I am not your senorita
I am not from your tribe
In the garden I did no crime
So, they upheld Prop H8 in California, denying homosexual people the right to marry. Not that that right would even amount to much on the federal level anyway, in case you'd wondered. It's quite surreal. As women (and lesbians, and whatever else), most of us are used to systemic and institutional discrimination, to threats, to the emergent properties of all that¹, but it's still surreal to so very openly see it in codified law of a Western country.
Sure, we already live in a golden cage in that as women, we can't easily go to live and/or work in countries that severely limit our freedoms and legal rights², so that's another way our work-options are limited versus men's, but seriously, it feels like suffrage in Switzerland (complete in the early '70s), or interracial marriage in the US ('60s): Open discrimination in actual law seems like a thing of the past in the west, like something from our mothers' and grandmothers' generations. It's like saying, "Yeah, we're discriminating against you, whatcha gonna do about it?" Where is our Loving v Virginia? And will it have as memorable a name?
Woman, John Lennon sang in '72, is the n… of the world; a phrase coined by Yoko. While that phrasing is unfortunate especially by today's standards and invites oppression Olympics, it is very tempting to compare the (nominal) vote for black men and women's suffrage (~50 years lag from the former to the latter), interracial and homosexual marriage (~50 years and counting), the first black president vs not even having had a female vice president. Which all in all seems to guarantee only one thing: black lesbians finish last. That's intersectionality for you.
Things are getting desperate
When all the boys can't be men
Everybody knows I'm her friend
Everybody knows I'm her man
But really, it may not all just be about teh gays. There was this article in the New Yorker ("Is my marriage gay?" — you'll have to google it, I can't link to it directly) that everybody talks about. This transsexual woman got married (to a woman) when everybody thought she was a man. So now it's a gay marriage. And depending on what state she is in, whether they recognize transsexuals, what they think defines "male" and "female", and whether they have gay marriage, she steps over this arbitrary, invisible line in the sand, and *whoosh*, she's male. And heterosexually married. Or still female, but magically single. Or male and single, or female, and still in her gay marriage. So, it's all completely random. And did I mention arbitrary? Then she goes on to note that with AIS and G-d knows what else out there, it's even less clear cut. Who is a man? Give us a clue?
Both sci-fi short stories and tabloids are made of these — imagine a scenario where airports upgrade to genetic fingerprinting, and a highranking politician comes out as intersexed, or an XY woman of whatever kind — suddenly, they the find themselves in a "gay marriage," or see their marriage annulled. All hell breaks loose. A flimsy equivalent of the One-drop rule is swiftly instated …
Did I mention arbitrary?
Seriously, this whole thing makes my brain hurt so much that I'd be pro marriage is between two consenting adults just to make it go away, even if it weren't The Right Thing.
Seriously though, if genetics don't hold, and Arnold's Boys have a penis, and girls have a vagina! will not hold, what universal constants do we really have for gender, outside of oppression? If our definition of, say, male basically ends up boiling down to, a person taught to take for granted unearned privilege, then that not only does that leave sufficient room for people with XY chromosomes, gay or straight, transsexual or not, to be perfectly respectable human beings, it also makes the accusation of "man-hating feminist" really obviously absurd — if a man isn't someone with XY chromosomes, but somebody who benefits from unearned privilege, in effect ill-gotten gains, then a little distrust seems very much in order, after all. And really, if, say, an African-American decided that "my lot" messed over "their lot" once too often and that they will presume me untrustworthy until proven otherwise (or even forever), I think my answer would probably be, That's a shame; I try not to be an arsehole, and sometimes I even succeed, but, your call. It is not after all, comparable to doing it the other way around — sing with me: "systemic, structural, institutional, and emergent!"
I am not your senorita
I do not aim so "high"
In my heart I did no crime
Seriously, we need to get away from Gender Apartheid. Associating half of the modes of expression as "male" and the other half as "female" leaves everyone half a person, and marriage can be so much more than two dysfunctional people stumbling along together. If that's your whole case, breaking be-penis-ed children in one way and be-vagina-d children in another so they can prop each other up (with the vagina-American candidate usually getting the arse-end of the deal even then) when they grow up, then you aim too low.
¹ Of course, the thing about privilege isn't just that you usually don't experience these things at all, and never enough to see any emergent properties, it's that you have the privilege not even to know about these things. Privilege tends to include the privilege of being unaware of yours. It's how you can find heterosexual white males who claim with a straight face that ZOMG they're being discriminated against too, on a comparable level, making you think, Whoa, delusion, Will Robinson! Impedance mismatch, much?
² As in, more than we're used to, in that "no leaving the house on your own; whatever happens to you is your own fault" way. In fact, that way of thinking is alive and not well in some even in this day and age, even in the west — shorter dork: "Marriage is about men protecting women who'd need no protection if it weren't for men. So why would homos have it?"
Lyrics: Tori Amos — Raspberry Swirl
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