Further thoughts on whether one must be radical to be gay

John wrote the other day about an article by Julie Bindel, expressing concern that the modern gay rights movement, with marriage equality at the forefront, has grown too conservative, and thus strayed from gay liberation’s historical radical roots.

I think Ms. Bindel is romanticizing LGBT activism and history. Exactly as our friend The_Fixer notes below, it used to be unimaginably radical simply to ask for acceptance.

Not that many years ago, the announcement, “I’m gay” — or more accurately, the involuntary discovery of such by someone else — usually meant your life as you knew it was over. Your job, your home, your family — gone. If you had kids, they were taken from you.

There was nothing left but to decide whether to slink away, hide and disappear (Mad Men fans might remember what happened to the gay character, Salvatore Romano). Or to turn radical.

Or to use another example: In 1957, the entertainer Liberace brought a libel suit against the Daily Mirror for publishing a story that merely suggested he was gay. Think about that: A libel suit. Meaning this flouncing guy who dressed in sequins and capes, and who never had a female liaison or partner that anybody knew about, believed credibly it would ruin his career if anybody actually knew he was gay. And he won settlements.

Protesters outside the Supreme Court, and across from the US Congress, for the oral arguments on the gay rights cases involving DOMA and Proposition 8 in March, 2013. © John Aravosis 2013

Protesters outside the Supreme Court, and across from the US Congress, for the oral arguments on the gay rights cases involving DOMA and Proposition 8 in March, 2013. © John Aravosis

Some more examples: Being gay used to be automatic disqualification for a U.S. security clearance, as well as dishonorable discharge from the armed forces under Section 8 — a mental illness designation. (Aside: By the way, those who remember MASH and the crossdressing antics of Cpl Klinger and his quixotic pursuit of a Section 8 discharge might also recall the episode when visiting psychiatrist Milton Friedman finally offered to give it to him — if Klinger would sign a form attesting to being gay. When the life-long consequences of that notation on his permanent record were explained to him, Klinger relented and didn’t sign.)

As some of our commenters can attest, LGBTs used to be routinely thrown into mental hospitals and subjected to the most horrific of treatments, including ECT and insulin shock. Arrested by the cops ‘in flagrante delecto‘ by the cops with someone of one’s own gender? If it hit the papers or became general knowledge, being fired and evicted immediately were all but expected. Unless you really were a member of the counterculture, moving to another city and trying to start all over again, anonymously, was the only option.

I guess that’s what I’m saying: To be out and gay, being ‘radical’ was the ONLY resulting option available. Which meant there was a whole list of ‘ordinary’ things you were forever excluded from participating in. Including an ordinary career, an ordinary family life, and an ordinary social life.

Again, just wanting not to be oppressed to that degree was radical in and of itself. But the thing is, at the core, most of us never wanted to be radicals. We just wanted ordinary lives — someone to love and settle down with. For some of us, the freedom to raise our own biological or adopted kids. The right not to be fired from our jobs. And not to have to lie to everyone about this person we’re seen with. No more, “This is my housemate” or “My long-time friend.” (In India, where being gay remains illegal, my wife and I usually passed ourselves off as mother and daughter. I never liked it, but the lie was necessary.)

We didn’t want jobs as protesters — which doesn’t pay the rent or mortgage in any case. Way back, gays and lesbians laughed at institutions like marriage because most of us never would have dreamed we could have access to it. Now, increasingly, we have the ultimate freedom: To marry OR NOT, as we choose. It’s the same deal with jobs (although we still need ENDA) — increasingly (although sadly not entirely yet) we don’t have to fear the revelation of sexual orientation as resulting in automatic termination. (Consider that town in South Carolina where the homophobic mayor was overruled by his town’s counsel and the lesbian police chief rehired over his objections. We’re talking a tiny rural SC town — and they picked her over him.)

The Lovings, of Loving v. Virginia.

The Lovings, of Loving v. Virginia.

So despite the bigots’ yowling objections and slanderous lies about LGBTs, we’re nevertheless passing out of the “ordinary is radical” phase. It used to be radical for two men or two women to be “married” (irony quotes intentional) and *gasp* raising a child or two. Now it’s ordinary; slightly unusual, but still ordinary. People don’t refer to someone they know as “my GAY friend” anymore; now it’s just “my friend…oh, and he’s bringing his boyfriend to the dinner party, you’ll love him.”

Ordinary is becoming…ordinary, once more.

To romanticize radicalism is a nostalgia we can’t really afford, and it’s actually inimical to the goals of equality, tolerance, and full acceptance. It’s like being in a war and saying, “I really miss the bomb-dropping part — that was exciting. I know we won and all, but I wish it hadn’t ended. This peaceful rebuilding part is boring.”

Increasingly, we’re free simply to be ourselves…and the vast majority of us are rather boring, ordinary people, with just one or two differences over the rest of the huddled masses.

Published professional writer and poet, Becca had a three decade career in technical writing and consulting before selling off most of her possessions in 2006 to go live at an ashram in India for 3 years. She loves literature (especially science fiction), technology and science, progressive politics, cool electronic gadgets, and perfecting Hatch green chile recipes. Fortunately for this last, Becca and her wife currently live in New Mexico. @BeccaMorn

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71 Responses to “Further thoughts on whether one must be radical to be gay”

  1. caphillprof says:

    Reality is not a gated community, intellectual or otherwise. You are standing in water to your ankles.

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  3. 2karmanot says:

    When the AIDS plague started affecting broad swaths of conventional society by association with loved ones, considerable change began to happen.

  4. 2karmanot says:

    “when normal people acknowledge that they are gay”Normal? I bet you don’t even understand the irony of your phrase.

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  6. rmthunter says:

    It’s quite obvious from this that you have no idea what kind of person I am — as if comments about strategies and priorities on a blog are any indication of a whole person.

    And I probably will have a good day, quite possibly including stopping to chat with the homeless woman who sells “Streetwise” outside the grocery story if she’s there and buying a copy of the magazine, since it will help insure she has a place to sleep tonight and it helps boost her self-respect because she is earning her way — and she enjoys the company.

  7. GarySFBCN says:

    As I was chastised above, most of us can walk and chew gum.

    I would hate for you to be “sidetracked” by the suffering of others.

    You’ve made quite clear the type of person that you are, so there is no point in furthering this discussion.

    Have a good day.

  8. rmthunter says:

    “As with poverty and racism, civil rights and social justice are at the core of all LGBT issues.”

    First off, poverty and racism are not specifically LGBT issues — they’re much broader than that. To imply, as you did later in that comment, that focusing on our priorities is turning our backs on those broader issues is specious, at best. And to divert our energies toward the admittedly hopeless task of ending poverty and racism is to undercut our efforts toward achieving our own goals. Lumping them together with our own efforts for equal rights for our community is maybe nice in theory, but in terms of actually achieving something, it’s counter-productive.

    And your use of the Martin Luther King quote just underscores my point: sure, it’s true in theory, but we’re not doing theory — we’re working toward concrete, specific goals for the benefit of our community, and I can’t think of any reason why we should allow ourselves to be sidetracked toward issues that are already getting a lot of attention from advocacy groups and governments.

  9. rmthunter says:

    Please do explain how “racist gays” equates to Black pastors working to deny rights to other minorities.

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  11. Colin says:

    Thanks for your comment. I probably have very little not in common with Becca’s opinions on anything. Including Scotch.

    The point I was attempting to make is that the term ‘radical’ when applied to people yearning for their freedom is for me anyway not appropriate. As you have stated ,”demanding equal rights was “radical” to society as a whole.” In my point of view society as a whole are the ones who were radical. I have been called just about everything including radical. For years and years I longed only for this; to be able to love my husband ,do my work , be proud of my service to my country, worship my Goddess and be at peace with the world. This I was seldom allowed to do. Why? Because it was labeled ,stamped and packaged as ‘radical’ by people in a society who enjoyed greatly the idea of me getting shot to pieces to protect THEIR freedom but when it came to mine they were to put it mildly somewhat less than enthusiastic. In this context and definitely in this cause we are not the ones who are radical at all. At times frightened? Yes with good reason. Stubborn ? Angry ? Yes and yes. Our fight to be whole in who we are, radical? Not at all. Thanks again for your comment, I hope this helps explain my point of view.

  12. taikan says:

    There may be a time for everything, but not everything is right for a particular time.

    The Black Panthers played a valuable role in the 60s in the ongoing fight for racial equality. However, even though a lot more needs to be done if racial equality ever is to be achieved, a revival of the Black Panthers now would be counterproductive.

    It may not seem radical, but when normal people acknowledge that they are gay and that enables all those around them to see and recognize that being gay isn’t the equivalent of being “abnormal,” that also advances the cause of equality.

  13. future_man says:

    Thanks for your reply Becca…..A rephrase might be like this—A liberated person….isn’t that radical?

    Liberated as in free at the core….centered, calm, free, at peace in the body and in the world….radical as in at the root of what it is to be human?

    Tho seems to me many people have their own definitions.

    For example in the ’70s liberation was very much tied to economic liberation of oppressed peoples…so that’s a left leaning LGBT culture.

    Now it’s different, those values have been delinked and we are more mainstream. Since that language has disappeared by and large, being married now in LGBT culture carries little social pressure to support any particular concept of leftist economic liberation.

    So what liberation means now in LGBT culture? Who knows? It’s and old word. Seems to me what we have is about Pride, and Equality….and Freedom to do marriage….that’s how I read it. In the old school it was Freedom “from” various sorts of oppression….homophobia, closets, that sort of stuff. There’s a big difference there.

    These days many gay men would be happy just to be free of disease….Health is great….and that would be a great liberation….yet, anyone would have to wonder if health is liberation?….seems there’s more to it than that.

  14. BeccaM says:

    Thanks — you got the point I was trying to make exactly right.

  15. BeccaM says:

    I really don’t know what you’re asking. Can you rephrase?

  16. future_man says:

    @BeccaM—You spent some years in an ashram. So Q: Isn’t it radical as a human being to be liberated?

    And I ask that question with the following in mind….it seems to at the heart of these issues, is the question of how one person’s liberation can be at odds with how liberation is perceived in mainstream or what is developing as ordinary LGBT culture.

  17. Houndentenor says:

    It would help if they stopped allowing companies to ask for date of birth or date of HS/college graduation in the first couple of pages of the online application. It’s the simplest of math problems to deduce the age of the applicant from that. Of course it’s impossible to prove why someone did something without some smoking gun (internal email or some such) but everyone knows it’s happening and the application process rather obviously demands the information that is only needed for such discrimination.

  18. FLL says:

    That’s why I disagree with Julie Bindel’s analysis. Bindel is inclined to give credit to only the smaller number of radicals from the twentieth century. I think that the larger wave of people who do not see themselves as radicals validates the work of the earlier group of radicals and incorporate those efforts into a changed mainstream society. That’s what really demonstrates the success of the radicals’ early efforts.

  19. JohninAwe says:

    bbock wrote, “Some day people will look at sex marriage that way. They’ll wonder ‘What’s the big deal?'” Indeed they will, and I am praying for the day to come quickly. I even see this happening in the foreseeable future within the churches. While liberal Christians have already given their “God Bless”, conservatives usually begin their fight against progress clawing, gauging, kicking and screaming, only later to become tired of throwing air punches after everyone else has passed them by. That is when most of them start protesting, “Me? No I never was against it”.

    Besides, and this is not to make light of the situation at all, when Gay individuals and couples who happen to be professionals and conservative business people start dropping large checks into the collection plate, minds and hearts will change very quickly. I still believe strongly there is a place for the church, as well as the congregations and gatherings of other religions; but the reality is they are still societal beasts that need to be fed, and not many turn up their noses at a big plate of green.

  20. Ryan says:

    While the radicals were important for laying the foundation, the less radical were necessary for our recent advances. If being openly gay required moving to a big city and finding some Bohemian space, our friends and family would forget about us. It was the push outward from these safe places into the full spectrum of society that has forced people to confront their bigotry.

  21. mgiltz says:

    Hi Colin, not quite sure what you’re objecting to here. Obviously Becca and others firmly believe and understand that queers should be treated like decent human beings. She’s just pointing out that in the context of the times — when being queer could get you thrown into jail or a mental asylum — that simply being open about sexual orientation and demanding equal rights was “radical” to society as a whole. As recently as the 1970s and 1980s, queers interviewed on TV would ask to have their identities masked. it’s not an acceptance of discrimination to note that asking such discrimination to end was a radical, bold move that most queers were understandably too afraid to make.

  22. mgiltz says:

    Actually, that’s not how “Maurice,” the novel by E.M. Forster ends. It’s quite the romanticized fairy tale. Maurice offers to give up everything including social status and friends to be with the groundskeeper Alec. But Alec won’t let him give all that up and nobly determines to head off to Argentina. But both yearn to be together and both head to the boathouse where they’ve met before unaware the other will be there. They reunite and vow to stay together forever. Cue happy ending. The film is quite faithful to the book. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_(novel)

  23. Wilberforce says:

    It may not help much now, but we’re only at the beginning of the process. Black folk have had protection for years, and it works for them, at least to some degree.
    The way it works is by threat. Companies don’t want to face lawsuits because they hurt the brand. So they might settle instead.

  24. GarySFBCN says:

    Mouse clicks didn’t influence SCOTUS.

  25. GarySFBCN says:

    Ah, the ‘age card.’ Let me guess: You proudly stand on the shoulders of others who fought hard for your rights, all the while you disparage them and are embarrassed by them for not being like you.

    Enjoy life in your intellectually-gated community.

  26. GarySFBCN says:

    I never said to “work on everyone else’s problems first.”

    I don’t have any illusion that we will “end” racism, poverty or homophobia.

    Martin Luther King Jr. said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere.”

  27. GarySFBCN says:

    Oh stop. If you want to use the extreme examples to justify whatever, there are plenty of racist gays too.

  28. heimaey says:

    That’s my boy Japhy. https://www.facebook.com/JaphyDog

  29. rmthunter says:


    And as a footnote: 60 is the new 40.

  30. caphillprof says:

    Thank you

  31. caphillprof says:

    I proved your error and your overreach.

    Your acting out is not activism and it gets sadder as you get older.

  32. rmthunter says:

    You mean, like NOM’s cadre of African American pastors?

  33. rmthunter says:

    I smell some old New Left politics: What you seem to be saying is work on everyone else’s problems first, then eventually they may or may not get around to helping us — and quite frankly, I’ve had enough of the “I’ve got mine, screw you” attitude from our opponents in the Black community. And the problem is at least in part that the goals are largely undefined: end poverty? End racism? How, exactly? The reality is that political/social movements only work when they have focused tactics and specific objectives — such as suing for equal marriage.

    And frankly, the idea that by giving priority to our own agenda we’re “turning our backs” on everyone else is ridiculous. Unlike the teabaggers, we can walk and chew gum at the same time.

  34. Indigo says:

    The archives of the Advocate (back when it was gay gay gay) and other community publications can be mined to find this conversation about the nature and proper role of ‘gay’ surfaces every decade or so, as a fresh round of young’uns take to the dance floor and a generation of seasoned elders take to the rocking chairs. So to speak.

    t’s tough to make generalizations about a community that draws from every layer of the social structure. In E. M. Forster’s ‘Maurice’ (1971), for example, the under-groundskeeper Alex and Maurice have a tumultuous affair that ends with Alex trying to explain to dense Maurice that it will never work out between them because of class differences and so off to Argentina he migrates. Certainly that’s an extreme scenario but it illustrates an important point, that the gay and lesbian communities draw from all levels of society, go through regular seasons of re-defining the context, relationship potential, and the rest of the human dynamic.

    With visible progress in demanding our equal human rights, we’ve reached another one of the re-defining points that characterize the gay experience. The fact that we have a wealth of relationships and experiences and social progression on our plate today is a wonderful thing but . . . . ah . . . there’s that word . . . it’s very important now not to fragment into the social model that rules today’s GOP: I’ve got mine, you don’t.

  35. Indigo says:

    Remember the teenagers in ‘Twin Peaks’? Every one of them looked to be in their mid-30s. Somehow, that casting decision deepened the creepy factor of the entire show.

  36. bpollen says:

    When you are shooting for a profound change in the status quo, radicalism has it’s place. But there comes a point when the radicalism starts having diminishing returns. Somewhat analogous to a war, in that there is a time for battle, but then comes a time where the diplomats take over.

  37. Moderator3 says:

    Please just flag the comment in question.

  38. Thom Allen says:

    “Mouse clicks didn’t help at all . . . .” No, you’re making a broad generalization that you can’t defend. Millions signed petitions to their Congresspeople, called their offices, emailed them, commented on their Facebook and Twitter pages, emailed their friends, posted on their political websites. And you say that none of that made a difference? What about the sites that solicited these people for money to fight against DADT and the other anti-LGBT issues, like the ACLU, HRC, Marriage Equality and the others? Those groups raised a lot of money from those “clickers” that allowed those organizations to but boots on the street for demonstrations, petition signings, trips to DC to meet Congresspeople, man phone banks, etc. Those clickers generated a lot of favorable publicity for those causes. And they enlisted straight family members and friends, colleagues and acquaintances who, might otherwise have had no idea about these issues. Without those clickers, DADT might not have gotten repealed. Marriage equality might be moving at a snail’s pace, not bounding along like a greyhound.

    I agree with your second paragraph. Sometimes we’re not willing to embrace ourselves. But that holds true for all groups. The entire Latino community isn’t always in harmony. Some Asian groups aren’t friendly with each other. That’s part of human nature, I’m afraid. Something that we can work on changing, but none of us is there yet.

  39. Thom Allen says:


    Laura, you need to take that check, roll it into a tube and stuff it where the sun don’t shine, then get in that fantasy Ford that you’re talking and ride off into the sunset.

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  41. Colin says:

    I have never considered the notion of being treated like a decent human being as being a radical concept. That is , something that deviates from normal. I have never allowed people who hate or lack understanding to be the ones to set the standard of my normalcy.
    Is it ‘normal’ to beat and tie a lad to a wooden fence and leave him there to die? Is it normal to carry a sign that says ‘god hates fags.’ and torment family at a veteran’s funeral? How about allowing the controllers of a company to continually chip away at the rights of Americans. From a good days wage for a good days work to a woman’s right to her own privacy and body. Is that ‘normal?’ When one day the tap water coming out of your faucet can be set on fire and your outrage is threatened with massive action from companies who have a ‘legal’ baseball bat to use against you granted to them by your government , is that normal? I think in we must more carefully decide the use of terms such as these. The inmates in a lot of ways are running the Asylum and wanting to take the keys back is in no way radical.

  42. bbock says:

    The goal in all of this is to change hearts and minds. Coming out, living out, claiming your rights, asking people to call your husband a “husband” and not “buddy” or “friend” is everyday activism. Anything that gets others to see us as people is helpful. It’s hard to be against gays getting married or living in peace when your friend, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, neighbor, niece, cousin, mother or father are gay. It’s easy to hate someone you don’t know. We don’t all need to be Harry Hay to make the world a better place. His efforts (and the efforts of all the men and women before us) allowed us to be. I think “activism” has changed. It’s not over. Just look at the things happening to women’s rights and the rights of African Americans. But women’s activists and African American activists are not the same as they were because the culture has changed and activism and what will work will also change.

  43. FLL says:

    In the darkest pre-Stonewall days, the drag queens and bull dykes were activists because they were born to activism. After Stonewall, there were others who could have successfully hidden themselves from the society around them, but instead chose to incrementally reveal ever more about themselves to their friends, families and coworkers—a sort of activism through everyday achievement. And in the 1980s, many others had activism thrust upon them by the AIDS epidemic, which touched those of every race, those of every political persuasion and those of every religious affiliation (or lack thereof). Finally, in our own century, we are witnessing a veritable tsunami of those who, while not activist at all, simply want to work and pay their bills while living with or dating a partner of the same sex. That last category was part of the social norm during the civilizations of antiquity (Greco-Roman, Native American, Chinese, East Indian, etc). Nothing wrong with that, in my opinion. I agree, Becca, that Julie Bindel is taking too narrow of an approach.

    So let me try to reword George Bernard Shaw’s quotation:

    Some look at things that are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

    How about this?

    Some look at things that are, and ask why. I remember the civilizations of antiquity that didn’t persecute people because of who they went to bed with and ask “How could you have let a bunch of religious nutjobs make such a mess of things?”

  44. GarySFBCN says:

    I do agree that spreading the word is critical. But prop 8, DOMA, DADT were all overturned because of ‘active’ activism. Mouse clicks didn’t help at all, with the possible exception of DADT.

    However the denigration usually comes from the disgust that ‘normal’ gays have with anything that isn’t like them. Even those who are close to being normal can cause problems for the ‘normal’ gays: I remember very clearly how Tom Ammiano, who was a San Francisco School Board member, San Francisco Board of Supervisors member and California State Assembly Representative, made many ‘normal’ gays run in terror because he doesn’t have a very masculine voice. It was pathetic.

  45. bbock says:

    I love the picture of the Lovings. Now there were two Radicals. :-P Amazing that anyone really cared about that. Some day people will look at same sex marriage that way. They’ll wonder “What’s the big deal?”

  46. Thom Allen says:

    I went to your website to see if there were more dog pics. Bit the site never loaded. Is it down?

  47. PeteWa says:


  48. PeteWa says:

    I agree with you completely – it’s maddening that some people can’t understand that civil rights = civil rights = civil rights.

  49. Omg that dog pic is adorable.

  50. PeteWa says:

    as long as I can remember there were always those types, the ones who didn’t give a shit about others. hell, I remember any number of horrifyingly racist gays when I first came out, it’s lessened now, but not completely gone.

  51. Thom Allen says:

    I disagree. I think that whether getting married or suing for equality can be considered “activism” depends on several factors. One of those is where the couple lives. Coming out and filing suit for the “right” to get married, when you’re from a small town in a rural areal, where Christianity predominates in a red state is very much being an activist. Those couples may have to face a lot of hate in their day-to-day lives just by coming out, much less for getting married or being part of a suit that may allow for SSM.

    Similarly, religious people who belong to sects that oppose SSM, publicly coming out, filing suits, getting married, face the same hate from their coreligionists. What they do is activism.

    Couples fighting to be able to adopt are also activists.

    Part of activism is getting the word out about a common goal, enlisting others, generating ideas to help solve problems and move things along, making contacts to raise funds. That’s where social media can play a large role. The internet can be a great tool to help accomplish those things even when the mainstream media doesn’t provide coverage or when it provides biased coverage. So before you decide to denigrate those who may only use the power of the internet to help spread the word, think about how many of those clicks have disseminated information and raised money. Those people may not be as visible as those who are marching in the streets but they may be doing a much more effective job.

  52. bkmn says:

    I like the concept of diversity. Being gay does not have the stigma that used to be attached to it. At the same time I appreciate Lea DeLaria’s plea not to forget the bull dykes and queens that helped pave the way for our fight for our rights.

    The gay community is not a monoculture. If we aren’t self-aware enough to know that we need to wake up. Just because there is an increased level of acceptance does not mean we don’t need to be vigilant going forward.

  53. trinu says:

    ENDA at least allows you to try to demonstrate discrimination. Without it, you can be fired (in states without protections) and you’ll lose even if you can prove homophobia.

  54. trinu says:

    Caphillprof never said queer people should ignore racism or poverty, just that they’re different issues than queer equality.

  55. emjayay says:

    Not a lawyer or any kind of expert, but probably you need some big provable pattern of discrimination, which would take some kind of class action suit by some advocacy group, or proof of a consistently hostile workplace and again going to court, or something like that. I am well over 40 and I have not gotten one job after another for completely mysterious reasons except for one I can think of, for example. Not possible to prove anything.

  56. GarySFBCN says:

    In justifying LGBT indifference to the issues of poverty and/or racism, caphilprof wrote: “Moreover, the poor do not always support gay equality and racial minorities do not always support gay equality.”

    Please let me know if I misinterpreted what that means.

  57. emjayay says:

    “Some poor people and some people of color don’t support us so we should turn our backs on poverty and racism?”

    I don’t think anyone ever said that.

  58. Denver Catboy says:

    Ideally? We’ll reach a point where gay people will simply live as people, doing what they want, with as much or as little attention as they desire, as much or as little activism as they want, reaping the rewards of all of those bold enough to step up to the plate ahead of them.

    Having gone around the world with two of the locals on this, I hope they both get what this article is trying to say. The dedicated warriors of equality should allow those who came after to reap the benefits of that victory, living normal lives in a society that sees two guys or two girls holding hands as they go down the street on their way to the next adventure in their lives as ordinary. Isn’t that what we ALL want?

  59. GarySFBCN says:

    “And, being a legally married same sex couple in this day and age is very much activism.”

    What utter nonsense, as is most of your post. What a sad commentary on what is seen as LGBT ‘activism’ in 2014.

    Civil rights and social justice are at the core of all LGBT issues, as with poverty and racism. Some poor people and some people of color don’t support us so we should turn our backs on poverty and racism? That is pathetic and appalling.

    But thanks for proving my point.

  60. caphillprof says:

    Here’s the deal, gay equality is one thing–we’re closer every day but the end is far, far away; the poor is another issue, not the same as gay equality; racial discrimination is also another issue, not the same as gay equality. Some people are in lock step on a whole lot of issues, but many are not. Moreover, the poor do not always support gay equality and racial minorities do not always support gay equality.

    And, being a legally married same sex couple in this day and age is very much activism. It’s putting the equal in equality.

  61. Drew2u says:

    Damn, man. One of my best friends was fired for being gay a number of years ago either in Ann Arbor or South Haven, I don’t remember where. I live in a state with employee protections but my boyfriend does not; it really sucks feeling like he has to skulk around to protect his job… :(

  62. GarySFBCN says:

    Sorry, being a couple is not activism. It may have been somewhat risky for some to cohabitate, but Christ on a tortilla, it pales to the brave souls who were out, proud, outrageous and fighting for the rights of everyone. It is the equivalent of saying that clicking ‘like’ on something posted on Facebook is activism.

    And what has happened now is many of those comfortable couples who didn’t do shit and who now have their rights (thanks to people who they probably despised) don’t give a shit about the rights of others. I’ve been dismayed at the number of libertarians within the LGBT community who seem to think that poor people are to ‘blame’ for their position in life and that people of color have the same opportunities as everyone else at birth.

  63. heimaey says:

    Oh I miss MST3K and I hear it’s coming back. I look at pictures of my grandma and she looks about mid-60s when I was born (she was in her late 40s). To be fair though, she looked pretty good for 95 when she died. Probably looked 80.

  64. Elijah Shalis says:

    No it does not help. Did you read my comments. You have to prove that is the reason they did that and it is your word against theirs unless you have a witness. I was able to prove a pattern of firing gay workers but it didn’t matter. I would prefer if we had a secret organization that took shaming retaliatory action against people like this.

  65. sanfranguns says:

    That doesn’t mean you stop pursing it. If you were fired for some made up reason, wouldn’t you prefer to have a mechanism within the law for addressing it?

  66. BeccaM says:

    Your first paragraph there reminds me of an exchange in MST3K where a bunch of rather old-looking adults were supposed to be college students. Not sure who, whether it was Joel or one of the Bots, but after a remark about how everybody in the film appeared to be 40 or older, the reply was, “Yeah, but everybody was older back then.”

    Lately I’ve been watching old Twilight Zone episodes (got the blu-rays on sale recently) and noticed how often some chharacter is said to be in their 20s or 30s — but every one of ’em looks 10-20 years older than that.

  67. Elijah Shalis says:

    My point is unless they can’t control themselves they will just make up and manufacture another reason.

  68. Houndentenor says:

    Many of us that live in states without nondiscrimination laws or ordinances also have the problem of “at will” employment laws. In many states they don’t have to give you a reason for firing you. That makes the nondiscrimination laws pretty much worthless unless you can prove something in a federal court which is unlikely. Currently such laws are not being enforced. Example: Even though age discrimination is illegal, virtually every job application asks either directly or indirectly for your age. Isn’t that illegal? Yes, it is. Is anyone going to do anything about it? Obviously not.

  69. Houndentenor says:

    Again with the false binaries. Not everything in the world is either/or, black/white. People have varying degrees of activism and that wanes with interest and with the amount of time each person has to devote to such activities. To imply otherwise is hopelessly naive.

  70. Elijah Shalis says:

    ENDA won’t do anything. Both me and my boyfriend have been fired for being gay in Ann Arbor, which has legal protections for gay people. Ultimately unless you have witnesses on tape or something it is your word against your bosses. They just make something else up for firing you instead of citing your sexuality. Other minorities have encountered this problem for decades. The fight is far from over. My finding out my old boss in a Christian conservative and maybe a pastor at U of M and my bf having to deal with his boss from up north in conservative la la land proves that.

  71. heimaey says:

    Two things are going on I think. One is that people are more open to things than they were 50 years ago so the things that made people “square” back in the day have become increasingly foreign for everybody. A 50 year old today looks about 30 years younger than a 50 year old in the 60s and 70s and even 80s. So our concept of age and the idea of an adult has shifted.

    And yes, being gay used to be a statement in itself, but it’s not anymore. Gay people and bohemians were linked together because the gay people that were out were typically eccentric. There were regular old “boring” gay people before but they were either closeted and tortured, or they led very secret and private lives and few people knew. As society became more open and accepting, boring gay people came out of the closet as well.

    We still have eccentrics, bohemians and artists and probably a larger share of gay people are still attracted to that lifestyle for many reasons, but a growing percent are just regular Joes for many reasons – most prominent of which is that they now can be.

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