March 01, 2009

I Stand...

It dawned on me recently at a social gathering that there is a part of me that feels completely disconnected from my age group. The ideals and principles my friends feel passionately about don’t seem to match up with mine entirely. They’re trying to change the world by rallying for world peace, going green, and saving everything from the animals to the rain forests, whilst I still find myself hung up and devoted to this thing called gay liberation.

“Gay Liberation? Are you being serious?” one of my queer friends asked. “Um, Earth to Robby. It’s 2009. That ship has sailed. We no longer need to be liberated.”

Oh really?

That’s the problem with kids today (and oh my God I can’t believe I just said that! What am I, a hundred and two?). Just because this isn’t Stonewall and bricks aren’t flying through the air, just because we’re better represented in the mainstream, and really, who can swing a cat without hitting some sort of gay friendly group or organization, when did we start following the general misconception that the worst is over for us gays and the struggle for acceptance is a moot point. Apparently, we’re here, we’re queer, and everybody can chill out, the world is used to it

Excuse me for a moment. I need to find a paper bag to breathe into.

Dare I say we all need to close our laptops, turn off our cellular devices, mute our personal media players and wake up and smell the coffee? We are hardly liberated, people. Of course it doesn’t suck as much as it did years ago and of course we have made huge progress in getting fair and balanced representation and treatment in the world, but, and I hate to rain on anyone’s parade here, we haven’t even scratched the surface of the problems facing gays today. There are still too many people who think the gay population should be “exterminated”. There are still too many people that hide behind religion rather than try to acknowledge our very presence and God given rights. The government, including our president (who to be fair has only been on the job a few months, but so far I like), doesn’t really seem to know how to “deal” with us either Are we tax-paying, law abiding citizens of this country or just a hot button issue? Do they shut up, listen and do something about our grievances or instead “handle” us as if we’re a bunch of unruly children who have been deprived of naps. Having all of this on my conscience makes me want to climb to the top of the tallest building and scream as loudly as possible, “Damn it! I’m a human being! What’s to deal with? I just want to be treated like a human being!”

We all deserve equal rights and fair treatment, no matter our color, gender, or sexual orientation. And though we’ve come a long ways from the days where the closet and secrecy were the only options, let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that things being better than the way they were before is somehow the answer or acceptable. We still have a lot to talk about and strive for.

Until that day comes that sexual identity and orientation truly is a non issue (without exception), so long as there are people that don’t accept things that are perhaps not of their experience or preference, and as long as there are people or groups out there that make it their mission to not only deny us our rights but our very existence, you can bet my plus sized ass that there is still a need for gay liberation. I, for one, am not turning the other cheek or backing off.

Who’s with me?

Title Inspired By the Song: "I Stand"
Idina Menzel
Available On:
I Stand

Originally published in the
March 2009 issue of The Empty Closet, New York State’s Oldest Continuously-Published LGTB newspaper since 1973, through the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley.