Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lift Your Voices In Pride -- And Outrage!

“I think I was just fed up with the image that had been created around me, which I sometimes consciously, most of the time unconsciously cooperated with. It just got too much for me to really stomach and so I put an end to it one glorious evening.” — singer, Jim Morrison

"Scream 'til you feel it!
Scream 'til you believe it!
Scream and when it hurts you,
Scream it out loud." — Scream, Tokio Hotel

"Evil prospers when good men do nothing." — Irish politician, author, philosopher, Edmund Burke

This will be a short post. Actually I shouldn't even be awake, but it's one of those sultry, sticky nights following nine days of temps of 100 or over (save for last Monday's 99). Yes, for those of us without A/C, it's tailor-made for regular irregular sleep patterns.

Beyond the personal, it's Pride week for many of us. As I'm on an 11AM flight to New York (thank God for frequent flyer miles!), I'm looking forward to doing Pride where the movement both galvanized and mobilized the community. Pride in New York falls exactly 40 years and about 11 hours after the beginning of the Stonewall Riots.

Since that time, we've seen massive change – some good, some bad. One thing that strikes me though is that we as a nation have become imminently more docile. You look at the election fraud in Iran and what that's produced in mass demonstration, then compare it to the U.S. where we went through two shady election cycles to begin the millennium: virtually nothing. We just took it.

Similarly there's a strong sense of of many in America falling through the cracks into destitution. Nowhere is this more urgent than in the Trans community and Queer community of color.

So where's the outrage? Even with things moving toward marriage equality in many states, including what may be an imminent passage in New York state, there is no hate crime protection nor virtually any job opportunities (much less equality) for these mentioned segments of our community. Yet even for an event such as raising the visibility of this in Pride this year, we're more content to divide into camps and stay on the sidelines.

Meanwhile, the business opportunists take de facto dominion over our voice and seeming power of attorney of our decision making on how and when and what needs to be addressed. And as a result, we find ourselves jobless, often under attack and without hope ... but in some of these same locales, able to marry!

The time has come. We need to seize our voices back. Yes, this is a celebratory event, but keep in mind we are *marching* in the parade not much different than our LGBT forebearers in a much more active, much more responsible and much less docile time. Forget the commercialism, opulence and flash. Think of what it would've been like back before it became this big party if those early marches after Stonewall never occurred because Sylvia Rivera or Bob Kohler or Marsha P. Johnson or even Randolfe Wicker had decided, "no, I can't be bothered, too much work."

You have a voice. Use it or lose it. If you're outraged, if you feel manipulated, used and thrown away and disgruntled, then express yourself! And if you don't, then someone else will capitalize on your voice and you'll end up, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, we'll get the governance we deserve due to our apathy.

"I know that my children in later years, my transgender community will understand: We have to stand up and speak for ourselves! We have to fight for ourselves! We save their lives. We were the front line of the so-called 1969 rebellion of the Stonewall." — Sylvia Rivera from the documentary: Sylvia Rivera, A Trans Life Story

"Time has come today.
Young hearts can go their way.
Can't put it off another day.
I don't care what others say.
They say we don't listen anyway." — Time Has Come Today, the Chambers Brothers

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