I recently wrote about three myths of marriage I’ve heard in the LGBT community that suggest the movement is moving away from what’s currently our biggest victory. These feelings appear to be held by only a small number of LGBT individuals–but the movement away from marriage is hardly as contained. Instead, a second, more imposing message is causing young members of this group to especially rebel against marriage rights: It’s not the most important issue, they argue, so why are we fighting so hard to win it?
In many ways, they’re right (there are issues more important than marriage), but these issues shouldn’t detract from our fight for marriage inequality–and I believe if we allow them to, we’ll only slow the progress we’re making. Therefore, I’d like to share five reasons why marriage still matters–and why this empowers the LGBT community to turn the marriage battle–and its inevitable victory–into the all out war for equality we deserve.
#1. Marriage is recognizable.
Some of the most vehement voices that I’ve heard calling on the inadequacy of marriage as the “end-all, be-all” of the LGBT Rights Movements that the media has made it out to be is the transgender community. Transgender rights–or in many cases, lack thereof–are important and crucial to achieving the equality we each deserve, and I won’t hesitate to say marriage isn’t enough and won’t do enough for all parts of the LGBT community to believe it’s the last battle in this war. It won’t be.
However, when you bring up transgender issues, you must at the same time bring in a massive amount of education to bring the people who oppose us–and even neutral parties who’ll easily support us–into the fold. For most people, there’s no distinction between sex and gender, and even an ounce of gender theory is more than they’re ready to handle. I believe more people would easily support transgender rights if they only knew what it meant to be transgender in the first place. This is by no means an attack on the trans community; it’s simply illustrative of the point I’m trying to make: Transgender issues are not recognizable. They require education to become salient, and that education and cultural awareness takes time to build.
On the other hand, everyone recognizes marriage. Regardless of the fact that modern marriage has arguably only existed for the past fifty years, with growth pangs setting this stage of development in action over three hundred years ago, everybody knows that marriage has existed almost as long as recorded history–if not longer. When you mention “marriage,” people instantly think of partnerships, commitment, love and life-long vows. Marriage can instantly build bridges because the desire to get married transcends sexual orientation, sex and gender, race, religion, and culture–truly it’s a human compulsion to share life with another person.
People get marriage. No additional education required.