I know some of you may well be angry at me for saying that many LGBT people brought this debacle about.

When there is no overwhelming consistent,uniform, expression of revulsion when Transgenders are removed from ENDA by politicos hung up on expediency rather than justice, foolishly thinking that the passage of such a bill would be an advance which, after fracturing the LGBT community, would certainly be vetoed by Bush; when hedonism and frivolity are confused by so many LGBT people with “liberation”; when self-absorption has replaced an esprit de corps, a sense of community, in much of the LGBT community, save for social affairs; when there is a studied apathy to any type of meaningful social and political activism among LGBT people and their “allies”; when “liberation” is considered certified by participation in Pride Parades, rather than in holding assorted clergy and politicians’ feet to the fire in demanding the dignity and civil rights that accrue to all citizens in the U.S.; when it is considered “progressive” to refer to oneself and to other LGBT people by derogatory labels that serve to both further reinforce and express the internalized homophobia, not yet sufficiently overcome, due to the hateful messages spewed from pulpits and other assorted venues throughout the world, why should Democrats, or anyone else for that matter, particularly care what LGBT people think in the first place?

Indeed, why should any non-Gay person take Gay people seriously, when so many Gay people don’t appear to take themselves seriously, or even care enough about their second-class citizenship and status, and the denial of their dignity, to stridently demand full and equal civil rights?

As I wrote in my comment to Don Charles in the previous post, who asked me, “Do you think LGBT folk will ever gain the courage to face their internalized shame?”:

“Delighting in being ‘the other,’ in being perceived as ‘sexual outlaws,’ (In part due to internalized homophobia.) and as reinforcing the stereotype that being Gay equals being solely sexual, and equating hedonism with ‘liberation,’ is playing right into the hands of the strident homophobes, justifying in the minds of many in the middle that those homophobes are correct in their negative assessment of Gay people, and that Gay people are ‘not like us,’ and don’t deserve the same consideration, the same civil rights, as do “people like us.'”

It may have to come to the point where more insults such as removing the Matthew Shepard Hate Crime bill from defense authorization legislation, from the funding for the immoral and deceitful war in Iraq (showing that, in the minds of most politicians, including “liberals,” supporting an immoral war trumps the interests and safety of LGBT people), by those who are viewed as “liberal,” and who are naively counted on to “deliver the goods” when LGBT people and allies have not presented a united, aggressive, front in demanding those “goods,” that will finally motivate all LGBT people and allies to have a fire in the belly to organize and coordinate efforts to demand full and equal civil rights that will not be gained in any way save through consistent and continuous grassroots and organizational demands and coordinated activism.

We have a lot to learn from the activists of the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, and early 80’s, such as Barbara Gittings, Franklin Kameny, Troy Perry, Harry Hay, and Harvey Milk, and  those lessons won’t be learned at circuit parties or Pride Parades.  

I just hope that they don’t have to be learned by the further erosion of the dignity, and the commensurate humiliation, of LGBT people, as seen at this latest of many salvos directed against LGBT people, and against all those who believe in full equality for all citizens.

[Also posted on A Christian Voice For Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, And Transgender Rights.]

Jerry Maneker

Jerry Maneker