Archive for the 'marriage equality' Category

Another stupid argument against marriage equality – and adoption?

Like others, I’m kind of excited about the prospect of same-sex marriage being legalized in New York state, despite my ambivalence around marriage in general and my disagreement with the centrality of same-sex marriage to the mainstream gay rights movement. So I was happy to read that the New York State Assembly approved the same-sex marriage bill yesterday. But in reading the Reuters article, I read yet another idiotic argument against same-sex marriage that offended me more deeply than usual, not only as a queer person but also as an adopted person:

Rev. Duane Motley, a Christian lobbyist, said in Albany on Wednesday that legalizing gay marriage would “undermine the stability of our society” because he said a child of a gay couple could only have one biological parent.

Um, WTF? First off, I don’t know whether Motley was misquoted or partially quoted by the article’s author, because I can’t imagine that anyone would be so stupid as to assert that a child of a gay couple would actually only have one biological parent. Until science makes greater leaps than it has so far, every human that is born will have two biological parents.

Whether they have both biological parents in their lives is another matter, of course, and I’m assuming that’s what Motley is ineptly referring to as a possible destroyer of the fabric of our society. However, same-sex marriage is hardly the first or only cause of one or both biological parents being absent from a person’s life. As a happy adoptee of two wonderful non-biological parents, I can personally assure Motley that the absence of my biological parents in my early life didn’t cause me any damage. (Well, unless he’d count my queerness, leftist politics, and assorted other perversions as damage done by only having one biological parent.)

Perhaps we’ll soon see Motley and his fellow “Christian lobbyist” fighting against adoption, child rearing by non-parental family members, and all forms of single parenthood (including parenting by widows or widowers) for fear that these scenarios will undermine the stability of our society!

Can the LGBT community spare some outrage for Duanna Johnson?

UPDATE: The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition has set up a fund for Duanna Johnson’s funeral expenses that you can donate to via PayPal. This seems to be the most legitimate and secure way of donating. Any funds collected above the cost of the funeral will go to Johnson’s family. Please donate if and what you can, and do it soon. A special request to everyone (like me) who donated to the No On Prop 8 campaign: try to match that donation, or even just half of it if you can’t manage the whole thing right now. We can get this raised fast if we all commit to that.

UPDATE 2 (11/14/08 7:46 EST): TTPC reports that they have received $4745 in donations for Duanna’s family. “The response has been tremendous. We have received around 165 donations from as far away as Japan. Duanna’s family will be thrilled. Thank you world!” I echo their thanks to everyone who donated and helped spread the word today. I wish we hadn’t had to raise this money in the first place, but I’m glad that we did. While no amount of money can undo the tragedy of their loss, at least we can help ease their financial burden and give them one less worry as they grieve. (end update)

Duanna Johnson On February 12, 2008, Duanna Johnson was brutally beaten by a Memphis police officer after she refused to respond when the officer called her “he-she” and “faggot.” That night, Johnson became yet another of the countless trans women of color to be targeted and brutalized by police in this country. Two officers were fired after the attack; neither was prosecuted.

Just to be trans, just to be a woman, just to be a person of color in this country is enough to drastically increase one’s exposure to hatred and violence; when oppressions overlap, violence tends to multiply.

This past Sunday, Duanna Johnson was found murdered on the streets of Memphis. I didn’t hear about this until today, when I read a post on my friend Dean’s blog. When I read the awful news, I felt heartsick in a way that has become all too familiar and all too frequent.

After reading Dean’s post today, I was surprised to find out that Johnson was murdered nearly three days ago already and that I hadn’t heard about this until today. I know that I haven’t been very good at keeping up with the news or the blogosphere these past few days. But I can’t help but notice that despite this relative disconnection, I’ve read and heard no shortage of commentary, protest, and outrage about Proposition 8.

A Google News search for “Duanna Johnson” yields 50 results, many syndicated and therefore redundant. Much of the coverage is tainted by the transphobia and victim-blaming that tends to inflect media coverage of violence against trans women of color (like this Associated Press article). A search for “Proposition 8″? 18,085 results – 354.6 times more than for Duanna Johnson.

The skew in the blogosphere is less severe but still pronounced. A Google BlogSearch for Duanna Johnson: 2,300 results. For Prop 8? 240,839, or 100 times more.

Don’t think I’m being deliberately unrealistic or dismissive here. I don’t deny that the passage of Proposition 8 is harmful to the LGBT community and bears much anger, attention, and agitation. I understand the difference in magnitude of the number lives directly affected by the passage of Proposition 8 versus the number of lives directly affected by Duanna Johnson’s murder. I get that.

Yet still, the disparity in attention is damn stark. And that skew isn’t limited to this particular incident; it is a skew that is present in the collective coverage of and attention paid to all violence against trans women of color. And it is a skew that reflects what the GLb(t) mainstream chosen to prioritize with time, energy, and resources, and what it has chosen to address primarily with lip service and leftovers. An apt example of this: the Prop 8 op-ed written by Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese communicates more anger, more commitment to an enduring fight for justice, more of a sense of giving a damn than his brief, comparatively tepid statement in HRC press release on Duanna Johnson’s death.

There is a call out for people to donate money to help Johnson’s mother pay her funeral expenses, which are right now expected to total $1195. Unfortunately, there is some confusion about how to make donations and concern about whether the funeral home is doing right by Mrs. Skinner. I advise folks who wish to donate to use caution; I hope that a clearer, more secure way of donating is established soon. UPDATE: It’s been established.

But when it is possible to make donations safely, I hope that many people donate whatever they can. $1195 is a relatively small amount to raise. Given that the No On Prop 8 campaign was able to raise $37.6 million – or 31,464 times the cost of Duanna Johnson’s funeral – raising this far smaller amount should be no problem for our community. Right?

Cross-posted at Feministe and Racialicious

Rinku Sen on Same-Sex Marriage and Communities of Color

Qualms about the marriage equality movement aside, I appreciated this perspective from Rinku Sen at Racewire.

Rather than fixating on communities of color as though we’re the last of the homophobic holdouts, we should be thinking of ways to bring people together, socially and culturally, across sexual lines.

Very true.

And yeah, qualms aside again, the images of these couples getting married were thoroughly heartwarming, especially the couple in Fresno!