Friday, November 14, 2008

The Queer Awakening

The internets have been abuzz with the new gay rights movement. Wockner is appropriately dubbing it activism 4.0.

This is something I have written and thought about increasingly over the last few years. The maturing of social networking sites and the proliferation of living news aggregators (bloggers) have really allowed gays all over the world to connect. More so now than ever I feel like we are a community connected using this fantastic series of tubes ;)

This interconnectivity both anonymous, intimate and instantaneous has made it increasingly hard to ignore the things that are occurring to our brothers and sisters out there. From gays being hunted down and slaughtered in Iraq to a gay bashing in Ottawa; these events in past times would have been likely just slipped into obscurity. Now these events become part of our daily news feeds. Instead of hearing about that drag queen that was beaten up outside the local gay bar from friends or even more rarely the local news media, we can learn about all of the things (both good and bad) happening to the people in our global community all day every day delivered by Queers for Queers.

Its not that the screams for help are getting louder it is just that they are multiplying by the thousands rising in a crescendo and becoming harder to avoid with each passing day.

For 20 years we have been separating ourselves by age, HIV status, pant size, and the presence of facial hair. These subcultures and schisms have led to the fact that many of us under 30's have very little insight into our gay history or the tragedy and trailblazers that have allowed us the freedoms we currently enjoy. Having bloggers like joe.my.god and rex wockner (to name a few of many) have given us millennial gays a historical and often heartbreaking perspective that just was not reasonably culturally accessible even 5 years ago.

It wasn't that this my generation of Queers is lazy or uninterested we had the tools and increasingly the information we just lacked a universal cause, something that would piss us off enough to unite us.

Proposition 8 crystallized all of these elements and for the first time in my lifetime, I am having lengthy conversations about activism and politics with my peers. My generation has had it fairly easy up until now. We have lived in fairly tolerant times. It is one thing to be attacked by some douchebag on Fox news who has no affect on my life, it is another thing entirely to see the rights of 18000 of your brothers and sisters stripped away in front of you.

The mormon church has woken us up and in the long run they will learn to regret it after all no one fucks with our Ellen and gets away with it.

2 comments:

Allan S. said...

This is the ACT UP and QUEER NATION spirit rising from a dormant stage. I was out, loud and proud during the activism of the late 80s and early 90s. I'm geared up ready for another go at taking it to another level for our freedom. We're here, we're queer, get over it!

Brian said...

Very well said, Aaron. I've been reading your many blog postings on coming out and this one I really relate to. You see, I'm Mormon...and I'm gay. In the "perfect world" that confluence seems like it should be impossible. I felt truly ALONE for longer than I want to remember.

The worst, worst part of coming out to myself was (maybe still is, a bit)trying to reconcile who and what I am and some of the good teachings that the Mormon church does promote. I tried to live each part of me in a separate cube and I thought I was pretty good at it. But the unreality of it all drove me to the obsessive compulsive depressed state that you talk about. I could't even go across town for Christmas 2008 with my family. The stress level was also taking its' toll on every other area of my life. I knew something had to give. And I KNEW finally that it wasn't God punishing me because I was an evil gay!
I met some wonderful friends here in Lloydminster (imagine ! lol) and they have been such a blessing and a support! 2009 was a rebuilding year, a consolidation, a cocooning. The reserves are being rebuilt. As you show in your blog entries over the years, apparent progress can be slow.
But I have met a guy also LDS...also gay! And there is an support group called Affirmation for guys like us. And they have a family support system called Family Fellowship which is kinda like PFLAG. THere are a LOT of Mormons who aren't in agreement over how the Church handled Prop 8. The pressure the church put on members to campaign, all the money that was spent to be divisive, instead of actually HELPING people, was one of the reasons I have for distancing myself emotionally from the Church. I still attend, but I don't buy the whole marketing pitch anymore. Just the parts that make good sense to me.
Hey..have gone on long enough here! Just want to say again how good it is to have gay bloggers like yourself. One of the real strengths of the GLBT community is that we are actually incredibly diverse in our different lives, as opposed to the stereotypes. But we have the fantastic opportunity to work together to overcome ignorance and hostility from society. Our differences seem so small in comparison. Take care, hoping our paths cross sometime in the not to distant future.
Cheers!