Saturday, 19 February 2011

Thought For The Day: Beyond Gay Marriage

Brian Bassinger, executive director of the San Francisco AIDS Housing Coalition, which works with homeless and low-income people with AIDS, claims that "the gay marriage movement took the air out of the AIDS movement, as well as the funding. While we as a community were fighting for gay marriage, the governor decimated the state's Office of AIDS."
When Bassinger heard that $43 million was spent on Proposition 8, which he feels was "such a narrow agenda for such a small part of the population," he was livid because "at the same time, they were cutting $85 million in HIV/AIDS care in the state of California. They eliminated funding for housing, including residential care facilities for the chronically ill." But the response in the LGBT community was negligible.
Bassinger and his partner are both HIV positive and on disability funding. If they were to get married they would lose their SSI and SSDI benefits. And his situation is not uncommon.
"The majority of people with HIV and AIDS in San Francisco are living in extreme poverty," says Bassinger. "There's this mythology that gay men are wealthy. The reality is that gay men living in poverty are twice the national average. We are poor. And poor people see marriage equality as a middle class and upper class issue."

From Beyond Gay Marriage by Lisa Dettmer in Z Magazine via ZNet.
Read the US Williams Institute study 'Poverty In The Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Community' by Randy Albelda, Lee Badgett et al - a PDF is here.

• Image by Homocult.

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