Is Same Sex Marriage Actually Something We Want?

This week’s readings can be hard to comprehend for some. Why would homosexual, queer or transgendered people oppose gay marriage, hate crime laws or not for profit organizations that claim to be fighting for their rights? Many quickly assume that these not for profit organizations bring equality for people of non normative genders or sexualities. They fight for gay marriage which can help gay couples obtain health care for their partner through their occupation. However, it requires a deeper look. These organizations mainly privilege those closest to being acknowledged by normative society and are quick to forget non normative individuals “who experience homophobia simultaneously with transphobia, poverty, ableism, xenophobia, racism, sexism, criminalization, economic exploitation, or other forms of exploitation” (Spade pg. 66). For example, the health care obtained for a partner through one’s occupation requires that one has an occupation, further privileging those upper class individuals with an education. Dean Spade calls for a much more radical transformation; one that makes waves and not just ripples. Often time our go to tactics are to merely change laws rather than fundamentally change peoples perspectives or perceptions of the formation of our society. Spade gives a table of how traditional or official gay and lesbian organization groups would respond to a problematic issue and then an alternative response from a queer or trans political approach. Rather than working for same sex marriage queer and trans political groups suggest fighting for universal health care along with transgender health care.

Many of the rights these organizations claim to fight for may actually bring about no change. Working towards workplace discrimination legislation will just make it more underground as with racism or sexism. However, I do not think we should minimize the good these organizations could bring about. They are bringing light to typically invisible individual’s lives. With increased attention comes the possibility of a larger scale audience. A larger audience means more people to influence or to contribute to a radical reformation. The only articles that come up when googling information on trans* or queer rights are ones regarding the “huge steps” America has made in legalizing same sex marriage (in a few states). These are not huge steps, radically transforming systems that time and time again oppress not only trans* individuals but people of color, marginalized sexes and immigrants would be huge steps.

 

Kathleen Hennessy

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