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Letter from the Editor -- April 2000

I'm torn about not attending the march on Washington this month.

When I attended the March on Washington in 1993, it was my first gay event of any kind, and it blew me away. I was a poor college student, who had no idea what was even happening. My teacher gave me a ride to Washington DC, and it was just phenomenal.

This year, though, I'm just not interested in going. I think the timing is of, in that we are making noise at the end of Clinton's presidency, as opposed to the beginning of a new president's. I'm also distressed that the event seems very packaged. Pay money to see Ellen DeGeneres on stage at a concert, march the following day. I just think the "larger issues" being argued over as themes for the march are all very divisive.

While I'm all for military, marriage, and every other M-word Elizabeth Birch has on the agenda, I think a lot of the things we're fighting for as the "gay community" will create two gay communities, and none of the larger groups are addressing that. Most of the time it is because the rich white guys who fund these groups don't care. But, even though I'm hopefully on the path toward being a rich, white guy, it bothers me.

Marriage is something I want, as far as the concept, if not the word. My concerns come in when we start separating gays who want marriage and queers who don't. I think there will be further ostracization of people who are not ready to jump lemming-like to the wishes of the community. And I am offended by the division we are creating because many of the people who won't conform, won't fit in, and won't apologize are the reason we have made the progress we made to date.

Before the rich, white men bought the agenda for our national groups, it was the outcasts who propelled the movement. Leather and drag warriors fought at Stonewall. The previous generation of rich, gay, white guys wouldn't have come out to fight. They probably weren't out, and it wasn't their battle.

So, I'm just not sure I want to go march to drive further division between the new assimilationist camp and the queer rebels who got us here and refuse to sell out.

I'm not saying I wouldn't get anything out of the march. I just find the omissions from Elizabeth Birch and Evan Wolfson about the issues that will arise from their agendas playing out is intentional. They don't want to admit that they are ultimately fracturing the community. Why? Because they are fighting for their contributors, not the community. (I give money to a lot of these groups, btw, I'm just not entirely comfortable with their agendas)

So, I think I'll be home at the end of the month, and not in DC. If anyone reading Oasis does go, please write up your thoughts, and maybe we'll put them in a special page or something for June.

Thanks.

 

 

jeff@oasismag.com


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