This morning, before dawn, I began wondering about the Supreme Court DOMA and Prop 8 outcome… as the sun rose over the mountain I considered how important the result seems to so many people.
Marriage Equality. Something I had grown used to ignoring. The idea. The idea of getting married. An alien notion.
Yet, many ordinary American people seem to really care very deeply that people like me can get married.
Gay men tell me, those most affected by DOMA… that they feel like second class citizens. How is that so? Will they feel like first class citizens now? As we acquiesce into existing institutions.
I wondered about the justices. Our elders. Those making sweeping decrees about our lives in this litigious country.
Congress and the Senate hog tied by dogma, unable to make any sort of decision.
They announced on the morning news that DOMA was overturned. Eight white people stood on the steps of the Suprem Court and held their hands up jubilantly… victoriously. Melissa Etheridge said she was proud to be an American. A white man said that this would change the lives of gay people ‘all over the world’. Don Lemons took his camera crew into a gay bar. “If you’ve never been inside a gay bar before, this is what it looks like.” The cameras ambled in. There were a few white lesbians in their mid fifties and a drag queen playing a piano.
I started ranting on Facebook and Twitter.
I said: ‘I’m remembering queer hero Bradley Manning. He will have to get married in jail. The issues of privacy, hegemony and cruelty remain. Monsanto et al can breathe a sigh of relief as this gay issue deflects attention from them. This may be a great day for lgbtq Americans… unless you are black or a woman. Those inequalities still remain.’
I quoted a friend from Arizona: “I’ve felt second class or less than my straight contemporaries every day of my life growing up in the US. Guess you would have to have been born and raised here to understand Duncan”.
There seems to be a great deal riding on this DOMA decision. Self Esteem, A First Class Life, Equality.
He was, however, the first person to confirm what I always feared. That some gay men compare their lives to the lives of straight people and despair… they despair that they are not as valued as straight people. It made me sad.
I knew in my heart that DOMA would be overturned. “You’ve got to give them hope.” Harvey Milk said. This is the hope. After a week of catastrophic decisions for those interested in civil rights: the evisceration of voting rights, work place bullying condoned, Monsanto unchallenged. It has been a catastrophic week in America for whistle blowers… for the truth… for the constitution. In Florida it’s a bad week for young black men gunned down for no good reason.
Today was a great day to be pink washed.
A great day to set aside your disappointments for a moment and celebrate.
So, I decided to listen to Keith Jarrett‘s Koln Concert and wrap up warm… I decided to make hot chocolate.
I was 15 when that album was released.
I sat on the terrace listening to the piano echo through the canyon. I celebrated my single life.
I am not, any time soon, going to get married. I am not, any time soon, going to propose to anyone. I am not, any time soon, going to sweep another man off his feet.
Whilst so many around me are.
After a day of fury yesterday I feel much calmer today.
The great thing about anger management? Legitimate anger. I have good reason to be angry.
Yesterday was a very angry day. The neighbors started building their un-permitted retaining walls at 6am. They are meant to start at 7am. This isn’t the first time I have been woken by them earlier than they are permitted. I stood on the deck and screamed. The white contractor called me an asshole. I said, “This asshole is going to shit in your face.” The Mexicans laughed. The white guy looked horrified. “Where’s your permit? ” I demanded. They downed tools until 8am.
I drove to Venice. I was knocked into by a young woman eager to get to the counter at GTA. She apologized but it wasn’t good enough. I said, “This is what’s wrong with your country, you’ll knock over anyone to get what you want.”
The perfectly revolting British Tara Summers arrived for lunch. Her friend asked me to move my car. I threw the keys at her and told her to move it herself.
My lunch arrived. Pork Belly sandwich. I sat opposite a 30’s something guy in a suit with his 60’s something dad. They were enjoying the day. I prayed that they didn’t speak to me but they wanted to talk about the dogs. I kept my answers short. Then the personal questions came. Where are you from? What do you do? How long have you lived here? So, knowing that I was not in the best mood to have any conversation I asked what he did here in LA. He was a public prosecutor.
I couldn’t believe my luck. There was the father and son, a young black man sitting on his own and me with the dogs in the court-yard eating our lunch.
I couldn’t help myself. I asked if he knew the corrupt and rabid prosecutors I had to deal with. He did not.
I told him that I knew a prosecutor called Todd R (now an entertainment lawyer) who would get blown by hookers at lunch time when he was prosecuting in court. Leaving the courtroom to break the law. Prosecuting others then breaking the law himself.
His father laughed.
I looked directly into the younger man’s eyes. “Have you got morals?” I asked him.
His father said, “I used to spank him.”
“You might have spanked him for not wanting to join the KKK.” I said. They laughed. They thought I was joking.
The lawyer was intrigued. “Why do you ask?’
“Because 80% of the prison population are black.” I said. “I wonder how you live with yourself.”
“How do you live with yourself when you know the jails have become mental hospitals nursed by sadists?”
Then I started a tirade that lasted a good five minutes. I covered as much ground as I could, including work place discrimination and the essential difference between the rights of straight and gay people. I asked him if he had ever considered the differences? I asked him if he had ever considered anyone other than himself and his own needs?
I ended with, “I’ve been radicalized by your country.” He looked taken aback, “Are you a Muslim?” I smiled into his dumb, entitled face. “No. I’m queer. I am a radical queer.”
I met a boy on Grindr. We had coffee.
I can’t remember where I went next but we all ended up (me, Lily and Chuck) in Duke’s eating $3 tacos.
There are so many straight people on our side. There are lots who are not.
Remember gays and lesbians. We would not have won this battle without the help of others. People with no stake in this fight other than your happiness.
Now, go help those not so fortunate as they have helped you.