Have a Cookie
I feel constantly conflicted. I’ve somehow managed to wedge myself into a place where I’m too fringe to be mainstream, and too white-bread to be radical.
I used to put queer at the top of my list of identities. Now, it’s parent.
I used to look like a BIG DYKE. Now, I look like a kinda-lesbo mom, unidentified dried food on my shirt at almost all times.
There are some articles going around with click-bait-y titles like I’m queer and I’m against same-sex marriage. I almost didn’t read it because… I’m queer, and I’m married — and to be honest, I am pretty psyched about being married. I believe that if you want to get married, you should up and do it. And now, we all can. The meat of this article is — look, it’s great that folks can get married, but what about safety issues and housing issues and nondiscrimination issues.
She’s right. We are woefully behind on so many issues, and frankly, it’s shameful.
At the end of the article, the author says (written before Friday’s decision): “If the nation makes a stride in recognizing same-sex marriage, then above all, it’s still a stride that’s too little, too late. To celebrate it, as an ally, is to serve yourself a baking sheet full of proverbial cookies when there is so, so much more work to be done on behalf of the queer community.” I disagree. Yes, there is so, so much more work to do, and it’s SO much more important than marriage. But this decision matters, to so many families, and it’s disingenuous to overshadow the moment.
With the marriage decision, my rights are fully realized. I am white, I am cisgender, I am married, and I live in a state that has a full slate of nondiscrimination laws. This decision is a big deal for my family — it’s the last thing that makes my family not legally other. It’s a big deal for so many families. It’s ok for us to sit down for a second and have a cookie.
Here’s the problem: too many people are sitting down and having their celebratory cookies and not getting up again.
We need to bake more cookies. We need to bring them to rallies for other issues that might not directly affect us. We need to bake cookies for the people who are doing the hard, front-lines work on the things that we can’t quite get our fingers around, but we know in our core are right and just.
It’s clearly not ok that trans women of color are disproportionately affected by physical and sexual violence. It’s clearly not ok that LGBT folks can be legally discriminated against in foster care/adoptions. It’s clearly not ok that we cannot figure out how to safely detain (the politics of detention itself aside) LGBT folks — specifically trans women.
The specifics of these issues are complex and hard to get our arms around. We don’t have to be perfect — we have to know wrong when we see it and call it out, even when we don’t know the right language. And we have to know when it’s time to get out of the way, and lift up those folks who know the issues inside and out.
For those people, we need to get baking. We need to be their support staff. We need to take whatever time and resources that we have to share, and leverage our newfound privilege toward those ends.
So, sure, take a beat, have a cookie, feel good about the win. But then get up, show up, and bring baked goods.