Note: I’m a terrible judge of my own stuff, but something I wrote on a message board as a reaction to another “Obama has a lot on his plate so just be patient” argument got a pretty good reaction, so I’m bringing to the blog. I’ve modified it for clarity and sourcing, and to clean up some mixed metaphors.
The most frustrating part of the fight for LGBT rights is that many people, both inside and outside the community, view it as a grab bag of issues. It isn’t. It’s One Issue with many moving parts, and it really doesn’t matter to me where we succeed first. The work will continue until the One Issue is completed, because in truth the One Issue is more than the sum of its parts.
There’s a reason LGBT people suffer depression and anxiety so much more often than straight people do. There’s a reason we’re twice as likely to suffer PTSD. There’s a reason our youth are three to seven times (depending on environment) more likely to die by suicide.
It’s no coincidence that our statistical 5-10% of the nation’s youth make up 20-40% of all homeless youth, that LGBT homeless youth are 56% more likely to abuse alcohol than straight homeless youth and 76% more likely to have been sexually assaulted.
Solving the One Issue has the side effect of bringing people back from the edge. That’s the real reason the fight is so important. It’s not about me getting married (I won’t) or joining the Marines (it is to laugh). It isn’t about me not getting a job because I’m a fag or being politely turned down for a loan or being turned away from a restaurant or being told my blood is tainted.
It’s about people knowing that they exist, that their lives are real and important, that their government won’t assault them, and that it actually considers them in the same way it considers their parents and siblings and friends. That One Issue is the keystone to all the others.
The U.S. government is, right now, today, harming us with its codified discrimination because people in the majority approve of it. I want that harm to cease, quite selfishly, because I’m one of those people being harmed and I know a lot of other people who are being harmed. And though it irks me to no end, I suppose I shouldn’t think too poorly of people, even those who think they’re our allies, for not wanting it to change badly enough because of their own selfishness.
That doesn’t mean, however, that I’m going to shut up and bow my head until that far off, imaginary, never-to-come day when people in the majority have everything they want and decide it’s okay to finally make the government stop harming people.