Thursday, January 01, 2009

Auld Lang Syne

Although January 1 is a day like any other, we do make a lot of noise about it. It has become a convenient marker at which we get to proclaim that all begins anew, that we can be rid of all that is old, bad and sad, and welcome what we hope will be new, good and happy. We hope. And to help us out, some people take the time to come up with lists. Lists of what should be thrown out and what should be brought in. Even the venerable Washington Post has its own.

While I know that no one really takes these lists seriously and actually fashions his or her life after pronouncements of self-proclaimed stylistas - who would possibly abandon twittering for slow blogging? - I am a wee bit concerned that among the Post's top ten is gay rights. Apparently, gay rights out, vampire rights in. Surely, this is an attempt of some writer to be hip, phat, hot, or whatever the adjective du jour is, but.

Gay rights is not a trend. It is not a "phase" like the one most of us were supposed to have been going through. Like other human rights, it should not be a matter of fashion, of what is in and what is out. However, during the past few years, being gay or supportive of the "lifestyle" has become hot. Remember Will & Grace, Queer Eyes for the Straight Guy, designer homes and haute cusine? See Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi, or Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson everywhere? Heck, even Dougie Howser is out. I Kissed a Girl is topping the air waves. Now don't get me wrong, this has been a good thing. All this has made the LGBT community more visible and mainstream. But what happens when people move on to the the next "thing," the next cause, the next disaster?

Already, people have moved on from Proposition 8, the choice of Rick Warren and Barack the Magic Negro. Remember the South Asian Tsunami, Katrina, the anti-war protests, the anti-immigrant crackdowns and pro-immigrant rallies? While most of us have been diverted to the next great cause, those for whom we once raised our voices and fists, continue to struggle through dire need or injustice. Entire communities in South Asia and Louisiana have still to be rebuilt. War rages on in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hard-working immigrants find it harder than ever to achieve the American Dream. Millions are still dying from AIDS. Billions are still hungry and poor.

So I do hope that we don't take these things too seriously and that we do not old causes be forgot and never brought to mind.

Image from Times Square Alliance.

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