I didn’t think I’d get to be making this blog post so soon. I didn’t expect America’s LGBTQA community to reach this wonderful, celebratory milestone so soon but I am so, so thrilled that same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states (even Texas! I mean, can we take a minute?!) This may well have not been my fight as a British heterosexual but, as an ally, I cannot express my gratitude to the Supreme Court enough for finally having the sense to make this a legal, lawful thing. Love truly does triumph!
That isn’t why I’m making this post though. I’m as ecstatic as the next guy but I personally felt the need to write down a few of the negative elements I’ve seen floating around today and other aspects that I think less clued-in people should be aware of and/or need reminding of.
First thing on my list is bierasure and panerasure. For those that may not know what these terms mean, they refer to the erasure of bisexuals/romantics and pansexuals/romantics both within the lgbtqa+ community and outside of it. An example of this is when a girl is dating another girl and people presume they are lesbians in spite of the fact one or both of them could be bi/pan. In a lot of the news articles today (and even in President Obama’s tweet, see above) there has been an overwhelmingly large reference to how gay and lesbian couples can now marry across America. Which is wonderful—because they can! It’s just, gay and lesbian should not be used interchangeably with same-sex given what I said above. Two men marrying or two women marrying may not identify as gay or lesbian and by referring to them as so, Obama and the media are contributing extortionately to bi and panerasure. Which is shit. As if it doesn’t already happen enough.
The next is that, even though this is a day of celebration which will go down in history, it’s not all sunshine and daisies for many of those who are a part of the lgbtqa+ community. There were a number of states where, until today, same-sex marriage was still outlawed due to a disgustingly large amount of homophobes living there and/or homophobic members of the Senate. Simply because a law has been passed now to make all marriage equal in the eyes of the law does not mean that there will not be negative consequences i.e. violence. Violence as well as both physical and verbal abuse are parts of a very real reality for many lgbtqa+ identifying people, particularly in the states where it was most recently still banned for same-sex couples to wed. If you or anybody you know live in one of these states (or any state), in a neighbourhood where a violent reaction to today’s news is likely, I urge you to please stay safe and take every precaution to maintain safe and keep others around you safe.
Which leads me onto the next point: the fight isn’t over. No matter how momentous today has been as a milestone for lgbtqa history there are still many more paces to walk in order to achieve full equality even in America. Across the world being gay is still not allowed: it is illegal in many countries, still thought of as a mental illness in others, even punishable by death in a few. America might have made its biggest step yet, but a great surge of energy will need to be maintained if we ever want global equality. I hope people don’t think the fight is over. I hope people (allies, mostly) don’t sit back now, pat themselves on the back and say “job well done” because there is still so, so much more to do. Even in America it is currently still legal to fire people based on their sexual or gender identity so whilst today has been amazing (and I am not in any way trying to minimise how truly, exceptionally wonderful the news is) every effort is needed to continue to the carry the equality movement onwards and upwards.
As a final note, I want to send a message to those people who aren’t out yet who may have had to sit and listen to loved ones pass negative comments on the same-sex marriage bill all day. If this was you and you are in this situation, I love you and I am here for you, always. May you find every love and happiness in the future and know that the lgbtqa+ community and its allies stand by your side throughout your journey, no matter the outcome.
Massive love to everyone out there! Congrats America, today has been revolutionary! ♥