Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Quote of the Day

. . . Last week I watched the coverage of the marriage equality cases before the Supreme Court and saw Facebook shift to a sea of red equal signs. I realized a few things and have felt really torn about the schism I have seen develop in the queer community on the issue of marriage. I know that the entire queer community is not on the same page, and I don't think we need to be, but I want to say why I haven't been jumping on the marriage bandwagon, and I want to really give context to my hesitation.

As a feminist, I never supported marriage to begin with; I have always viewed it as a way to own another person or to claim another person. Historically, it was about men being able to lay claim to woman, which is why women took their husbands' names. It served as a sexual fence for people, enforcing monogamy as a way to enforce ownership, but also as a way to ensure that any children produced were legitimately entitled to any sort of land transfer or inheritance. Honestly, I get frustrated by the marriage debate for queers, because I really think it's unoriginal. I wish that we felt more freedom to envision a different kind of love or relationship with one another rather than fighting for access to a historically sexist and oppressive state-sanctioned relationship. The reason that sexism is key to the discussion is that it has been used against our community to justify homophobia. It does not make sense to me that we turn to historic structures of oppression to find small, limited freedoms.

As someone who comes from a people who have experienced genocide and continue to wrestle with the question of assimilation, I know that we need to be clear that this too is part of the conversation here. Power structures demand that we change to be recognizable to them and acceptable, so we are led to believe that our ability to assimilate to their needs is going to translate to safety, or at least that's what we are sold. The reality, more often than not, is that a small number of people will experience a level of safety, because that needs to happen to prove the point. But there is always another part of the community that will continue to be at risk, because they are never going to be viewed as "normal" enough; some of us will never pass. And some of us come from long histories of attempts at assimilation and offer a word of caution to the larger queer community: Assimilation will cost more than it protects. . . .

– Coya White Hat-Artichoker
"Minnesota, Marriage and Me
HuffPost Gay Voices
April 2, 2013

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Seeing Red
Quote of the Day – March 29, 2013
"Creating Change" in Minneapolis
Quote of the Day – November 12, 2011
North America: Perhaps Once the "Queerest Continent on the Planet"

Recommended Off-site Links:
Two Spirits: Overlapping Identities for First Nations People – Coya White Hat-Artichoker (The Huffington Post, June 13, 2013).
Marriage Equality: Race, Family Values, and the 99% – Sikivu Hutchinson (Religion Dispatches, April 2, 2013).
What's Behind Criticisms of Those Red Equal Signs in Your Facebook Feed? – Derrick Clifton (HuffPost Gay Voices, March 29, 2013).

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