Yesterday a federal appeals court ruled against California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. The basis of the ruling is that the ban unconstitutionally singles out gays and lesbians for discrimination. One thing that really struck me was an argument made by those in opposition that federal judge Vaughn Walker (now retired) should have stepped aside and let another judge hear the case. Walker is the judge who found Proposition 8 unconstitutional in 2010. After he retired he came out as gay and in a long-term relationship, and so Proposition 8 advocates argued that he should not have heard the case.
Their belief, then is that in order for a group to get civil rights, everybody but the oppressed group gets a vote, but the oppressed people must recuse themselves from the fight for their own civil rights. To paraphrase the brilliant Dr. Deb Burgard, that’s rather like saying that if someone is stepping on your foot in an elevator, the rest of the people in the elevator should be polled to see if the person should stop. It’s even more problematic than that since typically the oppressing group is gaining something from their behavior.
That’s not how civil rights work – no oppressed group has ever won their civil rights by waiting for everyone else to decide to stop oppressing them, treat them with respect, and give them their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It breaks my heart to see fat people who believe that they deserve the shame and stigma that are heaped on us by society, that they deserve to pay more for insurance, to get lower wages than their thin counterparts, an dbe discriminated against in the hiring process. I don’t need polling data to know that I deserve better than that. In fact, I don’t care if 99% of people think I don’t, someone is stepping on my foot and they need to get the hell off, period. If we want to be treated better, we have to be the first ones to stand up and say that we deserve better, and then demand it. You are, of course, under no obligation to become a fat civil rights activist. My point is that you can if you want, you don’t have to wait for anyone’s permission.
Speaking of insurance and workplace benefits (see what I did there with that segue…) I did an article for Texas CEO magazine about the dangers of “carrot and stick” benefits programs that punish employees who are perceived as unhealthy because of their body size. You can check it out here if you would like! (And as always, comments are appreciated because they make me look popular!)
The Georgia Billboard Project is SO CLOSE – We just need 169 people to find $1.00 in the couch cushions and these kids get $5,000 worth of support from the More of Me to Love Match donation. Large billboards, small billboards, bus shelter signs and tons of media to support these kids are all just 169 donors away. If you haven’t donated there is still time to stand up for bullied kids and be part of this. If you have donated then ask a friend to donate. You can link to http://danceswithfat.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/enough-is-enough-the-big-fat-money-bomb/ to give them all the details and the donation links, or send them directly to the solidarity dollar site at http://tinyurl.com/solidaritydollar. It would be awesome to get this done tomorrow!
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