The Line is Drawn Here

by Shaker Sarah in Chicago

[I asked Liss if she wouldn't mind posting this for me, and she has been wonderful enough to agree, as per her usual awesome self.]

On Tuesday April 29th last week, the College Republicans at Smith College held an event where Ryan Sorba, author of the Born Gay Hoax was to speak. The group was not expecting a huge turnout.

They were wrong.

A huge crowd turned up, and they weren't there for the refreshments. They drowned out Sorba, to the point of 10 minutes into his talk, Sorba gave up, being unable to be heard over the noise the protesters were making. The protesters even opened up the windows apparently to let more in to the session.

Of course, the conservatives are crying foul, claiming Sorba's freedom of speech was restricted, proving once again they do not know constitutional law. The usual shit that we get from their ilk when they can't take the heat of the kitchen.

However, even the Smith College president criticised the protesters, saying that the ideal of the college's free expression of ideas was compromised, and saying they were looking into whether or not college regulations were broken.

And you know what? Bullshit.

Maybe it's because I don't believe in 'freedom of speech', or more specifically the fundamentalism of infinitely free speech (and yes, I realise that many of you here disagree with me on this, but that's not really the point of this piece), but while I often agree with the free debate of issues (hell, in the Enlightenment French cafe debate ideal of the 19th century), I don't think it really applies here.

This ISN'T merely the exchange of opinions and ideas. This isn't about people on differing sides of issues finding together common ground and the best solution. THIS IS OUR LIVES.

We're in a battle for our very lives, for our human and civil rights, to live in our neighbourhoods and communities and be free from intimidation and violence. To love and date and treasure our families, friends and partners. To fight against oppression and heterosexism.

These aren't merely abstractions we're debating here. These are our LIVES. A bunch of conservatives thought they had the right to have a say in something that, honestly, doesn't fucking concern them in the slightest. How DARE they think they get to have a say on my life, my love, and those of my friends and loved ones? How fucking DARE THEY?

So yes, we will take this fight to you. We will shut you down. We will drown out those that would spread hate and intolerance under the 'protection' of freedom of ideas. Because you aren't spreading ideas and debate; even if you dress it up in the trappings of such a Trojan Horse, we recognise it for what it is—hate.

And we know what to do with hate.

This field of ideas is not level; we do not come to here on some fictional equal footing. To get where we even are now we have had to scrape, fight, struggle, bleed, and, yes, die, for every millimetre of ground. To somehow grant those with the privilege of hegemony to have an 'equal' say in our lives is to ignore the oppressions that have silenced us throughout history, that STILL privilege their voices, their arguments, over our own today.

And so I say enough. We will fight back in civil disobedience like this because the very civil world gives their vileness protections that should not be granted to hate. I say again, how DARE they think they get to have a say in this? I am not curtailing their rights. I am not arguing to have their love, their basic humanity, taken away from them. I am not trying to have them killed, alone, in the dark, as the life drains slowly out of them in some cornfield, tied to a fence. This isn't merely two sides of the same coin.

This is our LIVES. This is not merely some debate where you think I should just respect your 'opinion' to dehumanise me and deny me citizenship and my civil rights. How insane can you be to think we're merely going to listen to hate like that, and just go "We'll, you're entitled to that, I'll respect you" as though you weren't arguing for the denial of our equality. Our humanity. Our love.

This is not a debate. This is our lives.

This is our lives.


[This post is dedicated to SZ, who knows who she is. Who last evening did something amazing and totally unrelated to this post, just to make me feel good and special; to let me sleep well.]

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