Moving Beyond “Gay Marriage” Movement

With the recent repeal of California’s Prop 8, I was flooded with a bunch of post from my friends (queers and allies) on Facebook that all had something to share about the event that took place a couple Tuesdays–the on the week Pride. Some of my friends who openly identified as queer were excited with the news and joked about calling wedding planners for their perfect ceremony. It has been a five year struggle, and with the recent repeal of Prop 8, many of them can now “legitimize” the love they have for their partners through the simple act of civil marriage.

However, there were a handful of other people (including myself) that were not necessarily moved by the news in the same way. For five years, the debate of same-sex marriage has taken headliner news—often being equated with “The Gay Rights Movement”–and in doing so it has simultaneously eclipsed an abundance of other queer struggles. While I am happy that same-sex marriage is now legalized in California, and I am happy for my friends that look forward to being married, I would like to remind them that this is not the end of the Queer/LGBTQ struggle!

My fear with Prop 8 being over turned is that many queers will feel that the fight for equality ends since they can now be married. That since we can now engage in the same privilege as our heterosexual counterparts, we no longer need to fight against the injustices that take place against our community (as queers). Yet being able to get married is but ONE privilege that does not benefit all.

I don’t believe that same-sex marriage is the solution to poverty among queer folks of color, or homeless LGBTQ youth that have been failed by the foster home system. Nor do I believe that same-sex marriage is the solution to the mistreatment and discrimination of gender non-conforming, transgender or transsexual people in institutions that wish to force them into genders that are compliant with our society (or heteronormaty, if you will). Yet the issue of same-sex marriage seems to be the only thing some queers (and by extension some of our allies) are truly fighting for when it comes to “Gay Rights.”

I am not saying that I wish Prop 8 was never overturned, I’m simply wishing that same-sex marriage didn’t dominate the conversation when it comes to a Queer Movement.

I believe it is hella stupid to deny people the right to be married, but it seems like the people who have been supporting Prop 8 being overruled have become so absorbed in the issue of same-sex marriage that they assumed that this is something that benefits all LGBTQ people. And while there I am sure there was love and good intentions in the spaces that organized against DOMA and overturning Prop 8, I ask myself if the intersectionality of a queer person ever taken into consideration. I feel as though race, class, citizenship and even gender are not often discussed, if at all, as intersecting identities when it comes to what this movement has labeled as “queerness.”

(I might not even be labeled as “queer” enough for not fighting for same-sex marriage.”

Furthermore, demanding the right to be married as a form of equality is only promoting a culture of assimilation–where queers must participate in a heteronormative way of solidifying their love for one another–with an institution that has not always been historically about love. If you ask me, this isn’t equality. Demanding for same-sex marriage barely scratches the surface of the injustices that still exist in our communities. It doesn’t stop transgender folks from being pulled over and harassed by the police because they fit the profile of a “prostitute.” It doesn’t address poverty for queer folks of color. And it barely creates a “tolerant” environment for our LGBTQ youth who are bullied due to their sexuality.

This is a victory for many, but not for all.

Which is why I’m urging for folks who have supported the Gay Marriage movement to focus our efforts as organizers else where now. Where, you ask? That is a question I will leave for you to respond. There is a long list of struggles amongst us queers that need to be brought to light–we just need to be aware that our struggles shouldn’t end with our personal desires for marriage.

I would say that we should start by politicizing ourselves in other queer struggles. I even push is to go as far as looking for Queer Literature that seeks to empower our community to seek social justice and not just social tolerance. I write this out the love I have for my fellow queers, and hope that I offended no one with post.

Fortino Vazquez

Born and raised in Oakland, CA, and the only son of two hard working immigrnats, Fortino Vazquez-Hernandez Jr. became involved with Youth Together Inc. at the age of fourteen, where he was politicized in reforming the public education system. Since then, he has been involved with varies other organizations where he was immersed in community organizing and social justice issues around immigration, workers rights, education, and police brutality. Fortino identifies as a 1st generation, queer/two-spirit, Xican@ male. He is currently studying Literature, Communities Studies and Education at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

4 thoughts on “Moving Beyond “Gay Marriage” Movement

  • July 23, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    As a queer Xicana who organizes around intersecting human right struggles, I appreciate your perspective in this article. I feel though that there is too much negative reaction against the prop 8/doma activity coming from within our communities. I am not planning to get married myself but I do feel like this progress benefits me and people in my community. I am so happy that I will get to see so many queer elders finally do something they’ve wanted to do for so long, a right they might not have expected to ever have. And happy to see queer youth do the same, with a different perspective, but just as powerful of an action. Marriage will benefit many people and allow them access to hospital visitation rights, sharing of medical benefits, joint tax filing – these are not insignificant benefits and they truly help the poor and working class as much as the wealthy.

    Marriage is not for me personally, but is one more human right that we have collectively secured, one more way that our communities are strengthened, and knowing that gives me the strength and hope to continue organizing.

  • July 25, 2013 at 5:48 am

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  • July 27, 2013 at 9:09 pm

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  • October 12, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    Thanks for finally talking about >Qulture – Moving Beyond


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