Heriosm, Endurance and Freedom

July 25, 2005 ·

by Caillean McMahon
Pennsylvania Gay and Lesbian Alliance.

The City of Los Angeles has just renamed a street intersection after an
outspoken opponent of gay marriage and gay rights.

In mutliple state legislatures, St Paul and Leviticus are being cited as the
legal authorities to pass anti-gay legislation.

In scattered places all over the US anti-gay rhetoric that would not have
been spoken twenty-five years ago because the author would have been seen
as a reactionary bigot is given wide publicity through the media. The last
major election was largely a referendum on our rights, using the Bible as a
weapon against us.

I arrived only lately in the Gay and Lesbian community. Coming from the
comfortable and protected position of someone living as a straight
professional the overt anger and hatred directed at us, the openess of it
and the intensity of it, the insistence upon enacting it into law are all
astounding and frightening. From the day that I came out, I have been
subjected to it. My world changed overnight and cataclysmically. The
dramatic loss of priviledge made me both a feminist and a Gay and Lesbian
activist, beginning my activism by standing in a Federal Courtroom as
plaintiff while an attorney pointed a bony finger at me and shouted “what is
America coming to when people like THAT expect protections?” The difference
between our lives, our rights and the prerception of us in public as opposed
to that of straights is deeply and freshly engraved in my mind. Not used to
the things that the community endures as a matter of course, I find that the
imposition of injustices upon us appalling.

An election is coming in November. We need to begin to put pressure upon
candidates to declare themselves, one way or the other as for or against
our rights. Pennsylvanis’s legislature is attempting to eviscerate the
recommendations fo a committee that would have granted domestic partner
benefits the same sex partners of gay employees. Which candidates would
oppose the recommendation, which would support it?

There has been a rash of arsons directed at gay businesses and violence
against gays is rising frighteningly. Which candidates support hate crimes
legislation, which oppose it?

A year ago, bills to amend the Pennsylvania constitution to forbid gay
marriage were attempted. How will these candidates vote if the issue arises
again?

I see an incredible courage and strength in the Gay and Lesbian community.
The ability to endure hardship is moving and incredible. But, we ought not
have to endure, we ought not have to struggle heriocally merely to exist. As
human beings, as citizens of the United States, supporting government
through our earnings and our efforts, in all fairness we should have exactly
the same rights as every other citizen.

In “The Social Contract” Rousseau noted “As long as a people is compelled to
obey, and obeys, it does well; as soon as it can shake off the yoke, and
shakes it off, it does still better”

When we endure we are courageous and heroic.

When we are free from discrimination we will be greater still.

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