Breaking news from Phoenix, AZ - I am *NOT* making this up:
On May 26, 2014 at approximately 5:30pm I got a knock at my door. It was a close personal friend who regularly attends meetings of Outright Arizona, and is aware of our Plan of Action 2014 which includes the FDA ban on gay men as blood donors as a liberation cause. My friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, is NOT a gay man, but participates in LGBT activism as an ally and fellow advocate. I shall call him "Guy", as in Fawkes.
Guy proceeds to tell me the most outrageous story of queerphobia I can recall in recent memory. Guy is a huge fan of Penn Jillette, and recently decided to paint his left ring fingernail the color red, in solidarity with Mr. Jillette's similarly painted nail which memorializes the passing away of his mother. This is significant to Guy because it reminds him of his own mother. Again, while Guy is not "gay", he is somewhat of a contrarian. Sometimes straight people do queer things - so what?
Anyway, Guy also sells his plasma for money, in between his bouts of prosperity as a Libertarian petitioner and unpaid candidate for office. He has often been asked to answer the "men who have sex with men" question and the answer is always the same - today being no exception - the answer is "No". Guy does not have sex with men. Of course, scientifically, even if he did, this isn't the 80's. Technology has advanced to where gay men's blood carries no higher risk of infection than others. The test that protects the blood supply is actually MORE sensitive than one you get at the HIV clinic.
But that truth has no relationship to the irrationality of what happened next. The medical supervisor caught a glimpse of his nail polish and went berserk!! "Why is there fingernail polish on your hand?" That set off a series of bizarre comments that led to Guy being placed at risk of being "permanently deferred" as a donor, should he ever be "seen wearing nail polish here again". Of course, wearing nail polish is not banned by the FDA either, but apparently it's enough to signify gay for those bound to compliance.
And this reveals a deeper truth about the ban itself: based on the hysteria of the AIDS scare, and what was rightly seen (at the time) as a need to protect the blood supply, the lifetime ban on MSM blood donors was implemented by the FDA, who announced it to a public in the midst of a scare that associated fears of infection with "those filthy gays". And that stigma continues to be reinforced to this very day, every single time a person is asked this question at the blood bank.
Outright Libertarians is committed to ending every form of aggression and stigma against the LGBT community, especially those rooted in misuse of state power. Not only should this policy be removed immediately, but the FDA itself should be abolished, and free people and health care professionals should be free to make decisions together based on the best available science, not politicized fearmongering and social stigmas. The tyranny of the FDA must come to an end - the time for queer liberation has come!!
I would almost have yawned and went on with my day if it weren't for this article's parting shot at Chelsea Manning, whose heroism knows no bounds and in my opinion is above reproach; but while I'm on the subject can we just pause to reflect on the total disconnection with the principles of liberty represented by this piece posted over at Breitbart on Monday:
"The truth is, most people don’t give a stuff about your personal struggles with sexual identity. No offence, but your private life simply isn’t that interesting. Folks are pretty relaxed these days — especially ideological allies like gays and drag queens. What people do object to is frothing, insistent demands for off-the-wall pronouns (or else!) and the angry denunciation of anyone who dares crack a joke about a subject that is — and this is an unavoidable truth — very funny in certain circumstances."
Now for those of us for whom the thick vs. thin libertarianism debate got boring months ago, this is equivalent to rolling back over and hitting the snooze button, but for those prone to Cantrums I suppose they may get a gleeful thrill out of thinking that somehow the opinion of conservatarian hacks has any relevance to the queer liberation movement, or that they've done some big favor for liberty by causing division in the ranks of the liberal left.
The reality, however, as we've had to remind people countless times in the past few months, is that when people who advocate market solutions to social problems see those victories in the marketplace, the proper response is to cheer them, or at least to simply observe them from the sidelines if one has no horse in the race. But when a free market action is called "discrimination" when just last month they were "religious freedom", the hypocrisy starts piling up, fast.
It's just not reasonable to think that the mainstream queer community, if it ever turned away from state power as it's pathway-to-equality-du-jour, would give up and stop fighting for liberation altogether. On the contrary, as demonstrated by every form of protest we've successful staged from the Compton's Cafeteria Riot in 1966 to the vast number of us who came out of the closet over the years, direct action in the free market of ideas has been the most powerful weapon we've had.
Well that, and our famed solidarity. It is well-known that when we come under attack, we come out fighting, and this was demonstrated quite well this past Spring when Arizona's queer community came out en masse to demand a veto of the infamous SB1062. This commitment to our common cause is probably a better explanation than "Faketivism" for what happened to Mozilla's CEO. All it takes is a bit of word-of-mouth and *poof* your career is OVER!!
And that is as it should be, at least if you mean what you say when you say, "the market can and will take care of these problems if allowed to". The victory of Conchita Wurst, as well, sparks a sense of unity and pride that while, surely Breitbart may have noticed something worth our attention, is incapable of being fanned into the type of flames they hope will crash our movement. Oh no, conservative America, oh no. We've come too far to go back now. Like it our not, we're here to stay.
Was there a formative moment in your childhood that might've cast you in the adversarial role?
"Being gay was a big part of that process. I grew up gay in the '70s and '80s, when things were obviously much different than they are now. There was no gay culture for a gay teen in an American suburb, at all. The overriding message was there's something wrong with you, there's something inside of you that's just wrong. It's broken. It's bad. It's diseased. And so it's a pretty harsh message to internalize when you're, like, 11. It leaves you with three different options.
"One is you just keep internalizing it and keep internalizing it and tell yourself that you're this horrible, diseased, broken person. And that's why gay teens kill themselves. Another strategy is to say I'm going to try and convince you that you're wrong, right? I'm going to show you that I'm actually really normal in every other way. That's the gay lobby in D.C., who are just, like, so intent on proving that they're exactly like straight people in every single other way, so please accept us. And then, I think, a third strategy is just to say, You know what? Go fuck yourself. I'm going to be the one to impose judgments on you, and let's examine the propriety of your behavior instead."
- Glenn Greenwald
The notorious host of Adam vs. The Man came on our show recently. Find out what he had to say about marriage equality, trans* justice, and what percentage of marines are bottoms.
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