Transmissions - Thank You, Mr. Bush
You might well wonder why someone who often seems a bit farther to the left than what’s comfortable for many people would thank George W. Bush. There are several reasons why we in the LGBT community should be thanking him. If it wasn’t for his not being “compassionate,” not really being too conservative as far as government spending goes, and, by some people’s standards, probably not really Christian, many of us would just sit back and think we’ve made real progress in our struggles for equality.
Bush’s policies have energized many of us to become involved in one or more issues that affect our community. Look at what happened when Missouri or Kansas decided to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. And wow many people have worked on acquiring domestic partnership benefits within the company or community where they work? But how many gave up these struggles after the elections?
Unfortunately, it may seem like we’ve made little progress in our struggles to be treated as equals in a nation that was founded on the principle of equality, even though equality hasn’t always (or even often) been practiced.
And yes, we do have an uphill fight ahead of us. There’s no question of that. And we have to be willing to fight. Not just for some variation of marriage for same-sex couples, or some other single issue either. We need to fight for the fundamental right to be treated as equal members of this society—not matter what the issue is.
One reason the right has had so many political successes is that they aren’t focused on only one issue. Many antiabortion groups (certainly they’re not necessarily pro-life, at least not after the birth of the child) are ready to take on other issues: prayer in schools, wanting the commandment to not worship graven images carved in courthouses with the other nine commandments, etc.
The LGBT community needs to work with progressive organizations beyond our community to insure that everyone is treated fairly in our nation. If you don’t want the government involved in your sex life, work to guarantee that the government is not involved in anyone else’s sex life either. If you feel that the federal government has no business monitoring what you read, who you talk to, what websites you visit, make sure your elected officials know that unfettered domestic spying that seems to be going on in our allegedly free society must be stopped. For all you know, reading this article online might register somewhere in our National Security labyrinth. That kind of fear shouldn’t stop you from reading anything that you want.
We need to get involved, not just as gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and/or transgender people, but as concerned citizens who want to feel they are valued and equal members of a greater community. And we have to recognize that we are part of that greater community – regardless of how we want to segregate ourselves.
Our issues aren’t gay issues or transgender issues. They aren’t white issues or black issues. They aren’t just issues that face men or women. These are human rights issues, because none of us is only A or B. We’re not – no one is.
It’s human nature, of course, to look out for your own best interests. But many of these interests affect a larger population. For example, if Kansas City, Missouri (hint) added gender identity and expression to its Civil Rights Ordinance, this doesn’t only protect transgender people. It would allow anyone to access public accommodations regardless if a person looked and acted “male” or looked and acted “feminine.”An effeminate man, regardless of sexual orientation, would have some protection in housing and the workplace, as would a masculine-appearing woman.
But that’s not the end goal–not by a long shot. I, and everyone else, should have the same access, usage, and protection of the laws as any other citizen of this country. Whether that is marriage rights, the ability to adopt children, access to housing, health care, or anything else–we should all have equal access.
If you won’t accept poor service at a restaurant, most people would say something to a manager, a person in authority, to try to make things better. Unfortunately, we tend to accept poor service from our politicians without saying anything to anyone in authority and possibly making a difference. If we wouldn’t accept being treated poorly in a restaurant, why should we accept it from our government?