Thursday, August 07, 2003
Equal != Same
22:49: I was stripped of my inequality today.
Or, rather, I was reverse anti-gay bashed.
Call in the hate crime police.
You see, I've always had a very allergic reaction to the Human Rights Campaign's politics. Trust me, I'm a believer that there's no reason why government or anyone else should tell me who and how I can fuck. But I don't accept the legitimacy as an "Equality Bringing" entity, of an organization that attempts to pursue "equal rights for all" while at the same time ignoring the intersection of discrimination based on sexual orientation with the power dynamics inherent in economic red-lining, traditionalist conceptions of nuclear, monogamist families as the only viable entities, the whitening of discrimination, and the elision of core components of Queerdom from their homogenizing, bourgeois narrative of marriage and military service aspirations.
Yes, these goals are fine and good. I don't imagine too many out there who are fighting against those things within the various components of the queer communities. But HRC's politics, unlike those of other organizations such as NGLTF or other community organizations I've been involved with, pursue these at the expense of a broader pursuit for social justice and equality, and this only works to pit one movement against another.
In any event, one thing about their politics that distresses me is their symbol. An equal sign: how inocuous. But aside from equal rights, that equal sign signifies sameness. It signifies a homogeneity in conceptions of family, which on its own seems to exclude those amongst my friends who don't aspire to that picket-fence-and-puppies-and-babies imagery, and certainly doesn't account for the fact that once the marriage-and-military-service agenda is complete there will still be broad economic inequities hidden behind the mythology of the homo-with-lotsa-disposable-income, broad racial tensions rooted in our own inability as collective faggotry to deal with difference in a meaningful way.
But above all, I dislike the whole sameness thing. I've always been a contrarian. Perhaps it's lingering feelings of not being one of the cool kids, or not fitting in, or what-have-you, but I appreciate those who understand that being just like everybody else is unnecessarily rigidly boring.
So, I took one of HRC's stickers, two parallel yellow lines on a blue field, and intersected them with an angled transverse yellow line cut out of another sticker, creating alternate interior angles that were congruent and a different sign of not-equals. Because I aspire to equality under the law, but we still don't have that, and once the HRC's limited view of the world is complete we still won't have that.
I placed this reconstituted signifier on my car's bumper. I've been asked a few times why I have a not-equals sign, and I've explained, and people have gotten it.
A few nights ago, I think while the car was parked next to the soon-to-be-completed Museum of the American Indian, someone decided that having a not-equals sign was just not appropriate, and decided to homogenize my car's bumper by removing that angled transverse intersector, leaving only the two parallel lines, horizontal and truncated by a field of blue.
Now my equal sign is just like everyone else's.