To fling my arms wide
Saturday, October 31, 2009
by Langston Hughes
To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
Dark like me--
That is my dream!
To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun.
Dance! Whirl! Whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening. . .
A tall, slim tree. . .
Night coming tenderly
Black like me.
Draw strength from all the brothers and sisters like you that have drawn breath for centuries, in every country in every age.
Realize recognize how many of us 'others' exist even now. Invisibility does not erase our numbers, our impact, our worth, or our possibility.
You are not alone.
Just for today, have faith in that.
Stand strong. Better days are coming.
Don't let the stereotyped role models fool ya!
The same trappings that keep much of the rest of the world 'too busy' for politics and protests is true for us homosexuals, too.
We're not all wealthy antiquers with a penchant for wine-tastings, dammit!
Complacency is a killer of the mind, the body, and the soul. And it stops civil rights movements dead in their tracks.
Everyone gets sidelined by job, bills, daily routine, and a multitude of distractions large and small. But buying into the American Scream is what created the current state we're in; a somewhat civil presumption and promotion of "everything's going well."
Try coming and talking to the gays and lesbians in a small town. Come down South and take a look around. Talk to poor queers. Those of us without the financial cushion, the geographic salvation, or the respect-demanding status of Hollywood or gay ghettos all over. It's a whole other world, baby.
We are alive (and sometimes well) in middle America (and lower,) and the orientation that prevents us from being treated equally is often the lesser factor amongst other social stigmas. (Don't kid yourself; there's always room for homophobia at the inn. I can't tell you the number of times I have been called "Ma'am" by social service people, defiantly utilizing their unfireable positions and my lack of power to be as nasty as they want.)
You're not married? Mmm--hmmm. "We know what that means." End of your help.
You don't have kids? Oh. Right. I see.
And the lack of tolerance in a workplace can lead even someone okay with who they are to hide themselves on the job. If a menial job is the best you can hope for in a bad economy, you hold on to it with a passion.
If you have the bad fortune to live in one of the 49 states that has the 'at-will' firing protection, you can lose your job at any moment just because an employer 'feels like it.' Few states have protection based on sexual orientation, but an employer could just as easily make up an excuse and use it in the official firing.
So, many of us get stuck just staying afloat, trying to keep food on the table, pay the rent, keep the car running. There is a price to pay for speaking out, and in a small town it can be social castration, job loss, family ostracization, excommunication from the church, harassment, beatings, or death. For many of us, the opportunity to simply 'up and leave' is not a financial viability. Moreover, there aren't enough places at the table in the 'good places' to live.
Besides, when so many of our own cast us aside just as deftly as the rest of the world, where do we truly find a place of our own?
Friday, October 30, 2009
There is a misconception afoot across the American Wasteland, that homosexuals enjoy tremendous freedoms and excesses now known to the average citizen. There is a deeply held notion that we gay men and women are being handed it all on a silver platter. That homophobia and hate speech and violence against us is a forgotten thing of the past.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
These misconception exist because people are actively perpetrating this misinformation on a gullible public. Our supposed public policy successes are touted as windfall, just as the right-wing controlled media continues to be mislabeled a 'liberal media.' (Talk show hosts are living proof that "If you say it, morons will come to believe."
Things are as bad as they've always been for we demonized second class non citizens--we invisible, disavowed, unpatriotic boogie men.
Awkward partial tolerance is not acceptance. Assimilation is not freedom. Forced public policy changes do not equal changes in mind or hearts; in fact, there is a known connection between civic advancements and private backlash of both violence and other abuse.
Stand tall, kids. This isn't going to be easy, and it isn't going to be quick.
But let's overcome the first obstacle in the new war against "we that are 'different.'" The illusion that there isn't any intolerance to combat any longer.
No, the emperor has no clothes on, and we have to scream it from the rooftops. Times are tight and rough, and those with feeble minds will continue to seek scapegoats for their misplaced anger and frustration.
No, there's a war brewing, and if you think you're immune to it, you'd better get your clue on.