From Poz Blogs, Peter writes:
At about 3:00 A.M. this morning, New York State Senator Tom Duane kind of snapped. He’d had enough of the backroom politics on a bill he supported that prevents people living with HIV or AIDS and receiving public assistance from having to pay more than 30 percent of their monthly income on rent. Duane, who is openly gay and HIV positive, took to the Senate floor and delivered an impassioned 22 minute speech.
All the pent-up rage from what people with AIDS lived through in the 1980’s and early 90’s, and even some of the shit we all live through today, can be heard in Tom’s voice. I’ve always felt we’ve never processed all the pain we went through back then. And we’re all capable of snapping from it — letting it spill out at any moment. There’s a Tom Duane lurking deep down in all of us, waiting to be heard.
Thank you, Tom.
Oh, and as reported by the NY Daily News, the bill passed by a vote of 52 to 1. You can watch how Tom did it below.
Please watch this video. It’s amazing, and exactly what I want from my elected officials. To hear many people tell it, the AIDS crisis is over, but as Sen. Duane points out, that’s not really true. People still die, people still are discriminated against and underserved, whether it’s in being denied real sex education or being denied proper treatment. In addition to the other reasons it’s required viewing, this video is an excellent illustration of the fact that politeness is not actually always the best way to call people out.
Filed under: HIV/AIDS, I Want to be You When I Grow Up, Politics | Leave a Comment
Everytime I hear people going on about how Islam breeds terrorism (most recently in comments on Michelle Obama watch) I want to remind them of the crusades, the settling of the US by Europeans and the establishment of Australia. Christianity’s record’s not so hot either, folks, and that was actually stuff condoned by mainstream leaders.
Filed under: Politics, Religion, Stupidity | Leave a Comment
I recently got admitted to law school, and today took my second step down the slippery slope of capitalistic value realignment lefty prospective lawyers are warned about. Of course the first step was to take out massive loans. The second step was my partner, Mr. Fatale, and I got a family calling plan and new cell phones. Blackberries, to be specific. I am now posting this from my shiny new distraction, er, communication device. Theoretically this will help me stay in better touch both with my friends and my blog. In reality I may just spend a lot more time at Go Fug Yourself. Only time will tell.
Filed under: Distraction, Law School | 2 Comments
As in, I had one, over on Dear White Feminists.
Because it is my first post and I feel the urge to tell a personal anecdote, and also because I have been stewing about this since it happened two years ago, I want to tell you a story I was reminded of by the inevitable “yes, that sucks, but it’s not right to get angry” comment. I’m sure it’s happened to you: you’re venting to a friend about some shitty thing and they suddenly get all stiff and awkward and give you a little lesson in appropriateness. It’s not appropriate to get angry at individuals/an entire group/me/at all. No, because then your friend, who is privileged in a way you are not, would have to think icky thoughts about how that privilege is unearned, and that causes indigestion. Which is almost as bad as oppression.
The last time I had lunch with the man I’ll call Former Coworker, I’d just found out my friendly acquaintances were getting married. Due to things like size and location of event, as well as length of our acquaintanceship, I had missed out on getting invited. I found myself relieved, because as you might have guessed, I am queer and the chances of my being able to get legally married are about 1 in 50. I was trying to parse my feelings, because while I was glad, on some level, that my friends were all in love and stuff, I mostly felt angry. Angry that my relationships didn’t get that kind of recognition, angry that a religious institution and a legal one are wedded in such an insidious way, and angry that I was getting caught up in a debate whose very prominence currently is all about privilege.
I was expressing my anger, though calmly, and said that I felt bad, but my reaction to their marriage was more one of anger — not at them, but at the institution and the injustice. He went all stiff and awkward, and said that while he understood why it bothered me, he “couldn’t support” my being angry at individuals. Maybe the institution as a whole, but it’s not really anyone’s fault.
I’m fairly sure I turned all sorts of shades of pissed the fuck off at that point. Not anyone’s fault? Excuse me? I informed him, less calmly, that it is in fact the fault of many groups as well as individuals — not only policy makers and issue groups, but every one who’d ever voted for them, given them money, or turned a blind eye. Not only that, but I do not need his “support” or justification for my anger. I don’t recall if he had a response, but I do recall that I did not eat lunch with him for the remaining 6 months I was on that job.
Here was someone I’d talked to about my personal life, and despite his difficulty grasping the minutia of transmasculinity, polyamory, or how to stop being all weird about those things, I liked him and tried to be patient and explain things to him in a way that he might understand. I thought I was getting somewhere, and we had a friendship that extended outside the workplace. We had been guests in each other’s homes, but in that moment it became clear to me that his privilege was more important to him than actually being a friend in the real sense of the word.
And that is just one example of why I don’t trust straight people. And I get shit for saying that from straight people who want the benefit of the doubt because they’ve never done that to me. Or because they’re just trying to learn. Or because if I do that I’m just as bad as the homophobes who oppress me.
When my saying I don’t trust straight people translates to straight people being afraid to hold hands in public, or holding it til they get home because of the hositility they face in public restrooms as heteronormative cisgenedered people of hegemonic gender presentation, then we can talk about my being “just as bad” as them. To the homophobes I’m just some pissed of butch ranting on the internet, and anyone ticked off enough about my anger to scold me for judging them in advance has their head so far up their ass they can see out their bellybutton. I’m not judging you — or I wasn’t. I’m protecting myself from friends and allies who are all about my rights until they’re icky or inconvenient.
As to Seal Press, Amanda Marcotte, and white folks who can’t see racism when it’s wearing a nametag, that’s even worse than my friend who in his defense had probably not gotten enough lectures by angry queers in his formative years and thus was somewhat stunted in that area. You all have so many women of color telling you that you fucked up, how, drawing you a picture and then laying out a map for what you can do to make it better, and there are still people giving the old tired bit about alienating would-be allies.
If righteous anger alienates you, you are not an ally.
Filed under: allies, Feminism, LGBT, whiteness | 6 Comments