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Privilege Despite Oppression and Fair-Weather “Activism”

August 5, 2010

As you’ve surely heard by now, Prop 8 was overturned today. While I am indeed happy that the ruling went that way, fauxgressive reactions from both gay and straight cis people have been quite obnoxious, to say the least.

The gay downsides:

  • acting like the battle is won. This isn’t even remotely true in the cisgay community, let alone in the bigger scheme of civil rights. Do NOT believe the myth straight cis people will now be perpetuating that “homophobia is officially over in California.” If you are gay, think of a time you experienced homophobia. Do you believe that the situation in question wouldn’t have happened if gay marriage were legal? Of course not, so don’t for a second buy into the ignorance.
  • assuming the title is what’s important. If you’re going to celebrate, focus on how this will affect gays with the least amount of privilege, instead of the most – being able to get healthcare through a spouse, for example. This will help keep your attention on why it’s so important to keep up the fight for anyone disenfranchised in general, because the true heart of the matter here is eradicating privilege where it counts the most, not just a heart-warming story to tell at a $50,000 wedding.
  • forgetting how often gay rights are earned on the back of trans people. This article explains it far better than I could, and is well worth the read. Do not forget how often cis gay people will throw trans rights to the sharks in an effort to distance themselves and advance their own agendas.

The straight downsides:

  • fair-weather activism. I have seen straight cis person after person tweet or make a Facebook post “celebrating” the overturning of prop 8. I just have one thing to say: where the fuck were you at all of the protests and vigils? Now that you can get some trendy “activist” points from your bullshit fauxgression, you’re ready to smile over it and pat yourself on the back for not being blatantly homophobic? Nice try. Anyone with even the most basic understanding of privilege can see right through you, all the way back in time to when you didn’t even bother making any attempts to get people to vote no on 8 to begin with.
  • fair-weather activism part II. So, you’re for gay marriage. But what the hell have you ever done for any minority group that doesn’t contain white cis people? Cue crickets chirping. You are not a radical just because you voted no on 8. When I hear you bring light to the terrible mistreatment of trans women, maybe I’ll take your “politics” seriously.
  • “congratulating” the gay people you know. Pretty much every single straight person I know contacted me today to express how great it is that prop 8 was overturned. Do not congratulate someone for potentially getting a right that you’ve had the privilege of having for your entire life simply because of your sexual orientation, especially when the right isn’t even federally legal to the people in question! Do not act like gay people should be grateful for any right you already have as a straight person. Also, cis straights: gay people are not your homosexual ambassadors. Do not automatically contact a minority you know and make their minority status represent their identity because something happened in the news or politics that has to do with that minority group. It’s actually quite othering, despite your intentions.

Think before you get too far into celebrating the overturning of prop 8, and think about how you celebrate – this is not a black and white issue or perpetual victory.

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