Sunday, September 14, 2008

Many MENY possibilities....

I just got back from marching across the Brooklyn Bridge in the Marriage Equality New York Wedding March. I had mixed feelings about going at first, since I'm not sure I believe in marriage at all, due to, amongst other things, the privelige, the exclusion-factor (both legally and socially), and the fact that it is rooted in such ickiness. I finally decided to go, both to support my friend Yetta, and because I decided to look at it as a stake-in-the-ground, as opposed to the ultimate success.

Despite the fact that the mainstream media will have you believe that there are just two sides to the gay marriage debate--that it's unnatural or it's about damn time--there is actually another side, which is that gay people should be fighting for an entire new way of ordering relationships, and not model theirs after straight privilege. I like the way Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore says it in the essay, "There's More to Life Than Platinum: Challenging the Tyranny of Sweatshop-Produced Rainbow Flags and Participatory Patriarchy", found in the book That's Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation.

"Gay marriage advocates brush aside generations of queer efforts to create new ways of loving, lusting for, and caring fro one another, in favor of a 1950's model of white-picket-fence 'we're just like you' normalcy."

Yes, I agree, Mattilda.

Reading that essay, as well as other essays by Sycamore, was like coming home. Everything I'd ever thought but was never able to express was put so totally eloquently in these essays. But I digress...

The reason I went to MENY despite my reluctance for assimilation (though I agree that there are times it is strategic), is because of the same reason I am a strong advocate of Proposition 2, a hugely historic and important ballot measure on the ticket this fall, which, when passed, will end three of the cruelest confinement systems for farm animals in the state of California--battery cages, gestation crates, and veal crates. Obviously I'm a vegan (I'm "hard-core," as a young man working at MENY observed today) and I work to advocate veganism. But I see Prop2 as a stake-in-the-ground--an unbelievably important campaign that will put farm animals on the map, and create such an impact that will forever change the way this country uses and abuses animals.

Just like gay marriage is something that is...well...better than what we've got now, but by no means the end. Nor is it something I want, personally...but if I did want it, I should be allowed to have it in the same way that my straight friends have it.