because they ruined this bed before it was made
the notion of freedom so utterly betrayed
we're still waiting
for you to catch up with the rest of us
and stop greeting change with disgust
there's purple hands everywhere
'69, Halloween again
no lives need beg for acceptance
(no lives begging to be let in)
there's purple hands everywhere
so sick of the lies assigned to us at birth
you're straight until you ain't
and it determines your worth
so sick of the reverence of good ol' days
their majorities of hate and the shelf life of those ways
this ain't yours to give
I’m not really one for national pride. As anything other than an identifier for the playground or the battlefield, flags have always seemed like an unnecessary indulgence - the boastful advertising of a child too self-absorbed to see its own shortcomings. every year, without fail, I am sent into cringing hysterics at the sight of a person wearing the old maple leaf like a cape and bleating out the national anthem with a red and white whistle as she/he roller-skates down to harbour front for July 1st fireworks.* the idea that I am somehow special because I dropped out of my mother's vagina and landed on this stretch of soil is foolish. I’m no better than a Mexican or an American, an Iraqi or a Russian. Thus the alien sense of national pride that rippled through me when Canada legalized gay marriage was a bizarre sensation to say the least. But it happened, on July 20th 2005 I felt proud of my country. Well, it's government, anyway. We were the fourth country in the world to declare that a human being's sexual orientation should not preclude them from the liberties enjoyed by their fellow citizens. It was a great step forward for social progress, but, of course, not everyone sees it that way. Like their partners in hate down in California, a vast majority of Canadians still oppose marriage equality. They feel that it will devalue the importance of heterosexual union. Marriage, these bigots claim, is a heterosexual institution - it as an arena of love that only the straight may enter. Allowing others to enjoy the same freedom as the professed straight, will diminish the quality of our lives, and will diminish love. To me, this is the most childish of arguments. It’s like saying, "if everyone can do it then my ability to do so doesn't seem as special." grow the fuck up. Two people with the same sex organs saying, "I do," doesn't mean you don't love your wife or husband. It doesn't render the bond that you have chosen to express through a legal action meaningless. If that were true then marriages like my parents do as much to devalue this sacred union.**
The most successful opponents of gay marriage have been affiliated with church organizations. The prop-8 campaign was primarily funded by the Mormon Church. This is no big surprise. Most religions regard homosexuality as a sin, or at the very least, a deviation from nature. Of course, this idea doesn't appeal exclusively to the faithful, there are plenty of secular homophobes out there spouting similar nonsense. But when you boil down both of their arguments, all you're left with is the belief that homosexuality is, for some flimsy reason, wrong, and therefore those who practice it are less than those who do not. Now, I say, 'practice,' because what we find here is the idea that homosexuality is a choice. As far as I have been able to find, there is no universally accepted scientific evidence that homosexuality has a biological cause, however, several biological factors, such as genes and brain structure, have been identified as possibly relating to sexual orientation. the prevalence of homosexuality throughout human history, as well as it's prevalence within the animal kingdom, leads me to believe that sexual orientation does not spring from a conscious choice. Nobody chooses to be gay, bisexual or heterosexual. Nobody wakes up one day and decides that they'd like to endure the alienation and persecution that accompanies a gay lifestyle in most of the world. This is not to downplay bi-curiosity. Many a heterosexual (and, I’m sure, homosexual) has fantasized about how fun it might be to play scrimmage with the other team.
But let's stop for a second and pretend that the homophobes are right. Let’s say that homosexuality is a choice. Let’s pretend that every human being is born heterosexual. Gay people are really just straight people that, for whatever reason, prefer to fuck people with the same genitals that they have.
But why should that prevent anyone from experiencing the same level of freedom as heterosexuals? The cornerstone of any democracy is it’s its citizens’ right to choose. So, if homosexuality is a choice, it is one that should never lead to a loss of freedom*** If you think that it should - if you think that homosexuals do not deserve the right to be married then you do not believe in the idea of liberty. You do not believe in equality.
by now, you might be thinking, "ok, Colin, what the hell does this have to do with purple hands?" and you'd be right to be doing so, as I have neglected to incorporate the song's title and chorus into it's explanation. Here goes: the purple hand was one of the earliest symbols of the gay liberation movement. It never really caught on, but the story of its creation is pretty awesome. On Halloween night of 1969, a group of people, comprised mostly of members of a few different gay rights advocacy groups, staged a protest in front of the office of the San Francisco Examiner. The paper had recently run several homophobic articles that had outraged the gay community. At some point during the evening, employees of the newspaper decided to dump printer toner onto the protestors below. Their prank backfired, however, when the protestors used the purple ink that covered them to smear slogans like, "gay power," all over the building. After that, the police moved in, and as the legend goes, those that weren't arrested or beaten up too badly proceeded to walk through the entire city, leaving purple handprints wherever they went as a symbol of solidarity. The protest would come to be known as the night of the purple hand.
As I mentioned earlier the symbol never really took off and was pretty much forgotten. And while I do question the plausibility of the entire city being covered in handprints (I mean c'mon, the ink on their hands would have dried up after a few blocks) I do still love this story. And I do think it is still relevant considering that on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots**** Chad Gibson was beaten by law enforcement officials in Fort Worth, Texas for what seems to be no other reason than his sexual orientation.***** Also because, here in Canada, assheads like Charles McVety make it their mission to restrict the liberties of humans who have sex differently than him. Fuck that guy and his ridiculous commitment to hatred.
*Not that I have any problem with fireworks. I like fireworks - everyone does, save for my step-grandmother. Every time she hears an M80 explode, she jumps with fear, painfully reminded of the bombs that rained down on her childhood home in London during WWII.