Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why I DO NOT support October's national equality march

Those who are consistent readers of this blog know that I do not support the idea of the national march that is to take place in October.

To me, it all has to do with misplaced priorities and our inability to channel our anger in the right direction.

No matter how it comes across, a national march is going to boil down to a huge group of us holding signs with useless catchy slogans, chanting, and then afterwards going back to our own communities (who many of us do not support as we should) without a clue as to our next course of action except for to group ourselves in our prospective cliques.

A national march will provide excellent photo ops (for us and the religious right) and evoke nostalgic memories of Stonewall, Queer Nation, and Act-Up but it will not address our present standing in the fabric of this country nor will it give us a plan for the future.

All it will do is show how angry we are.

Well I have news for everyone.

America knows that we are angry. America knows it because we have been telling it for the past 30 plus years. And now America is yawning because yet again we are planning to tell it.

A national march is a fast food solution to our problems. It will not:

give us new ways to combat ignorance and homophobia in our prospective communities,

educate gays, lesbians, and bisexuals on the needs of our transgender brothers and sisters and vice versa,

teach us to respect the generational, racial, cultural, social, and economic differences in the lgbt community.

address the fact that the lgbt community is evolving at a fast rate and past actions we took part in as "outsiders" will probably not apply now.

And lastly, I do not support the idea of a national march because I don't think it is being held for us. I see it as glorified street theatre for the bored.

And, to coin an old phrase, there lies the rub.

I don't want to use my anger at how I'm treated as a gay man as a performance piece. I want to harness it. I want to use it to make the world better for, if not myself, other lgbts.

Carrying signs and shouting slogans for the benefit of President Obama (but definitely not Congress because they won't be in session), the folks at home, or whoever may be watching television just isn't going to cut it for me.

I want something more substantial than a trip to Washington where I will be marching for a couple of hours.

My anger as a gay man, my love for my ENTIRE lgbt community, and my concern for its future (especially the future of our lgbt children) needs something more edifying and solution-oriented than just a day trip to Washington where I will mingle with other like-minded angry folks.

And frankly, until I see signs that a national march will provide this, I am going to do what I have been doing before this national march idea came about - stay home and support my lgbt community in my own way whether it be volunteering at the local center, attending fundraisers, writing on my blog, or talking one-on-one to those questioning their orientation.

It's not as glamorous as a national march in Washington, but right now, it's definitely more rewarding.

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HRC supports national march, slurred student gets PAID, and other Thursday midday news briefs

Video: Hey kids, want some Candi? Ooh, not so fast, gay Johnny... - Check out this post from featuring an "interview" with Focus on the Family's Candi Cushman; that is if you can without being nauseated. Notice how she semantically puts lgbts on the opposite end of parents with school children, as if lgbt children aren't attending our nations schools or lgbt parents don't lead families. That's the false image Cushman and others like her try to push on America.

On-air wingnuts stoke 'Obama may round up Americans into internment camps' conspiracy - This has CEASED to be funny a while back.

HRC Statement on National Equality March in Washington - HRC backs national march. I am NOT in favor of this but I do respect the position HRC is in with this thing.

MN: Student Wins $25K Judgment For Anti-Gay Slurs By Teachers - From Joe. My. God., a feature on my new best friend. LOL

Report: Burundi Gays Suffer Under Harsh New Anti-Gay Laws - From Rod 2.0 Beta, awful news about my brothers and sisters in Burundi.

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Paul Cameron enabler bares his lying teeth at ENDA

Coral Ridge Ministries writer Robert Knight has written an interesting(and I use that word very, very loosely)piece against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The gist of Knight's attack is the following:

ENDA is profoundly dangerous. It turns private sin into a public right and brings the force of government against morality itself. Any such law is a violation of our unalienable rights as proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. To put it more simply, a statute that directly contradicts God's moral law is illegitimate. Laws embody and reflect morality, or they are not laws. They are tyranny. That's why so-called same-sex "marriage" laws are absurd and treacherous. Forcing citizens to accept a counterfeit as the real thing is an act of despotism.

ENDA adds not only "sexual orientation" but "gender identity" to federal workplace anti-discrimination law. Thus, it takes an ax to the idea that sexual behavior has a natural normalcy or any relation to morality. It falsely equates a changeable condition (sexual desire) with race and ethnicity. Worse, it turns traditional values into a form of bigotry punishable under the law.

So to Knight, ENDA should be opposed because homosexuality is a sin. Well I'm glad he cleared that up.

Whether Knight knows it or not, his attack on homosexuality as a "behavior" that should not be protected is really opening the door to declare that religious beliefs in the workplace should be not be protected because after all, religion is a behavior.

To tell the truth though, I am disappointed with Knight's piece. I can always count on Knight to go to extremes with opposing any anti-discrimination laws.

For example when he said the following in 2003 about Nashville's attempt to add sexual orientation to it's nondiscrimination code:

Few public officials and businessmen realize that when they allow the addition of “sexual orientation” to their nondiscrimination codes, they are tying their own hands when it comes to objecting to:

· A man in a highly visible sales job coming to work in a dress and high heels;
· A woman in a highly visible position coming to work in men’s clothes;
· A person of indeterminate sex who insists on using either the men’s room or the women’s room;
· A person of either sex who indulges a taste for extreme sexual promiscuity and pornography during working hours despite being charged with representing the company’s tone and character;
· A man who frequents prostitutes while on business trips and claims that it is none of the company’s business, regardless of the company’s public image.

Knight, who used to be employed with the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America, has on occasion manipulated facts in his written and verbal pieces. He also freely cited discredited researcher Paul Cameron, even citing Cameron data in front of Congress in an attempt to defeat ENDA.

From the site Wired Strategies under the section, Gays are diseased, die early, and are less productive than heterosexuals comes this:

"homosexual behavior is extremely unhealthy, contributing to the spread of AIDS, hepatitis A, B and C and other sexually transmitted diseases….A study of more than 6,400 obituaries in homosexual publications reveals that homosexuals typically have far shorter life spans than the general population. Other reports indicate that homosexuals are more likely to have drug and alcohol abuse problems. It is unfair to force businesses to pay the extra insurance expense and lost productivity that inevitably results from homosexual behavior." [Editors note: the source for this "research" is the discredited Dr. Paul Cameron - see below for extensive information about his extreme beliefs]
- Robert Knight, Family Research Council, testifying at ENDA Hearings, July 29, 1994 - committee on Labor and Human Resources, US Senate.

In my book, Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters, I recount meeting Knight and his "so what" answer when I pressed him about using Cameron's work even after he knew of the discredited researcher's reputation.

So naturally, Knight has no problem distorting the facts and conjuring up ugly images of "godless gays on the attack" when it suits his purpose.

But the fact that Knight didn't conjure up these false images against ENDA may mean that he and others on his side have already given up the fight against it.

Then again, knowing the religious right, they could be saving their ammunition until the time when the vote actually comes up.

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