Friday, March 21, 2008

SOME THOUGHTS ON "THE MILLION FAG MARCH"

Beyond the fact that these people who are planning and are going to participate in The Million Fag March are referring to themselves by the same epithet that the Phelps' of the world use to denigrate and defame them and all LGBT people, the major result of this protest will be to give Phelps the publicity for which he is very hungry.

Moreover, Phelps and his clan have so little credibility with anyone, even with those who are homophobic themselves, that this march can do little but give him some modicum of credibility that he at this point in time does not enjoy. It inadvertently places him on the same "equal footing," as those who support full and equal LGBT civil rights, a message for full equality that the marchers themselves may not even convey in their demonstration.

"While some might criticize the effort as naïve and believe the counter protest will only serve to draw more attention to the preacher’s message of hate, [Chris] Love [one of the protest's leaders] believes the event will be an opportunity to show the world that not everyone in Kansas is as backward and hate-filled as Phelps and his disciples. Love emphasizes that the “Million Fag March” is an opportunity for all people, gay and straight, to form a collective voice that will send the world a message that hate and intolerance are unacceptable in civilized society." [For the full article, see here.]

To march on Fred Phelps' territory is relatively safe and relatively meaningless. Why not take on homophobic denominations and churches that do enjoy a credibility they do not deserve? Actually, Phelps, currently a toothless tiger, has inadvertently done a great deal to help our cause by his hateful, over the top, rhetoric and by his and his family's picketing of soldiers' funerals so that even most homophobes resent him for casting their position in "a bad light" in the eyes of many Straight people.

These people who are eager to participate in "The Million Fag March" are unwitting subversives and agents provocateurs, who seem to seek to further entrench LGBT people who feel comfortable in referring to themselves and to each other as "fags," into their own compounds where they can revel in their being "outsiders" and "sexual outlaws," and in further alienating all LGBT people from mainstream society whereby, and only from which, they can acquire full and equal civil rights.

By participating in this march, they are not only reinforcing a demeaning and hateful label onto themselves in the eyes of potential allies, but they are elevating Phelps' credibility in the eyes of the public by even suggesting that Phelps is a force that is even worthy to contend with.

They are playing into the hands of the homophobes who can then show potentially or perceived "outrageous" photographs on assorted web sites and mainstream media outlets, and then further seek to show and "justify" how those who implicitly purport to represent all LGBT people don't deserve to have the same rights as heterosexuals enjoy.

For example, imagine when judges are in the position of deciding if same-sex couples are "worthy" to adopt a child and, at the same time, have images of self-avowed protesting "fags" in their heads, whether or not those same-sex couples have a good chance of being viewed as equal to heterosexual couples in this regard. The same holds true for any and all civil rights for LGBT people, be it marriage rights (which is currently being considered by the California Supreme Court) or even federal civil rights protections of which there are currently none.

This march not only sticks a finger in the eye of those who can help our cause, but sticks that same finger in the eye of all other LGBT people who desire full and equal civil and sacramental rights. And the only thing to be gained by the marchers is the momentary catharsis of venting anger at an empty vessel that already symbolizes irrelevance, and is already an embarrassment to virtually all those who would deny full equality to LGBT people.

The marchers are targeting a group that counts for nothing, whereas they could, instead, take that energy, solicit Straight allies, and regularly picket one or more homophobic churches in their respective communities that do have undeserved credibility and, by so doing, get far more bang for the buck in the movement toward the acquisition of full and equal civil rights.

However, I also wonder if the acquisition of full and equal civil rights is an actual goal of those who would publicly refer to themselves by such a hateful epithet as "fag," and who have come to take pride in that label.

Moreover, they would have far more credibility with the general public, and go much further in acquiring equal rights for all LGBT people (if that is indeed their goal), by not publicly referring to themselves by use of hateful epithets that are likely to turn off potential allies, and that validate the use of those same epithets that are used by those who would do, and in fact do, anything in their power to deny them and all LGBT people those rights.
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2 comments:

DON CHARLES aka "STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

This event is nothing but an embarrassment. I hope the news media ignores it, and deny both Chris Love and Fred Phelps the cheap publicity they crave.

Jerry Maneker said...

I hope you're right Don Charles, but I wouldn't bet on it. I think the media will play it up for all it's worth; focus on the fact that there wasn't a million people there (which the organizers themselves recognize will be the case), and thereby cause the march to lose even further credibility. I agree with you that this is an embarrassment on so many levels that it is likely to do additional harm to the acquiring of full and equal civil rights that LGBT people deserve. But, as I said in my post, I'm not at all convinced that those who proudly proclaim themselves to be "fags" or "dykes," and publicly use such epithets to define themselves to others, are really interested in obtaining equal rights in the first place. Everything about this march appears to me to be counter-productive, and only serves to provide a photo op to those who want to merely vent, as well as have their 15 minutes of fame.