As a volunteer on the GLAD Answers hotline where we receive calls from LGBTQ individuals about various forms of discrimination it's all too clear to me how dangerous it is to make assumptions about the progress marriage equality marks in American history for LGBTQ communities. In my first piece for The Establishment I address the larger structures of inequality that remain unaddressed by the marriage equality and point to the many activists who have long spoken out about this topic.
For this story I spoke with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Sylvia Rivera Law Project and Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney of the ACLU LGBT and HIV Project. I also included videos from DarkMatter, a trans south asian performance art duo I saw perform in Cambridge last month who rocked my damn world.
I also point out in this piece that we can't make any assumptions about forms of queerphobia (transphobia, biphobia, lesbophobia, homophobia) being on the decline considering the lack of reliable hate-crime statistics dependent on reports from police departments, a place where many queer and trans people do not find it safe to report.
The story was cross-posted over at HuffPost Queer Voices where it was the lead story for a couple of days. People in the comment section on their Facebook page raised some interesting points including the queerphobia within the queer community against trans folks and the rise of hate crimes in general since 9/11.
Although I haven't read the book yet I learned that Gerald N. Rosenberg's book The Hollow Hope speaks to the concerns of using federal legal reform to make change. The narrative of progress from federal legislation in case after case is called into question in a way that appears to be holding true for queer and trans communities as well.
I anticipate more pieces in the coming months about America as a post marriage equality nation. I hope they will engage in some of the critical questions and concerns raised by activists who have long worked for racial and economic justice.