The phrase the “cause” has slowly become an obtrusive term on Kito Diaries in recent months. It’s almost hard to miss when the issues of MGM and bisexuality are discussed. Quite frankly, I never knew there was a cause to begin with. I guess the so-called “(elite) gay men” who have reached their “acceptance” centuries ago failed to include that in my “guide to acceptance handbook” (which I never got to begin with). Just like everything, they failed to indoctrinate me on my sexuality. So I set out on my own (like I have done all my life) to find answers and understanding to this “cause” that commands such high reverence when they speak of it.
The word “cause” is defined by Google as “a principle, aim, or movement to which one is committed and which one is prepared to defend or advocate”. The word web dictionary among other definitions sees it as “a series of action advancing a principle or tending towards a particular end”. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (International student’s edition) sees it as “an organization or idea that people support or fight for”.
In view of the above definitions, I now ask: what are we fighting for? What are we agitating for? What are the contained values and rights which forms this “cause” that we are fighting for?
From all I have seen, read and experienced regarding LGBTQ issues, it’s safe to say that our agitation stems from the need to be seen and recognized as an integral part, contributors and stakeholders in the society, rather than outcasts, a maculation, an abomination. The freedom to CHOOSE and stay with who we love without being criminalized for it or subjected to any form of bullying, abuse, inhumane treatment or outright savagery. The right to be who we want to be and express it without disapprobation.
Ultimately, we are advocating for an end to inequality and fairness in treatment.
In view of the afore discussed contents of cognition, one would think that these beliefs are wildly and generally upheld by all, but so far, the factual representation of “the cause” has been mangled and employed for usage as an outcry system on Kito Diaries to woo bystanders into a snickersnee against “deserters and traitors” who manifest as and are called MBM/MGM.
I have found myself in recent weeks questioning the true existence of “the cause” because of how it has become a mere tool deployed in questioning the life choices of queer men and women, rather than a pother for remediation. If the cause is so important to us, I’d like to know if it is so often on our minds that it comes up when we show up for hangouts? Does it ever make it to the core content of our “kikis”? In between drinks and small chops, does it take centre stage during gay parties or gatherings? How many times in the past year have we bothered to know our hookups beyond the sex they are there to provide and go on to engage them in a discussion about “the cause”? The answers you are able to come up with to your individual selves is good enough answers to those of us who have a reputation for peddling the “cause” here.
Where am I going with all of this, you wonder. Well, the actual idea of a “cause” is beginning to sound like a joke on Kito Diaries. The only time that ideology is ever brought up is when the issues of Gay and Bisexual men opting for marital union with the opposite sex come up. Other than that, no one is interested in discussing it or bringing it up. If it ever makes it to a content of discussion, it is done with such nonchalance or derailed by irrelevant negations and discredits, leaving one to question the level of import the said “cause” holds to begin with. Don’t get me wrong, I am all here for the championing of equal rights, recognition and liberty for the LGBT. But when a hot-button issue like “LGBT cause/right” is being used as refraction ONLY when MBM/MGM is being addressed, it makes the whole idea questionable.
Nothing and no one is holding anyone back from standing and fighting for what they believe in. You never sought anyone’s approval or validation before venturing into the life of sexual liaisons, pursuing relationships or attempting to capture some form of happiness for yourself. So why then are you hell bent on browbeating people into submission and giving their support and stand with you on the road to singledom? Stonewall, which is arguably the genesis of gay liberation movements, was built on a sense of identity, brotherhood, love, friendship, patience, empathy, understanding, courage etc. It recognized and respected diversity and the strength of unity.
No! The gay liberation movement did not develop because EVERYBODY unanimously agreed to stay single or come out all at once, like some of our brilliant in-house strategists have proposed, but because of the courage of some men and women who got tired of being put down and brutalized, and who then chose to hold out. It started with some minor harassment of a lesbian, and grew into the foundation for LGBT revolution. It took the unwavering courage of the likes of Marsha P. Jackson, Sylvia Rey Rivera amongst others who chose to put up a resistance that nigh in July of 1969. They weren’t bothered with whether who the married ones amongst them were cuddled up to in bed, if their struggles were different from the general LGBT population, or if the rest of the heterosexual public would approve or not.
They just knew it was time to fight back.
A spur of the moment that gave a face, a voice to the fight for liberation and paved the way to freedom. A game changer that started small, but grew exponentially because people IDENTIFIED and knew it was time to bind together. A fight brought on by a handful of street kids who went on to change the course of history. Thrown out or ran away from home because of who they are. Forced to sleep on the streets, living from hand to mouth, selling their bodies and doing menial jobs just to get by. These men and women had nothing to lose but their freedom of expression. We can’t be living sheltered lives while accusing others of doing the same.
Harvey Milk did not busy himself with the numerical implications of MGM/MBM and how it would affect his chances of giving a positive face and name to the LGBT community. The same could be said for Frank Kameny, Barbara Gittings, and Bisi Alimi. Knocking down the wall of inequality requires the collective effort and collaboration of everyone under the LGBTQ umbrella, working harmoniously towards the realization of our joint goals. At this point, focus should be on our level of preparedness when those who have gone before us, the numerous faceless home grown LGBTQ actors and organizations, hands us the baton with the mandate of bringing it in.
We are always in a state of hero worship when news break about other countries making admirable strides toward breaking inequality barriers, without giving a thought to our own road to freedom. The equal rights bill in the workplace of 2007, the knocking down of “proposition”, the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell”, the US Supreme Court ruling supporting same sex union in all the states of the federation, the legalisation of LGBT unions in Mozambique and South Africa etc – these are some of the notable strides in the fight for equal rights. These achievements were not obtained on the whims of staying unmarried, but by forming groups like the Mattachine Society, Daughters of Bilitis, S.T.A.R (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionary), Gay Activist Alliance. These were homophile movements providing education, information and outreach to LGBT people. That is how you work towards achieving a cause. Uniting, mobilizing and sensitizing people. Not antagonizing them or widening the divide that already exists in the community. Effecting a change of this nature and magnitude doesn’t take visibility alone, but strategic planning, tactical action/solutions, political maneuvering, installation of pro LGBTQ policy actors who can influence legislation and policies, lobbyists, sponsors/contributors , funding, education, social and LGBT awareness just to mention but a few.
The road the “cause” charts is long and treacherous (for those of us who dream of it), so why squander unnecessary energy talking about it when you can start walking it? You can’t be comfortably tucked inside the closet while barking orders and reprimanding your contemporaries for burrowing further into theirs.
Long story short, you need me as much as I need you. It doesn’t matter who gets a better and safer seat on the boat, the main thing is that we are on the same boat. We can either steer it to safety or sink to our doom in it. The only way we can work together is if we respect each other enough to see each other as people in the same struggle. They say a house divided against itself is destined to fall.
To many, this piece would come across as an unsung sermon, which is not my intent. This is not designed to win souls but to show how inglorious the “cause” is beginning to sound, thanks to its inexpedient usage. Until we are able to put aside our emotionally-charged prejudice against one another and everyone under the LGBTQ umbrella aside, I am afraid that the idea of the “cause” would forever be a joke, told by a clueless and uninformed mind in a desperate attempt to appear bright.
Written by Peak