Fund the Queer Pipeline to Equality!

I’m starting this post before we actually have the ruling on Prop 8, but in our household we know how this will go.  Extension of protections for same sex couples in California and beyond that have the political will to pass protections for them.  An increasing eroding of rights for us in red states.

While we see Barney Frank and others celebrating their marriages and home-state protections, I have to ask:  who is this victory for?  And who are we leaving behind?

As someone who has worked at the grassroots level to organize queer people in Mississippi and Alabama, I know when those wealthy national organizations roll into town trying to pick low-hanging fruit it won’t lead to lasting change.  Roll in, beat up on the South and our backwards ways, fundraise on the backs of our queer experience, and roll away.  We’re seeing today the lack of investment in those states and spaces that are the hardest to change.  The love, respect, and determined funding and infrastructure development in the South means that yet again we are left out of protections that are extended to more privileged areas of the country.  Organizations want easier victories; the kind they can put in their year-end report and demonstrate winning goals and objectives.

We hear you, Gay, Inc.  We know you need to both produce deliverables and change the world.   We at The South Lawn propose the following intervention:  Fund the Queer Pipeline to Equality!

Here’s the total distance between some of the major Southern cities and the borders to full marriage equality (for practical purposes, we are using the closest church that will marry them, as provided by the United Methodist-based Reconciling Ministries Network):

  • Atlanta to Laurel, MD: 665 miles

  • Miami to Laurel, MD: 1078 miles

  • Memphis to Urbandale, IA: 632 miles

  • Nashville to Urbandale, IA: 672 miles

  • Jackson to Urbandale, IA: 841 miles

  • Birmingham to Laurel, MD: 763 miles

  • New Orleans to Urbandale, IA: 1021 miles

  • Dallas to Urbandale, IA: 743 miles

  • San Antonio to Urbandale, IA: 1001 miles

  • Houston to Urbandale, IA: 979 miles

  • Louisville to Urbandale, IA: 595 miles

  • Little Rock to Urbandale, IA: 607 miles

  • Charleston to Laurel, MD: 558 miles

  • Charlotte to Laurel, MD: 426 miles

  • Norfolk to Laurel, MD: 228 miles

Wealthy donors can fund same sex couples’ transportation and hotel costs if their the couples’ cars aren’t up for making the drive, if they don’t have cars at all, if they are broke, and since we don’t have a ton of transportation infrastructure in these parts.

Now go, queers, go.  Go grab your federal protections and legal extensions that are denied to you at home.