Thursday, January 20, 2005

Thoughts on the Gay Rights Movement

Jason's got a good post up about the state of the gay rights movement in the US.

On the personal level, the case for treating gay people with decency has never been more robust. I would be willing to bet that more people are openly gay right now than at any other time in history [Brutal Women note: in this country, maybe. Not in Greece or Rome or some other places where sexuality was a little more fluid.. for men, anyway]. Acceptance of different sexual orientations has never been more widespread, and despite a recent backlash, the poll numbers still show an overwhelming trend in our direction.

It's well documented that when a straight person actually knows a gay person, the prejudices vanish on both sides. [Brutal Women note: because oddly, it's really difficult to hate a person when you realize... they're a real person. This is important] The water cooler chats, the backyard barbecues, even the family reunions very often go our way so long as we just show up and affirm who we are. Sure, there have been a few failures down here (my own family, for example), but on the whole we have had great success at the very lowest level of politics...

Strong at the highest and lowest levels, the gay rights movement is weak in the middle. The midsections of American politics--school boards, city councils, and state governments--are more solidly against us than any other sector in American public life.

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