Gay marriage

I’m happy about it. Marriage equality is a good thing. There are some ambivalent feelings about it in the LGBT community, I know. Like, it’s great that queer people can get married, but it also feels icky that this is the major victory, since it’s basically all about queer people assimilating and becoming more like straight people. (Whereas, for instance, a national law against employment discrimination or a national program to help LGBT homeless youth would be something that felt a little bit more like a celebration of queer peoples’ right to choose.)

On the other hand, I don’t even know if I experience that ambivalence. There is a powerful conservative streak that runs through my own psyche. Not conservative on a political level, but conservative in an older sense. Conservative as in wary of change. In America, minority groups fight for the right to assimilate, and then they do. It is our pattern as a nation. People are free to be different, and to pursue their own ways of life, but this country does not make it easy. There is a powerful conformity pressure here.

The American dream enshrines both individualism and its opposite. Individuality is celebrated, but it’s also punished. Maybe you can’t have one without the other. If we weren’t a society that looked down upon abnormal people, then we couldn’t be a society which celebrated abnormal people who succeed. Perhaps what it comes down to is that we hate anything that is incomplete or uncertain or unfinished. America only accepted queer people once they were able to present a shiny, happy picture of themselves as committed, monogamous, All-American couples who wanted nothing more than to marry. Whereas the larger acceptance–the acceptance of that which is anarchic or inchoate–is, I think, going to be a long time in coming.gay-older-couple1

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