Monday, June 29

Kindred Spirits

Yeah, I know this blog goes back and forth. A lot. One day I'm talking God, the next day, I'm talking Disney movies, and the next day, I'm a radical feminist. What can I's all in here. Kinda like Prego, but different. Hang on. It's a wild ride, but it all adds up, and even sometimes overlaps in the most unexpected ways. In the end, it's who I am--someone who feels deeply, wonders frequently, thinks too much, rejects the dominant paradigm, plays freely, and laughs far more than average. I'm trusting you, you're smart, you can deal, you're a go-with-the-flow kinda person (or if you aren't, get workin' on that, it's good for your health, not that I'm always the best example myself).

So here's the deal for today...

Don't you love it when you find someone or some blog on the web that says exactly what you want to say but either haven't found a way to say it or haven't gotten around to saying it or are maybe a wee bit shy of the flogging that will ensue? Sure ya do.

Well, today, thanks to my friend Ron on facebook, that happened to me. And so I'm just doing the good do-bee thing, and passing it on.

I'm tired of pretending that it's over--not only for queer people, but hell, for half (more than half?) of the human race. I'm tired of the naivete and lie-down-and-roll-over ethic expressed by the people holding signs saying "We Are Equal" or "Freedom=Equal Marriage" because marriage has become legal in six states. I'm tired of assimilation, of a movement that has morphed into a fight to be regarded as "normal". I'm tired of a movement that, without criticism, adopts overly sexualized heterosexual norms in order to advocate for a civil rights issue (one which, frankly, has very little to do with sex, and a lot to do with justice) without regard for the fuel that they provide to the oppression of women (which, believe it or not, is not up for trade in exchange for gay rights). I'm tired of the political correctness which has made frank and analytical discussion about some subjects taboo, even within the gay and lesbian community--that we have become a people who silence one another for not going along with the "party line"--the very antithesis of our genesis. I'm distressed at the misogyny that is inherent in the disappearance of butch women in the lesbian community (and the lack of conversation about it).

No, despite all appearances, I'm not a killjoy. I like a parade. I like a party (well, by some people's definitions of party, since I don't drink and don't understand its relationship to fun). I like celebrating. I like marching with friends. I am proud of who I am. I just think we've lost sight. In a big way.

I'm someone who believes in history. I'm someone who believes in honoring those who came before--not through holding them up as tokens or heroes (which serves our purposes rather than theirs)--but by digging in, reading, understanding what they did, why they did it, who they were, and what they have to say about what is happening now. I'm someone who believes that every action is a political action, that, in the parlance of the 70's, the personal is political. Sadly, I am someone who, like a lot of us, folds a bit too easily under the pressure or even subtle ostracism of peers, who can't always live up to the excellent advice to speak your mind, even when your voice shakes.

I'm someone who has no shame in my age, in my grey hair, in my history in the women's movement, in the earlier days of the gay and lesbian movement, in the women's music movement. I'm someone who has no qualms about being a feminist first, that I have and will always have--not individually but as a rule--far more in common with women than with gay men. I'm not embarrassed at the music I like, the shoes I wear, the clothes I wear, or my size.

I sound angry. It is shocking to say, but in the almost 30 years since I came out, I feel as if have been increasingly and steadily isolated from my community by my own (purported) community. It continues to this day. In our "transformation" into "everyone else", into an indiscernible part of the dominant culture, those of us who used to be welcomed in our renegade troupe are once again nearing the fringes.

I don't know, I think that would piss anyone off.


Camlin said...

Our (Canadian) conservative government declared that the office of the Status of Women is irrelevant - after all, we have achieved equality, have we not?

I didn't fit into the so-called mainstream world, ever. And now I don't want to.

To me, the US has always been a culture of assimilation. Speak our language, dress like us, do what we do. My proximity to Toronto, and my work in and ESL preschool setting for several years affects my perspective - because here, things are somewhat different. Canada is officially bilingual - Quebec (and francophone)culture is truly distinct. But in some ways, Canada is multilingual - there are so many people who have retained their language of origin, who have been encouraged to pass it to their children, who are proud of their culture and do not desire to have it "Canadianized." The banning of a girl's hijab from a soccer team sparked a national outcry, as did the forced removal of a 12 year old's kirpan (Sikh ceremonial knife).

Images like the one I saw on the website you linked (Not the blog, the other one) seem like nothing more than porn to me - directed primarily at men who are attracted to women. Noise, distraction, and a disservice to the men and women who fight - not just for marriage equality, but for justice at all.

I feel like I'm babbling a bit. It's been a long day.

Anonymous said...

I think all too often that women adhere to some patriarchal, white, male societal norm. This is done to gain some semblance of power, power that never comes, instead it just subverts the gains of those women, be it straight or otherwise, who are striving to bring about real change by bucking the societal norm. It amazes me how many people do not see how inter-related the ideas of feminism, gender, reproduction, adoption, birth rights, love, socio-economics, culture, religion, and the power dynamic are.

Audrey said...

Way to go! I love the link--I was at some of the early NYC marches (back then, that's what we called them--not "parades). They were loud, chanting, in-your-face marches. I remember sitting down, with everyone else, in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral--in the middle of Fifth Avenue (!!) to protest the church's stance on us. I remember getting to Central Park and listening to speaker after speaker exhorting us to come out, to be active, to fight for our rights. (And oh yeah, I remember some killer games of dyke softball--not for the weak of heart...)

All of that was so much more meaningful than what goes on now. I don't bother going to Pride, because we've lost all that passion. And looking at "sexy" girls in pedicabs (with pedicures, no doubt) just doesn't come close.


Robin said...

I keep thinking of the episode of the Simpsons (someone on facebook told me about it) called "Jaws Wired Shut", in which the Simpsons watch the Springfield Gay Pride Parade. The marchers are chanting "We're here, we're queer, get used to it!" (an outdated cheer if I ever heard one). Lisa Simpson, in her brilliance, responds "You do this every year. We are used to it." Perfect.

~ Sil in Corea said...

Bless you, dear! You said a mouthful! I followed Ron's link and I sure am glad I did.