Life in a box
As the November election approaches, it’s hard to say whether or not a performance by a world-renowned gay artist will change minds on either side of the Prop 8/same-sex marriage debate. But if the painful and humorous stories told by author, actor, teacher and performance artist Tim Miller are able to reach any open ears, maybe an undecided voter or two might be forced to, at least, put a face to their choice.
Miller is visiting Chico Oct. 29, when he’ll first speak at a Conversation on Diversity event at Chico State (noon, BMU 204), and then follow that up with an evening presentation of his timely one-man show Glory Box at the 1078 Gallery. Glory Box was created in response to the challenges Miller and his Australian lover Alastair McCartney have faced in trying to get McCartney’s citizenship granted on the same basis it would be for a hetero engaged or married bi-national couple. As he tells his story, Miller stops at defining points throughout his life, underlining the issues gay couples still face in trying to enjoy the same freedoms as the rest of their fellow Americans.
In a sample from the piece available on his YouTube channel (youtube.com/user/TimMillerTale), Miller considers what can be discerned of his life by looking at the condition of the back of his hand, by looking at the “faint imprint” or “echo” left each time the hand has been slapped. He tells the story of a Bozeman, Mont., gay pride event where he walks, looking at his lonely hand, unheld in McCartney’s absence, dripping with blood after being ripped open by a large beer bottle hurled at him from a pickup truck:
“It’s not enough for our country that they’ve already pulled Alastair’s hand from mine. It’s like they want to hold my empty hand to the fire—get it cooking.”Don’t be evil
You know all the reasoning by now: Legalizing same-sex marriage goes against God’s will; it legitimizes homosexuality in the eyes of children; it bucks tradition; it hinders procreation. Whatever. Whether you agree or not with any of those assertions, none of them is the actual issue. To say that gays can’t marry because your kid might find out or because your God wouldn’t approve are personal, not legal, issues. And the tradition and procreation lines of logic are fallacious here, as the issues themselves can apply to any coupling, same-sex or not.
Once you extinguish the rhetorical and/or religious fireworks, what’s left? Willful ignorance? Or hate?
Hating a gay person isn’t illegal, as long as you’re not throwing bottles at them while you’re doing it, or telling them they can’t have a job because of it, or denying them access to financial aid for school because of it. But despite the spirit of all our laws against denying rights based on hate, Prop 8 would change our state constitution’s Declaration of Rights to allow for language that would explicitly deny rights based, in effect, on hate.
Skip 8 if you have to, but please don’t vote yes. You may hate the idea of same-sex marriage, but it shouldn’t be up to you to make another person’s individual life and liberty illegal.
Gay for David
Mrs. DEVO and I are super stoked to be heading down to the state capitol this week to enjoy a talk by one of our favorite smart-asses, David Sedaris, at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium. Sedaris is on a speaking tour to support his recently released When You Are Engulfed in Flames, and as a homosexual artist he has been called upon in recent interviews to respond to the hot topic of same-sex marriage.
Here’s one of my faves (from Windy City Times): “It’s just something I don’t understand the opposition to. I don’t understand how, if two lesbians want to exchange bad poetry on a mountaintop, that would threaten the marriage of the people who grew up next door to me in North Carolina. I don’t get it.”