Category Archives: Gay rights

The Times They Are A- Changin’

Bob Dylan crowed the lyrics of his rally call: ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’ (1963) to a generation of angst-filled youth, disillusioned dreamers, and nouveau radicals, all thirsty for wise words, guidance, and affirmation that their deep, unexpressed feelings WERE true and that their world (ie, parents, government…’the establishment’) must change…and that they were the ones to change it….”if your time to you is worth savin’, then you’d better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a-changin’…”.
It’s remarkable how songs and their lyrics stick in your head. I don’t think a Bob Dylan ear-worm is necessarily a bad thing, (unless the harmonica solos refuse to end, then you may have a problem). This Dylan classic came back to me recently and has been stuck on repeat ever since. I tend to make associations with song lyrics at least 100 times a day. Here’s how THIS one got in my head:
Someone very near and dear to me, applied to enter a program called ‘Women Unlimited’ offered through the Nova Scotia Community College. It is geared for women who want to explore non-traditional occupations and trades. My friend, having been laid-off her job as a junior metrologist (equipment calibrator) last fall, was hopeful that the Women Unlimited program would provide exposure to ideas, contacts and resources and eventually lead to gainful employment. As my friend was leaving the interview at NSCC, the interviewer remarked cautiously, “I notice that you are person from a minority group”. My friend, puzzled, turned around and asked, “Because I’m short?” (she’s all of 4′ 10″). The woman struggled to find words…”No, the rainbow on your back pack indicates to me that you might be a…homosexual…(rushing to continue)…I have gay friends…normally, I would use the word Queer when talking to them…” My friend interrupted, “But you have to be Politically Correct”. Relieved, the interviewer replied, “Yes, EXTREMELY, but I thought you should know that by self-identifying as a member of a ‘minority group’ for this program, your chances are significantly increased”. My friend grinned and remarked, “The Times They Are A-Changin’…” or something to that effect…or maybe I just put Dylan’s words into her mouth ’cause they felt so good to me (REALLY GOOD) and I love any excuse to make a pop culture reference.

Unwedded Unbliss

California voters were swept up by the strong, religious conservative lobby to ban same sex marriages in the recent  American election campaign.  The result? In California, Proposition 8 repealed the right which gay couples won last June, and passed  by a 52% margin on Election Tuesday.  ‘Project Marriage’  was managed by Frank Schubert and was the force which led the Proposition 8 attack. It was backed by huge amounts of  money (Schubert raised 5 million in 5 days) from a united religious alliance of Catholics, Mormons and other predominately white, Evangelical groups.  Same-sex marriage supporters were hurt by the heavy turnout of Black  and Hispanic Obama drawn to Obama’s candidacy. President-elect Obama opposes gay marriage.  I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it too, though it seems to me, that the whole point of having cake, IS to eat it. California will now join the thirty other states banning same-sex marriage. Gay marriages  are only legal in Massachusetts and Connecticut. New York and Rhode Island will continue to recognize ceremonies performed elsewhere (“Not in my backyard” philosophy?)

I’m not sure why so many people have put so much effort and money into denying gay couples the  right to marry.  Many of them (like Hilary Clinton, Obama, and others) are quick to claim support for same-sex UNIONS, but cave to the Religious American Conservative Right when it comes to supporting the right for gay couples to marry.  There is something deeper going on here which I’m not sure I really want to think about too much.  Frankly, all I can say to those sisters and brothers in the United States who are in this sad  state of Unwedded Unbliss, is: Keep the faith (not the one dressed up as the Religious Right) and carry on with the fight…or come to Canada.