I learned some personal lessons in trust in the course of 2010 when I became the second of three board members to resign from the fizzling Catholics4Equality, but that was small in comparison to what our entire LGBT community learned about trust in the areas of religion, government and activism.
While there is nothing wrong with folks feathering their personal nests while championing our collective interests, there is much wrong with insincere and often deceitful representation in the name of justice. Here's how I have honed my handle on the truth about the efforts that impact us.
Entities like Bilerico have helped us see the events of 2010 more clearly. Where would we be if we had to rely on lobbyists, apologists, bishops, politicians and mainstream media for direction? Did we as LGBT activists or writers press our own agenda? Of course we did, and very often fought over control of that agenda like a group of squabbling children grabbing all at once at the Rubik's Cube of LGBT rights.
I don't bemoan that. Committee work is never neat, and over the last twelve months, surveys have shown that attitudes are changing in our favor. The fear of living next door to a married queer couple is dissipating. The fear of showering next to an out gay soldier is becoming little more than a late night talk show joke. The fear of bullying in the lives of children is being addressed with the fervor that fueled the eradication of polio fifty years ago.
Sadly, in the process of these accomplishments, I lost a significant amount of trust.
I stopped trusting the words of our President assuring us that he really holds our interests in heart. Passing the repeal of DADT in the final moments of the year spoke volumes about his dread of the repercussive voice of our community more than about his actual intentions.
I stopped trusting in the secret good will of gay priests and bishops and cardinals, some of whom I have known for decades. I had hoped they would knock themselves out trying to bridge the huge distance between an oddly befuddled old pope and the faithful that they claim to love, as do shepherds guide and protect their flock. The terrible fact that not one member of the hierarchy produced an "It Gets Better" video was one among several final straws.
I stopped trusting many of our major LGBT activist groups. While the mission statements of such entities hold water for us, the flow of money that translates to potable sustenance is an unjustifiable trickle. It would not at all surprise me if 2011 marked a growth in local LGBT vigilante activism - swift and covert - directed against locally oppressive persons and institutions. Having personalized the face of LGBT America, we will now begin to settle our disputes as do neighbors with adjoining picket fences. Will this be the price or the prize of visibility?
I stopped trusting that somewhere in the unseen laboratories of national health officials, medical geniuses were burning midnight oil to find a way to vanquish HIV. I still hope that the prospect of a Nobel prize and monumental recognition will be enough to energize those brilliant researchers who continue to astound me with what they learn about those tiny voracious and bellicose universes that spin and forage unchecked downstream in our blood. I still believe I'll live to see the end of this nightmare.
I have stopped trusting in a national recovery and renaissance. Everything recent that has happened in our American automobile and banking industries - and our rather docile acceptance of those gross inefficiencies - makes me glad I have some cash socked away in a Canadian bank.
I have stopped trusting that in my lifetime, tens of millions of us will be using adjacent sea water rather than precious fresh water to flush down our toilets, or that I will be able to convince my condo board that our roof should be supporting solar panels or, God forbid, a wind mill.
Finally, I have stopped trusting my own hopes of an exciting afterlife. Every day, I dissect my motives for trusting that the universe intends my eternal life in some format or another. Maybe, after awhile, you just stop. Like a car that doesn't know it's been running out of gas. The passengers get out of you and find other ways of going somewhere. That's all. And in my head, there is always snow seen through a nearby street lamp, and the clatter of revelry in a nearby cafe. A darkness, not sad but peaceful. The knowing echo of your steps on the sidewalk. I wonder if that isn't enough for all time.
Anyway, I've miles and years to go before I solve that mystery. Meanwhile, I intend to devote 2011 to caring for my husband, friends and readers who put up with my perpetually imperfect performance. You doggedly dazzle me and in you I will trust.
(Photo via Señor Codo's Flickr photostream)