Friday, July 27, 2007

Bumbling toward equality?

If you had a chance to see the You Tube Democratic Presidential debate, then you witnessed a pathetic, bumbling response from the majority of candidates on the issue of marriage equality.

Dennis Kucninich seems to be the only candidate who clearly understands the issue of marriage equality, and is also clearly articulating full support for marriage and other LGBT rights. But, the Queer community doesn't seem to back him at all, and overall, he seems to get the more attention over his new wife than anything else.

So why is much of the LGBT community behind candidates who sound like bumbling idiots when it comes to our equality? Hillary, Obama, and friends won't take a stand for us, yet we are once again driving their campaigns.

Why would a candidate take a courageous stand for us when we continue to just give away our votes?

We will only get justice when we demand it. Otherwise, prepare for more bumbling...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Redefining Family

As a queer academic and activist, I believe that the power of linguistic redefinition is critical to LGBT politics. Often times, when I use the term "family" to refer to the relationsihp between myself and my partner, people assume that we have children. We are so saturated with normative definitions of "family" that even in our progressive LGBT circles we still assume that when one uses the term "family" they are implicitly referencing children. My partner is my family and whether we have children or not has no bearing on my use or understanding of the term "family."

I see my work not simply as a call to attain equal rights for LGBT persons, but also to redefine terms such as family so that they can account for all types of configurations of loving individuals. (I suspect that many of you are thinking right now "this is exactly what the Right is scared of...what are we advocating for polyamory now?! My response: Sure, as long as it is between consenting adults who share love for one another.) We have the power to push the barriers of language and to redefinie terms in order to make them more inclusive.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Just Because...

Just because one can have a child, doesn't mean one should.

Just a few thoughts:
1. Children are little human beings who need to be loved and nurtured.
2. If your child is terrified of you, you shouldn't be a parent.
3. You are no hero if you adopt a child from an orphanage in a poor country, or from the crappy US foster care system, and then treat them like dirt in your own home.
4. Children are not accessories to be used when convenient.

Many of us, gay and straight, stand by quietly as we witness some parents killing the spirit of beautiful children. We rationalize that people have the right to parent with their own style of discipline, their own values. Who are we to question someone else's parenting style?

To a child, we could be their savior.

Whether we know these abusive parents or not, whether it is in the grocery store or at the local restaurant, if we don't stand up for these children, then are we any better?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Why Marriage Matters to a Twenty-Something Year Old

Please allow me to introduce myself-My name is Rez Pullen and I am the newest MEGA employee. I am thrilled to be working with Kathy and everyone else who has made MEGA the incredible organization it is today. My partner Sara, and I moved from Boston (go Sox!) to Atlanta (somewhat reluctantly, I'll admit) so I could attend a PhD program at Emory.

I have many debates with my peers and colleagues who argue that the only way to assume equal rights for all citizens is to overturn the institution of marriage. And I agree that the institution of marriage is discriminatory against single people or families who complicate the dichotomous coupling arrangement. And while the institution of marriage may be inherently flawed, it would be an irresponsible and politically foolish move to abandon it all together.

Regardless of what you think of the inherent institutional problems of the marriage system, it does offer benefits which are critical to the survival of LGBT people. I'm tired of hearing people say the fight for marriage represents the privilege of the persons advocating for it. I fight for marriage equality not only to secure the rights my partner and I gained at our wedding last year, but also for the lesbians and gay men who remain "illegal aliens" because they cannot obtain citizenship through their US partners. The issue of marriage equality cuts across race, class, citizenship and every other category. If you'd like more examples, let me know and I will send you my entire diatribe on the subject :-)