domenica 25 agosto 2013

I have a dream

Washington DC, 28.08.1963
On August, 28th, 1963, 250,000 people marched on Washington, DC for civil rights and work, and the march ended with Martin Luther King's speech universally known as "I have a dream" [PDFYouTube].

In the USA the results of the struggle for Black Civil Rights are being assessed, and are only partially satisfactory: the current President Barack Hussein Obama is black, but inequality between whites and blacks haven't narrowed much.

The march deserves commemoration for several reasons: first, who wants freedom and dignity for him/herself must ask them for anybody - it's a catastrophic policy to claim: "I've been more victimized than you, therefore not only do I think to myself only, but I also oppose your requests as I regard them as a threat to me". As incredible as it may be, such thinkers (sort of) can't be found among racists only - even in the LGBT* movement you can find  them, and they are termed homonationalists.

MLK and AJH at the Selma-Montgomery March between March, 21st-25th, 1965
A man who understood that and did its polar opposite - i. e. he supported the struggle for Black Civil Rights, as he judged it pursuant to the Biblical commandment "We-ahavta le-re'akha kamokha = And thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself [Leviticus 19:18]" - was the Polish Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of the greatest of the 20th century, scion of an old hasidic family, who managed to  take refuge in the USA before being caught by the Nazis - his works have also been published and highly praised in Italy.

It must also be said that Heschel would have made a significant contribution to the Vatican Council 2 (see [1] e [2]), convincing the Catholic Church to remove the anti-Jewish invective from liturgy and inspiring the writing of the Nostra Aetate.

Intelligence can't be caged and always goes beyond identity boundaries; it must also be added that Heschel was just the most renowned of the many White American Jews who thought it was a "mitzwah = (religious) duty" to support the struggle for Black Civil Rights.

The struggle for Black Civil Rights didn't end on that day in Washington - the photo above shows Rev. Martin Luther King jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marching from Selma to Montgomery (Alabama) against racial segregation betweeen March, 21st-25th, 1965. Heschel would later say that in that march he prayed with his feet - a rightly famous remark.

Another reason for commemoration is what is technically named "intersectionality", whose outcome, alas, is at times "multiple discrimination"; the theory is of feminist origin, and was born to explain why not only somebody is disadvantaged just because she's a woman, but also because she belongs to several marginalized groups at once: it is not the same thing being a rich, citizen, Catholic, young, cissexual, married to a man, healthy, etc., woman, living in a metropolis, and being a poor, undocumented, Muslim, mature, trans*, in a lesbian relationship, ill or disabled, etc., living in a hamlet.

Intersectionality isn't just a female issue: although the mainstream LGBT movement has often ignored it because it was easy to coalesce gay and lesbian people on the basis of sexual identity alone, and deem other personal characteristics or issues negligible (but lately the attention towards HIV+ people, immigrants, disabled and aging LGBT* people has forced to rethink this assumption), the bisexual (and trans*) movement cannot afford that: bisexual and trans people are much more diverse, and intersectionality is necessary to understand them, not to speak about uniting them.

In bisexual and trans* literature great care is taken to explore and expose the intersection between sexual identity, gender  identity, race, gender, (dis)ability, age, health, religion, and several other variables that often enrich a person, but make him/her more amenable to discrimination.

It's a strategic error to address LGBT* issues ignoring the rest - it can only be justified as a tactical choice, as it is usually easier to solve a problem at a time, but the other issues must not be overlooked, and the solution chosen for a problem must not worsen others, but it should help solving them - lest you may fall into homonationalism.

Last, the march on Washington which occurred on August, 28th, 1963 was to be followed by several others carried out by the LGBT* movement, which, in my opinion, may be commemorated together with the one in which MLK disclosed his dream:
Raffaele Ladu

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