January 27, 2010

"What About The Rest of Us"

That's the question Sean Kosofsky asks at The Bilerico Project, with us being LGBT people not living on either coast:

Right now our movement is caught up in the daily drama of the very important federal lawsuit to strike down Prop 8 in California. Don't get me wrong, this case is of utmost importance. There is a lot at stake, to be sure, but my concern lies in the fact that the LGBT movement seems obsessed with all things coastal. California, New York, D.C.... All important places.

Dozens of states have endured divisive and destructive ballot measures that have left the local community devastated, hurt and angry. But no other state experienced the outpouring of LGBT community and media attention as California. This isn't just about California's size - this has to do with the queer center of gravity being on the coast. Bigger is better. Bigger is sexier. This story has it all, stars, victims, a celebrity governor and rival attorneys coming together to take on an evil policy.
It has always been that leaders, organizations, celebrities and causes that have some link to the coast will gobble up the valuable real estate of our community's consciousness.

The plight of LGBT people in Michigan, Iowa, Ohio and Missouri and other states is just as important as those in California. But because their stories and brave local leaders don't get any recognition or attention, our movement is being defined by people whose lifestyles, values and personalities are representative of a particular location and segment of our community. This is not to devalue or dismiss anyone in California. But, dammit there is more to this movement than California.

Regardless of what happens in California (and I hope we win) we must stop the love affair with one geographic slice of our country. We must widen our lens and see further than we have been seeing. The problem with fixating on any one strategy or any one region is that such short sightedness will fail us. Our movement must be more versatile and nimble and unless we can weave a larger narrative of where we live and where we are facing discrimination and violence, the queer "problem" or "issue" will always be "over there" and not "right here."

Problem is...we all live "right here."

What do you think?  Are LGBT people in middle America geting the short end of the deal, or is it just that resources being invested in the regions where success is most likely?

1 comment:

  1. Well, you have to consider IA being approved for gay marriage too. But that's just the start. My wife and I got married in MA, but we live in New York, which "recognizes" our union somewhat. Even the "big states" on either coast still have a lot of work ahead of them to make it equal. The midwest is going to be hard since there are many conservatives and people who will vote against them, to keep their small towns "straight".

    Thanks for this article!