Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Not every issue is a gay issue

Last Sunday, Mateo and I, together with several thousand others walked in San Diego's AIDS Walk to raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS research and treatment. At the beginning of the walk, Jerry Sanders and Toni Atkins, respectively San Diego's Mayor and an openly lesbian City Council Member who represents a big chunk of the gayborhood--and who very kindly and personally responds when you write her letters disagreeing with her decisions and positions--read the proclamation before the walk. Now, Sanders had just the week or so before reversed himself and gone in favor of the city's amicus curiae brief arguing for same sex marriage, after revealing in a press conference that his own daughter is a lesbian.
Before actually getting to the reading of the proclamation, Atkins and Sanders had a self-congratulatory exchange about the win for fairness and equality represented in the brief. Surely, this was motivated by being in front of a crowd most of whom would agree and would help to bolster support for Sanders' recently announced bid for re-election, especially since he is now likely to lose quite a bit of Republican support. That is all well and good, however, AIDS Walk is precisely the wrong forum for this. Why? Simply because HIV/AIDS isn't a gay issue. When it first arose in the US, it was centered on the gay community, but it is not primarily or even noticeably gay-related throughout the rest of the world and it is a serious concern for the whole nation. So there is something both a little overly opportunistic and misguided in taking an event about AIDS (not an event about AIDS in the gay community) and making it into a platform for positions--however admirable or popular they might be--that are so closely tied with the gay community. We probably don't want one's position on same sex marriage to be a litmus test for whether we can cooperate with them on HIV and AIDS.

11 comments:

John said...

what if we had a GRIDS walk?

RottweilerTOM said...

1) Atkins or her staff has not yet responded to my inquiry (6 mos. ago) why the City allows freeway billboards along University Avenue, such that when Enya and I walk both agree is unsightly and inapproproiate - although she gets to pee on the poles. How she has NEVER taken a stand apparently on this issue befuddles me.

2) You know what, I agree with you.
Atkins made it political or who did??

3) you should have told me - enya and I would have walked with the "dog constituency"

Tyler said...

Next year we will do a whole Doggies against AIDS contingent.

Since they are along University, they are ipso facto not highway or freeway billboards, they are street billboards. I think that's pretty much just the cost of living in a California city.

Atkins and Sanders made it political together, but I expect them to be political, it just wasn't what the walk was about.

Tyler said...

And, John, I'll be walking against Gay Cancer later :)

RottweilerTOM said...

I meant to say "freeway-like billboards" and NO that is not the cost of living in a California city. Do you see it in Carmel, Laguna or Beverly Hills? (actually strike BH cause I think I saw a Gucci sign somewhere)

RottweilerTOM said...

In addition, they're on private property I presume unless an easement was purchased..still then, we do have land-use laws you know that can be amended

Gilad said...

They may have made it into a gay issue, but I think our community sure didn;t. That's why there were so few of us out there. Was it my imagination or were there more straight people walking and running than there were gay people? I did the run and there were maybe 150 people. I agree that this is not a gay issue but I would have expected more support from a community that happened to have been hit hard by it. Maybe if it were more of a party like Pride...

Tyler said...

One thing that the lesbian part of our community has rightly criticized the gays for is our lack of interest in much that isn't directly affecting us at that moment. I know people who this year got very upset that their friends weren't walking, people who have never done the walk in past years, even when they were asked to. All I could think was, other that their seroconversion, what was so special about this year?

To Tom, Carmel, Laguna and Beverly Hills aren't really cities. They are communities, but they don't have industry and different neighborhoods and communities. They are pretty much bedroom communities or gated communities without the gates.

RottweilerTOM said...

A city is a city no matter how you spread it....its up to the Council to lead with beautification programs

Tyler said...

We live in the only city in the nation that can't meet wastewater treatment standards and our mayor says we shouldn't have to, because it would be too expensive. We have other problems.

RottweilerTOM said...

agreed.