Commentary: One of the most disturbing scenes of the past few weeks has been those of protesters demonstrating against stay at home orders. Armed militia are storming Statehouses and city halls all across America to protest stay at home/stay safe orders. Some of the protests have turned violent.
Lady Liberals wrote about in on their Facebook page:
“Protestors. Armed protestors. Armed, masked white protestors. This is the America that keeps me awake at night.
“They can’t be bothered to protest that 65,000+ (now over 70,000) people have died from a pandemic that has seen America react like a third-world country.
“They won’t dress up in their favorite wanna-be soldier gear and protest that this country still doesn’t have its shit together enough to live up to POSPOTUS’s declaration that “anyone who wants a test, can get a test.” A beautiful test. Indeed.
“They refuse to pick up their weaponry to protest the lack of basic medical gear for doctors and nurses and patients. They won’t protest for PPE or ventilators. Oh, hell no!
“They won’t wave an American flag and storm a state capital to protest the fact that in America, some — SOME — of its citizens were handed a measly $1200 while corporations and big business sucked trillions right into their bank accounts. Again.
“They won’t protest for people who literally have NOTHING to eat while farmers plow under their fields and milk gets flushed down the drain because no one can figure out the ‘supply chain.’”
Do you want to know who is not out in the streets acting like wanna-be GI Joe’s? The LGBTQ community, that’s who. While mostly white right-wingers are storming state capital buildings complaining about being told to stay home and wear face coverings and calling social distancing an injustice, we know and understand all too well what an injustice is.
Some Christians and their pastors call it an injustice that they cannot pack their churches with throngs of people who may or may not be non-symptomatic of a deadly virus, but LGBTQ people are not complaining about our Pride Parades, the biggest events of the year, being cancelled.
San Francisco and New York cancelled their annual June parades. Houston and Galveston have both postponed theirs until the fall. You will not find drag queens, twinks, and bears storming the mayor’s office or marching on the Seawall in protest.
LGBT folks will not be caught pushing park rangers into lakes like a protester did in Austin. We won’t be the ones carrying assault rifles threatening state legislators. We won’t be the ones wiping our face on the Dollar Tree employee who asked us to put on a facemask.
That’s because we have actually experienced injustices so we know one when we see one. When worshipers in churches are invaded by dozens of police officers, rounded up, and carted off to jail just for being there, the way patrons of gay bars have been, they can complain.
When Confederate flag waving “patriots” have to fear being beheaded the way gays and lesbians in some countries do, they can cry injustice.
When a virus such as HIV/AIDS that seemingly targets only their community and their government does nothing for years because the people getting sick and dying, in some people’s eyes, deserve it, they can talk about injustices.
This isn’t the first pandemic queer folks have lived through. We know what it’s like to be scared of catching an invisible something that can kill you. While President Ronald Reagan, whose administration called it “the gay plague,” looked the other way, our community was amassing casualties by the hundreds of thousands. The W.H.O. states more than 35 million people worldwide have died of HIV/AIDS since the 1980s.
While displaying their entitled eminence and complaining about local officials telling them they cannot go to Chili’s and Applebee’s, our community stays home being safe and watches our favorite drag queens put on marvelous shows from their living rooms.
While threatening store employees compelling them to wear a mask, our community straps on the prettiest and most fabulously decked out face coverings, the kind that would make Bob Mackie proud.
While entitled swastika-wearing boomers are ignoring social distancing guidelines at their neo-military rallies and protests, the LGBTQ community keeps its distance from each other and thinks to ourselves, “Idiots.”
The name of the game is survival. We lived through the HIV/AIDS pandemic by changing our lifestyles and habits, and relying on science to find a treatment and, one day, a cure. That’s how we will survive the coronavirus, too.
The gay community has protested and rioted in the past. The gay rights movement, begun at Stonewall, was a riot. We held protests that demanded equal rights and a cure/treatment for HIV/AIDS. ACT UP and Queer Nation are prime examples of the community’s activism.
The difference between gay rights protests of the past and stay home demonstrations today is that we were fighting for the right to exist, not for the privilege to get a haircut.
Unlike our straight contemporaries, we have faced way too many injustices to label everything we don’t like an injustice.
The views expressed in this article are entirely those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of MONTROSE STAR. Johnny Trlica is the administrator of the Houston Rainbow Herald Facebook page. Reach him at HRHeditor@gmail.com.