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Lady Bunny Sounds Off on Queer Activism


A week ago, gay marriage passed in New York and everyone whooped it up. I'd like to ask everyone who's celebrating what THEY actually had to do with this milestone -- did most of us lend our support in any way? Or, as I suspect, did they become aware of the vote only when the mainstream media reported that it was approaching? If you didn't fight for it, then how can you possibly claim this as YOUR victory?

I don't want to make light of the valiant efforts of those who did work long and hard for marriage equality in my state, but most of us barely lifted a finger to aid this process. Some may have attended a benefit or forwarded a petition. But if this victory is so sweet, why weren't we more involved in passing this? Don't we care about our rights? The average gay I know is more familiar with the ins and outs of a Drag Race challenge than their own equality, and frankly, it's pitiful. Do we expect straights to fight for us while we're on a dance floor imagining that we're Britney Spears? Dream on! We get together at gay pride events all over the world one Sunday per year and make no demands other than plenty of booze and cruising. Our enemies in the Church convene every single Sunday. So which group will win? Seems like 52-1 in their favor to me.

Despite the zillion new methods of communicating, there's a huge disconnect afoot. Democracy, a government for the people by the people, can't conceivably work if the government never hears from the people except for during elections. Civics are no longer taught in schools so we often don't even know who governs us, much less how to contact them, how a Senate vote works, or the ins and outs of a legislative win like the one in New York versus a judicial ruling, which has brought gay marriage to some states. Not just the gays, the American people as a whole have lost their voices. By remaining in long, unsuccessful wars and considering cuts to the wildly popular Medicare program, our government is ignoring majority opinions because the vast majority of us aren't speaking up. Few would disagree that our country is in a mess. But is our patriotism confined to mindlessly waving a flag on July 4th? Shouldn't we all need to pitch in and save what we're supposed to cherish so dearly? For many of us, the American way of life isn't so grand at the moment. That should prompt deeper involvement than ever if we're to get back on track -- not a collective shrug of helplessness or 'I hate government' sentiment. Can you (GASP!) imagine actually watching C-Span coverage of legislation that affects you instead of Real Housewives? Maybe if we got the cast of Drag Race to bitchily re-enact the votes!

I recently saw a young gay's response to a political Facebook post that read 'I hate politics!' Trust me, I was this person in my youth. But now that I'm older and a little more aware, I want to ask that person, 'Do you like paying higher gas prices?;' 'Do you want reasonably priced health care and medicine?;' and 'Would you enjoy being denied a lease because of your sexual preferences?' All of these are directly related to decisions politicians make for us -- politicians who we can hire and fire. And we'll never win at a game we aren't even playing.

With "don't ask, don't tell" repealed, marriage starting to swing our way, and gays all over TV, is there a perception that there's not much left to fight for? While there have been hard-won gains to be thankful for, an upswing in hate crimes often follows each one. Tennessee just approved a law which makes it illegal for cities to pass laws to protect government workers from discrimination, but at least they can hire them -- Virginia's governor has banned gay employees altogether! Are gays in these states country bumpkins whom we don't need to fool with, or are they our sisters and brothers? To me, one of the most alarming signs of mainstream hatred of gays came from The Family, the right-wing think tank, which helped craft Uganda's notorious "Kill the Gays" legislation. If you think Obama was a skunk for booking fundamentalist antigay Pastor Rick Warren to speak at his inaugural, he also dignified the "religious" monsters of The Family by speaking at their annual prayer breakfast. It's very alarming to see our president breaking bread with a wealthy hate group.

Our much-vaunted democracy cannot work without a knowledgeable, engaged electorate. If we aren't even involved in our own quest for equality, how can we consider ourselves to be responsible members of the community at large? And aren't we simply selfish if we focus solely on issues that affect us personally? It only stands to reason that we should appraise those in the straight world who had our backs on marriage equality. It's Democrats who, in New York, managed to sway a few Republicans over to our side. Yet in the last mid-term elections, many disgruntled gays trended Republican, a party that never supports gay rights or anything else progressive. We need to join progressives, not dump them because we're impatient! Our positions need to make sense if we're going to achieve anything. Or would that mean that we'd actually need an active gay movement? Thankfully, DVR now allows most of us to participate without missing episodes of Project Runway. Our rights should come first, and something's very wrong if they don't.

We recently celebrated (or not) the 42nd anniversary of Stonewall, a raucous rebellion against the establishment that gave birth to the gay rights movement. The participants viciously attacked the police, threw things, and were carted off to jail in a passionate display that screamed, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" We're not even mad anymore so most of us gladly take it. (Insert bottom joke here.) Nowadays, the closest most come to protest is changing our middle names to "Equality" on Facebook. I'm sure that our political and religious enemies with their vast corporate backings are just shaking in their shoes at our ferociousness. Let's just hope that the gays in the military have more fight than the rest of us, or we are truly sunk.

For more from Lady Bunny -- actress, deejay, singer/songwriter, comedienne, ho, and star of Drag U -- visit her official MySpace page.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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