There is a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. Among many things to celebrate this year, we can rejoice and celebrate diversity, specifically the gift of equality before the law, as some states legalized same sex marriage in 2013. Finally, gays and lesbians may have the same rights, via marriage, as heterosexual couples have always had. Now, same sex couples may have access to such things as health insurance, SSI benefits and there is no longer the worry that one’s family of origin can interfere in monetary and life and death decisions. For heterosexual couples these rights have always been basic, never fought for but rather considered entitlements — routine benefits of marriage. We can say, “Happy Holidays” to all for this long fought battle.
However, let us not forget, as we consider this celebratory time of year (one that for many is a celebration of the birth of the Christ figure), that we live in a country where Christian morality is the driving force of nationalism and identity politics — where church is state and state is church. Fear and the powerful, self – righteous right wing, have blurred, if not eroded, the boundaries between church and state. Whether queer or not, we all reside under dangerous patriarchal structures where hatred of the Other (whatever is different from the white, male, Christian, heterosexual) and violence is escalating in greater proportions than ever. Violence and mass homicides are often carried out with legalized guns and weapons, facilitated by the very legal system that passed same sex marriage.
This holiday, let us each take a moment to break from our celebrations, great and small, and contemplate what we can do to fight hatred and violence — not only through legislation. Laws are not enough to change culture. There are no laws that can protect us from extreme morality, not in the courts, the political arena, and not in the social order.
You can celebrate the holidays, and celebrate marriage and the right to love whom you choose — if you live in those states that passed such laws, but be vigilant when you are holding hands or kissing your same sex spouse, since you too can be shot to death, as we have seen these crimes happen in the middle of gay friendly NYC. This holiday take a moment and glance at the society in which you reside, and if you are queer please do not have a false sense of security based on legislation but rather, be aware of the violence associated with hate and “morality.” Acts of change can only succeed in the courts if they are accompanied by protests and support from the social arena.
Maybe we cannot simply say happy holidays just yet — not until there is no fear of who you are, where you live and whom you love. This holiday season let’s fight for ending all forms of violence. Let’s make change as we transform culture and hope for a different world.. in the new years to come.
Peace to all.