Stephen Colbert reacts to Jeremy Iron’s argument against gay marriage.
Stephen Colbert reacts to Jeremy Iron’s argument against gay marriage.
Know your meme (and your queer history):
1988, via Douglas Crimp’s AIDS DemoGraphics:
“Among Gran Fury’s most popular and durable images are the two posters produced for the same-sex kiss-in, in protest of homophobic responses to AIDS. One used a World War II photograph of kissing sailors, the other a lesbian couple from a 1920s Broadway play, and both carried the embedded text READ MY LIPS (Gran Fury beat George Bush to the punch in using the line). ACT UP women objected to the sexual difference marked by the two images — men aggressively kissing, women staring longingly into each other’s eyes — because it reinforced the stereotype of desexualized lesbian desire compared with sexy gay male desire. When Gran Fury made T-shirts of the kiss-in images, they righted the imbalance by using a historical image of lesbians kissing. The controversy over the degree of sexualization in the Gran Fury images was directly relevant to the event — a public demonstration and celebration of gay and lesbian sexuality in the face of homophobia.”
Crimp describes Gran Fury as “ACT UP’s unofficial propaganda ministry and guerrilla graphic designers.” Much of their work has been archived by the New York Public Library. For more on the history of ACT UP—specifically its healthcare advocacy working groups—I highly recommend the documentary How to Survive a Plague.
1989, via NYU’s Artistic Activism project:
“Kissing Doesn’t Kill was a series of posters displayed on buses and accompanied by public service announcements designed to challenge the widespread assumption in the 1980s that HIV could be transmitted by kissing. Gran Fury manipulated media and the widely recognizable language of advertising in much of their work; Kissing Doesn’t Kill was designed to mirror a popular clothing ad campaign [by Benetton].”
2013, via OUT’s Popnography blog:
“We had a long debate in our offices about this week’s cover images of two same-sex couples,” said Time managing editor Rick Stengel in a statement. “Some thought they were sensationalist and too in-your-face. Others felt the images were beautiful and symbolized the love that is at the heart of the idea of marriage. I agree with the latter, and I hope you do too.”
What do you think? Are TIME’s covers too sexual, not sexual enough, or missing the point entirely? (Also CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE that bus driving past you on a city street?)
Queer African American Women and the History of Marriage
This photo and headline accompanied an article from the October 15, 1970 issue of Jet magazine. They reveal that long before the recent struggle for marriage equality began, African American women who love women have engaged with the institution of marriage and have fought to make it their own.
Edna Knowles, on the left, and Peaches Stevens were wed in Liz’s Mark III Lounge, a gay bar on the South Side of Chicago, “before a host of friends and well wishers.” The article ended by noting, “although the duo has a type of ‘marriage license’ in their possession, the state’s official marriage license bureau reported it had no record of their license.” This ending serves to remind Jet readers that Knowles and Stevens’ union was not legitimate in the eyes of the state, as does the use of quotes around the word “married” in the headline.
However, decades prior to this bold public display of queer affection, African American female couples in New York strategized alternative ways to obtain marriage licenses in the 1920s and 30s:
“Marriage ceremonies were held with large wedding parties which included several bridesmaids, attendants, and other wedding party members. Actual marriage licenses were obtained by either masculinizing the first name, or having a gay male surrogate obtain the license for the marrying couple. These marriage licenses were placed on file with the New York City Marriage Bureau.” - Luvenia Pinson, “The Black Lesbian: Times Past-Time Present,” Womanews, May 1980 p. 8.
Also during the 1930s, popular performer Gladys Bentley was making a living singing bawdy tunes and playing piano late into the night at various clubs all over New York, including one named after her.
Bentley married her white girlfriend in Atlantic City in a ceremony to which she invited friends in the entertainment industry:
“Columnist Louis Sobol remembered Bentley coming over to his table one night and whispering, ‘I’m getting married tomorrow and you’re invited.’ When Sobol asked who the lucky man was to be, she giggled and replied, ‘Man? Why boy you’re crazy. I’m marryin’ ——’ and she named another woman singer.” - Eric Garber, “Gladys Bentley: The Bulldagger Who Sang the Blues,” Out/Look, Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 1988, pp. 52-61.These examples show some of the various ways queer African American women have created public rituals to express their relationships and have therefore insisted on their rights to full citizenship, many decades prior to the current struggle for marriage equality.- Cookie
i know some people think it’s a lazy pointless social media thing but watching more and more people change their picture on fb, many of whom are in conservative southern areas, makes me want to cry happy tears
Ack, I’ve been complaining pretty hard about this—specifically the…
yeah one day i would like to see some kind of stats on the backgrounds of anti- vs. pro-marriage queer folks. because i bet it’s the opposite of what most people expect (that all pro folks are college educated affluent white cis people in liberal areas).
i can tell you that for a lot of people like me, who grew up in a small conservative texas town, who had it said to my face as a teenager that being gay was like being a pedophile or the KKK, never hearing teachers stand up to homophobic jokes in the classroom, knowing before i came out that some of my friends thought i was wrong and i didn’t deserve equal rights — seeing people from that same area openly show their support of my equal rights as a human being means a whole lot.
it may not be the end all/be all but i MEANS something, legally, socially, and personally.
I support marriage equality. I will get gay married one day. I don’t give a shit if you think that makes me less radical. But I’ve had it with this argument that everyone who supports gay marriage sees this as an end goal. The insinuation that everyone who is fighting for marriage equality isn’t invested in other fights in our community is not only false but it’s BULLSHIT. Sure it may be true of some people in our community, but can we please stop pretending like it applies to all marriage equality supporters? Because it doesn’t. I am capable of fighting several fights. I do fight several fights, as do many other marriage equality supporters in my local LGBTQ community. You can be as anti-marriage as you wanna be, but don’t tell me I’m not invested in the numerous other struggles of my community.
“While marriage equality is absolutely an important goal for our movement, it is not the end. We are equal, but we are greater than just marriage and deserve respect above and beyond marriage equality” - Jacob Tobia
Also: I don’t believe marriage is a human right. It is a social/political/economic institution.
“- I disagree with the prioritization of marriage over other fundamentals (job discrimination, trans discrimination, homelessness, to mention a few)
- I have problems with how the mainstream lgbt movement tends to advance images of queer folks as white, cisgender, not economically struggling, able-bodied, non-immigrant, and not-otherwise-different folks. we are all different in each and every way.
- i take issue with the constraints of marriage as a historically defined way of preserving privilege
- but i do see the pain that many LGBTQ folks (esp. our elders, who have weathered so much discrimination) have gone through in not having the option of marriage for their particular circumstance. while immigration reform stalls and splits apart same-sex binational couples, adoption and family laws are based on antiquated ideas of two-parent / biological families and remove children from LGBT parents, and so forth - the chant to reject marriage as providing any viable assistance to queer folks perhaps does not acknowledge just how incredibly conservative (based on notions of society from hundreds of years ago, anyone?) and unimaginative our laws are, and how slowly the law evolves. i seek more fundamental changes, but i am excited for those who have been waiting to have marriage as an option. no social justice movement is one-size-fits-all, and we are hopefully continuously expanding our theory of change.” -
Jonas Q. Wang
even though i’m anti-assimilationist and do not agree with the institution of marriage or the way marriage equality has been pushed by massive nonprofits, all of this is important stuff to keep in mind
What does same-sex marriage do for homeless queer youth? What does it do for the trans people being murdered in the streets? What does it do for the poor, of which many, many are queer people of color? Who does all this same-sex marriage stuff really benefit?
Until we stop giving value to certain kinds of relationships over others, until we stop projecting our personal values onto the lives of other consenting adults and making laws about it, until we stop being distracted by the crumbs that the few people in power throw at us so that we are too busy fighting over them to see that the actual pie is still forever off-limits to us, we’ll never break down these oppressive systems that let a few people through the door just so they can help hold it closed to the masses of people still being kept on the other side.
mia mckenzie, black girl dangerous.
Sure same sex marriage is important, especially when it comes to shared insurance or child care but there are so many other issues we need to be working on as well and that in many ways are higher priority (because to be able to get married to whoever you want you need to live long enough to get there).
I would argue that same-sex marriage legitimizes our relationships and humanizes us to millions of people - however shitty it might be that it takes the words ‘my wife’ or ‘my husband’ instead of ‘my partner’ to make people realize that our relationships are just as significant to us and to society as the relationships of straight couples. There is still much work to be done on issues of work discrimination, homeless queer youth, and trans* equality, but same-sex marriage is not a distraction. Marriage equality helps queers of any stripe, because marriage equality will alleviate future discrimination as young children and young queers grow up in a world where women marrying women and men marrying men is as normal as apple pie.
At least, that is sincerely my hope.
Vietnam may just become the first Asian country to fully legalize marriage equality.
The Justice Ministry has proposed drafting an amendment that would include same-sex couples in the country’s legal definition of marriage. It will consider public and governmental opinions before submitting the potential proposal in May.
“I think, as far as human rights are concerned, it’s time for us to look at the reality,” said Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong last week. “The number of homosexuals has mounted to hundreds of thousands. It’s not a small figure. They live together without registering marriage. They may own property. We, of course, have to handle these issues legally.”
While it is unknown how long it would take to make such a proposal reality, gay-rights activists are hailing this notion as a major step forward, and are confident that one day soon they will see Vietnam become the first Asian country to embrace same-sex marriage.
“I think everyone is surprised,” said Vien Tanjung, an Indonesian gay rights activist. “Even if it’s not successful, it’s already making history. For me personally, I think it’s going to go through.”
Wow. This is truly impressive. I hope it goes though.
church of england you can’t preach about equal marriage “fundamentally changing the meaning of marriage” and “diluting” marriage when you were created so that henry viii could divorce catherine of aragon