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Saturday, 30 March 2013

So you changed your facebook icon?

The US Supreme Court just heard arguments for two cases involving marriage equality. Up to 57% of Americans now think marriage equality is a good idea and a bunch of people, mostly straight allies, have changed their facebook icons into red equals signs to show this.

The equals sign is the logo of HRC, a gay (and not bi and really not trans) advocacy organisation. They're run by and for A-gays and give awards to vulture capital firms for not discriminating against gay people while giving bonuses or while making people homeless, jobless and hungry. Not that they're legally required to avoid this discrimination. In 34 states, it's still legal to fire people for being gay or to throw them out of their homes. There is no federal hate crimes law. Gay people are not in the Civil Rights Act or the pathetically weak 'ENDA' which the HRC has been failing to get through congress for my entire adult life. That bill would prevent discrimination in employment only and only for gay people, as the HRC has specifically lobbied to prevent trans inclusion. Because trans people are icky and they're sure it's much more likely to pass if it excludes us. Really. any day now it will pass. ... Not that they're spending much capital on it, political or monetary. A-gays aren't worried about getting fired.

The HRC wants you to know that gay people are just like you: rich, white and privileged. And normative. Why shouldn't two men be able to have a wedding reception at their country club? So the legal talent and the money for the marriage cases are coming from freshly outed Republicans. Other funding is coming from straight people who saw Brokeback Mountain and cried. No, really. The single biggest block of people who have been pushing for marriage equality is straight women who liked Brokeback Mountain.

And so marriage equality has become a social barometer. Just like voting for Obama proves you're not a racist, backing gay marriage and changing your facebook icon means you're not homophobic. Because gay people are just like you! So if you feel uncomfortable around queeny men or especially around butch lesbians or around people you read as trans, no need to worry about being homophobic if you support gay marriage. No need to worry about having appropriate sex-ed for LGBT kids. No need to worry about the homeless LGBT youth who might want to build a shelter in your neighbourhood and drive down property values. It's totally ok to think Grindr is icky and condemn it entirely with no first hand knowledge, because you support gay marriage!

And yes, it's gay marriage. After all, the HRC just told trans people just this last week, to take down their flag, since "gay marriage isn't a trans issue."

Did I mention I got the first same sex divorce in the State of California? I can't say I'm especially proud of this fact. I will say that having a legal structure for divorce made the split a lot easier than it would have been otherwise. I might get married again some day. Aside from everything else, it has implications with immigration law. And if I don't have to appear in court and change my birth certificate, so much the better. So yes, I support marriage equality, which is also a transgender issue. And so is the staggeringly high rate of unemployment and under-empolyment among trans people in San Francisco, which is probably one of the most trans-friendly cities in the US.

I'm glad that allies are supporting this largely symbolic drive towards equality. But now let's talk about why lgbt people, tend to be poor. Let's talk about suicide rates. Let's talk about bullying. Let's talk about something that's not just for the happily ever after, not just for the lucky. This alone doesn't make everything all right and it doesn't make you all right either. I know most of the people copying the symbol of a tarns-hostile organisation don't even know the source of the icon. And that's why this really is just not enough.

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