Saturday, May 16, 2009

Idjku: Russia Has Lost Its Mind So I Be Strokin'

News Update: Jackass head of the GOP says that gay marriage will HURT small businesses...what the fuck?

There are those songs in the world...that when you hear them...they just raise your spirits...they get your feet to tappin' and put a smile on your face.

This morning, as I thumbed through the news...and heard about the 40-80 queer activists in Russia arrested and treated brutally for daring to put on a pride march...I had to stop...take a moment...put in my earbuds...and find some musical joy. Right now, as I muse on the complacency that so many queer folks in the U.S. feel...I am finding joy in Clarence Carter's Strokin'..and A Brand New Day from The Wiz. At the heart of Clarence Carter's song is a celebration of sex and sexuality for the joy of sex and a Brand New Day...Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, Nipsey Russell and Ted Ross are celebrating triumph over Evilene...the Wicked Witch of West Harlem...and the joy that freedom promises.

The beaten and jailed activists in Moscow took to the streets last night against the Wicked Witch of the Kremlin for the right to love (and fuck) freely.

In the United States, in most (though not all) places, we take our right to freely assemble for granted. We take to the streets for Pride festivals as a matter of course. We know that if our festivals and demonstrations are denied, we have legal recourse that we can pursue. The road we walk isn't always easy but, in every major U.S. city, Pride parades and Pride festivals are generally found listed on city websites and generally raise few institutional eyebrows...though there are almost always pockets of religious fundamentalists on a couple of corners waving flags.

Nowhere in the United States in the last two decades have we had to worry about violent reactions from state authorities to our queer pride marches and rallies (the same can not be said for other more radical demonstrations addressing issues of racial and economic justice...America is better than some places but it also has a long ass way to go).

Each year, I endure the diatribes by people like Andrew Sullivan...that rail against the drag queens and leather daddies...the tit slinging dykes on bikes and the fetish queens as they march proudly down Mainstreet U.S.A putting sex in liberation and liberation in sex right out in public view and swirling all up in a gender stew. My blood boils when the regressivists and assimilationists get indignant and demand that we put our celebration and joy back in the closet.

(His Eye is on the Sparrow just came on....”why should I feel discouraged...” Truthfully...I don't).

It is in times like these, when I am reminded of how small our little blue planet really is..that I remember why...almost every year since 1995 I have marched in a queer pride parade no matter where I happened to find myself. While Minneapolis may be a welcoming place, and it might be chic to be a chick with a dick in NYC...there are plenty of places on this planet...where it is not.

When we fight for our own liberation and make ourselves visible...we are not just showing up for ourselves or our community...we are showing up for those that we have no idea are watching. We show up for those that are watching from behind the window shades or behind the old Iron Curtain. We are marching on a global stage to proclaim to a global family that no matter where you have a right to be who you were born to be...without out apology and without violent repression from your government.

We take up arms, internationally, against the Word Trade Organization and unchecked globalization. We cry out against Buddhist monks being jailed and beaten in Tibet. We screamed loudly and with one voice against apartheid in South Africa, and when Slobodan Milosevic decide genocide was an answer....we posed a new question and went to the aid of Kosovo. It is about damn time that we show the same solidarity with those struggling for the right to love and fuck whosoever they choose without regard to gender or sexual identity whether or not they are on the next block or on the next continent.

This week has seen signing of a bill by the President of Uruguay to allow queers to serve in that nation's military. The NY State Assembly passed a queer marriage bill. And Russia struck down with a great fury on rights demonstrators. These things are part of one grand justice tapestry. When the weave is beautiful, but one part of the tapestry snags, the beauty of the whole is reduced. My heart goes out the Russian queer community. But, as Russia turns more and more to partnership with the European Union, it is incumbent on the EU to hold Russia to the same standards it holds its member states...namely requiring the elimination of state sanctioned oppression of queer and genderqueer folks.

Europe can not enjoy the immense resources of Russia while ignoring the human rights abuses of the Russian government and maintain any standing as a human rights crusader in other areas of the world. When economic interests trump human interests the gates of Hell open wider and the Devil rolls out the red carpet to all those involved and Heaven shudders on its foundations.

We are one family...let's act like one.

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