Today I am writing about a project I learned about from Offbeat Mama concerning a project started by a 25 year old Indiana lesbian (named Stephanie), entitled We Are The Face of Equality.
Stephanie is collecting photos from around of the world of LGBT people in the hopes of creating a project that works towards furthering the rights seeking movement of queer folks globally, but particularly in the United States. She is soliciting photos from anyone interested in participating - and if you are - follow the link for submission information.
On the surface, this project is lovely, optimistic, full of hope. Stephanie wants to create photographic imagery of the love shared by queer folk, to normalize that love. So far, I'm all on board.
The thing I have an issue with is the rhetoric used to explain the need for such a project, which is, principally, that we queers are just 'the same' as everyone else, we are 'normal' too, and thus should be afforded rights. Stephanie argues: "So many of the people that are against equal rights for gays are so because they see us as the stereotypes they see on TV or gay pride parades: half naked, always thinking about sex, drag queens, sleeping around and spreading diseases."
And there's where I walk the plank, so to speak.
Now don't get me wrong - we queers should be afforded the same rights as straight folks. Of course we should. BUT - we should be afforded those rights regardless of whether or not we are 'just like' straight folk. (And for the record, this point is entirely debatable). We should be afforded rights whether or not our children are as 'well-adjusted' as those from straight couplings. We should be afforded rights whether or not we choose to walk around in public in our skivvies. We should be afforded rights whether we are always fucking or thinking about fucking or fucking in public places. Whether or not we are gender normative. Whether or not we believe in or practice monogamy. Whether or not we have sexually transmitted diseases. Or lisp. Or pack. Or perform in drag. Or butch it up. Or femme it up. Or wear butt-less chaps (though - the fashionista in me balks a bit at this one... but, ya know, different strokes...). Or, or, or.... my list could be endless, but who has the time?
If our quest for equality, in whatever form that may take, depends on pandering to the expectation of sameness, that 'equality' won't mean much in the end.