The political establishment has gone to a lot of trouble to direct the energy of our liberation movement into thinking that legislation is the pathway to equality, rather than recognizing it is really what stands in our way. Thus, we clamor for things like marriage and employment non-discrimination, and this suits liberal Democrats who are seeking power very well. If they can get us to believe that only state power can make us equal, and only they can give us access to state power, then they can put us in their pockets and go on with business as usual.
What makes this worse is the way our community has been starved for power and abused throughout history. Suddenly, a few token "gay white men" (or gay black women, in an emergency) are elevated to lower-level offices and this is celebrated as a "victory" by useful idiots, who sadly - but understandably - don't know any better. To point this out while the herd is rushing with single-minded intensity toward marriage (the LGBT version of ROOOOOooooooads!!) is to set oneself up to be vilified, lynched as a gay Uncle Tom (Aunt Tom?) and traitor to the movement.
How can we turn this dynamic around and reveal the power structure for the monstrosity of abuse and oppression that it truly is? One very obvious example is the brutality being suffered in the prison system, which falls heavily on the heads of LGB and especially T prisoners. This is an excellent example of an issue that state-powermongers can't touch because it would threaten their stranglehold; to admit they are abusive would call their entire governing philosophy into question. The schools-to-prisons pipeline has already been questioned for its impact on racial minority groups; let our voices be heard among the outcry!!
I am so sick of gay marriage as the single-issue priority for the liberation movement. What else can we look at?
Humane treatment for LGBT prisoners ... Lift the bans on LGBT blood donors ... HIV decriminalization ... Any more ideas? What legislation still stands in the way of equality that we can seek to abolish? Where are we still being abused systematically by the political structure?
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(Submitted by Bretigne Shaffer)
When the soldier and whistleblower known as Bradley Manning announced last month that she identified as a woman and not a man, that she wished to be referred to as “Chelsea” and with the feminine pronoun, it caused a stir, even among her supporters. I’ve seen a number of comments on social networks from those who support Manning’s actions but who refuse, on the grounds of linguistic accuracy and clarity, to honor her requests.
I understand the objection. Clarity in thinking and in speech is under assault everywhere. And it matters. There are consequences to muddled thinking, to the muddled use of words, and they are usually not good ones. Broad public support for political leaders who spew forth words like “peace” and “freedom” while at the same time dropping bombs on villagers in far-away countries and destroying the most fundamental legal protections for personal liberty at home is just one of the more obvious of such consequences.
But the question of whether to honor Manning’s request to be identified as a woman is not one of linguistic clarity. If anything, it is a symptom of our language’s inadequacy to deal with the reality she faces. Apart from “you” and “I”, the English language has three pronouns to indicate a single entity: He, She and It. We don’t have a pronoun to represent a person born into a male body who does not feel like a man, or a person born into a female body who doesn’t feel like a woman. For those who doubt that such a feeling is “real”, there is a clinical diagnosis for it: “gender dysphoria” - what used to be known as “Gender Identity Disorder.”