Wednesday, July 11, 2018

For Gays, the Worst Is Yet to Come

To date, the Trump/Pence regime has been nothing but a hostile enemy to LGBT Americans and, when a fifth right wing ideologue is elevated to the U.S. Supreme Court - sadly, it is not a question of if, but only when - many of the hard fought legal gains that have been made for LGBT individuals in America will begin to wither and steadily be reversed. In an allegedly secular nation, we will see the steady advancement of religious based hatred advanced, most likely under the false banner of "religious liberty."  That religious liberty will only be reserved for the few, the Christofascists.  The rights of everyone else will be eroded or eliminated. As this all unfolds, I feel anger - perhaps simmering rage is a better description - at two groups.  First, there are the supposed "friends" who, blinded by their own racism that made Trump/Pence racist siren song attractive to them, were too lazy to educate themselves on who else was on the target list for hatred and a diminution of their rights. The excuse "I didn't know" simply doesn't cut it.  The second group are the LGBT Americans, many of whom have plenty of money and social connections, who never lift a finger to help the cause of LGBT rights. Like wealthy German Jews of the early 1930's, they refuse to see that ultimately they too will be caught up in the wave of hate and government authorized discrimination - or worse. A column by a long time gay rights activist bemoans this latter group.  Bad things happen when good people fail to act.  Here are column excerpts:

I was recently honored for my birthday with an all-star reading of my play “The Destiny of Me.” It was obviously a very emotional experience for me. I’m supposed to be dead by now. Most of the guys who got infected with H.I.V. in the 1980s are long dead.
The play is about a middle-aged man infected with H.I.V. undergoing an experimental treatment at the National Institutes of Health. In his hospital room he finds himself remembering his life since childhood. He realizes his entire life has been one long battle to be accepted as a homosexual: “Every social structure I’m supposed to be a part of — my family, my religion, my straight friends, my university, my city, my state, my country, my government, my newspaper, my TV, my many shrinks … tells me over and over and over that what I feel and see and think and do is sick.”
We’ve come a certain distance from such a blanket suffocation. . . . [with Trump] it continues to be a plague of hate. There is not one cabinet member who has supportive or welcoming words for us. Every week, it seems, Mr. Trump appoints another judge who is on record as hating us. They will serve for many years. A new Supreme Court will further echo this disdain.
I have never been able to answer one question: Why have relatively few of us — out of so many millions — been willing to fight for their lives? I still can’t answer it and I continue to be very sad because of it. And the biggest fight for our lives is ahead of us.
[W]hat little power we do have, lobbying or otherwise, in Washington or anywhere else, is woefully inadequate. Our billionaires are funding concert halls and public parks and retirement homes for primates, but not gay rights. If it weren’t for such stalwart defenders as Lambda Legal Defense and the A.C.L.U., we’d probably be jailed by our enemies.
We will always have enemies. Is that why we’re so invisible as a powerful fighting force? Because too many of us are still afraid to be seen or heard?
Millions of women and straight people are marching on Washington and in other cities and towns and protesting in the offices of elected officials every week of the year. Where are the millions of gay people being angry and vocal and visibly fighting back?
The worst is yet to come. Again. Yes, it makes me very sad. And still imploringly angry.
I for one, will go down fighting, exhausting as it is so often.  I sincerely hope that more will get involved and fight to reverse the coming nightmare.  At PrideFest in Norfolk last month, there were roughly 30,000 people in attendance, yet the rest of the year, most remain invisible and do nothing significant to fight for their own rights. Like the author, I am saddened and angry. 

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