recession, you will see that sponsorship quickly withdrawn.

      The funny thing is, in this supposed community of individualists, how many people look the same, dress the same, listen to exactly the same music, espouse the same talking points when speaking about politics.... I can only blame this on the corporate influence. After all, is there an "official beer of the Jews" for example?

      I view the film "Milk" coming out in the same way as I viewed "Woodstock 2": as a remake. Milk is dead. He was replaced by Larry Kramer, who was replaced by Michelangelo Signorile, who was replaced by Andrew Sullivan, who was replaced by Dan Savage. A decline in quality, accompanied by an increase in corporate sponsorship.

      So it isn't just that I feel mistrust. I know that the corporations have no interest in equal rights for all, and that the gay consensus is the same as what is put into their trough by marketing. Let me say that gays are now experiencing the phenomenon of 'peak rights'. Meanwhile, everything associated with basing one's identity off of image is again becoming rampant in gay society: body dysmorphia, bulimia, racism.... Your money could buy you everything but marriage. And responsibility.

      You're a tool, Kevin. Stay gone.

    1. Thanks, but no thanks on Dec 10, 2008 11:17:44 AM:

      Lucrece-

      I never got blown off. I stayed away from the bars, and only came onto the chat sites to chat. As far as sex goes, I have no problems. What made me angry was my experience volunteering in an HIV clinic. I heard how the white gays lost interest in volunteering once the crisis for them was over. I read Andrew Sullivan's piece, "The End of AIDS", and found it entirely irresponsible--and racist. He was followed in this by Dan Savage, who fed this line to gay and straight youth through his columns.

      At the time, I was in school. I tried to rally my GLBT organization to oppose this, and was basically told that marriage and "acceptance" were the new focus. That's where I got "blown off". Whole continents were dying, but they weren't Euro-American ones, so who cared?

      At that time, I realized that there weren't any gay issues or any sort of social philosophy. Condemn the church if you will, but at least preserving traditional marriage isn't the be-all and end-all of their movement. I highly doubt that had the Mormons lost, they would be shouting racial slurs at the black population--but I digress.

      Now that I see HIV rates rising amongst the very youth that listened to Sullivan and Savage's advice. Yet the focus is still on marriage. Why? Because gay marriage has a host of associated products to go with it, all sold by the glossy advertisements that you call "gay publications". There is no freedom of the press: the holding corporations--Seadicor, for one example--have bought up all of the independent publications. The emphasis is on selling things. So politics has been replaced with consumerism, and the demographics of the gay culture have been hacked apart into target markets. I don't need to tell you what the result of that has been.

      Anyway, no. Being in the gay rights movement is equivalent to selling out. For either me or Queen Latifah to lay down our family heritages for it would be a total outrage; people like Keith Boykin, complaining about "sexual racism", make me sick. He apparently expected a lot of white dick for selling out. Didn't he see that the gay community was racist before? Didn't he think that any community you had to sell out to join was racist per se? But I've wasted too much time with you guys. Enjoy your trinkets and tokens.

    1. Thanks, but no thanks on Dec 10, 2008 11:24:45 AM:

      Oh, and if you don't believe me, read today's NYT:

      "The sudden burst of energy has drawn some comparisons to demonstrations during the early days of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. But Larry Kramer, the playwright and founder of ACT UP, which used confrontational tactics to fight for money for AIDS treatment and research, said advances in treating the disease had, somewhat incongruously, robbed the gay rights movement of broader political momentum.

      “For activism to work, you have to be scared and you have to be angry,” Mr. Kramer said. “Nobody’s frightened anymore. The drugs have taken care of that.” "

      Straight from Larry Kramer's mouth. Buh-bye now.

    1. Pender on Dec 10, 2008 12:20:27 PM:

      Thanks for your thoughts, TBNT. I've read your remarks a couple of times, and speaking as a white gay guy with black gay friends and a long-term part-hispanic boyfriend, I really don't know what to make of you. I am personally not sexually attracted to black men, but I don't think that indicates racism any more than my lack of attraction to women indicates sexism. Sexual attraction is an idiosyncratic thing, and definitely not under our control. Yet it looks like your many paragraphs essentially boil down to being offended that many white gays aren't attracted to black gays. Is that really what this is about? Sure, there are threads of anti-corporatism throughout, and what looks like indignation that I would lobby for my right to marry my boyfriend when AIDS still exists in America (as if the two are mutually exclusive), but that's the only consistent narrative I can come up with. And if that's right, it's some pretty weak sauce. Maybe you're just a gay homophobe? Lord knows I've seen stranger things in my life, though an obviously intelligent person seriously proposing to justify the oppression of a minority because members of that minority won't have sex with him has to rank near the top. Anyway, I'm trying to keep an open mind, so if you'd like to explain more clearly why you oppose (or at least don't support) my right to marry, I'm all ears.

    1. Thanks, but no thanks on Dec 10, 2008 1:24:52 PM:

      Pender,

      What I am complaining about is that sexual attraction seem to dictate political involvement. I ask: why isn't AIDS the priority of the political involvement of gays? Most of the air time, most of the sympathy towards gays that you have managed to garner from the voting-age public is based on AIDS. I remember the smooth transition to marriage. It was originally packaged at cutting down promiscuity in the gay community, thus lessening the epidemic. Do you remember that?

      Do you remember when gay magazines used to advertise less commercial things? Did you notice how the mainstreaming and gay marriage push coincided with a distinct mark-up in the nature and the price of 'gay-themed' goods? Notice also how those goods ceased to be from gay-owned businesses. Gay bookstores closed left and right; this is a sign of a culture drying up.

      That culture was also a support system for many. Things weren't nearly so stratified then. What we have now is a corporate culture, designed to sell things and to put people in the mood to buy them. Marriage figures in as the big ticket item--what does your average wedding cost? To the extent that you spend your money on the items that gay publications advertise, those same products also determine what those gay publications contain insofar as news is concerned.

      This is why minorities weren't covered--their income doesn't justify it economically. The gay dollar is white. In a case like AIDS, the prevalence of it in minority communities is downplayed. If people think about depressing things like that, then they won't be in the mood to spend lots of money. Also, the fear of AIDS might cause people to fuck less, go to bars less, drink less SKYY vodka, etc. Acting responsibly is incompatible with conspicuous consumption. So when AIDS does come up, it's a black and Latino thing--gays being defined by those magazines as white, that isn't a problem. Keep having promiscuous sex. Did you notice that bareback porn is now back?

      So now the magazines are content-free. Some famous gay has overcome an eating disorder? The story is actually about his new album. Everything is now an ad, and therefore, the entire gay identity soon becomes beholden to the sexuality that drives advertising. This is the root of my actual complaint: if a cause does not have some hook to interest someone sexually, then they feel substantially less interest in becoming involved.

      Pride parades, bars, activities which involve getting laid interest white gays, who have all the money and the numbers. Volunteering at HIV clinics does not. HIV is now a black and Latino disease, as billed by the new community. Why does a cause have to be sexy, be able to sell something, to interest you? I interpret the white gay disinterest in preventing HIV as being predicated in a lack of sexual interest in the people they *think* get HIV. Do you understand?

      Black gays started the gay rights movement. They were among the first openly gay people in America. Yet, now that they are suffering from HIV, you leave them out in the cold. Sex wasn't my problem; as I said, I do just fine. When I said 'patterns of association', I meant generally gays are diverse, but not multicultural. The community is segregated, even at Pride marches. Is fucking the 'handshake' that starts gay friendship? Does being attracted to a person wholly determine how much respect that person is to be treated with in the context of the gay community? If so, then why call yourself a community at all? With the blacks, I see a culture, I see distinctive folkways, and--above all--a communal sense of social justice. With gays, I see a host of products.

      Is the purpose of individual gays referring to themselves as a community to gain marriage and then dissolve? Because then, I see no basis for rights at all. You see, when Jews think of the Holocaust, they think of family. When blacks think of slavery, they think of family. You're more akin to the 'community' of women--without blood ties. And yet when you co-opt the Holocaust and Slavery, you act as if 'solidarity' counted as much as blood. Gays are like feminists, a different type of community. One which I think will dissolve upon marriage being achieved. I can't sell out blood for that, for money--I'm not a Libertarian. Do you see my purely moral dilemma?

    1. mademark on Dec 10, 2008 1:48:36 PM:

      "If I seek red in the world, then I will find it everywhere." - Jill Bolte Taylor

    1. Pender on Dec 10, 2008 2:49:29 PM:

      The marriage movement is ultimately about the normalization of gay people -- and not in the pejorative "selling out" sense, but in the sense of breaking down the ghetto walls and bringing gay people in from the margins of society. HIV is a product of living on the fringes; it causes gay people to stay on the down-low, to neglect safe sex practices, to have fewer stable and monogamous same-sex relationships and more anonymous encounters, to avoid seeking treatment when they do contract an STD, and to hide their STD status from their partner(s). Marriage will help to change that, probably more than all the HIV awareness and safe-sex advocacy campaigns in the world. The entire reason the religious right is fighting us so hard on marriage is because they know it will cause a sea-change of social acceptance. Being able to call the person you love and have made a family with your husband without it being perceived as a quasi-hysterical political statement will make all the difference in the world. Our relationships will receive respect, and so we will feel less need to hide them -- and I believe it is precisely that need to hide them that is the root of the HIV problem. I am convinced that the relatively greater incidence of anti-gay attitudes in the black community is responsible for basically all of the relatively greater incidence of HIV among black people.

      As to the content of gay newspapers and gay magazines and gay editorials -- I think you're giving that stuff too much credibility. It's shit, I agree, but I'd bet that fewer than 10% of gay Americans -- even of those who are white -- actually read them. Please don't assume that because I'm white, I read or care about stupid celebrity worship and all the gay product placement that goes on in that niche. I don't, and of my friends, I'd estimate that less than 5% does.

      But on a more general level, I have always supported HIV activism efforts, from marches to petitions to lobbying, even though (thank god) the issue of HIV has no bearing on my life and marriage is really what matters to me. And, you know, it hurts to hear someone who obviously thinks through his actions and is not acting merely from blind prejudice or religious indoctrination tell me that because HIV is important to him but marriage is not, he will not support me in return.

      HIV thrives in a world where people like Larry Craig are reduced to having sex in public bathrooms with anonymous strangers before going through the motions with their wives later that night, never carrying protection or getting tested because of what that would imply about their lifestyles. On the other hand, try to visualize a world where it is normal for gay people of every color and race to marry and form families and raise children, fully out in the open and with their heads held high. I cannot for the life of me imagine that in such a world, HIV transmission rates would be even a fraction of what they are today. HIV awareness, testing and treatment are also crucial, and our efforts there cannot flag, but a world of respect for gay people (of every race and class) is how HIV in America will ultimately be eradicated. That is what I'm fighting for, and I hope you'll eventually see fit to join me.

    1. Thanks, but no thanks on Dec 10, 2008 3:36:52 PM:

      Legally speaking, marriage is for the legitimation of not the couple, but their children. 'Legitimacy' in this strict sense is the ability to inherit property. Hence the word 'legacy'. The religious trappings are just ritual. Nearly all of the rights that come with marriage are related to property.

      Your conception of marriage is a product of the Enlightenment/Romantic Age. And yet, the pressing matters of property rights somehow fade into the background, leaving only the somewhat hazy ideas of 'love' and 'acceptance'. It reminds me of how Jefferson said 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' where Locke said 'life, liberty and property': 'pursuit of happiness', which is to say, a life governed by the dictates of Reason, and 'property' are the same thing. The difference in phrasing is due to the fact the abstract concept represents an ideal, and covers a rather insistent reality, namely, property.

      You say that your marriage represents love, and all of the ideals of liberalism: the end of HIV, the end of hatred, etc. But I see property rights: hospital visitation, SSI benefits, etc. Due to taking the ideal as the reality, you fail to realize that without that corporate backing, you would be nowhere near the acceptance level at which you currently are. Gay characters on tv shows, the outing of celebrities, etc all made a huge difference. But the corporations backed the gay marriage movement as an *investment*, not because corporations have gays' best interests at heart.

      But let's say your ideal is the real ethos of the gay community. Then why *are* there gay ghettos? Why such stratification? You say, "pursuit of happiness"; I say, "property". And if it is about property, then I see no reason why the poorer members of the gay community ought to sacrifice for the benefit of the rich and the corporations. There is only the guarantee of the privileged to the poor, and we all know how much that's worth.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Dec 10, 2008 6:23:22 PM:

      HIV is a product of living on the fringes; it causes gay people to stay on the down-low, to neglect safe sex practices, to have fewer stable and monogamous same-sex relationships and more anonymous encounters, to avoid seeking treatment when they do contract an STD, and to hide their STD status from their partner(s).

      No it is not.

      HIV is a product of gay and lesbian people who refuse to take responsibility for their behavior and refuse to cease or even publicly marginalize dangerous practices.

      Marriage does nothing to stop that.

      Eric Erbelding and his husband, Michael Peck, both 44, see each other only every other weekend because Mr. Peck works in Pittsburgh. So, Mr. Erbelding said, “Our rule is you can play around because, you know, you have to be practical.”

      Mr. Erbelding, a decorative painter in Boston, said: “I think men view sex very differently than women. Men are pigs, they know that each other are pigs, so they can operate accordingly. It doesn’t mean anything.”

      Indeed, gay activists openly encourage such promiscuous behavior among married gays and call for the abolishment of two-person marriage, demanding that marriage be extended to "households in which there is more than one conjugal partner".

      The problems in the black community stem from the fact that, like the gay community, sexual activity with multiple partners is both prized and encouraged -- and, to no one's surprise, the more sexual partners one has, the higher one's risk for STDs.

      In a nutshell, the argument that gay marriage will reduce HIV infections is contradicted both by the facts of what married gays are already doing and by the examples of populations that have marriage capability, but still have remarkably high rates of HIV.

      Thanks, but no thanks hits the nail on the head when talking about the fact that gay marriage supporters care less about HIV than they do how HIV can be exploited to attempt to make an argument for gay marriage.

      Furthermore, if the gay community does not wish to be marginalized, perhaps it should stop indulging in marginal behavior, such as blaming other people for its inability to control itself, its failure to police its own members, and its encouragement of promiscuous behaviors.

    1. Chuck on Dec 11, 2008 12:13:15 AM:

      Just the sort of answer I would have expected from a Log Cabin Republican like you, Kevin. Do you also attend Sunday Mass at a local Baptist Church as well?

      Aston Kutcher said it best on the Bill Maher Show in a discussion about Yes on Proposition 8.

      IT'S UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Period. End of conversation.

      How much plainer can it be stated? Who's paying any attention to that fact? Has anyone even bothered to read the American Constitution as of late or was there a book burning in Wash. DC that I am not aware of?

      We are all snarling at each other like mad dogs, blaming ourselves for our loss and internalizing all of the shit that is being laid on our doorstop by the religious right right, the Republicans, the homophobes and others of the some 80% of Americans who hate our un-moralistic asses.

      I don't give a flying fuck if the Church loves and accepts me as a gay man. If they hate the sin, then they hate me as well.

      I don't give a flying fuck if the Church will allow me to observe a religious wedding within the walls of their hallowed institutions. Marriage does NOT belong to them. They stole it.

      I don't give a flying fuck what Poop Ratzaass has to say about gay-marriage and the preservation of the family. Any man who opposes decriminalization of homosexuality is, as far as I am concerned, a promoter of genocide.

      I don't give a flying fuck what the Kristian bible says about anything. I am an Atheist. I wouldn’t even wipe my ass with the pages from it because the ink is toxic…just like everything associated with religion.

      I don't give a flying fuck if the Republicans hate my queer ass. Eight long years of the Bush Reign of Terror did nothing to make me love them either.

      I don't give a flying fuck if homophobic str8's hate my queer ass. There are a lot of them that I don’t like either, so that makes us even.

      I don't give a flying fuck if a you, an admitted Log Cabin Republican thinks that I am a racist simply because I do not believe that I should have to kiss anyone's ass just to get my civil-rights. You Pollyanna of the Holly Go Lightly crowd who wouldn’t say a word of dissent to anyone, except your own gay brothers and sisters, lest you offend or upset them.

      I am all for building bridges of understanding with people of all color, religions, sex, political affiliations and sexual orientation. If I have left any particular group out, my sincerest apologies. I would be the very last human being on this planet who is unwilling to engage in civilized dialogue that can draw all people closer into a more loving, all-inclusive, compassionate and tolerant community.

      So please, Kevin, spare me the oh, so self-righteous tongue-lashing and the dismissive put down comments about my mentality. I mean, just who the fuck are you to judge me and who gave you that right? Your haughty, pejorative comments do little to advance your cause, your credibility or your likeability, for that matter

      Today was International Human Rights Day. I am puzzled by your lack of reporting of today's proposal to the United Nations Declaration calling for the global decriminalisation of homosexuality.

      It will be tabled in the General Assembly today, Wednesday, by France with the backing of all 27 member states of the European Union; plus non-EU European nations such as Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Ukraine, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine, Armenia and Macedonia. Russia and Turkey are not signing.

      The call for the decriminalisation of same-sex relationships also has the support of the Latin American states of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Uruguay - but not, notably, Columbia, Peru, Guyana or Venezuela.

      Only three African nations–Gabon, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau–are endorsing the declaration so far. South Africa has not signed up. No Caribbean nation has offered its support (not even Cuba). Although New Zealand is committed to the declaration, Australia is not. Nor is the United States. But Canada is a sponsor.

      No country in the Middle East, apart from Israel, endorses the declaration, and in Asia only Japan has agreed to approve it. China and India are silent on where they stand.

      The USA refuses to participate.

      I am surprised and rather horrified that there is not even a fucking mention of this event either on Queerty or Citizen Crain considering how important it is, and how historical.

      http://www.edgeboston.com/inde.....p;id=84406

      Apparently, you felt it far more important to bloviate on my unwillingness to lick boots or kiss ass to obtain the full dignity, respect and the civil-rights that all LGBT people are due. It is their birthright, not something we should have to get down on our knees for, degrade ourselves for and beg for the way you Log Cabin Republicans constantly keep telling us that we must do.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Dec 11, 2008 12:36:33 AM:

      I am all for building bridges of understanding with people of all color, religions, sex, political affiliations and sexual orientation. If I have left any particular group out, my sincerest apologies. I would be the very last human being on this planet who is unwilling to engage in civilized dialogue that can draw all people closer into a more loving, all-inclusive, compassionate and tolerant community.

      Webster's just called. Given the seven paragraphs that precede the one quoted, they've decided that there needs to be an update to the definition of "clueless".

    1. Chuck on Dec 11, 2008 12:51:33 AM:

      "I feel forced now to make a choice between gays and blacks."

      TBNT, I don't buy that for a moment. It's obvious from your long, disjointed and rambling diatribes that you have some issues of your own to deal with.

      It's also obvious that you had already made up your mind NOT to side with gays a long time ago, and you just found a convenient excuse to play the race card. You just made it plain to all of us "honkeys" why so many blacks voted yes on Proposition 8. You hate us. People like you, are just a racist and bigoted as whitey. Be man enough to own up to it instead of inventing all of the gobbelty-gook you just laid on us. Racism is never justified, no matter how lofty and high-roaded it is worded and delivered.

      Thanks for letting us know where you stand. I'd rather see my enemy coming at me, than have to keep looking over my shoulder to see who is going to stab me in the back while I am not looking.

    1. Thanks, but no thanks on Dec 11, 2008 6:24:13 AM:

      Chuck:

      What I made up my mind to do a long time ago was abstain from further participation in *any* case of identity politics. All too often, I find any principled objection to the methods and goals of this movement twisted into accusations of bitterness, or worse. I am naturally suspicious of scenarios which involve asymmetric information from the leadership, whether it be gay or black.

      For what it's worth, I don't believe in the current "goals" of black rights, either. The entire thing smacks of aristocratic prerogatives being administered concomitantly with the expansion of corporate personhood, with the disintegration of personal moral agency being only the most obvious repercussion.

      Additional concerns revolve around the unmitigated scope of the 14th amendment to the Constitution, which has, under the guise of 'equality for all', the capacity to turn this country into a police state. Your willingness to call me an 'enemy' for expressing grave doubts about this project causes me to wonder just what kind of recriminations I'd face in your ideal world for my heterodox opinions.

      If my opinions are poorly formed, please consider that I have many objections, and do not write in regularly. But equating my non-participation in what I see as a stupid idea with actively wishing any of you personal or psychological harm is nonsense. As far as racism goes, my mother is white. I have never used the word "honky" to refer to anyone. In my work at an HIV clinic, I do not administer preferential treatment based on race. I don't know what else to tell you.

      Do you want to know why blacks voted down Prop 8? Because they are *extremely* socially conservative. As more and more blacks switched to the Republicans over "family values" issues, I knew the Dems were going to try to win them back with some sort of bribe. I never would have expected that it would be the presidency. But even the presidency doesn't justify jettisoning your values, as stupid as they may be. So they voted you down. Why is it that the churches were able to predict this and your paid consultants weren't?

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