And there are a few reasons for it, some of which are summarized nicely here, and some of which are also summarized nicely here. HRC is not without its flaws.
And one of which, the one that really caught me off guard, is this: When I have seen brave queer (often trans) friends try to address the problems with HRC* on Facebook in the last day and a half or so, they have, with only one exception, been basically told to lighten up. And they have been told that by people who would like to think they are allies.
When people you are trying to help say they feel hurt by your actions, you have more or less three choices:
- Listen and change your behavior (obviously valid),
- disagree to yourself and don't change your behavior (definitely valid in some cases but maybe less than people are inclined to do it),
- disagree out loud that the people who feel hurt have any reason to feel that way (rarely helpful to anyone).
I feel lucky not to know most of the folks I've seen behave in the third way, but the main reason I am that "lucky" is that I am a big coward who got off Facebook for a bit rather than address it, because I did not want to be jumped on in the ways I saw my friends jumped on. And I want people to like me, to not think of me as judging their attempts at sweet gestures.
By the way, in case you were wondering how I feel about marriage equality, it's like this: I think equality generally is critical. I think if we live in a culture that privileges certain relationships (and we do), people need equal access to those privileges. I think marriage equality is, in fact, critical for some people, and I do not always think you know whether you're one of those people until the problems start. I think marriage equality is a weird but true benchmark of the acceptability of certain kinds of queer relationships, and I think one of the many reasons one of my past relationships failed is that my partner was convinced no one would ever accept us because marriage equality seemed so unlikely.
I also think we have bigger social justice fish to fry — like, way bigger. And that marriage equality, while critical for some folks (though quite possibly not, say, me), is not going to solve all our problems. And I think it might behoove us all, particularly those saying "one step at a time," to think a little about our end game.
One step toward what?
Regardless of your identities, what is the biggest dream you can dream, social-justice-wise? Is it affording middle-class LGB types the exact same things our middle-class straight friends aspire to? Is it opening the doors to privileging a way wider spectrum of relationships and arrangements, or none of them? Health care for everyone? Is it some perfect anarchy? Some perfect libertarian ideal? A view of a more involved state, a less involved state? An unstate? An end to poverty? Or violence? Or slavery? Or families?
I don't know all of what I'm going for, but I bet it's more radical than some of you would guess, and I will for sure be thinking about how to frame it here.
And really, I want to know what you are going for, as you fight the good fight with your dollars and your words — and your Facebook profile pictures. Comment anonymously if you must, but pleeeeeeeeease comment? Please?
*Do those of you using the equal sign all know you're using essentially a corporate logo? If so, that's fine; people wear corporate logos all the time. But if not, I thought you'd want to know.