Thursday, November 6, 2008

Oy, my tum.

Last night I may have eaten some bad cambozola. All mold, Sidewalk Monkey learns the hard way time and time again, is not the delicious kind.

At least that's my best explanation for why I've had this upset stomach since then that gets worse every time I eat something. Maybe eating half an al pastor superburrito and washing it down with a beer and some atole wasn't the wisest choice for dinner tonight. There are other reasons, too, that I am now curled up around a tepid glass of Pelligrino and moaning into the bubbles.

Tonight I am a bit in the doldrums. I have spent the day fretting over other people's marriages being rendered invalid by Proposition 8 and then also over my own wedding gown, and I am not unaware of the unjust imbalance there, and I fretted over that imbalance and injustice too. I fretted over how happy to be about getting married, I fretted over wanting to go to the march in San Francisco tomorrow and whether my stomach would be well enough that I wouldn't have to map out every porta-potty on the parade route. I fretted about being an insensitive person and a selfish, self-centered bride because I was fretting so much about my own wedding, which feels somehow grotesquely and fatly privileged now because it is a heterosexual and thereby potentially legal affair. Because I can sign a marriage license with the person I love and have all the excitement and drama that comes with it, because other people can't, because I didn't do anything different than the people who cannot do this and yet I have this privilege. Because 40 years ago Jam Guy and I could not have gotten married. Because what is happening now to the LGBT community is really not that different, and because our children will look back at this vote and see how backwards and small-minded the majority of voters were on Tuesday.

I fretted all day, and now I am certain that 1) my fretting served to exacerbate my digestive woes and 2) other than that, my fretting accomplished nothing at all. Nothing that served the cause for equal rights for all people, certainly; nothing that got me closer to making positive change; nothing that earned a dollar or pulled a weed or fed a starving family or lobbied for fair legislation or even took a proper bust measurement. It was not productive. It generated stomach acid.

I did post on another blog in response to the author writing about how she felt that opponents of Proposition 8 were not showing enough tolerance and understanding to the supporters of Proposition 8--that we are not showing the tolerance that we ask them for, basically, and that we are wrong for criticizing the belief systems that led those voters to support Proposition 8. She wrote that we should all just be happy for how far the country has come--because we have a black President, which "would have been UNTHINKABLE 20 years ago!," because just 40 years ago the DSM categorized homosexuality as a mental illness, because Christianity is opposed to homosexuality and so we have to be patient about undoing 2000 years of homophobia...and so rather than being angry, we should constructively channel our rage into something positive and have a little respect for other people's views and beliefs.

My response was:

I have to politely disagree with you: It is one thing to disagree with the idea that all people have the right to marry. It is another thing to take action to revoke that right. Contrary to the Yes on 8 propaganda, this is not a moral issue or an issue about beliefs; this is a civil rights issue.

This country has come a long way on its perception of gay people specifically and on civil rights in general. I agree with you there. It has not, however, come far enough. The fact that racism is no longer legally tolerated in the workplace or socially acceptable does not make me less angry when I encounter racist ideology; the fact that we have elected a black President thrills me, but we heard a lot of racist commentary about him during the campaign process.

I respect the rights of people to attend a church that does not recognize gay marriage. I respect everyone's freedom of belief. I do not like it, but I acknowledge that it is important to respect people's right to say that they feel creeped-out about gay couples. What I cannot accept is those people voting on a measure that blatantly defines some people as less equal than others.

It is unfair, it is mean-spirited, it is small-minded, and it should not be accepted, any more than any other civil rights violation should be accepted.

I don't actually know if she reads her comments, or if it made any difference, or anything. I think what I need to do now is channel my anger not into understanding Proposition 8 supporters, but into making change happen. I have done a lot of sitting around clamoring that change needs to happen with other people that already agree with me. I don't know exactly how and where to reach the 52% of people I need to talk with--or heck, just like 3% that might be on the fence would make the difference!--but I know I need to start somewhere, because sitting around being mad about it is literally making me ill.

That and the cambozola.

But action, Joan Baez says, is the antidote to despair. And the change is already underway.

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