Don’t get me wrong. Obviously I am glad that groups like Human Rights Campaign are around fighting against these measures. Like a good, responsible citizen, I also took the five minutes out of my day to phone my senators’ offices directly (as I always do when important issues come up – I never understood people who wouldn’t even do that most minimum of efforts).
Queer folk constantly being on the defensive-end of politics, however, leaves me frustrated. Whenever the Religious Right attempts one of these nasty moves, we are asked to celebrate that we haven’t been forced into a concentration camp. Yea, us. That’s great – we get to live for another day.
Few people stopped to question the implications of the Religious Right’s justification for banning same-sex marriage. The language they used, though, suggests why this fight is about more than just Joe and Jim filing a joint 1040 form. The Religious Right sneaked in a discussion that enforces traditional gender roles that few people noticed. They don’t want same-sex marriage because they envision that it threatens “traditional marriage” that kept women chained to the stove.
Whatever the case, I think it is time for queer folk to stop playing defensively and start demanding things from an indifferent government. Queers with more ambition are what I want to see.
Here is a list of things that I think the government should provide us, as a people:
1. Equivalent government funding for AIDS research as it provides for military research. It seems only fair to me that every dollar spent thinking about ways to murder people should be matched by money spent trying to save human lives.
2. An amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and an amendment banning discrimination based on gender identification.
3. Because of the difficulty in coming to terms with one’s sexuality in a homophobic society, the government should provide $5,000 cash for each young person who successfully comes out of the closet and another $5,000 U.S. savings bond. Plus the government should give that young person their choice of an all expense-paid night at either their favorite gay disco or their favorite lesbian soft-ball game.
4. Monetary compensation for all military personnel (or their survivors) who have been dismissed because of their sexual orientation.
5. $500 million to subsidize the creation of major queer centers in San Francisco, Chicago, Santa Fe, New York, Atlanta, and Boston.
6. Eliminating the picture of Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill and replacing him with an image of Wonder Woman.
7. Declaring June 10 a national holiday, but only for queer people. Yeah, that’s right, the government will pay us our regular salary on that holiday. All Conservative Christian heteros in the country, conversely, will be required to spend four hours of community service cleaning queer people’s homes and/or doing their yard work. This will be Conservative Christians' punishment for making our lives hell. At the end of the day, a queer person gets to ask said Conservative Christian hetero, “So, where’s your God now?”
8. Because queer folk often faced horrific scientific experiments in the past, all queer folk should be guaranteed free access to medical care for the rest of their lives.
9. Government money to create an independent publishing house that will print queer-oriented materials at cost.
10. Government money to create a free queer-oriented television station equivalent to PBS (only less boring). We can even get the folk from Avenue Q to create their version of Sesame Street. Of course, it goes without saying, Bert and Ernie would be forever transferred to this new network after they finally declare their love for each other.
11. Any leader of an ex-gay group that has a member commit suicide should be prosecuted for murder by the federal government.
12. Because queer folk often faced harassment and bulling through their public school years, the government should provide a free-ride at any institution of higher learning they want to attend. That should include bartending schools as well.
13. Establish a major statue of a queer hero on the Capitol grounds. We can decide who this queer hero would be later (though I think that GayProf would look quite fetching in bronze. I am just sayin’).
14. Require unisex restrooms in all public buildings.
15. Free parking for queer folk. Why should queer folk pay for parking in urban areas? Our queer dollars often kept those urban areas afloat. The government can get the money for this parking subsidy by taxing the shit out of gas-guzzling SUV’s and Ford F-150's.
16. Government-sponsored seminars for better same-sex sex (preferably with optional hands-on training) and a government-run queer dating service. Since our sex lives have been vilified for centuries, it seems only fair that the government do something to make sure we enjoy them to our full possibility now.
17. Monthly deliveries of free condoms and lube from the government for all single and/or non-monogamous queer men.
18. Monthly deliveries of free massage oil and herbal tea from the government for all single and/or non-monogamous lesbians.
19. The red stripes in the U.S. flag should be replaced with a light magenta color.
20. Tax credits for queer folk who live in isolated towns in the U.S. South so that they can pay for access to same-sex porn. Same-sex porn, after all, is part of our cultural heritage.
21. Government subsidies for drag queens learning their craft. That’s right, I think the U.S. government should pay 30 percent of a drag queen's wages until she can make it on her own. It takes time to develop wit, after all.
22. A special government-run cell phone service that will keep all queer folk connected at all times.
23. Free training for community organization, photography, and film making.
24. Replace the slogan “In God We Trust” with “In Sappho We Trust.”
25. Queer history will be taught as part of U.S. history in all public schools.
26. A federal museum honoring queer innovations (I envision one wing shaped like a giant phallus, the other wing shaped like a giant vulva).
27. Rename the state of Oregon “Queerlandia;” rename Portland “Gaysville;” and rename Salem "Lesbos."
28. TaB should be the Federally Recognized Queer Soft Drink of America and be free to all queer folk.
29. An apology from the U.S. Supreme Court for wrongly intervening in the 2000 election and wrongfully installing George W. Bush as president (This isn’t just a queer issue, but while I am making a list...).
30. Because studies suggest that queer folk lead more stressful lives than their hetero counterparts, I think the government should build several resort destinations just for queer folk. Man, I feel a little tense right now – I think I should have a free trip to The Mountain Queer Resort in Utah for a little R&R.