I’d like to see an exit poll of Prop 8 voters, showing how people voting based on their level of personal relationships with gay people. I’m certain it would show that those with more gay acquaintances tended to vote against the draconian measure, and those with less for it. This is because it is easier for those without significant relationships with gays to dehumanize them, treat them as second-class citizens, literally.
Simply put, before I had gay friends I thought being gay was weird as fuck. It seemed so different than my experience that my brain told me that it must be wrong. Then, being a classical musician, I came in contact with a ton of them, and I realized, duh, there’s exactly the same as me, with just a different sexual preference. Pretty damn simple. I’m not shocked that my home state of California decided to fuck over thousands of good, loving people. It makes me angry, sad, ashamed. I saw pictures of supporters celebrating and thought to myself, what a grotesque display? Rejoicing over the misfortune of others, people you don’t even know, people you haven’t taken the time to understand?
Tuesday night, in the two poles of our country – New York and California – we had people rejoicing the optimism of a potentially bright future in the streets of New York City; and we had people exalting in the ignorance and fear of the past in California. I’d never felt like less of a Californian and more of a New Yorker in my life.
One response to “Prop 8 Thoughts”
I was shocked and appalled that Prop 8 passed. I think a lot of people were, including a lot of Californians. The Mormon Church provided a shitload of money and organization to the Pro-8 forces, and the Anti-8 groups were slow to counter-mobilize because (from all accounts) they did not take the threat seriously until it was too late. (Going forward, I think they need to take a page from the Obama campaign, and start from the grassroots — people knocking on doors and talking to their neighbors. We straight folk have got to represent better next time.)
It’s all very frustrating and disheartening, especially given the offensiveness of putting civil rights issues to a referendum in the first place. (If Americans could have voted on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, it would have gone down in flames.) But I suppose if we are looking for a silver lining, it’s not a bad thing to have a wake-up call every now and again.
Decent people should never take civil rights for granted, even though we know the tide of history is on our side. We have to fight for every victory, and fight to defend what we’ve won. People in California are already mobilizing for 2010. I wish them well. It will be a tough fight, but I am sure that this hateful resolution won’t stand for long.