Monday, January 30, 2012

Seattle Woman "Gay Weds" Old Warehouse to Protest Gentrification

This got my blood boiling earlier today. A woman decided to protest the gentrification of Seattle, WA, by "gay marrying" a 107-year-old warehouse:
A beaming bride, a crumbling warehouse -- Babylonia Aivaz said it's a love that will never die, as she exchanged wedding vows with the Seattle building on Sunday.

Apparently, Babylonia fell in love with the building while participating in the recent Occupy Seattle protests. Then she learned that the building is slated to be demolished in mid-February. So, instead doing something constructive -- like buying the building -- she staged a wedding for the building. And -- apparently since the outside of the building has been painted purple -- she and her friends asserted that the building is a female building. As a result, it's a gay wedding. Because goofy, artsy-schmartsy activists are all about gender conformity.

This is Babylonia wrote about the wedding on her Facebook invitation:
Instead of a culture of death, destruction, and despair, I choose life, love, and liberation!

Yes, I'm in love with a 107 year old building! Yes, ITS A GAY MARRIAGE! How is that possible? Well there must obviously be a deeper story...

On December 3rd, in this very same 10th and Union Warehouse, 16 activists (including myself) joyfully linked arms in a circle, and fearlessly faced arrest for a cause in which we believed strongly. That cause was COMMUNITY SPACE. Our intent in occupying that warehouse was to reclaim it as a community center to address the needs of our neighborhood: communal artspace, free childcare, etc. We had started the occupation with 200 people who collectively worked to clean the rooms and prepare for a brainstorm discussion on how to use the space to best help our neighborhood.

The moment we entered the warehouse we became a true community. We became self-motivated. We worked co-operatively. We thought only of others well-being. We explored 36,000 square feet like children, giggling and dreaming at the possibility of all that space. We played with conveyor belts, riding up and down. The kind you always want to sit on in the airport luggage dispensers. We strung up lights. We adapted toilets. We removed pounds and pounds of unnecessary building materials. We fed 200 people. We dreamed. We dreamed. We dreamed.

I was and am constantly transformed by this whole event.

The warehouse is slated to be demolished in a week to make way for luxury apartments whose destiny is to disintegrate our unique creative culture and render our neighborhood even more unaffordable. Why couldn't we have had a community artspace and museum there instead? What our neighborhood and the world needs is more togetherness, collaboration, and sharing not corporate gentrification.

So Capitol Hill, LOVE YOURSELF! Lets celebrate what we are: quirky, creative, open-minded, progressive love beings who absolutely love being. Lets be together! Lets honor my love of this building and Capitol Hill, the idea of transformative power of community spaces, and each other. It's all we've really got at the end of the day!

I really wouldn't care about this type of pointless showmanship -- I mean, do you really believe that this staged wedding will change anyone's minds about gentrification? -- except that it just gives groups like the National Organization for Marriage or The FAMiLY Leader stunts to build their fund-raising efforts on. Think they're above it? Think again.

Staging a human/warehouse "gay wedding" stunt just minimizes the reasons why gay and lesbian families need marriage equality. People cannot marry warehouses. Warehouses have no sentience. Warehouses have no ability to consent to anything, much less a marriage licenses or a wedding vow. Meanwhile, gay and lesbian families continue to experience disenfranchisement by our government when it comes to the basic legal rights, responsibilities, and protections that most heterosexuals take for granted.

Babylonia's stunt ended yesterday. She got on the news and complained about gentrification and then wandered back to her home with the understanding that her warehouse bride will get knocked down in a few weeks. Gays and lesbians will continue fighting to protect our families from social and religious conservatives who want to forcibly annul our marriages while arguing that we're trying to "destroy 'the family'". Now we can add progressive advocates who purposely and/or inadvertently mock our efforts in failed efforts at political art to the list of people we get to fight against. Thanks Babylonia...

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