Dear State Legislators:
Hi, I’m Matt. You don’t know me, but you think you do. You think you know how perverse I am, know my inner thoughts, my “agenda.” But, really, you’re just bored. And tired. Sad, really.
At a time in our country’s history when things have crumbled, I have the fantastical notion that we’d prefer to band together, not descend into divisive, dogma-directed attacks. But that’s what optimism gets you these days: false hope. In case y’all haven’t noticed, it’s 2011. Interracial marriage is legal, women can vote and are agents of their own bodies (at least during this administration). But that itsy-bitsy, persistent problem keeps bubbling up: gay rights.
I’m not going to throw statistics at you, not going to talk at you about STDs. Because, really, I know you prefer to shy-away from informed discussion. When it comes down to it, all of the empirical evidence ever amassed can’t get the most vivid, most disturbing piece of evidence out of your minds: me, in bed, with a man.
And this is where it all gets tricky, where you try and contort your religiosity into saving grace; it’s all for the children, after all–well, except for those most challenged, those most in need of care. You’ll leave them to the gays and lesbians, the transgender community whose politics you can’t ever understand and wouldn’t want to even if you could. You’ll let them all move into the ramshackle neighborhoods, pretty them up, raise those property values, and pay their taxes. But then, when they tap you on the shoulder–you, their neighbor–and ask, “Hey, how about equality?” those voyeuristic bedroom images of yours rush in, pervade your every thought, pollute the air you breathe, and make you turn away. But you rationalize your ideology, undergird it with The Word or your version of morality, and map it on to every living, breathing thing in your path. You’ll appropriate anyone’s personal life if it bolsters your journey to the legislature, up those steps, right to your seat. Because you feel as though my personal life is your life if it can benefit you in some way, get you a cushier seat, make you feel dignified, like you’re one with the people.
Really, though, if you’re so disgusted by where I put it, then get your nose out of there. Go on with your own life and engage the issues that affect us all. Don’t fall victim to the bully’s dilemma: Because I’m insecure with myself, I can’t face the music, can’t see that I’m not in control, I’m not the voice of reason, then let me pick on someone else, subject them to the rack, deny them certain inalienable rights. And sit back and pat myself on the back, sleep better at night knowing that I have a leg up on someone else.
But the truth is this: You’re no different than every other bully or fear-monger spewing your nonsense from on high. We’ve made it this far, not on your “charity,” not because you allowed us to, but because we’re tough–all of us: the lesbians, the transsexuals and transgendered, the drag queens and kings, the bisexuals, the queens, the bears, the leather daddies, the twinks. The queers; the “others” you can’t quite understand. Whether you like it or not, we’re here to stay.
You might not think you’ve lost control, but you have. At some point you’re hate-inspired speech, your rhetoric, your inequality bills will be eclipsed and will make history; but it won’t be the history you’d prefer it to be. It’ll be a quintessential example a future, more informed legislator will one day hold aloft, read a section, and wait for the boos, the hisses, the shaking of heads, the intakes of breath. Because it’s hate-speech, and it’ll go on record as such. Maybe not today, but it will be known for that, and that only. Because the one thing that’s constant in these tumultuous times is change.
And it’s coming, sequins and all.