"Shut up, calm down, and be happy. In the last 10 years there's been more progress in LGBT rights than in your lifetime, so relax."
Silly me. I'm gay. And I'm pissed.
Now, I know that's unpopular in my community. We're not supposed to be angry; we're supposed to be encouraged. We're not supposed to be vehemently upset; we're supposed to be motivated. We're not supposed to be condemning; we're supposed to be encouraging.
Well, say it with me: Poppycock!
The Olympics have passed. Not one person has given me one good reason why we should have participated in that dystopian event of all dystopian events other than the glory and the hard work and dedication of the athletes. How Hunger Games can we be? The games are fine because of the players?
The most costly Olympics ever, indeed: They cost the world its dignity. Because going there and "protesting" what is happening to gays in Russia has done nothing. Nothing. It is just as hard to be gay in Russia right now as it was before. Atrocities are happening daily, tacitly sanctioned by the state, and we send notes of condemnation, or look, Johnny Weir gets to be in drag, so it's all OK.
What a load of horsesh*t -- big, steaming piles of it.
Beyond the lights of the Olympic Village is such poverty that most the first world can't even understand it, living conditions that are beyond deplorable, LGBT rights violations -- hell, humanity violations. But Putin got to shine, Russia got to look great, and what's the medal count?
Too high. Or at least the cost of them was.
But we went under protest, at least.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has until Saturday to decide whether she'll put a gay Jim Crow law into action, a law that says that your business can discriminate against customers according to your religious beliefs. It's really the right's new tactic against the LGBT community. And it passed Arizona's legislature in 2014.
Companies have encouraged Jan Brewer to veto the law. They include Apple, the new American Airlines. There's talk that the Super Bowl might move.
WTF? You are rallying a veto because the law would be bad for business and bad for the economy? So if she vetoes the bill, it's over money and not human rights?
Screw the fact that it is legalized bigotry disguised as religion. Screw the fact that members of the LGBT community of Arizona will be immediately marginalized and put in physical danger. Yes, physical danger. It sends a message: If your religion is against gays, treat them as dirt. It's OK. They're not human; they don't deserve the same as good, God-fearing individuals. Beat them, kill them, hang them to fence posts, let their youth suffer and die at their own hands; it's God's will, because they are sinners, and you and your business should only have to serve and deal with people who are in line with your religion.
I won't even address that in 2014 other than to say it's time for an atheistic nation if that is what religion is about. Our founders are screaming in their graves for the feds to slap the politicians of Arizona should this law go into effect. But the feds won't.
Oh, Obama is outraged. They all are. That and $1 will get me... nothing. It's the new economy.
Meanwhile, in my state of California, there's a new push to repeal legislation that protects transgender kids at school and allows them more freedom to actually be themselves in an healthy, safe environment -- you know, what schools are supposed to be for all kids.
But no, God's followers won't have it. So in His name, there's a new push to make sure these kids are again marginalized and looked at as freaks. Because they are. They believe God says they are freaks. I know because his followers are quoted as saying so, and if they don't say it out loud, verbally, their actions do.
The do-nothing Congress lived up to its reputation last session. The Senate finally passed ENDA, the little bill that says you can't fire someone for being gay. Oh, yeah, in 29 states in America right now, it is legal to fire someone for being gay or lesbian. There's been a bill for years to fix that. But the House of Representatives turned it down, again. The president refuses to sign an executive order that would at least protect gay and lesbian employees of federal contractors. Of course, he refuses to do that a lot on issues of equality.
Meanwhile, the religious right of our nation isn't content to bash American gays over and over, so they are funding anti-LGBT bigotry, hatred, and death outside the United States. Al Jazeera English (the only real news agency these days -- ironic, no?) has been running stories about this for a while now -- for years, even.
That's why the new law in Uganda is no surprise, nor is the Ugandan president calling gays disgusting or any of the other gay apartheid being practiced by despots in Africa and financed by hateful Americans. Right now in Uganda, a national tabloid has printed the names and photos of 200 "homos." Those people may be killed by mobs if they don't hide. Lovely.
Russia, Uganda, and yes, the U.S. For anyone who thinks it's a great time to be gay, get the hell out of your media bubble and back in the real world.
Today in Arizona gays are afraid. Today in 29 states gays live in fear. Today in California transgender individuals are under attack again. Today in two thirds of America, LGBT people in love can't marry.
But I'm not supposed to be angry. I'm supposed to go to the HRC, GLAAD, and EQCA dinners (not that I get invited) and congratulate this or that lawmaker for their stance on this or that issue of equality. I'm supposed to donate and march and rejoice every time a court throws a scrap out. I'm supposed to be glad that the world reacted to Russia with condemnation (but everyone still went), and that people are denouncing Uganda.
But I repeat: Today in Arizona gays are afraid. Today in 29 states gays live in fear. Today in California transgender individuals are under attack again. Today in two thirds of America, LGBT people in love can't marry. Add in the fact that the suicide rate among gay teens is still the highest worldwide. Throw in Russia, Uganda and others....
Yes, I can see all the progress and reason for rejoicing.
Follow Charles Karel Bouley on Twitter: www.twitter.com/therealkarel