Wednesday, July 21, 2010


In Vermont Pride Week officially kicked off on Sunday evening. There are all sorts of events going on this week. I'll be joining Integrity/Vermont (and St Paul's Episcopal Cathedral) for a pre-parade breakfast on Saturday and then we'll all head out to march at Noon.

I'm thrilled to see one of our queer activist leaders in Vermont, Lluvia Mulvaney-Stanak (former director of Outright) write in Seven Days, "There's more to our movement than matrimony." It's been a long time coming that the elites of the Vermont LBGTQ community should recognise this. [My emphasis in bold.]
Legalizing same-sex marriage was a long-overdue, critical victory in the fight for gay rights. But I fear that many members of the queer community — the ones with financial, political and social means — see marriage as the end of the fight for a safe, fair and equal Vermont. To them, I would say: You, the adult queer with your chosen family, a job and home, may be better off, but I don’t think we are.

Marriage doesn’t address the unresolved needs of the queer youth, trans people, single queers, gender-variant individuals, alternative family and relationship seekers, perceived-to-be-queer people, queer service members and their families, food, and housing-insecure queers, and many other subsectors of Vermont’s queer community.

For example, the CDC’s 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey reports that queer students are still twice as likely as their heterosexual peers to be bullied in our public schools. A gay Vermonter in the military, if outed, can still be dishonorably discharged, stripped of medical coverage and denied the education he or she deserves through the GI Bill. My male friend who wears a pink bike helmet around Burlington regularly hears screams of “faggot!” from passing cars. [...]

Right now, our history is being commercialized and packaged into a corporate fad. Remember how Gap made it cool to care about people dying of AIDS in Africa? Well, gay marriage looks like the next hip social cause. With celebrities taping their mouths over with “NO H8” in protest of California’s Proposition 8 gay- marriage ban and Pride, go-go boys sporting undies with “legalize gay” across their tight butts, I fear that the marriage movement is quickly becoming a fad. And what happens to fads? Maybe I will write about that on my LiveJournal or, better yet, write a song to post on MySpace.

Marriage alone can’t bring us a vibrant queer community. Think about gay neighborhoods in bigger cities, or smaller destinations such as Provincetown. What is it that makes those places feel welcoming? It isn’t marriage — Massachusetts only just legalized that. It’s visibility. It’s queer people proudly displaying rainbow flags on their businesses and homes. It’s queer people walking hand in hand everywhere (not just down the main drag). It’s queer people gathering at gay bars, events and community centers to see each other and, more importantly, be seen.
Constance McMillen gets a win...

JACKSON, Miss. — A rural school district that canceled its prom rather than allow a lesbian student to attend with her girlfriend has agreed to pay $35,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit the ACLU filed on her behalf.

The district also agreed to follow a nondiscrimination policy as part of the settlement, though it argues that such a policy was already in place.

Constance McMillen, 18, said the victory came at the price of her being shunned in her small hometown of Fulton.

“I knew it was a good cause, but sometimes it really got to me. I knew it would change things for others in the future, and I kept going and I kept pushing,’’ McMillen said yesterday.
But it's a bittersweet victory... From QUEERTY:
Technically, this falls into the "win" column: Constance succeeded in having her school confess its sins and pay her for failing one of its students (though really, it failed all of its students). And while Constance did manage to graduate from another high school a tad more accepting, and did get to dance at a number of proms, and did get to serve as grand marshal in gay pride parades, and did become a beacon of hope for all queer teens, she was also a high school senior victimized by her own school, and that's never something to be happy about.

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