I was leaving my parents house in Slidell, Louisiana on my way to work in New Orleans. The electric bill at my new home was finalized for the previous residents, so I stayed at my parents’ the night before for convenience. “The decision came down. Marriage Equality for all Americans!!!!” my boss texted a group of us. Taken aback, it took time to fully understand this happening as I simultaneously started screaming inside my car and pumping up Beyonce on the radio. It took me at least forty minutes to get to work, which then prompted my arrival with me waving my window, rainbow flag and screaming down the hall “WE WON!” I only do this when the Saints win the Superbowl, I graduate, or a great politician wins. Ok, I lied. I do this when I drink a lot at gay parades, too, but if you understand how introverted I am, it means I’m pretty damn happy and excited.
Later on that day, I went to a victory rally for Louisiana in Jackson Square, partied at the oldest gay bar in the nation – Cafe Lafitte’s in Exile, and got glitter bombed at least three times by a life-size flame dame/fairy.
Sometimes I like to take moments to realize how what just happened is too monumental to fathom. Just four years ago when New York became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage, I was sad and worried about the “fate of America.” Now, I am crying and sceaming for joy over the whole nation having marriage equality, and I am very excited about the future of America and its young LGBTQ+ community.
Four years ago, I also thought transgender people were confused, evildoers, LGBTQ+ workplace protections persecuted Christians, same-sex couples only corrupted those they adopted, homeless, LGBTQ+ youth were rebellious, ungrateful kids, the rainbow flag was an “appropriation of the Bible,” but apparently I still loved gays and lesbians. Progress in understanding the oppression of the LGBTQ+ community is growing efficiently, but are our needs being strategized efficiently?
Months ago before the marriage equality, Supreme Court case, the rumor was that bathroom rights for transgender people would become the next target of queer activism. How cool is that. Yet in 29 it is still legal to fire or refuse to hire a gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and in 31 states – transgender people.
My cisgender self really should not speak above approaching such an issue, but if I may suggest, how do we not ignore employment protections? If we are approaching a “more inclusive” issue like employment protections, what about the torture of LGBTQ+ youth that continues across 47 states termed “reparative/conversion therapy?” The perpetual oppression similar to what triggered my suicidal situations and many of my friends. (Though, three states have banned it, yay!)
What if we solve the ends to these means of oppression – LGBTQ+ youth homelessness? Yes, still 40% of homeless youth identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. In America? Solving these 40% in this oligarchy? This insurmountable capitalism? In the midst of the homelessness of minority races, mentally disabled people, physically disabled people, women, young children, and immigrants, all 40% of these youth will be miraculously saved?
I do not mean to sound pessimistic or hopeless. I’m picking your brain to ask you, why are we only focused on one specific target? Sure, we have all these issues, but same-sex marriage was like THE ultimate target of the LGBTQ+ community, while we are lacking so many civil rights still in America? How can we strategize without becoming ignorant of other huge issues? Nothing is small, all are equally important and vital for true LGBTQ+ liberation. We live in a cisheteropatriarchal system that challenges the idea of attacking at the head, the heart, and the lungs, and we end up still only attacking the shoulder.
Let us not forget, we have the “T” community, who feel neglected in the strategies of the community as marriage equality does not serve most of them. There are the LGBTQ+ community of color that should have an equal voice and do experience some of these issues worse than most whites. We also have genderqueer, agender, and other non-binary people, who have specifically different needs to be addressed in contrast to most lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and some transgender people. How do we address these issues without neglecting one group? The rainbow is vibrant and innovative, so should we not collaborate altogether for good, siblings? Should we not all encounter with these large non-profits with what we want not just a few white, gay lobbyists? Should we not all strategize in addressing together not “an ultimate target” but “ultimate targets?”
Ecofeminist philosopher Karen J. Warren states that in understanding an intersection of environmentalism and feminism, “a quillt” with “quilt squares” should be percieved in building an ecofeminist understanding. Should not the LGBTQ+ community take these issues like “quilt squares” to create and percieve an ultimate vision together like a “continously, stitched quilt?”