Friday, April 17, 2015
Of course, every step forward brings a certain amount of backlash so events like Springfield Missouri repealing a gay rights ordinance is no surprise. And, as much as I distrust mainstream politics, civil rights protections of queers and people of color will be a frontline issues in the 2016 presidential election.
Our support can be deceptive. We have not crossed the finish line yet. In fact, if we look to the Black civil rights struggle as a model, not only are the last laps of the most difficult ones, but the struggle itself is endless. Things inevitably will get a lot worse before they get better.
The best alternative would be to stop doing things in a piecemeal fashion: non-discrimination in employment, marriage, housing, adoption, all the issues together under one civil rights protection statute, preferably issued by the Supreme Court. That is easier said than done. The ERA, Equal Rights Amendment for women, never made it across that finish line. Now the right wing has opened an abyss full of snapping crocodiles they call "religious freedom." It is part of their victim-based strategy of persecution, an interesting reversal of the actual dynamic.
But we need not despair. Among young people organized religion is rapidly declining. The last time that happened was during the late sixties and early seventies when my generation was coming of age. And you know how that played out.
So there is hope. We are in this for the long haul. Whenever people say how quickly the LGBT struggle has achieved some rights I wonder what version of history they are reading. Certainly not the sixty plus years of my struggle or that of my predecessors in whose footsteps I have walked.