Love is Love and the Politics of Recognition

Over the past few days, my Facebook newsfeed has been bittersweet. On the one hand, we celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision to recognize same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Now queer people of any identity can marry their partner. On the other hand, we mourn the life and service of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the nine in the AME Massacre in Charleston, SC. He was a faithful Christian and representative, whose life matters.

This distinction heightens my perception of the politics of recognition. 

transheart

The Supreme Court recognizes same-sex marriage as lawful in the US. These couples, theoretically, legally have a say. They can visit their partners in hospitals more freely than before. Queer immigrants across the States can marry, gaining citizenship. Same-sex couples can also be insured on each other’s health insurance.

And I certainly agree with caleb’s sentiments:

We should rejoice in this victory!

Yet, keeping in mind:

  • in 28 States one’s employer can fire one on grounds of orientation.
  • this does not change the hearts and minds of people who oppose and bully queer persons.
  • abuse and murders of Trans Women of Color are still largely ignored by media.
  • this does not magically give homeless queer youth a home to go back to.

While researching these hard realities, I listened to on repeat, Angel Haze’s version of ‘Same Love’:

Here’s a message to the people who just don’t get it
Love is love, there is no difference
Not a medication to fix it, there is no prescription
No rehab to visit, it is not an addiction
It’s love and it’s selfless
It’s yours and everybody else’s
So don’t badger and abuse the solemnly defenseless
See us as yourself, there’s no equality in difference
Until we all get it, we’ll be drowning in the same blood
Despite orientation, we all feel the same love
We’ll be drowning in the same blood
Despite orientation, we all feel the same love

As queer persons are being recognized under the law, black and brown persons who are technically recognized “under the law” are continually treated as second-class citizens. Rampant racist behavior still persists from police officers and white men who are afraid of losing their white supremacist culture and way of being in the world. So I ponder,

When will the Supreme Court let black and brown lives matter?

How soon will it be until the prison industrial complex dissolves? 

Where is the guillotine of justice to destroy white supremacy? 

Those in the AME massacre were killed in the name of white supremacy and racism. Yet, they are resurrected in those fighting against racial inequality. They are seen at bible studies and prayer groups. And lest we forget, the bible was written by people of color!

Remember their names

We should not hold our breath waiting for the US government to end white supremacy. We should not wait for police forces to treat black and brown bodies with respect and decency. We need to celebrate the victory for queer persons in the US and grieve over our steeped racism. #allblacklivesmatter