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June 21, 2008

Excellent Opinion Piece In Local GLBT Magazine

I ran across the following piece by Liz Massey who writes for our premier local GLBT publication, Echo Magazine. I just wanted to share this with those of you who may not be aware of this exemplarily Phoenix magazine and may not have seen this piece. Rather than make any comments myself, I'll just let Ms Massey speak for herself - and, in a way, a lot of us. It's well worth taking a couple of minutes to read.

One of the family

When I first came out, almost 20 years ago, gay political choices were simple. You voted Democratic and pro-choice. If you were a woman, you identified as a lesbian-feminist (as if there could be any other sort of lesbian …). Liberals were good; conservatives were bad. The religious right could be counted on to tell us how nasty and unclean we were, and how we deserved all the bad things that happened to us. Gay marriage was a pipe dream.

The world has changed in the last two decades, to the point that it’s getting harder and harder to rely on the old guidelines. California has become the second state to legalize gay marriage; New York appears poised to recognize same-sex marriages performed out-of-state (which is the real headliner, since the “leave it to the states” argument has always presupposed that no red-blooded manly man state wanted to sanction another state’s gay marriages).

Even our old nemesis, the radical right, no longer has the stranglehold it used to on the Republican Party. I mean, they put “God’s man” in the White House, and he has brought forth an endless war, post-Katrina chaos and two economic blights. Plenty of people still think gay marriage is wrong, but it’s far harder these days to get moderate voters, worried about defaulting on their mortgages and how they’ll pay for the gas they need to drive to work, excited about banning it.

Do I think this means that our struggle for equality is almost over? No. Do I think it means the contour of the battleground is changing? Yes.

Now is a good time for us to get to know our straight neighbors better and participate openly in mainstream community life. The goal isn’t to engage in the “culture war” that we’re so often accused of waging. No, we need to do something far more subversive than that: embed our values so deeply in the national civic fabric that no one will ever think of discriminating against us again.

How can we bring our family’s values to the table?

Advocate, seriously, for “strengthening marriage” initiatives that include us, and which might actually do some good, such as programs that teach couples how to communicate better, parent effectively, and manage their money.

Support medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education. Lying or refusing to talk to one’s children about how life begins and how people relate intimately to each other — and the consequences of such — is never moral.

Go out of our way to honor GLBT citizens in the “forbidden” professions for gays: education, the military, and the ministry. Many people still risk professional sanction to teach our kids, defend our country and answer the call of Spirit. Let’s let them know we appreciate the effort.

Most importantly, let’s start talking to each other and to mainstream America about our spiritual lives. Not just the struggle to come out in the midst of a hostile church or family, but the joy and peace that our spiritual practices bring to us. Not only do many of us have faith, that’s what has sustained us when we have been abandoned by those who would call themselves God’s “chosen ones.”

The point of all this isn’t to show how we fit into the paradigm envisioned by the religious right. It’s to assert, and demonstrate, that we fit perfectly into the human paradigm.

Anthropologists tell us that numerous indigenous cultures, including some Native American tribes, found a role for every member of their community — including same-sex-oriented folks. With our help, America can do the same.

This piece can be found at: Echo Magazine

Have a great weekend everyone. I'll be back on monday.