days go by

I haven't posted here in over a month because, well, nothing's changing. We got some interesting data, most significantly that knowing GLB people didn't affect how people voted that much. I'd say this is really significant, but once the first surprise sank in I realized that it made sense.

We accept that people may not think they have "anything against" us while still expressing raging bigotry. Anyone who's participated in any debate involving a minority knows the old classic, "some of my best friends are [insert group here] but...." The thing is, generally when interacting with our friends we see them as, well, our friends, not as "a black person/Latino/Hindu/Libertarian." There are exceptions -- for instance, I get my hair cut by a black woman I could never possibly fail to see as a black woman, because she's an activist and a half -- and subconsciously we may be affected, but as a general rule an individual person is first and foremost a person. When thinking about the group they belong to, we probably don't think of them first. We think of the stereotype.

I read an article the other day about the Swiss government's movement to restrict nude hiking in anticipation of a huge number of German tourists hiking naked later this year. Between that, a similar issue in Italy a while back, the infamous nude skydiving video I'm too lazy to dig up, and the airline for nudists, I've become very attached to the stereotype of "naked in public = German" and vice versa. And actually some of my best friends are German and to the best of my knowledge aren't in the habit of hiking naked, and I never associate any of them with nudity. And yet, say "German" to me and I think, not of them, but of the skydiving guys. I daresay even if/when I go to Germany this summer and discover that most if not all of the people I meet are fully clothed, I will continue to have this association. My point is, beliefs about groups of people, once formed, are fairly resistant to the influence of individuals in those groups.

"Well, then," I can hear you saying, "if knowing people doesn't change anything, what can we do? Being out obviously isn't enough." Ah, she responds arrogantly to the imagined masses, this returns to the idea of being actively out. It's not enough for us to say "I'm gay" once and have that be an end to it. It's probably not enough to bring a partner to every gathering. You have to, like my hairdresser, be an activist. Discuss the issues. Make people see you and the group together, not apart.

The difficulty of this is that it is freaking exhausting. I am so damn' sick of having to introduce the terminology and underlying concepts, dispel the common myths, and then debate my basic rights with people, I wish I never had to do it again. I'm tired of putting myself out there, hearing the same old tired responses, failing to change anything. And I'm only 20, and I've only been talking about this for maybe four years, so I can only imagine that the older activists must be on their fifth or sixth wind at least. And I'll be there, given time.

Right now I'm burnt out because there is no news. There is no justice, but more importantly my faith in humanity's still off somewhere. I was at a concert earlier this month, and the time had come to sing "Step By Step" together and I realized that I couldn't do it because, while I believe it intellectually, my heart is not so sure. That's the long-term thing here -- I don't trust that the right will prevail any more. Only months ago I was a proud idealist, convinced that if only we worked hard enough all would be well, and now I'm fighting just to get that back. And it doesn't stop hurting, and it won't no matter what the court rules, because I don't have faith in the system to protect me, or in the people, or in God. I hope like hell this will pass, because if it doesn't I think I'll end up nonfunctional, addicted to something and hating the world, driven to do something beyond anyone's power and make the world right.

Wow, that was a downer. Sorry, folks.

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