Sunday, February 3, 2008

If You're Not Doing Anything Wrong...

I have a number of friends and acquaintances whom I hold very dear, and whom I trust implicitly. Some of them have expressed over the years lack of interest in the idea of opposing increased governmental scrutiny into our lives, because the government's role in "fighting terror" requires desperate measures or something. Usually, it's expressed in the form of "If you aren't doing anything wrong, then you don't have anything to worry about." I'm not on board that particular mobile musical stage, but the War on "Terra-ism" isn't the topic today, but we'll circle back around.

One of the huge tragedies in the BGLQT(etc.) community is that of increased risk of suicide among GBTQL(etc.) youth. The heteronormative environment that we live in generally minimizes or eliminates any discussion of LGBTQ(etc.) issues, especially in schools. "Let's protect the children from the filthy queers!" seems to be the underlying message, although it's more recently couched in terms like, "Blah blah Traditional Marriage," or "Yada yada Family Values." Teens who are trying to work out why they have attractions to other students of the same gender don't have much in the way of resources to help them work through the issues, except for possibly some of the "pray the gay away" nonsense. The dearth of adult role models and support is cited as a contributing factor to the desperation these children experience.

In Tennessee, within the past couple of days, a state legislator (Jerky McAssface, sorry - "Representative" Jerky McAssface) introduced a bill, that if passed, would prohibit K-8 schools from making or distributing "any instruction or materials discussing sexual orientation other than heterosexuality." I'm not sure how much traction this bill actually has, but the implications seem pretty far-reaching. Current events discussions would have to be curtailed. Students with same-sex parents may not be allowed to discuss their families as part of any assignment. Historical accuracy be damned, we're going to bowdlerize Oscar Wilde, the native Americans, and WWII. This would be of the "if we don't talk about it, it didn't happen" school of thought.

I just read a report from the ACLU that a school in Florida (state motto runner-up: "Wild and KKKrazy Guys!") has determined that any support for LTQGB(etc.) rights would "likely be disruptive," and that students who express their support in the form of rainbow flag stickers on their notebooks, or even writing "I support my gay friends" on their notebooks would be punished for belonging to a "secret/illegal organization."

If you're not doing anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about. So showing solidarity with students who daily experience bigotry and hate directed at them is now something wrong, and I should stop doing it. That way, I won't have anything to worry about.

One of Son's recent writing assignments said that a good essay should "leave the reader with something to think about." That sounds good.

GPop, Son, and I are a family. In the state where we live, GPop and I can't get married. There are still efforts to make it difficult or impossible for people like us to grow our family. We have to use feeble and expensive legal acrobatics to create a semblance of protection that opposite-sex married couples get simply by virtue of getting married. Sure, we can get medical power of attorney or some kind of co-parenting agreement, but does that require us to carry those papers with us at all times in case we're confronted by an unsympathetic doctor or official? Even if we have those papers, an unsympathetic official could put up road blocks until our day in court. Even with a full suite of legal paperwork, we have additional financial burdens in the areas of inheritance and parenting that most people never see.

When the government tells me that it's going to start spending more time sifting through information to find possible threats, and I know that some in the government see me as a threat, can I sit quietly and let this happen? I suppose some could write this off as a "gay victim" rant. Maybe some could comfortably say that it could never get that bad, or that our government has never done anything to tread on our rights that wasn't justified.

Yeah, I suppose they're right. I should just keep my mouth shut, right?

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