Pride 2008: The fight is not over!
The California Supreme Court ruling, which paved the way for same-sex marriage this summer, is a ray of sunshine in an otherwise stormy season of skyrocketing gas, rent, and food prices, layoffs and unemployment.
With the economy gone belly up, the Iraq war raging on and on, and the White House busy dismantling separation of church and state and the Bill of Rights, it's no wonder a desire for change is sweeping the country.
The lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender community feels an extra sense of urgency as rightwing bigots unite to counterattack our recently won gains. Despite this pressure, mainstream national gay organizations seem out of touch with their own rank-and-file; their tepid strategies for "change" are: Vote Democrat, get married, and donate money.
Street heat. Ignored by the mainstream is the independent political action and grassroots mobilization that were the primary ingredients behind California's marriage victory and the growing public support for sexual minorities' civil rights.
Four years ago, Democrat Party leaders — gay and straight — tried to hush up the issue of same-sex marriage before election time. Afterwards, they blamed Bush's victory on the "spectacle" of thousands of queer couples lining the sidewalks waiting for marriage licenses from San Francisco to New Paltz, NY. But it was precisely these displays of matrimonial civil disobedience — in defiance of state law and the party line — that set the stage for this summer's court victory.
Now, these same pundits urge us to vote for Barack Obama, who (like Hillary Clinton and John McCain) refuses to support gay marriage. Obama says, "Tradition and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman."
As a consolation prize, he opposes "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," saying gays should be allowed to "openly" express their patriotism. Fab timing. Desperate recruiters can market the military's imperialist occupation of Iraq and stop-loss policy as an endless queer honeymoon in the desert!
This November, vote for real change: mark your ballot for up-front anti-capitalist, anti-war, and unabashedly pro-gay candidates. Then hit the streets, and join rabble rousing organizations like Radical Women!
Beyond wedding bands. Everyone should have the right to marriage and its tangible benefits, such as healthcare and child custody rights. But let's get real. Sexual liberation, feminism, working mothers, and a 50% divorce rate have left the patriarchal nuclear family a shadow of its former self. Inclusion in this outdated institution is no panacea — just ask straight couples.
And in the first place, why should access to medical care, citizenship, or Social Security benefits depend on who one sleeps or lives with? Universal health-care, legal status for immigrants, and a guaranteed minimum income for all are more practical solutions — and that's why many LGBT activists have embraced this much broader agenda.
Lavender warriors. Though big-city Gay Day parades have been dulled down by an influx of corporate advertisers who pimp off pride, there is a vibrant, bold and brassy queer movement reemerging. Dykes in the service industries are organizing LGBT caucuses in their unions, lesbians and gays of color are leading the fight against AIDS in their communities, and young gender-benders are defending gay/straight alliances in their schools, joining immigrant rights marches and blockading arms shipments to stop the war.
These times call for sweeping fundamental change, but none of us can do it alone. Radical Women is an organization that supports and trains women leaders because we believe that students and workingclass women of all colors and sexualities can unite the diverse movements for justice into one revolutionary rainbow. Get involved, lend a hand, you are needed!
Issued by: Radical Women