Standing Proud
Nov 18, 2004

I don’t normally add this sort of commentary to my pieces. Nor do I usually do politically-themed artwork for that matter. However, this piece of artwork is of such personal and important significance to me that I didn’t want to post it without explaining what motivated me to create it in the first place.

Folks, I’m really pissed off at the politics in this country right now. Actions by the current Bush administration, and events leading up to the recent elections have left me feeling completely betrayed by my government, and I’ve nearly lost all faith in the American system of justice. I can hardly believe that I live in a country where national policies are made based on hate and prejudice, and such simple ideas as justice and equality are so easily discarded.

I really feel as though no group of people in this country had more to lose in the recent elections than gays and lesbians. We had the chance to elect someone who would stand up for equal rights, and turn this country away from its current direction of religious and social oppression. But we blew it. Instead, we gave even MORE power to the religious radicals who care more about making sure that we’re One Nation “Under God,” than about the promise of “Liberty and Justice for All.”

So, what do the recent elections really mean for Gay and Lesbian Americans?

First of all, we can expect Bush to renew his push for an amendment to the US constitution that would permanently ban any recognition of same-sex marriage in any state. Which, by the way, would be the first time the US constitution would ever be amended to take rights AWAY from a specific class of Americans.

We can expect to see even more states amend their own state constitutions to ban same-sex marriage. As many as 20 more states are expected to pass such amendments in the next couple years in addition to the 11 that were passed during the recent elections. Some of those amendments only banned same-sex marriage. Some went as far as to also ban civil unions and domestic partnerships. And at least one went as far as to ban businesses from offering health benefits to the partners of their gay and lesbian employees.

Within the next four years, as few as one, and as many as three US Supreme Court justices will be retiring. It’s the president’s job to nominate new justices to take their places. During his first four years, Bush has made a point of nominating judges who share the anti-gay, anti-equal rights ideology of his administration. And there’s no reason to believe that his nominations to the most powerful court in the country won’t be just as hateful and prejudice towards gays and lesbians as his other nominees have been.

Furthermore the Republican party, which has made opposing gay rights (especially same-sex marriage) one of its primary issues, now controls even more seats in the Senate and House, which will make opposing anti-gay legislation even more difficult for fair-minded politicians.

But this isn’t all. The exit polls conducted during the recent elections showed an unexpected shift in the priorities of voters towards “moral” issues. Meaning that a large enough percentage of American voters aren’t ready to accept gay equality, and their turnout may have had a strong impact on the result of the elections. Knowing this, even fair-minded politicians will be less likely to support gay rights because of the possible voter backlash in the next elections.

I’m not the only one who has noticed the dire state of politics right now in regard to gay rights. Gay rights groups across the country have just announced that they will be scaling down their legal battles significantly. They have basically given up on the fight for marriage equality, at least within the next ten years, and have instead focused their legal efforts on “safer” battles, such as trying to use technicalities to overturn some of the recent state amendments. They’re afraid that anything beyond that will just fuel efforts to pass the federal anti-gay marriage amendment.

So there you have it. America has spoken. Religious ideology reigns supreme, and gays have been sent back to their place at the back of the bus. I’ve really never been as angry or ashamed of my government as I am now. But despite that, I’m proud of who I am, and I won’t let them take that away from me. I’ll continue to stand up and fight because I refuse to let someone else’s bigoted beliefs determine my destiny!

It was this combination of pride and outrage that I was trying to convey in this piece of art. I really feel as though I poured more raw emotion into this piece than I have into any other piece of art I’ve ever done.

Enjoy the image. Be strong!

-Taurin Fox

If any of you are wondering what you can do to help in the fight for equal rights, or to find more info about these issues, I strongly recommend the following website: