Saturday, October 31, 2009
"Keep 'em Fat, Dumb & Happy" works on queers, too
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?