Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Since we are going to be spending some time together and most of this interaction will be sharing my thoughts on things with you, I’d figure it would be proper for me to introduce myself. My name is Steph and I am a pre-social work major//women’s and gender studies minor, although that could probably be inverted in the future, at the University of Texas at Austin. I am in Peers for Pride because I want to learn more about myself and the queer community on a larger scale, not just on the Forty Acres. I’m doing all this with peers I now call friends and a tall beacon of knowledge by the name of Shane. If you have not gathered already, this blog will include entries from me and twelve other members of this cohort as we facilitate conversations on campus around queer issues.
I am involved in a program that not very many people get to experience. This is a very specific journey of learning, self-discovery, and pride. I have learned things I never thought I would learn with people whom I very much respect and love. I am very excited for you to come on this journey with me.

The topic I would like to discuss today is one of progress.  I will be referencing this piece by Carmen Rios through my post today: http://www.autostraddle.com/state-of-the-struggle-first-come-lgbt-legal-protections-then-comes-marriage-219942/.
The Movement Advancement Project released its biannual Moment Report for this year. You can find the report here: http://www.lgbtmap.org/momentum-report.
The reports references important points that are used to rate the caliber of progress happening within the queer community: marriage equality, employment, safe schools, health, etc. The topic I would like to elaborate on would that of marriage equality. It’s no lie that there has been tremendous momentum since 2012. Almost half of the states currently extended the freedom to marry passed laws during this time. This is truly amazing! But, I do believe this momentum is acting like a pair of blinders to the many issues still prevalent in our community. The media does not have any queer news circulating unless it is about the potential passing of a law that grants queer couples to right to marry. There is absolutely no mention of homeless LGBTQ youth, or of aging LGBTQ folks. The access to marriage quality distracts from the need to have trans* folks obtain legal documentation to reflect their gender identity. A very big part of me wants this momentum to keep going and reach full marriage equality within this generation or the next, but that also goes hand in hand with the fact that I am scared, scared that activists and advocates will believe the work is done when we achieve this. I fear those that prioritized marriage equality will put their feet up and remove themselves from the struggle.
There are many wonderful organizations advocating for health care and to end LGBTQ homelessness, but they get swept under the rug and the majority of funds go to marriage equality campaigns.
You may think I don’t believe marriage is an important thing in the overarching queer liberation movement or that I am pessimistic about the immense progress that has been made over the last decade, but I really just don’t want anyone to forget that we are not a single-issue community. We do not, by any means, lead single-issue lives. Don’t forget your siblings in the fight.

Steph Salazar

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