Friday, November 7, 2008

Mixed Emotions

I have very mixed emotions, as many gays do, with the results of the recent elections.

One one hand, the democrats won, which is good, to say the least. We have the first Africa-American president -- also very good. And he is at least gay-friendly, although he doesn't support gay marriage and has too many evangelical-type friends to suit me. The main problem -- among many -- with the Republicans is their idiotic alliance with the religious right, their failure to understand the need to separate church and state. I hope Obama doesn't make the same mistake. Certain of his remarks during the whole mess when he had that homophobic, ex-gay gospel singer on his tour gave me the idea that on some gay issues Obama just doesn't get it. But that's true of most family men when it comes to us gays.

At least we have a better chance under the democrats of getting various gay rights bills and gay marriage bills passed. If the Republicans had won, we wouldn't have had any chance at all.

Still, whatever [relative] elation many of us feel over Obama's win is minimized by the passing of Proposition 8 in California, which bans same-sex marriage. While I appreciate that Obama always mentions gays and lesbians when he talks of Americans, we must keep in mind that religious family man Obama does not support gay marriage (which, I have said, is as much about human equality as it is about marriage).

Wayne Besen looks at the reality that many blacks do not support gay marriage or gay rights and are indeed homophobic, but he argues -- correctly, I believe -- that it is more about educational levels than race. His column on this makes for an interesting read. While I think an anti-gay "machismo" can affect even educated men, it does tend to be less educated males of all races who are externally or internally homophobic, and are -- if homosexual -- on "the down low." Still, many gays -- many of whom supported civil rights for blacks their entire lives and even worked hard for civil rights -- are disappointed that some members of this oppressed minority group are so willing to oppress another.

But as I have said before, rather than letting this engender inappropriate and equally hypocritical racist feelings in those of us who are gay and non-black, it is better to remember that their are many out and proud black gay people, and many straight blacks are very supportive of gay rights. Besides, think of the mixed emotions that many Americans who are both black and gay feel during this time.

Let's keep things in perspective.

Still, it's hard not to see the irony and feel just a bit bitter. The same day that the first African-American president is voted into office -- an historical occasion, long in coming -- gays are told by the passage of Proposition 8 and other bills that we are second-class citizens. that our lives and loves are unequal and our feelings don't matter.

In other words, the more things change, the more they stay the same.