Lech “Walesa [once the President of Poland] said in a television interview on Friday that he believed gay people had no right to sit on the front benches in parliament and, if there at all, should sit in the back “or even behind a wall”.
BEHIND A WALL? BEHIND A WALL?
What, like the one in Warsaw ghetto, under Hitler? I’ll show you the Night of the Long fucking Knives,
Isn’t THAT what you’re suggesting? Reminder to self: never impute motives, always assume you only truly know your own, if then. Always treat imputing someone else’s motives as hallucinations you’re creating until or unless its proven.
Because you’re going to be wrong, at least half the time, and you never know which time it is. But it’s pure guesswork, in either case, right or wrong.
But what I do know is what he said and how it offended me. I’m not gay simply because I have had sex with men. I am gay because it is part of my identity, who I have chosen to become; it is as much a political statement as a sexual one. The label ‘gay’ when it isn’t about sex, is about experiencing the thumb of oppression, about being identified with an oppressed group, oppressed simply because they belong to a group the oppressors do not. It is about learning about the world from the minority perspective; white Europeans don’t generally get the chance to learn those lessons, especially the str8 ones.
It’s about acknowledging your experience as part of a minority, not the larger majority of straight white people – and you can’t really say that, anymore, so growing into gay was great practice for not being part of a white “majority”. Fuckin’ deal.
Gay isn’t about sexuality, it’s about identity Gay Pride is the alternative to shame, and I refused, and still refuse to be ashamed of myself over my sexuality. There are too many other good reasons. Thank you and spank you, very much.
The thing is, the oppressors and those not under the thumb of oppression can never truly understand that it means, what it feels like, as from the inside. Because it is insidious. Every time someone says something like this, we must stand up and say, “This is unacceptable. I will not be diminished by your ignorance.”
Because every time we hear it, it chips away at our soul, our spirit in the world is diminished, and in this, the America I was born to, and into, everyone is created equal, and to be categorized as diminished goes against everything I was raised to believe in. And the fact that he’s not even another American is irrelevant, the belief is that all people are created equal, so that includes the polacks, however true they may prove the humor aimed at themselves.
Being gay isn’t about sleeping with people, it’s about understanding your place in the pecking order, and not …
I have two dogs, both female. Don’t ever do that; with a male/female pair, they will settle into a dominant/submissive pattern – and I have learned once a submissive, always a submissive, and that has been my downfall, and my place in the pecking order – but with two females, especially when they’re not sisters, it winds up neither will submit, and instead, argue (and fight) about it. Spontaneously. Now that they’re beyond the age of doing each other any damage, it’s kind of funny, and much more short-lived, but I’ve been hurt separating them.
And being “gay” as opposed to “homosexual” is about refusing to be submissive in the culture. The cabal of cardinals in the Vatican supposedly controlling the Pope, before his abdication, may well be highly-placed homo-queers, queer for homosexual sex, but they can never be “gay”; by agreeing to hide, they are complicit in their own oppression, the exact opposite of Pride.
I was born into the 50s, and grew up amid all the shame engendered by the prejudices. I came of age as the Age of Aquarius birthed the Stonewall riots, but still adamantly refused to come out until late in senior year of college at 22. Ultimately, and finally, I came out in San Francisco 2 years later, so I’ve seen all of it, grown through it, into it and out of it. It was at San Francisco’s Freedom Day parade in 1975 that I made my choice, and I chose the truth, the truth of who I am, along with everything that means. By the end of the parade, I was gay, and proud of it. It wasn’t even about refusing to my victimhood, it was about denying that being a victim was even appropriate. That day, I assumed the mantle of Pride in Self, and never since laid it down.
And THAT is what Lech Walesa’s comments Friday night remind me. In many we are no closer to recognized equality, yet we have come through visibility to normalcy, and actual equality isn’t far down the road, yet at the same time, it’s like the Emerald City – closer and brighter than ever – but always unattainable.
I never had to be, and never was a victim of homophobic oppression, I can no longer be shamed into submission. That makes me a tough case, a hard nut (pardon!) to crack, but it is the core of whatever strength I carry with me through life.
A decade ago, I would never have believed the President of the United States could say anti-gay discrimination goes against the Constitution to which I give my consent, but then again a decade ago, Bush – an acknowledged war criminal – was in the White House, and ever since Reagan I was trained never to expect anything from the White House. Again, I digress …
A decade before that, I could barely imagine the destruction of Western Civilization, the Bill of Rights, and all that anybody hold holy, but there we are. Today, with the Church in shambles; the Bill of Rights gutted and torn, tossed into the streets; and civilization and culture are things we study, yets somehow not experience.
Still and all, here we are. We have achieved much, as Americans as well as gays, as American gays (I am NOT a gay American, being gay takes precedence; I am an American Gay), we live in a much more open environment than 50 years ago. But the struggle is not won. It CAN be won, we can agree to settle this once and for all, or we can refuse and pledge to continue to fight until we destroy the world AND each other.
I have gone on 136% more than expected, and I’m not done yet, but I’m going to let you off the hook and continue later, with the reaction.