Rosanne Steps In It
Rosanne Barr, for many years a staunch supporter of the gay community, made some rather surprising remarks on the radio yesterday. Sitting in as guest host, during an interview with black lesbian activist Jasmye Cannick, Rosanne said:
"Never once in my 54 years have I ever once heard a gay or lesbian person who’s politically active say one thing about anything that was not about them. They don’t care about minimum wage, they don’t care about any other group other than their own self because you know, some people say being gay and lesbian is a totally narcissistic thing and sometimes I wonder. I’ve never heard any of them say anything except for 'accept me cause I’m gay'.The Human Right Campaign and the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund were quick to condemn the remarks, with the Victory Fund calling for an apology. The Victory Fund works to get LGBT candidates elected.
It’s just, it’s screwed. It’s no different than the evangelicals, it’s the same mindset. They want you to accept Jesus and you guys want us to all believe it’s ok to be gay. And a lot of us, a lot of them, I do, I don’t give a damn who anybody has sex with, as long as they’re not underage and an animal. I don’t give a damn, it’s none of my damn business. I’m just sick of all the divisiveness, it’s not getting any of us anywhere."
I think Rosanne's condemnation of gay folks who suffer from single-issue-itis is valid, but ironically she clearly doesn't know that most major gay rights orgs have been heavily criticized by some gays because of the coalitions they've built with other progressive causes. I see gay rights groups regularly align themselves with environmentalists, immigration rights, unionists, etc, only to suffer bitter attacks from within the LGBT community who scream at them, "Stay on target! What do the working conditions of tomato pickers have to do with GAY RIGHTS?"
Rosanne is right that gay people should be part of the broader progressive coalition. She's right that we should see past our own gay noses and work for good causes that don't directly affect us. But she is dead wrong that we don't. And those gay people who get angry at gay rights organizations for supporting other progressive causes are even more wrong.