According to this week’s Advocate cover story, Hillary Clinton & Barack Obama are both completely comfortable with gays (I’d give a direct quotation, but I couldn’t bring my cheap-ass self to purchase the magazine). . Okay. Note to self: when you, Barack & Hillary are at a cocktail party, it is okay to chat. Your flaming dyke-ness won’t make them uncomfortable.
What exactly does it mean to be “comfortable with gay people” anyway? On a social/familial level it means A LOT to me. I would be devastated if the people I love and respect most saw the fact I’m queer as reason to stop loving and respecting me back. On a political & governmental level comfort is not enough.
Theoretically I care whether politicians are comfortable with gay people, because theoretically such comfort could lead to equal rights. Lets not hold our breaths though. Plenty of straight people, politicians and voters alike, are comfortable with us, but last I checked there is still a federal defense of marriage act (DOMA) on the books, trans people can be fired for being trans, and “don’t ask don’t tell” hasn’t gone away. Loads of straight people may be comfortable with us in that nebulous “It okay I’ll still be your friend way” but a large number of them are also comfortable with us as second class citizens.
What troubles me even more, is that the aforementioned laws/policies only keep LGBTQ people from embracing mainstream institutions. How is that so radical? When these things are so hard to achieve, its difficult to envision a nation where equal opportunity to enjoy the benefits of citizenship extends to the queerer of us. When folks are threatened by a man in a dress, and DOMAs are passing right and left, it is going to be an uphill battle. I suppose Hillary and Barack’s comfort is better than nothing, but its 2007, by now we deserve better.