This might not be the best week to argue with the terminology "equal rights", considering what is going on within the government. However, it might also be the best week to do so. So I'm going to go ahead and do it.
When making an argument against "Equal Rights", I want to stress the fact that I am not complaining about the matters and issues that "Equal Rights" is fighting for but, rather, I am critiquing the term "Equal" itself. To me, equal rights is a very westernized idea. It is a concept that does not encompass a universal, global desire. Equal rights is a western construct, an invention birthed from our idealized minds.
Aside from that, however, Equal Rights does not embody the entirety of the problem. I want a term that gets straight to the point. A term that completely encapsulates the needs of everybody while also being peacefully aggressive. We are not all equal and it is important to remember that. It does not mean we are lesser than one another, it simply allows us to define ourselves personally and individually.
By adopting the words "Civil" or "Human", we are granting each other the right to be different while also accepting and acknowledging the fact that we have a right to be treated how we deserve. To be treated fairly and with respect. We are acknowledging the fact that we are: Human.
I think equality is laced with some issues that I do not necessarily see as progressive, especially since I do not think equality always means justice, and one is not always the same.
Justice gets the job done.
I want justice. I want civil and human rights NOW.
and NOT just for marriage.
As important as marriage is to some folk (and I do NOT want to minimize the significance of the marriage movement), I also wish it didn't overshadow the necessity for attention to be given to other societal issues that ALSO impact the LGBT community. We need to restructure marriage as a whole because, although I want those who WANT to be married to be married, and despite the fact that if I do get married it will most likely be to a woman, I still feel that the institution of marriage is not one that is reflective of my views. Not because I do not want to be recognized as someone who is worth being linked to someone I love, or to be able to help each other out with benefits, or to be respected...
...Rather, traditionally, marriage as an institution is problematic for me (from a feminists stance). Marriage as an institution is discriminatory towards single peoples, or, towards couples who do not see the necessity in getting married, yet decide to be committed none-the-less and therefor do not receive the benefits that marriage allows. I do not want to be apart of a body of people who perpetuate discrimination, even if it is as minor as what I just detailed above.
Let's take a look at this link to better understand what I am trying to relay: It isn't all about marriage
While the country was focusing so much energy on promoting marriage justice, many other issues became invisible. These issues have just as much importance and impact a large demographic of people. As Black Girl Dangerous states in her above article:
"As someone who doesn't personally or politically feel connected to so-called 'marriage equality' and, frankly, can't fathom so much time and energy and money being poured into getting one more privilege for one group of people-- especially since the people within that group who will benefit the most are mostly very privileged already--at the expense of countless other really important and much more urgent issues facing the queer community and our society as a whole..."
Let's talk about homelessness, transphobia, bullying in schools, immigration, health issues, sexual violence, the environment, poverty, hunger...etc etc etc. Let's talk about those issues that have been overshadowed and starved by the marriage movement.
As I remember, back during this most recent election, the Vote No campaign regarding VOTER I.D had very little coverage in comparison to the Marriage "Equality" campaign. My personal self is represented in both, and my passions and energy was dedicated in a balanced way. However, discussing these issues further with my aunt, a die-hard supporter of voting no to both, who expressed great regret in the fact that the VOTE No for the Marriage bill had so many more volunteers, money, energy, etc, because people talked about, people hardly knew what the Voter I.D stood for aside from the fact that they didn't want it. This is dangerous because marriage isn't the only important matter in this world and marriage justice isn't the only thing that is going to impact the Queer community. The Voter I.D would have been just as damaging, and to a wider range of people.
Also, we tend to forget (or, white, cis-gender folks do) the necessity of intersectionality and how movements impact EVERYONE. The marriage issue isn't just about sexual orientation, it's about race, class, age, etcetera, because those are the peoples and lives that it will alter, as well. The significance of inclusion within a human rights cause that strives for inclusivity is so important. I can not stress it enough. By excluding large demographics of people from a social and political movement that works for justice is a regressive contradiction. This is why the feminist movement has been riddled with problems because it didn't follow its own mision statement of respecting and acknowledging all walks of people. The same goes for the LGBT (although transgender folk have endured their fair share of disrespect from the queer brothers and sisters, as well) community. If you want change and progress, start with doing so internally.
To get down to it...what I am attempting to say is not that I don't want people to get married, and it isn't that I am without passion for this movement...however, I am without passion for the crazy notion that this is the only thing in this country that is worth our time and it is saddening to me that this is inciting so much energy that is depriving other issues of recognition. I am not going to fight for marriage or "Equal rights" as being the only movements that should yield my attention or my time.
I don't believe equality is enough, nor is it solely what I want.
I believe justice is more necessary.
I am greater than, I think highly of myself, I want to transcend.
I am an individual, I am unique.
I do not want to be JUST "equal" to somebody else because I am DIFFERENT from all other human beings and therefor I want to be my own personal self.
I want equality... but I also want justice.
I want justice for reproductive rights, I want justice for the homeless, I want justice for the hungry.
I want Equal rights AND Justice NOW.
and NOT just for marriage.