I wake up, I make coffee, and America is arguing about gay marriage. The television tells us one version of 'the issues of the day'. We know something different. To me, it looks like an outpouring of complexity, and some of the same old divisions appear against LGBT people, and between LGBT people: differences in opinion about gay marriage.
We live in the South, and as a leader within Southerners On New Ground (SONG) I have had the opportunity to witness the stories of thousands of LGBT people, and part of what that means is that I do not get to pretend that gay marriage does not matter to our base, to our people. I have participated in the sheer joy of how people are connected through love, desire and family, and I reject none of the love that all that brings to our people.
In the sea of loneliness that homophobia & transphobia can make, can we dismiss the ways we find each other... the forms that takes? Can we judge the ways queer & trans Southerners find each other? At SONG, we say "no." We have followed the path of what this has meant for so many of our people, we have watched, and sometimes, we have participated.
There are many leaders I care about and respect who have been praying out in the cold around the place the Supreme Court meets. Gathering and praying. I think I understand why they are there.
I know that we know that, as feminists, as internationalists, marriage is an institution that normalizes, and privileges some over others. Those 'some' of us will have lives changed, children protected. That matters to me. Those lives and families matter to me and to many of us.
And yet, the strongest part of the story of queer liberation is the part where we have refused to choose 'some' over 'others'. When we have not written a story of LGBT people as 'normal' or 'assimilated'.
Liberation is not normal. It is wild and free. It pays no price to be what it is. I won't give up on it, I can't. I hope you won't either. There are dawns to come that will look like nothing we can even imagine. But we can't get there if marriage is the end game, the last stop we take together as organized LGBT community.
Inside the movement, we have argued about the marriage issue for years. Because of SONG and other queer liberation work - work that has changed my life - I believe the way forward is not the same old fight of picking sides. The question, instead, becomes: how do we move from the push for a US-based civil right for some, to the struggle for liberation for all?
That question cannot be answered with political opinions alone; it must be answered with the kind of leadership in our movement that moves as spirit moves - holding history, making meaning, holding differences so significant they burn our hands, and transforming us all through shared struggle.
I will be honest, I am not quite sure how to be a leader like that yet, or how to build with many of you to become those leaders. But, I know we have to try, and I hope you are willing to try too.