Monday, December 5, 2011

Why the Occupy Movement Deserves the Full Support of the LGBT Community

This past Saturday I went to a LGBT rally and march in West Hollywood where we marched down Santa Monica Blvd. and chanted "We are the 99%!", "What Do We Want?  Equal Rights!  When do we want them?  Now!".

Why should this matter to the LGBT Community?  Because we are just as affected by broader social-economic trends as everyone else.

One of the lies that anti-gay bigots repeatedly say about the LGBT community is that we are spoiled, pampered hedonists with more than enough disposable income to influence politicians with campaign money that "hard working 'Christian' families" cannot afford to give.

The truth is that the LGBT is just as likely to be poor as anyone else.

LGBT youths who have been cut off from their families are less likely to receive financial support to pay for college and get a higher education than their straight counterparts.

HIV positive men can tell you what negotiating our for-profit health care non-system has done to their finances.

Because of DOMA, we do not receive any of the federal benefits of marriage, meaning gay and lesbian couples are poorer than their straight counterparts.  

Anti-gay bigots want to pretend we do not raise children and want no government recognition of our families, and our children are poorer for it -- and not just theoretically.

LGBT around the world depend upon an American government that believes that our human rights are important all over the world, at home and abroad.

Also, the Koch Brothers and other far right-wingers buy and sell politicians to implement economic policies to not only to create a "rigged market" that transfers ever-increasing wealth to the top 1% and their decendants, but also helps to elect anti-gay politicians who will use their time in office to pursue anti-LGBT legislation.  Getting special interest money out of politics matters, especially from the bottomless pockets of corporations and the superwealthy who give money to anti-gay politicians, if the LGBT community is to see its inalienable right to legal equality become manifest in America.

While it is true that there are some gay activists who seem to care more about their "access" to the top 1% than actual "progress" for our community and believe we should ONLY focus on overtly "gay issues" like marriage equality.  In my opinion, this is a very myopic look at the world.  The countries with the greatest social justice (and marriage equality) for the LGBT community (Scandinavia, Canada, Netherlands, etc.) also have the greatest economic justice for ALL their citizens.  Martin Luther King, Jr. knew this all too well.  Social justice and economic justice go hand in hand -- which is why the success of the Occupy movement should matter to all of us, LGBT and our allies, and deserves our full support.

As the Occupy movement moves from having stationary camps to more organized activism, I implore you to get involved with a progressive movement in rescuing American politics from Fox "News" and the corporate-financed "tea party".   The coalition building this encourages will make LGBT equality MORE likely in the future.


Dan Wentzel said...

An anonymous (of course) person posted a comment (1) complaining that this topic didn't seem to have anything to do with expanding transit, (2) stated that the "Occupy" movement and the corporate-funded "tea party" to be morally equivalent movements, and (3) ranted that gays are just as bigoted as anyone else.

They then said "no need to repost".


Let's take these one at a time.

(1) Anyone who really believes that the grass roots "occupy" movement and the corporate-funded "tea party" are equivalent has their head buried in the ground and is part of the problem in American society, not part of the solution.

(2) Perhaps this person hasn't noticed, but the corporate-funded "tea party" is trying to cut federal spending on public transit infrastructure and operations

(3) Gays are not trying to use taxpayer money and the power of government to inflict their religious dogmas and bigotry on other people, nor to make non-gays legally second class citizens in America.

Not only are those countries with the most social justice for gays also the countries with the most economic justice for everyone, they are also the countries with the best public transit and rail systems.

If someone finds that inconvenient truth "heavy handed", so be it.

Anonymous said...

Dan Wentzel: why don't you post exactly what the anonymous person posted rather than your version? because your version (issues listed and rebuttal) seems "heavy handed" "rant[ing]" and "complaining". pot calling kettle black perhaps?

you seem to have it all figured out...? must be wonderful to know that you are on the morally correct side of the issues, and knowing that the other side is patently wrong and inherently evil. in my opinion it is the kind of one sided viewpoints articulated by you that are often the most uninformed or closed for debate. i'm sure you're full of knowledge and critical thought. but it doesn't show. there are always at least two sides. try to keep an open mind. listen, think, accept, love, forgive, embrace... even those who don't share your worldview, even those who seem ignorant, hypocritical, or hateful. spewing anger is the easy route.

p.s. it is often said that Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul are among the best subway systems, so that last point...? Hmmm.... and the tea party is out to kill the trolleys...?

Dan Wentzel said...

Okay, "Anonymous", the person who posted that comment I referred to, most probably you, said "no need to repost". I assumed that meant that he did not want to see it posted. And the three points I listed perfectly articulated three of the points he (you) made in that post.

I don't have it all figured out by a long shot, but I do know that anti-gay bigotry is wrong. Period. No matter how or why it is justified.

And, yes, I do consider anti-gay bigots patently wrong and anti-gay bigotry inherently evil. If you don't like that, you are free to disagree. I take it you are straight and enjoy your equality. It must be nice to have the luxury of "seeing both sides" of anti-gay bigotry when you are not subject to that institutionalized bigotry yourself. By the way, living in the ivory tower of never having taking to take sides is its own form of "moral superiority."

If you think my column was heavy handed, you should try living in a society where you do not have legal equality. Now THAT'S heavy handed.