Wednesday, November 4, 2009

YBCA Soap box

What is wrong with Gays today? We are a bunch of apathetic has beens who are letting state legislation be passed around this country removing rights, that we had already been granted, and we are doing next to NOTHING to stop it. I can not believe this is the same group of people who taught me to fight and never give up. That these are the people who told me that AIDS was what I made it, and my 20 years with the disease have proven that they were right. I did not get sad and withdrawn and just give over to this disease, this countries bigotry, my parents brow beating, just to be placed at the mercy of bigots telling me how I can change to fit their ideas of who I am or who gay people should be. I learned to fight for what it was I needed, we wanted, and against authority that is oppressive. Yet where are my people now? It is exactly this apathy that lets gay men and women be handed shame by society, that is not ours, and accept it. We have let ourselves be told what it is that will grant us our acceptance and we have started to change accordingly and we are loosing ourselves in the process. We have added letter after letter to our cause and created the innocuous label of LGBTQQIP instead of understanding who we are and what it is we offer.
Our shame is in listening to the society that is oppressing us instead of being true to the people we are and are meant to be. Our legacy is that of proud people who have made a difference through out history by spreading beauty, tolerance, magic and being shaman for a better world. There is no shame in who we are and never has been. It is our duty to stop believing this lie. This shame has poisoned us into a fearful state of surrender where we have lost our dignity and have masked it with ghettoization and lack of commitment. We have taken ourselves out of the battle and claimed that by rolling over and giving in we will just be handed rights. Gay people are foolish to believe that they are just going to get rights. There is no reason to believe that magically our rights will be guaranteed. In fact Main has just joined our great state in removing rights for gay people making us illegal in almost all 50 states. During our lives we have moved backwards into a more closeted and fearful existence. We are isolated from the world out side our ghettos and have completetly lost our voice because we want people to like us.
Instead of taking to the streets to declare who we are we have tried to pander to traditional "straight society" and made their beliefs our own. By choosing to try and include everyone; ie lgbqqip; we have missed the mark of what our battle is about. It is about us as a gay people deserving to be equal to others because we are PEOPLE. In this world to not stand up to bigotry has lead to terrible consequences and we must be vigilant that we are not next. With out making a noise that can not be ignored we are allowing ourselves to be herded like sheep and forced to change our "evil ways" or suffer. We have been hunted like animals and killed. We are taunted even in heavily gay areas and cities and the police are raiding our bars forcing us to act as people who deserve to be treated this way. We are arrested for showing affection. We live in fear because of who we are and because bigotry has not been questioned by us. If this has not gotten us into the streets on mass what will? Are we to remain silent until the doors of the oven have closed and we have no choice but to scream?
Our apathy is killing us. It is letting our culture go unnoticed and uncelebrated. The stories of great leaders remain a dim past that most of us don't know. Stories like We Wah the gay Native American who lead the largest of the Western tribes in the US for over 40 years. He was taken to Washington DC in the 1800's and presented as an Indian Princess even though he was over 6 feet tall and looked nothing like a woman. He worked with other gay Native Americans to stop the white mans tyranny and oppression of his people. Or Sappho the lesbian poet of Greece who held international fame and power. Quan Yin the father of Toaist thought and modern Chinese poetry. The story of how Oscar Wild decided to stay in England and be imprisoned instead of leaving England and saving himself. Or Harvey Milk who as an average person with the belief that he could make a difference and did. These are the stories that have led us to the point where we must now take up their voices and make them our own instead of listening to people who know nothing about us.
It is time to stand up for what we deserve and stop our apathy before it is too late. I am not advocating violence but I am suggesting we start stepping out of line. We as a people have every reason to be angry. We are made third class citizens and if it were to happen to any other minority they would not be silenced. They would not let fear and false shame keep them from getting the rights that we, like they, deserve. We must not be silenced and instead should clarify our voice and use it as loudly as possible. Our marches should not be shepereded by the police into areas most convenient to the city because what has been taken from us as a people is not convenient. Our anger is justified and if we don't start using our anger in a helpful way then it is going to fester away at us taking even more power from our hands. Shame and fear has made us into a people who are willingly letting ourselves be oppressed and we must say enough!
There is no reason that I should be here speaking instead of you. My voice is not so different than many of you. The reason I am here is because I have chosen not to take it any more and because we do not deserve this treatment and should not let people tell us that we do. One day I turned the corner and decided to commit myself and stop being selfish. I do not do this kind of work for me but for us. At five this morning I woke up knowing that what I had planned on giving you in my speech was a compromise and I was not happy with it and that I must work harder to clarify my voice so that I could share it with you. This voice is what I have come to listen to. Putting myself out and loud into the public arena is not easy. I doubt myself and come face to face with my own fear. However I believe that if we don't start using our voice it will be to late, not for me but for us. I have gained so much strength from my gay and lesbian peers that it is a selfish act for me not to stand up and be counted. It is truly a sin to not vocalize against the lies and slander that my people endure. It is our responsibility to be noticed, to be out, to be queer and to make a noise that can not be ignored. We as a people and a culture should not be willing to let apathy and fear get in our way. If we do not stand up together then we deserve what we get and are getting. We must rise as a queer nation and tell the world we are not going to take it any longer. It is not about turning a blind eye and hoping it will get better. It is about taking a stand because we know it should be better and casting off our shame and being who we are. There is no room for apathy and shame in our fight and we must join together to remove it. We must take to the streets and be visible. Not just on major events but whenever we feel like it. We must effect change in our every day lives and we must do it together and we must do it now. We can not wait because every second we wait another fag or dyke is kicked in the face because it is ok to do that to a "fuckin fag". Well its not alright and only our shame and apathy stand between us and the day when that stops happening.

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