What I can’t post to Legal Insurrection

Professor Jacobson at www.legalinsurrection.blogspot.com today wrote about the DADT vote. I tried and tried to post this to his comments section — but I just can’t figure out how to do so. So I gave up — sent it to him by email, invited him to put it up somehow, and post it here.

My comment to him and his readers:

Gay folks are in a strangely unique position in this society — as we are in all societies across the globe. We are, in effect, at the mercy of straight people because we simply do not have — and will never have — the numbers to democratically eliminate unjust laws and prohibitions against us. Democratically we might just as easily be outlawed tomorrow. That’s what the FRC wants, ask them, they’ll tell.

Just 40 years ago, in 1969, we were, at one and the same time, considered criminals, moral reprobates, psychologically crazy, and psychiatric cases, evil, and more and worse. We were arrested in bars just for gathering for a beer, repeatedly. We often had no legal standing to even argue our defense for we were not considered of “sound mind.” Until 1976 it was even illegal to use the US Postal Service to send gay rights political information to each other to affect the democratic process. We still can’t put up a billboard advocating for rights for gays — the outrage would be too much even if we got permission from the billboard company.

We were loathed not just by society at large, but by religion, by government, by police, by medical professionals and any random individual, and by our own families. Today this is true still, though not as bad as it was. It has gotten better. It got better because we gay folks argued in courts at all levels, in legislatures, to the executives of cities & states, and to medical professionals, and to family, friends, and co-workers the same thing as we do today – we just are, and we have no idea why, and neither do you, but we’re not going anywhere nor changing. And we had to argue to our mothers and fathers too, that we’re just fine folks. Many still don’t believe it.

There was so much against us it’s a wonder we got this far this fast. But it happened because we threw everything and the kitchen sink at the problem. We had to. For if we waited to convince anyone in mere democratic terms to accept us we might still be fearful to gather with a beer in our hand with our own kind. And most of what has happened started because of one spectacular, though tiny, “don’t tread on us” moment at the Stonewall Inn.

But any “strategy” we had or have — such as there is or was any, or by any one group or leader, or “agenda” or “lobby” we could have had back in the days when two or more of us together could bring down the police state upon us — had to be multifaceted. It will remain the case, and probably for a while more to come.

For when even fine sites as this use four word constructions like “same sex sexual orientation” when the perfectly fine “being gay” exists, well, then, what can one say. The word “gay” for “gay” has been in English since Eleanor of Aquitaine used it to describe her son King Richard the Lionhearted in the late 1100s. Her words exist in her own hand. But I dare say, “same sex sexual orientation” can quite readily & logically describe “monogamy” if only the 4 word phrase wasn’t already loaded with baggage. Thanks for the advice Professor, but we did pretty darn well so far with our multifaceted approach.



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