Triage in Reverse
When you go to the emergency room with a runny nose, expect to wait while they treat concussions, heart attacks, and people losing large amounts of blood. Those with urgent need are first, regardless of the order they arrived.
Why doesn't this work for LGBT people?
Why aren't we focusing first on people who are dying?
When it comes to hate crimes legislation, should our first priority be those whose luxury homes are defaced (causing tens of thousands of dollars of damage) or those being brutally murdered?
When it comes to housing and employment discrimation, should we be more concerned about someone losing a $100,000-a-year programming job because someone found out they're gay, or the visibly queer person who can't get employment anywhere and is living on the street?
Why do some of our leaders think in reverse: we can get rights for some first, and come back to get rights for the more difficult cases?
This is not a case of going after the low-hanging fruit (pardon the expression) first. Sure, one can go for easy items first, then come back for the more difficult items.
But not when people are dying.
We have people being murdered for looking queer – whether they're transgender or too “butch” or “flaming”.
We have people who are at risk for having improper treatment at hospitals because their life partners are not allowed to consult with the doctors to tell them of the patients' medical histories.
We have people who are homeless because they are too visibly queer. For the same reason, there are people who cannot find employment.
We have a nation being put at risk because key personnel in the armed forces are being discharged because of who they love.
We have children being kicked out of homes and living on the street as prostitutes to stay alive, at risk for disease and drug addiction.
And yet, I keep reading about how we need an ENDA that serves only gay and lesbian people, but doesn't include gender expression (see butches and flamers above) – but we can revisit that issue later. Or I see, in transgender circles, that ENDA should include transsexuals but not crossdressers.
I keep reading about how DADT needs to take a back seat while the administration works on other problems.
We need to refocus our energy on the most vulnerable people – not because they're easy to help, not because they are sympathetic characters, but because they are human beings at immediate risk.
How about an ENDA that protects crossdressers and picks up the “straight-looking, straight-acting” along the way?
How about a marriage equality movement that saves the lives of partners in hospitals and the relationships of trans-national couples and lets a $500,000-a-year couple file taxes jointly as a side benefit?
How about keeping our nation safe by repealing DADTDP and, in the process, letting soldiers serve with dignity?
How about finding homes for the thousands of throwaway GLBT youth and, in the process, allowing GLBT persons to adopt?
What if we focused on the emergencies and, in the process, healed the whole community?