Posts Tagged ‘equality’

Hearing in CA supreme court today about the constitutionality of Proposition 8.

Here’s just a smattering of coverage of the day from the internets:

I’m humbled by everyone taking up this struggle in their own way, from arguing directly, to being in the streets, to blogging the events, to donating money, to sending psychic energy….really, I think it all makes a difference in this here global community. And I don’t think it can hurt that Ken Starr seemed to be, shall we say, not in top form….here’s hoping we don’t have to wait the full 90 days for a decision. And that it’s the right decision.


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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights begins, “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world…”
Just pause for a moment to consider this. The recognition of everyone’s dignity. Everyone has equal rights. And this, just this, is the “foundation of freedom, justice, and peace.” Sounds simple, right?
On paper, these words make sense and I’m sure few would disagree with them. But look around you, and you’ll see that plenty of messages abound that fail to recognize the dignity that we all have within us or that fail to give us full rights. Take, for example, children’s toys. A simple walk into a large toy store tells you that boys have the “right” to play with certain toys and girls with others. And it is NOT “right” if they play with each other’s toys. Even if they want to, someone is bound to tell them it’s wrong, whether it’s a peer making fun of the boy with the doll or a grandparent telling a granddaughter that trains are only for boys. What happens, in these small moments, to the dignity of that boy and girl? Slowly, in a split second, it is diminished. Perhaps only a bit, but it is diminished. And their rights? They too, are narrowed. That boy has his right to play with dolls called into question. Similarly, the girl’s right to play with trains is called into question.
While that may seem minor, it is the underlying message that is troubling. And these are not just messages sent by misguided friends and relatives. These are messages that bombard us and our young ones everyday, from every direction. Messages that don’t just say “you can’t play with dolls,” if you’re a boy, but that say “you are not a nurturer; you are not a caretaker.” Or “you are not an engineer; you cannot create and build.” These bigger messages cut away the core of children’s human rights – the right to have wide-open futures. The right to explore all areas of life, to develop their own passions, regardless of the social pressures placed upon them.
Returning to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: When we deny children these rights of self-expression, exploration, individuality, we deny ourselves and our society freedom, justice, and peace. When you think of it like that, the simple boxing in of our children or denying them certain avenues in their play sounds profound. And it is. And it’s time that more of us pay heed and think twice before we cut away at freedom, justice, and peace.

a boy's place is in the kitchen!

a boy's place is in the kitchen!

**Note: You can find a version of this article posted on the Gender Examiner — another venue where I’ve begun to contribute. Have a look!

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I’ve written before about the relative safety of our lives here. Q rarely gets comments about how he dresses, who he plays with, what he likes to play. We don’t get comments about being a queer family. There are others like us around. All in all, we are extremely lucky to have been able to create this life for ourselves.

So, I’m always particularly intrigued when there are those tiny comments. Mostly in the form of insinuations. The latest type of insinuation is about right and wrong. A few times folks have commented on Q wearing either the “right” clothing or the “wrong” clothing. I think it’s often cloaked. Something like, “skirts aren’t good for running around and sliding,” or something like that. But really it’s a comment about the skirt, because generally girls don’t get those kinds of comments if they are wearing skirts. So, a few of those have crept in recently. They interest me because of the insinuation in the comment, but also because I think that insinuation is actually not always conscious. Sometimes, but not always.

And though I know it’s conscious, the conversation about Proposition 8 is also one full of insinuations. Straight marriage is best for children. Insinuation: gay marriage is bad for children. Another insinuation: marriage creates a certain home environment. Why don’t we just tear off the layers and talk about the homes that are best for children? Unfortunately, that would completely pull the foundation out from under the pro-prop 8 arguments, of course. So the arguments insinuate instead.

The ultimate shame, though, is that these insinuations are insidious. Insinuations about skirts being wrong for boys plants seeds among boys who wear them and boys who don’t about what the “right” thing is for them to wear. This, as opposed to focusing on the core, which is about kids wearing things that make them feel self-expressed.

Insinuations about good marriage only being between a man and a woman plant seeds that there is a “right” kind of marriage and a “wrong” kind of marriage. This, as opposed to focusing on the importance of codifying loving relationships.

I watch for those insinuations around my boy, and I hope that more of us watch for them in the messages that fly around us every day.

Listen carefully

Listen carefully

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That our community may prevail.

That our voices from the weekend, from days prior, years prior, decades past, were heard.

That the world actually WILL continue to be safer for Q and other children.

That the boxes so many folks try to shove our children into, our relationships into, and our world into, may, in fact, be crumbling.



Let's stop that rain on our parade!

Please end the rain on our parade!

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Yesterday my family, our friends, and about 5000 others in Boston braved the drenching rains to stand and speak in protest against the passage of Proposition 8 in California.

As I explained the issue to Q, as well as the rally, he instantly took up the cause. “I insist that they stop that law in 2 weeks!” There was fervor in his declaration, although I can’t speak for the two week timeframe….

We made signs, suited up for rain (Q’s least favorite weather), and made a day of it with dear friends.

Having grown up in the midst of protests, with nary a month going by that I wasn’t riding my father’s shoulders, walking begrudgingly, roller skating, or chanting heartily in a march, I’m glad Q had his first opportunity to rally and take a stand on Saturday. He knew that we were protesting stereotypes. And I know that he felt proud to stand among the many.

Please enjoy a little photo journey of our day:

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Seeing the differences

One of the amazing bonuses to being Q’s mom is how he has helped me to see even more of the engrained, gendered roles out there in the world. Not that I can say I bought into gendered roles at all prior to him coming along, but having him has shone a light on all of those things. Things as simple as messages that insinuate that women are the chefs in families. Or that men are the sports fans. Seemingly benign, but not really, when you dig deep down.

Since the election I can’t stop thinking about the passage of Proposition 8 and how it removes the chance that queer folks had for equality in the domain of marriage. Now gay marriage in CA, MA, and now CT is still far from equal in terms of federal law, but it is/was such a huge step in that direction. The passage of Prop 8, however, is yet another way that we’re sending messages to children and others about differences. If you’re queer you’re not entitled to things that straight folks are. You’re not as good. You’re not deserving. These are messages similar to “women are the chefs,” only magnified about 1000 times.

So please take action. We’ll be protesting on Saturday. Please join us in your own cities and towns. Or spread the word. Or right a letter. Something. This is the time for action. Right now. Not next week or next year. Help to fight the messages that are children are getting about how they can live their lives in the future, how their friends can live their lives, how their parents should live their lives.

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