Rossweisse RIP Rossweisse, HellHost and long-time Shipmate.

Robert Armin RIP Robert Armin, Shipmate of long-standing.

How Gay Rights are Different

As an affluent white queer man, something irks me about wealthy white cisgender gay men acting like they are just as oppressed as any nonwhite, cisgender female, trans or non-binary, or economically underprivileged person. They aren’t.

Being gay can compound the oppression that people of color, women, trans, non-binary, poor, etc, people face. Intersectionality matters.

And even otherwise privileged gays do still experience some legal and de facto discrimination in the liberal West along with some threat of violence anywhere at any time. Of course in much of the rest of the world gays of all kinds are still treated
horrifically.

All this said, though, I feel that quite a few well to do white liberal minded people in the West gravitate towards gay rights issues because, even if they are straight, they can imagine having a gay child or other family member, if they do not have one already, and so supporting gay rights does not require
the more difficult and uncomfortable work of dealing with the structures of white supremacy, patriarchy, and both local and global economic injustice that help maintain their comfortable lives.

Of course gay rights are hugely important. But even if some governments and corporations give lip service or perhaps more than lip service to liberating other oppressed groups, it seems to pale in comparison to how enthusiastically they wave pride flags all over the place. Is there any equivalent flag or symbol for another oppressed group that, in liberal cities and countries, is so uncontroversially plastered all over the place? (Despite the Trump administration’s recent efforts to reduce its display at US Embassies?

How is it that gay marriage, which seemed unimaginable just a decade or two ago in so many countries, became such a safe and cuddly thing for us well to do liberals (and quite a few conservatives) so fast while movements like Black Lives Matter and #metoo still make a lot of bleeding heart affluent white liberals much more uncomfortable (even if they won’t admit it)?

Are people like me who live on the backs of the oppressed and don’t do much about it (also like me) hiding behind our pride flags?

Comments

  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    How is it that gay marriage, which seemed unimaginable just a decade or two ago in so many countries, became such a safe and cuddly thing for us well to do liberals (and quite a few conservatives) so fast while movements like Black Lives Matter and #metoo still make a lot of bleeding heart affluent white liberals much more uncomfortable (even if they won’t admit it)?

    Because marriage is a very traditionalist structure, one familiar to and beloved by a lot of people across the political spectrum. In other words it conforms to a pre-existing and widely accepted social norm*.

    The idea that there is a lot of needless police brutality directed at black people, on the other hand, is something a lot of white people simply would not accept prior to the widespread existence of smartphones with cameras. Even after video evidence kept being produced it routinely gets dismissed as a large series of isolated, unrelated incidents. The idea that there is systematic racism in various power structures, like policing, cuts against the comfortable view a lot of white people have of the society in which they live.


    *Interestingly this is largely due to straight people redefining marriage in the early twentieth century, changing it from a hierarchical relationship with clearly defined gender roles to a loving partnership of equals. It was this change which made same-sex marriage philosophically possible and may be part of the reason that there's so much overlap between opponents of same-sex marriage and those who adhere to a hierarchical gender-role view of marriage.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    ISTM that much of what we take a stand on is determined not by ourselves, but by others. For example, I am a Methodist, and am being pushed by my church to involve myself in the issue of gay rights more than my politically indifferent nature would otherwise lead me to do. I confess that I am horrified by the prospect of the church splitting over this, but it looks like we are being pushed to a Hobson's choice -- either actively deny gay rights or form a new denomination. That basic motif seems to permeate our current social structures -- anything that is not my particular preference is evil and must be expunged. The old virtue of tolerance has turned into the vice of cowardice instead of being an expression of moral modesty.
    I will readily acknowledge that the crimes against blacks and immigrants make middle ground seem untenable, but a great deal of our demand that people side with our views is much less existential and more willful than that.
  • Oppression of other groups is economic in character and has substantive costs in terms of power and wealth to both men and white people in fighting it. The concession of LGBT rights is purely a social one, it has no substantial economic or power cost because LGBT folk are few and their oppression is rarely economic.
  • It grieves me to admit that you are mostly right, albeit with some major exceptions. Of course, many churches are still the glaring exception. In the Church of England, we (gay men) are caught in an invidious catch-22, in that we can have as much power as we like if we deny our sexuality and behave like cisgendered straight white men, and deny the history and current reality of oppression.. Actually, the same is true of all this corporate so-called liberation. I question how real most of the apparent change seen over the last twenty years is - when we actually want to be publicly as well as privately active citizens, doing things our way, especially if it doesn't follow established norms, how much leeway will there really be? Heteronormativity is a powerful factor that has mostly been ignored so far.

    Once you've split off white cisgendered gay men, you've actually done something that is part of this consumerist version of identity politics I really hate. Reassemble the rainbow - don't fracture it - leave us together. It's as if eceryone has forgotten that "divide and conquer" is a recipe for oppression in this context, not for liberation.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited June 2019
    Stonespring, Think of Jesus's answer to the rich young man - give away your wealth and follow me. How few of us follow the first part of that. You haven't, nor have we. Like you and most others we try at least to the extent of imagining ourselves in the position. So while I'm not gay, I try to imagine how hard life is, and how much harder it was, for gay friends; support moves to at least chip at the edges in the hope that one day there will be no more edges to chip and the whole edifice of discrimination falls down.
    Crœsos wrote: »
    *Interestingly this is largely due to straight people redefining marriage in the early twentieth century, changing it from a hierarchical relationship with clearly defined gender roles to a loving partnership of equals. It was this change which made same-sex marriage philosophically possible and may be part of the reason that there's so much overlap between opponents of same-sex marriage and those who adhere to a hierarchical gender-role view of marriage.

    I think you meant 21st century.

  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    Crœsos wrote: »
    *Interestingly this is largely due to straight people redefining marriage in the early twentieth century, changing it from a hierarchical relationship with clearly defined gender roles to a loving partnership of equals. It was this change which made same-sex marriage philosophically possible and may be part of the reason that there's so much overlap between opponents of same-sex marriage and those who adhere to a hierarchical gender-role view of marriage.

    I think you meant 21st century.

    Nope. I'm talking about the era in which women got the vote, nominal political equality with men, coverture laws were overturned, the same right as a man to file for divorce, etc. There was a (not entirely complete) revolution in gender relations in the early 20th century.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Thanks for the elucidation. I get you now.
  • Once you've split off white cisgendered gay men, you've actually done something that is part of this consumerist version of identity politics I really hate. Reassemble the rainbow - don't fracture it - leave us together. It's as if everyone has forgotten that "divide and conquer" is a recipe for oppression in this context, not for liberation.

    I was discussing white cisgendered *affluent* (or at least economically, educationally, and socially (in terms of one's societal and cultural connections) comfortable and secure) gay men like myself. My gayness does not take away from the fact that, in the West and quite a bit of the rest of the world, the economy, politics, and culture are all designed with someone largely like me in mind as the default. My gayness might get me beaten or killed because nowhere is truly safe, and even in bastions of liberalism some discrimination against gays remains, but in my day to day life, even if I worked hard (which I don't) and maybe earned some of the comforts I enjoy, I'd still be living off the fat of most of the rest of my community and the world.

    Gay people in less tolerant jurisdictions (and less tolerant cultural groups living within liberal jurisdictions) do experience more visceral oppression. Pride should be more about them than it is about me, but people like me tend to co-opt the control and image of it anyway.

    I agree that identity politics as it appears in mainstream and social media - as opposed to on the ground where activists given the "identity politics" label are working - tends to leave out class divisions, and that poor, working class, and economically struggling white cisgendered men, gay or not, need to be part of the broader conversation about liberating the oppressed.

    But, if we're going to have a party of liberation even if people like me are invited, it is only as guests. I need to shut up and let the truly oppressed have the spotlight. Instead, Pride each year seems like a big fat present to my privilege wrapped in a rainbow ribbon.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    How is it that gay marriage, which seemed unimaginable just a decade or two ago in so many countries, became such a safe and cuddly thing for us well to do liberals (and quite a few conservatives) so fast while movements like Black Lives Matter and #metoo still make a lot of bleeding heart affluent white liberals much more uncomfortable (even if they won’t admit it)?
    Because one's child, sibling or parent might turn out to be gay, but they are not likely to have been secretly black. Because one's neighbour, in whatever neighbourhood one lived in, might turn out to be gay, but still look like you.
    tclune wrote: »
    ISTM that much of what we take a stand on is determined not by ourselves, but by others. For example, I am a Methodist, and am being pushed by my church to involve myself in the issue of gay rights more than my politically indifferent nature would otherwise lead me to do. I confess that I am horrified by the prospect of the church splitting over this, but it looks like we are being pushed to a Hobson's choice -- either actively deny gay rights or form a new denomination. That basic motif seems to permeate our current social structures -- anything that is not my particular preference is evil and must be expunged. The old virtue of tolerance has turned into the vice of cowardice instead of being an expression of moral modesty.
    I will readily acknowledge that the crimes against blacks and immigrants make middle ground seem untenable, but a great deal of our demand that people side with our views is much less existential and more willful than that.
    A church purports to offer guidance. For something as fundamental as how one regards salvation, anything other than a definite statement misses the mark.
    It grieves me to admit that you are mostly right, albeit with some major exceptions. Of course, many churches are still the glaring exception. In the Church of England, we (gay men) are caught in an invidious catch-22, in that we can have as much power as we like if we deny our sexuality and behave like cisgendered straight white men, and deny the history and current reality of oppression.. Actually, the same is true of all this corporate so-called liberation. I question how real most of the apparent change seen over the last twenty years is - when we actually want to be publicly as well as privately active citizens, doing things our way, especially if it doesn't follow established norms, how much leeway will there really be? Heteronormativity is a powerful factor that has mostly been ignored so far.

    Once you've split off white cisgendered gay men, you've actually done something that is part of this consumerist version of identity politics I really hate. Reassemble the rainbow - don't fracture it - leave us together. It's as if eceryone has forgotten that "divide and conquer" is a recipe for oppression in this context, not for liberation.
    A problem is that white, cisgendered gay men have dominated the conversation until recently and, as a group, have minimised the rest of the alphabet. And it is not as though the community does not contain racism and transphobia even now. Some of those under the LGBTQ+ umbrella as still pushed towards the edges.
    The division comes as much from within as without.
    I agree that unity is a better strategy, but that unity does not preclude the acknowledgement that some members suffer far more than others and that the suffering is not excursively caused from the outside.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    A church purports to offer guidance. For something as fundamental as how one regards salvation, anything other than a definite statement misses the mark.
    Right. That whole "fear and trembling" thing is so first century.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    tclune wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    A church purports to offer guidance. For something as fundamental as how one regards salvation, anything other than a definite statement misses the mark.
    Right. That whole "fear and trembling" thing is so first century.
    It should be. However, that is a discussion for a different thread. I am genuinely curious as to what you think your church's position on LGBTQ+ rights should be.

  • EutychusEutychus Shipmate
    edited June 2019
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    A church purports to offer guidance. For something as fundamental as how one regards salvation, anything other than a definite statement misses the mark.
    Where do you get this idea that churches purport to offer guidance, and that they should do so in the form of definite statements? Do you mean guidance in the form of definite statements about salvation, or guidance in the form of definite statements about any issue you care to raise?
    However, that is a discussion for a different thread. I am genuinely curious as to what you think your church's position on LGBTQ+ rights should be.
    I thought this thread was about why rights other than LGBTQ+ rights are neglected.

  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    A church purports to offer guidance. For something as fundamental as how one regards salvation, anything other than a definite statement misses the mark.
    Where do you get this idea that churches purport to offer guidance,
    Seriously?
    and that they should do so in the form of definite statements?
    Though shall not and so forth. Ring any bells? Gay marriage? Abortion?
    Eutychus wrote: »
    However, that is a discussion for a different thread. I am genuinely curious as to what you think your church's position on LGBTQ+ rights should be.
    I thought this thread was about why rights other than LGBTQ+ rights are neglected.
    One: I did not start the tangent.
    Two: You are continuing it
    Three: What is your point?
  • EutychusEutychus Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Eutychus wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    A church purports to offer guidance. For something as fundamental as how one regards salvation, anything other than a definite statement misses the mark.
    Where do you get this idea that churches purport to offer guidance,
    Seriously?
    Seriously. Where do you get this idea?

  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Eutychus wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    A church purports to offer guidance. For something as fundamental as how one regards salvation, anything other than a definite statement misses the mark.
    Where do you get this idea that churches purport to offer guidance,
    Seriously?
    Seriously. Where do you get this idea?
    The bible is what, then, a collection of short stories around a common theme? The person in fancy dress at the front of the church, just here for anecdotes? The proclamations regarding equal marriage, the wages of sin and everything else.

  • EutychusEutychus Shipmate
    edited June 2019
    The Bible is not the Church.

    As to the proclamations, it was you that was complaining about a lack of definite statements:
    anything other than a definite statement misses the mark

    Is your problem that nothing except a "definite statement" is good enough, or that what you see as "definite statements" aren't in line with your views?

    As to gratuitous swipes at vestments, nobody in our church wears anything distinctively different from anybody else in terms of office or ministry.

    Again, are you looking for "definite statements" about how the Church regards salvation, or are you looking for "definite statements" on any issue you care to raise? Because it looks like the latter:
    what you think your church's position on LGBTQ+ rights should be
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    The Bible is not the Church.

    As to the proclamations, it was you that was complaining about a lack of definite statements:
    anything other than a definite statement misses the mark

    Is your problem that nothing except a "definite statement" is good enough, or that what you see as "definite statements" aren't in line with your views?
    The Bible is not the church is rather like saying the foundation and support structure are not the building.
    With equal marriage, there are only two positions; Yea or Nay. WHilst I will not pretend to like the nays, at least they are honest. And individual not being certain of their feelings is understandable, for a church it is not acceptable.
    Eutychus wrote: »
    As to gratuitous swipes at vestments, nobody in our church wears anything distinctively different from anybody else in terms of office or ministry.
    If it helps take at least one twist out of your knickers, I say the same about monk's robes. I am not a fan of uniforms.
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Again, are you looking for "definite statements" about how the Church regards salvation, or are you looking for "definite statements" on any issue you care to raise? Because it looks like the latter:
    what you think your church's position on LGBTQ+ rights should be
    There is no difference. Church guidance is about getting the password for the Pearly Gates and any admonition is about that goal. The church disapproving is proxy for God's disproving and a threat to not making the final cut.

  • EutychusEutychus Shipmate
    edited June 2019
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    The Bible is not the church is rather like saying the foundation and support structure are not the building.

    They are two very different things, even if they conflate in your perception.
    With equal marriage, there are only two positions; Yea or Nay.
    No there aren't. Simply in terms of the law of the land where I am, rights on adoption, filiation, etc. are different.

    And even if one is pro equal marriage in law (which I am) that is not the same as a church sanctioning every sought-for equal marriage any more than sanctioning every sought-for straight one would be. Any church worth its salt for which marriage is a blessing and not a civil action will give some pastoral guidance to potential spouses, but this is not at all the same thing as laying down the law.
    WHilst I will not pretend to like the nays, at least they are honest. And individual not being certain of their feelings is understandable, for a church it is not acceptable.
    If a position on an issue is going to be worked out, it should be about more than just feelings. And being unsure of one's position in a rapidly-changing social context is entirely acceptable to my mind. Would you like my church to issue guidance on electric cars? I'm really not sure what I "feel" about them at this point.
    There is no difference. Church guidance is about getting the password for the Pearly Gates and any admonition is about that goal. The church disapproving is proxy for God's disproving and a threat to not making the final cut.
    I'm genuinely sorry that's your experience of church, if that really is what your experience of church is. Personally, I think those most likely not to make the final cut are the hypocrites.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    The Bible is not the church is rather like saying the foundation and support structure are not the building.

    They are two very different things, even if they conflate in your perception.
    With equal marriage, there are only two positions; Yea or Nay.
    No there aren't. Simply in terms of the law of the land where I am, rights on adoption, filiation, etc. are different.
    There are differences there, but I'm not opening a tangent on a tangent.
    Eutychus wrote: »
    And even if one is pro equal marriage in law (which I am) that is not the same as a church sanctioning every sought-for equal marriage any more than sanctioning every sought-for straight one would be.
    Evaluating in an equal way is what equal marriage is about.
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Any church worth its salt for which marriage is a blessing and not a civil action will give some pastoral guidance to potential spouses, but this is not at all the same thing as laying down the law.
    Judging what is acceptable and what is not, is laying down the law.
    Eutychus wrote: »
    WHilst I will not pretend to like the nays, at least they are honest. And individual not being certain of their feelings is understandable, for a church it is not acceptable.
    If a position on an issue is going to be worked out, it should be about more than just feelings. And being unsure of one's position in a rapidly-changing social context is entirely acceptable to my mind. Would you like my church to issue guidance on electric cars? I'm really not sure what I "feel" about them at this point.
    Have they been condemning electric cars to hell? If so, this is a valid rejoinder, if not...
    Eutychus wrote: »
    There is no difference. Church guidance is about getting the password for the Pearly Gates and any admonition is about that goal. The church disapproving is proxy for God's disproving and a threat to not making the final cut.
    I'm genuinely sorry that's your experience of church, if that really is what your experience of church is. Personally, I think those most likely not to make the final cut are the hypocrites.
    Be careful what you wish for

  • EutychusEutychus Shipmate
    edited June 2019
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Judging what is acceptable and what is not, is laying down the law.
    No it's not. Equality in the eyes of the law does not mean that all legal solutions are acceptable for all the individuals in question, whether they are part of minorities or not.
    Have they been condemning electric cars to hell? If so, this is a valid rejoinder, if not...
    My church hasn't been condemning anyone to hell in my earshot. A recent sermon (not by me) was a criticism of the Church (at large) for producing the sentiments expressed here.
    Be careful what you wish for

    Slanderers are on the list too.

  • EutychusEutychus Shipmate
    edited June 2019
    Let me put it this way.

    To my mind any church worthy of the name is going to take any issue of discrimination seriously and deal with it with empathy and humility.

    Personally, I'm not afraid of putting my neck on the line to address blatant injustices with which I have a personal connection, whether it's people denied marriage because their best man is gay or Muslims banged up in solitary confinement for six months because they have been falsely accused of being radicalised, and in the latter case I don't just mean a Hell thread, I mean potentially putting myself on my country's intelligence service radar.

    But if some random militant association decides to weaponize some useful idiots and a body of people in which I have responsibility simply to further their cause because they think that body offers a promising target, if not for the success of their agenda then for the publicity they will attract, then they can expect a very different response.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Let me put it this way.

    To my mind any church worthy of the name is going to take any issue of discrimination seriously and deal with it with empathy and humility.
    I'm not suggesting otherwise.
    Empathy, however, isn't capitulating to those unwilling to change. It is not putting all of them in the same basket as those who actually hate.
    The middle ground, where I think tbcass was heading, is capitulation and certainly is not empathetic to the LGBTQ+.
    Anyway, should you wish to continue this tangent, start another thread to discuss it as I am done with it on this thread.
  • EliabEliab Shipmate, Purgatory Host
    How is it that gay marriage, which seemed unimaginable just a decade or two ago in so many countries, became such a safe and cuddly thing for us well to do liberals (and quite a few conservatives) so fast while movements like Black Lives Matter and #metoo still make a lot of bleeding heart affluent white liberals much more uncomfortable (even if they won’t admit it)?

    Those movements are addressing different sorts of problem.

    The campaign for gay marriage is/was a campaign for legal equality. Gay couples did not have the same right to marry that straight couples had. Unless you think that there's a fundamental moral difference between straight and gay people that the secular law should care about that was an obvious case of simple unfairness - the rules governing one group of people were more restrictive than those governing another group.

    With BLM and metoo, the argument is about a different sort of unfairness. Black people have the same formal legal rights as white people not to be shot by the police. Sexual assaults against women are already notionally as illegal as sexual assaults against men. The fact that the disadvantaged groups are more often subjected to these things because of race or sex depends on more complicated factors than procedural injustice - and will therefore be far harder to fix. There will be legitimately different views of what the problems are and how they can be fixed even between people who share the objective of complete racial and sexual equality.

    If it were as simple as passing an Act to give women and minorities the same legal rights as white men already have, then most liberals and many conservatives would be as supportive as they were about gay marriage - but it isn't.

  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Eliab wrote: »
    How is it that gay marriage, which seemed unimaginable just a decade or two ago in so many countries, became such a safe and cuddly thing for us well to do liberals (and quite a few conservatives) so fast while movements like Black Lives Matter and #metoo still make a lot of bleeding heart affluent white liberals much more uncomfortable (even if they won’t admit it)?

    Those movements are addressing different sorts of problem.

    The campaign for gay marriage is/was a campaign for legal equality. Gay couples did not have the same right to marry that straight couples had. Unless you think that there's a fundamental moral difference between straight and gay people that the secular law should care about that was an obvious case of simple unfairness - the rules governing one group of people were more restrictive than those governing another group.

    With BLM and metoo, the argument is about a different sort of unfairness. Black people have the same formal legal rights as white people not to be shot by the police. Sexual assaults against women are already notionally as illegal as sexual assaults against men. The fact that the disadvantaged groups are more often subjected to these things because of race or sex depends on more complicated factors than procedural injustice - and will therefore be far harder to fix. There will be legitimately different views of what the problems are and how they can be fixed even between people who share the objective of complete racial and sexual equality.

    If it were as simple as passing an Act to give women and minorities the same legal rights as white men already have, then most liberals and many conservatives would be as supportive as they were about gay marriage - but it isn't.
    Passing a law isn't always simple. Though, realistically, passing Civil Rights laws has never been simple.
    It is the same reticence which took so long for any particular law to be passed that is behind the very uneven enforcement. Fear and people latching onto the fear for power.
This discussion has been closed.