December 6, 2008

Gay is the new black, haven't you heard?

Okay, I've been reading Renee of Womanist Musings and her great post here about the new cover of The Advocate. The cover declares that gay, it's the new black. I'm assuming by this they don't mean the color, as in "Hey, everyone's wearing it this winter!" but the people, as in Blacks.

The more I think about it the more this irritates the fuck out of me. As I don't say very often I identify as a queer female--or at the very least definitely unstraight--but I'm also black. Among a lot of things.

I just want to know what the fuck "the new black" is supposed to mean. How is gay suddenly the new black? After Prop 8 folks went from blaming the blacks (they constituted 70% of the Yes on Prop 8 vote but they don't even make up that much of the state of California...uhh?) to suddenly trying to appropriate "the struggle" as their own. Like, am I missing several steps here?

The cover declares the gay rights struggle as the last great civil rights struggle. Um, negative. As I see it the gay rights struggle is probably one of the more notable struggles of our times--well, I suppose I should say "currently" actually. But it ain't gonna be the last and I'm going to question "greatest". Because no one else is currently struggling for equal rights or anything. It may not be as profound as say, the 40s & 50s for women and blacks (and everyone else I suppose) right NOW, but that doesn't mean we've all just stopped and said "Equality at last!" and gone back home. The LGBT community isn't out there fighting the big fight.

That's just pretentious, and, I'm gonna say it, silly. I don't want to put down the movement--ever--but there's been some serious missteps going on since the Prop 8 decision. In a way I guess it's like watching someone get sucker-punched and stagger around a bit. You're a little dizzy and disoriented because you probably didn't see that coming. I can definitely understand that but this cover and its implications (and my interpretation) is just driving me up a wall right now.

I think I'm being a little or a lot harsh on this but this is getting on my damn nerves. I've seen some interpretations in defense of comparing the gay rights struggle to the black civil rights struggle, some neutral ones, and some against. I'm not really asking what to believe since I know where I fall. All I want to know, really, is how the hell "gay is the new black" and why no one thought that sentiment might be a little, I dunno, offensive. I am so serious, someone please explain this to me because I've been watching Discovery Military for the past couple of days and obviously not paying attention. If you don't mind that is.


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