I was listening to this radio show online from the station KCAA which Roseanne is a regular co-host of. They had as a phone-in guest African-American lesbian activist Jasmyne Cannick.
Anyway, Roseanne made a pretty outrageous statement at about the 29 minute mark — the show is here:
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.”
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.
Now while it’s a pretty outrageous statement, it probably does track close to what many straight people on the left believe — that queer folks are single-issue. Of course, we could show lots of exceptions — The Rainbow World Fund, Queers for Economic Justice, and the work that queers in San Francisco have done around raising the minimum wage (see Roseanne’s quote!), peace efforts, housing rights, medical marijuana, and a host of other issues. Lesbian and gay legislators have sponsored legislation on a wide range of topics.
Who’s being divisive now? But it’s also true that it’s been hard to get some gay organizations to take a stand on other issues — for instance, the unsuccessful attempts to the the Human Right Campaign to come out against the war. And what will it take to get others on the left to realize that we’re interested in other things than what Ralph Nader called “gonadal politics.”