Young, Queer and Reflecting on Organizing Around Marriage

I was in San Francisco last week when the California Supreme Court announced its decision upholding Prop 8 and I took the opportunity to interview some of my friends in the LGBT community about their thoughts on the efforts to organize for marriage.

Going into this project, I wasn't sure what I'd hear. I knew from previous conversations that many in my community of young, queer activists had questioned whether LGBT organizations should continue to prioritize marriage recognition at the cost of other LGBT advocacy efforts.

While some folks were still questioning our community's attention to marriage, I heard from other folks that their opinions on the significance of marriage had changed after they'd witnessed the nationwide mobilizations in the wake of Prop 8. One definite effect of the mobilizations and the prominence of marriage in the public discourse was that my friends seemed to have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how they felt about marriage both personally and politically. As Jon, a grad student in public health at Berkley, said, marriage became something he "had to take more of an opinion on."

I found the diversity of perspectives offered in these conversations insightful and so I thought I'd take the opportunity to share a few clips in the following video.

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(Originally posted to Get Busy 6/2/2009.)

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Emily Rutherford

As a young queer activist, I've been grappling with very similar issues. I believe that there are issues facing LGBT Americans that are as important as--if not more important than--marriage, and I'd be eager to see some of the financial benefits of marriage accessible outside of the social construct of marriage. However, the discourse has now been defined, whether we like it or not, in terms of marriage equality, and achieving marriage equality on a state-by-state basis seems like the most practical way to secure rights for LGBT folks. If that's the case, I'm happy to hop on that bandwagon--even if I'd never get married myself.

Another aspect of the discourse being centered on marriage is that it means anti-LGBT groups are speaking in terms of marriage as well. A lot of what I do is countering those groups' ignorant and prejudicial rhetoric, and so that means engaging on marriage-equality terms.


It seems to me the best way gain equal rights for all people to have access to marriage is to first find a caveat that the court cannot deny right to/for. Take my situation for example....I am legally male and DNA is that of a differently-sexed chimeric hermaphrodite. A case like mine would place a crack in the defination of marriage and "man" and "woman"....I am my own twin and have two sexes reflected in my DNA...which makes my case tangible. My case isnt like a homosexual case nor is it a case of transgenderism...but my case could allow the legal challenege to be presented that would allow precident case setting law. Some day maybe some legal firm will approach me and ask for my help and if they do I will be happy to say yes...because I feel the denial of a basic right on any population of people is a form of discrimination and I'd like to right the wrong! I live in Seattle and its progressive here in many ways but the GLBTIQ community still lack some basic rights that are afforded to other mainstream groups...

Problem is the world hasn't caught on to this possibility as a loophole yet and there are only 20 known cases documented of someone having my DNA...because its ultra rare. One day the world will be more just and I hope I live to see that happen.

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