My Top 20 Favorite Albums

My Top 20 Favorite albums:

(In no particular order and with a few addendums.)

 

Ophelia by Natalie Merchant

The Stranger by Billy Joel

Little Earth Quakes by Tori Amos

Falling Fast Awake by Joshua Macrae

Various Positions by Leonard Cohen

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie

ZiggyStardust

Faith by George Michael

The Concert in Central Park by Simon and Garfunkel

Closing Time by Tom Waits

Kid A by Radiohead

kid a

The Story by Brandi Carlile

All the Way by MaMuse

Ani Difranco’s entire discography.  (I couldn’t pick just one. #sorrynotsorry)

Hallelujah World by Jacob Golden

The Trainspotting Soundtrack

The Joshua Tree by U2

Graceland by Paul Simon

Graceland_cover_-_Paul_Simon

Bird on a Wire: The Songs of Leonard Cohen by Perla Batella (This is a cover album but what Perla Batella does with the music merits its own mention. Unbelievable.)

Live in London 1976 by John Denver (But with a caveat that I‘m adding the song “For You” which is not on this album.)

The Free to Be You and Me Soundtrack (Because I grew up with it and because I didn’t have anything else with Michael Jackson on it and because it’s perfect. Mel Brooks, Harry Belafonte, Carol Channing, Diana Ross, Alan Alda, Marlo Thomas, Roberta Flack and more.  I mean, c’mon.)

Enough Enough Enough

Today, a lot of my friends on Facebook circulated the video of Ellen’s monologue from her talk show condemning new discriminatory legislation in North Carolina and Mississippi.  At first, I didn’t watch the video.  I had already seen so many comments from my friends and from several activists.  I read the legislation and I know what it means for LGTBQ people in North Carolina and Mississippi. It means that they would be safer if they moved out of state. There’s a scene from the movie, Milk, that keeps playing over and over in my mind:

I love Ellen.  I love her show.  I admire her trailblazing.  I adore her for what she has done for women in comedy.  I will forever be grateful for her role in LGBTQ visibility and progress.  There is no doubt that she sacrificed her career and personal well-being when she came out publicly.  What she has done for LGBTQ people is nothing short of revolutionary.  I appreciate everything that she has historically put on the line for the LGBTQ movement.

That said, I thought her commentary about recent legislation in North Carolina and Mississippi was frivolous and insensitive.

We are past the point of cute jokes and ha-ha interludes. They belittle the argument about human rights. From the perspective of a queer person, from someone who has also experienced discrimination for being a lesbian, I thought that Ellen’s monologue was weak. Since North Carolina’s discriminatory law passed, at least two LGBTQ people have committed suicide, citing injustice and a lack of protection. We will see the same in Mississippi. Children and friends are dying, literally dying, because of these laws. There is no room for joking.

For some people within the LGBTQ community, it is easy to feel tired about the the fact that we are still fighting. On many days, I feel tired.  The privileged, passing, white, middle-class part of me, feels tired.  Because the privileged, passing, white, middle-class part of me can, for the most part, live in peace.

Recent legislation in the south is a stark indication that we are not yet out the weeds on the issue of human rights for LGBTQ people.  This is especially true when it comes to particular cross sections of the LGBTQ community–transgender people, people of color, young people, and poor members of our community.

It is not okay to make light of recent discriminatory laws enacted in North Carolina and Mississippi.  It’s not okay to use a mass media platform to joke about spelling or references to musical groups in the context of discrimination, suicide, and hate.

There are many of us in the LGBTQ community who have seen incredible progress in the last decade.  We have seen incredible victories.  Let us not forget that in more than half the states in the union it is completely legal to be fired from a job for no reason other than one’s sexual orientation. Essentially, in more than 27 states, it is perfectly legal to fire someone for being gay.  In many states, an LGBTQ orientation can lawfully get you kicked out of a restaurant or refused service from a retail store.

The elders of the LGBTQ community in the United States have worked loudly, smartly, and diligently for years to gain the equal rights and protections that so many of the LGBTQ community enjoy today.  There has been incredible progress.  But, to be fair, the LGBTQ community didn’t earn “equal rights” because our small percent of the population was loud enough to make it happen.  The LGBTQ community was granted marriage equality and a smattering of other equal protections because there were several communities, including privileged and straight allies, who came to the table and demanded equal protection. Marriage equality and other protections happened for the gay community, not because we were here and queer, but because we worked for it and because we had help.

our love

There are still many people in the LGBTQ community working and there are still many people within the community who need help.  Not all of us live in big cities.  Not all of us have financial resources.  Not all of us are white.  There are many people who live under the LGBTQ umbrella and who live in places with laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation. There are many people who face discrimination even when the law is supposed to protect them.

Right now North Carolina and Mississippi are the most glaring cases because they are current and have been in the news.  However, there are people all over our country living in fear.  Subtle discrimination can be just as dehumanizing as lawful and overt discrimination.

When a state passes legislation that puts an entire population of people at risk, it is no time for making jokes.  There is nothing light or funny about the lawful marginalization of people.  It is up to those of us who live in places of privilege, or who come from places of privilege, to stick our necks out for those who are hurting the most.  It is the only way that justice can be realized.