Sniffing bottled you again

[Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown On A Bad Bet (Does Your Husband Know?) – Fall Out Boy]

So here’s an unpopular opinion that I only recently came to start mulling over: why bother fighting for gay marriage?

Aaaaand elaboration.

Most of my arguments here will be based on reading of Michael Warner’s The Trouble With Normal (The Free Press, 1999), especially Chapter 3: ‘Beyond Gay Marriage’. Yes, it came as a result of my paper for Sex and the Screen, and I might be reiterating many of my arguments from the paper, but at least here I’m not restricted from rambling.

To very much summarize Warner’s points, the crux of the argument is that marriage itself is an exclusive and discriminatory institution – that it exists purely because it needs something to be compared against. By having a “married” status, there is automatically a “not married” status, because otherwise what separates a married couple from an unmarried? So, right now there is much campaigning for equal rights, such as the right to marry for gays, but Warner points out that if these campaigns were ever met, another group of “unmarried” would appear to contrast the new “gay and married”.

And then we’d go through it all over again. Equal rights for the “new gay”! Maybe they’re sexual dissidents; standing outside of whatever the new sexual norm is – maybe they like tying each other up. And why does that make them illegible for marriage? They can tie each other up in the privacy of their own home, they’re consenting, right? It’s not like they’re tying you up or teaching your kids how to tie each other up. Every year they’ll have a pride march where all these people who are tied up roll down the street, and they’ll pass by the front lawn of this lovely and upstanding lesbian couple, who would subtly try to cover their sperm-donor kid’s eyes because they’re secretly ashamed of what society has become these days. Ugh, can you believe that my child’s teacher was caught with bondage equipment in the trunk of his car? Parked in the very carpark that Jimmy walks through! The nerve!

So right now we’re all fighting for equality – to be equal, or the same, as all these lucky heterosexual people. We’re trying so freaking hard to clamber onto that same step so that we can see the same view and have the same tax breaks, but boy is that step small; boy is that step a fragile and, well, intangible ideal. The very institution of that little step will be destroyed if we let too many people step on it, so we can’t possibly let everyone step on it – someone has to be left on a lower landing so that we can look down at them and say, hey, you should probably try to reach where we are because up here it’s so much better.

Is it really better up there? You look down at your feet and realize that you’re not actually standing on a step, you’re standing on the expense of someone else.

Wow, you’re wearing a ring on your left ring-finger, when did you get married?
Oh, no, I just like wearing a ring on this finger.
Hmm, maybe you should change fingers, after all, we don’t want someone to think you’ve achieved a right when really you haven’t.
But I just like wearing this ring on this finger, my girlfriend gave it to me and I like it.
Oh, so you’re gay? You really shouldn’t wear the ring there, then, lest someone mistakes you for being straight and married. Only they get to wear the ring like that, you know.

So what is my ultimate point? That gays should stop wanting to get married and get equal rights? Kind of, but not really. Call me crazy, and I’m sure I won’t be able to stand my ground should floods of critical comments pour in, but I feel like the whole idea of marriage should just be demolished with a jackhammer and chalked up as a really bad phase that humanity went through. Lots of people say that the reason they choose to get married is because they love each other – and that’s perfectly fine and romantic, but do you really need a piece of paper to remind you that it’s true? You love each other so love each other together, ceremony or not. Oh, right, but you need it to be official and permanent, because if it’s not, the law doesn’t see you as one entity. That’s why I say scrap the whole marriage thing – if two people actually love each other enough to not want anyone else, they should just start loving each other together whenever they feel like it, and banks and courts and schools and hospitals should just say “oh, cool, good for you”.

Oh my, look how I’ve simplified this argument. But where is the religion in all this mix? Marriage is an institution based on the fundamental beliefs of…that’s great, I’m slightly envious that you can have so much faith in something you cannot perceive. If you believe so firmly that a ceremony is the way to officiate your love for each other, then by all means get a bunch of your family and friends together, dress up, say a few words, and have a mad party afterwards where everyone makes speeches. But let’s not make that ceremony the necessity for two people to be recognized as a legitimate couple, okay?

I think I’ve been sufficiently sarcastic and condescending. I’ll stop now.

Alex.

Not because…

I went a little bit OTT with my rambling for today‘s Project 365. That underlined “today” links to the original post. I also included parts of what I wrote down here. Today was meant to be a day where you dress in purple to show support for gay rights. It is to symbolize the part of the LGBTQ flag, which represents soul, or spirit. It is in memory of the 6 boys who killed themselves over bullying for being gay – or for being suspected of being gay. (May have copied and pasted that last part from my 365.)

Do you wonder why people dress in purple today? What does it achieve? I’ve read someone’s wondering at why we don’t just donate money towards organizations that help and support the youths who are being bullied, instead of wearing purple.

Money may fund organizations, yes, but it doesn’t create acceptance. It doesn’t stop the world from seeing gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transexuals (and the Q which I’m sure stands for Questioning) as an Other (here’s my Self and Other ramblings coming in). It doesn’t stop people from thinking that gays choose to be gay, or that it’s a disease, or whatever weird conceptions anti-gays – or even non-anti-gays, just, people in general – have.

So, in this case, wearing purple to show that you support gay rights (and to show commemoration for the deaths) means a lot more than emptying your wallet, right?

I had a thought today about what it would actually be like if gays had the same rights as straight people. I guess it could never happen, because real acceptance would be a world that is something like this:

When a child (let’s for the sake of cohesion, call the child Sam. It’s a unisex name, but I will make Sam a girl) grows up, and reaches the age when she starts liking people, the other kids will tease her. The malice in their words only exists because Sam now has cooties, not because Sam likes another girl

When Sam is a little older, her parents will let her go to the movies without an adult, but only if there an older sibling chaperoning. Sam will beg her older brother or sister not to tell their parents that she’s really going out with a crush, because her mom will pinch her cheeks, say “my little baby is growing up” and making her feel embarrassed, not because her crush is also a girl.

When Sam enters high school, she starts dating officially. Sam and her partner will have people stare at them, because everyone thinks they’re a really cute couple, and not because they’re both girls.

When Sam is about to graduate, and her relationship with her partner is getting kind of serious, the other parents will gossip behind their backs, because they think the two are too young to really be that serious, and not because they’re both girls.

When Sam enters university, she won’t be inundated with fliers asking her to petition for gay rights. Gays have the same rights as straight people in the same way that left-handed people have the same rights as right-handed people (a little pun there).

When Sam starts working, and there is an office party, she will bring her partner. When she introduces her partner to her boss and co-workers, there will be a moment of awkwardness, because the partner had just recently quit the job before Sam started, and not because they’re both girls.

When Sam is getting ready to be married, her mom sighs in exasperation and stress, because Sam insisted that the wedding happen next month, and not because they have to move to a certain country just to be able to get married.

When Sam wants to be a mother, there is a huge problem which reduces Sam to tears, because she realized that her body is not fit for mothering a child, and not because she and her wife are having a hard time being accepted for IVF treatments and adoptions.

When Sam’s child goes to kindergarten, and both Sam and her wife go to pick the child up, the parents of one of the other children warns them to not play with Sam’s child, because Sam’s child has a habit of hitting other people, not because Sam’s child has two moms.

And, not once in her life, will anyone ask her who the “man” of the relationship is, because a relationship was never defined as between a man and a woman.

The fact that real acceptance lies in a reality where there is nothing to accept, because it’s all normal, means that it can never really happen, because in our current world, even if we’ve reached that level of full acceptance, we’ll constantly and consciously be thinking, “this is fine, this is normal, go with it, don’t act any differently”.

Still, that’s better than what we have now, and what have now is better than what we used to have.

In other news, (I forgot to add this to my 365) I tried to change mobile phone carriers today, but it doesn’t seem to have worked, so I will have to call them tomorrow. When I called them tonight, I said, “I changed to your carrier, but I get ‘Invalid SIM Card’ sign instead.” He goes, “when did you change (and try to port your current number over to our carrier)?” I said, “at 5:55.” He said, with possibly the most annoying smug voice ever, “And what time is it now?” “7:40.” “You have to wait 3 hours for it to port.” “3 hours? For sure?” “EXACTLY 3 hours.”

Well, fuck you smug-chug, it’s been nearly 5 hours and I still have an invalid SIM card. If when I wake up tomorrow it’s still invalid, I’m going to call up again and if I get you, I’m gonna smug you right back.

Thank you to Jac who stayed with me for the 2 hours it took to get my SIM card. Something went wrong with the order I made over the phone over the weekend, so the girl at the store, Caroline, had to do it pretty much all over again. It took her AGES and I felt so bad making her do all that when it should have been all done already. And I felt bad for making Jac stay so long since she had assignments and tests next week.

Yep. I know I am not writing much these days here. I think I’ll make myself write at least 15 posts a month over the summer break, right? Okay, so December, January and February, I must must must write at least 15 each month.

Alex.