How wrong can I be?
I'm wondering if Voting Rights, First Nation Rights, and Affirmative Action had all been upheld by the Supreme Court along with the horrific DOMA, would we - lesbians and gays - be out in the streets joyously partying?
I just can't celebrate a court decision which adds to my "privilege" to embrace more of the amerikan nitemare - oh dream - while other court decisions, part and parcel of that nitemare, further oppress my sistahs & brothers. Divide and conquer.
In my coming up days/ze, every womon with her eyes open knew that marriage is the institutional, cultural, individual oppression of womyn. Period.
Husbands had legal, institutional, intentional dominion over wives, sanctioned by religion, social and cultural practices, mores, etc. Husbands could legally rape wives until the late 70's thru the 90's (depending on the state) - today there are still some spousal "exemptions" in the majority of states, as most states categorize spousal rape as separate offense than stranger rape.
So how did womyn get from knowing the institution of marriage is an integral part of misogyny to wanting to be allowed into that institution? Why did some of us fight so hard for a piece of that institutionalized oppression?
I understand the rights that accompany legal marriage but it is only the shortest way to those rights that impelled us to fight to join this institution, not the moral and just way to those rights - which would have meant the dismantling of the institution: even though I think most people in this country would agree, the institution of marriage sucks and needs to be destroyed.
But what I really want to write about here is not the compelling reasons to turn our backs on marriage, but the costs lesbians and gays now have incurred as we step one more giant pace toward assimilation, toward our role as gate keeping, as we now become more 'acceptable' to those in power (as gate keepers, mind you) and as we now have another huge investment in the system.
This investment of ours now entrenches us securely into our LGBT role in "divide and conquer". While some of us believe our right to marry is a victory, I believe it has merely bought more of us off, silenced more of us, provided more reason for us to turn our ladened backs on the cost of privilege in our country.
While we embrace our privilege, many of us in this country will be deprived of basic human, let alone u.s. of a. should be constitutional rights: the right to vote, the right to keep children within our nation/tribe (first legally and institutionally taken away in the mid-1800's), the right to access to education.
There is a part of me that is very happy, that teary-smiles at those in love who want this marriage previously denied, that hopes the horrific pain of being separated from a sick or dying loved one, etc., will never occur again, that mulls over the impact on children who will know it is at least equally legal if not acceptable to marry someone of the same sex (is that what the supreme court decided??? hmmmmm).
I think about my family, my grandfather and one aunt escaping concentration camps, my grandmother and her two daughters escaping Germany - were they able to celebrate their escape while the rest of their family, neighbors, friends were murdered?
Maybe. I only know my grandmother hid her shock at his appearance and wept when she was reunited with her husband, a man who couldn't utter a word for 9 months after arriving on this shore.
Tears of happiness, gratitude, joy mixed with those of intense sorrow, loss, betrayal....
I guess my overwhelming feeling towards the supreme court - besides rage and anguish - is again deep betrayal. For I knew in the 60's when we fought for - and won - voting rights for everyone, in the 70's when we fought against - and won - the war against Viet Nam and the rights for womyn to control our own reproductive health, and on and on - I just knew we won battles and thoughts of having to re-fight again never crossed our consciousnesses.
I thought we made such basic, such righteous change that would so obviously last.
How wrong can I be.
posted by Xan @ 10:46 AM