Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Heckling the First Lady was counterproductive no matter how much attention it gets.

Editor's note - I wanted to talk more about yesterday's pathetic anti-gay protest at HRC headquarters, but last night's heckling of Michelle Obama by a GetEqual activist is on my mind and it's moving me into a territory which I despise - publicly criticizing my own. But it has to be said, particularly because I was called an "Uncle Tom" by a member of my own lgbt community for daring to espouse such an opinion. I apologize for those who feel that this is free form rambling. But it is my opinion. And I should tell you that what you read below is not simply the product of my disappointment over last night's heckling, but how I have felt this year with some of my fellow lgbt activists: 

Last night's heckling of First Lady Michelle Obama by a member of the lgbt group GetEqual wasn't just dumb.

It was highly counterproductive. Furthermore, I have a serious problem with the idea that any attention is good, no matter how much of an ass you act to receive it. While I totally understand the why, I also believe in picking one's spots. Was the heckling indicative of the lgbt community needing to speak out or our forced silence? No. It is indicative of a mindset of self-described elite members of the lgbt community attempting to boggart the conversation and not caring who they hurt to get their attention.

While some may feel that what was done last night was awesome, many others feel that it is indicative of the mindset of a group of folks who cling so desperately to the Act-UP/Queer Nation mentality of 20 years ago because they are either too lazy, too rushed, or too limited to grasp the idea that perhaps new ideas are needed to fully embrace the lgbt community's present day status of being more inside the bubble than outside. These folks need to take into account that our struggle for equality is not centered around cliques, a circles of friends, or a bunch of like-minded pseudo intellectual folks who will either complicate the issue or refuse to do more to make the case for equality IN the community.

And then there is that nagging idea that this "shout your head off/show your butt" mentality is indicative of some in the lgbt community who don't want to embrace new and different folks who may be  - shall we say -  a bit less eastern and a bit more Southern, a bit less rooted in the stereotypical lgbt social strata, a bit less rooted in the clique mentality, a bit more methodical in our planning, or a bit more "ethnically challenged." In short, this heckling was dumb. It was ill-timed, slack, and counterproductive. It demonstrates the mentality of a group who - while having the potential to be the next generation of equality leaders following in the footsteps of past leaders - do not yet have the maturity.


Drew Catrow said...

I must agree, there is a time and a place! If they want to be vocal, then get involved with pride events, or with other marches make as much noise as possible!!! Don't DON'T steal the spotlight, or try to force the conversation to only ONLY be what you want it to be about. The LGBTQ community is VAST and DIVERSE we ALL need to work TOGETHER and we will get the job done!!!

Fronty said...

I totally agree. Behaving in such a way makes us seem as though we have poor manners and undeveloped social skills, not to mention a dire lack of respect toward the people we are requesting change the laws and constitution in our favour.

The fact that the FLOTUS is on our side makes the heckling all the worse. 'Don't bite the hand that feeds you'.

The lgbt community has spent countless years proving we are an articulate, rational, decent, and moral group of individuals. Heckling, no matter who it is directed at, lowers us to the standard of what are known in Australia as "football bogans".

Aggressive behaviour detracts from the lgbt movements primary messages of anti-violence (verbal and physical) love, and acceptance.

When we behave in this way we defeat our purpose.

Thanks for giving a voice to the issue.

Todd Rainer said...

I'm always curious about the people who think that self-criticism (i.e. criticism of one's one particular group) is bad. I have to wonder how they raise their children (or would raise them, if they had any)... would they simply allow them to commit any bad-behavior they wished because they "loved them?"

When someone in your group does wrong, or something stupid, or is just generally an ass, it MUST be pointed out. That doesn't make you an "Uncle Tom," that makes you someone who actually gives a damned.

Hank Drake said...

I totally agree. There is a time for activism, a time for advocating in a collaborative way, and a time to STFU. I find this "activist" to be appallingly rude. Mrs. Obama does not control White House policy and did not deserve to be treated in this manner. In its way, Ms. Sturtz' behavior mirrors that of several people in my local community I've been dealing with on an unrelated issue: they shout and scream, and have been totally ineffective in getting anything done. I've said it before, and will say it again: the struggle for LGBT rights is a struggle for the hearts and minds of ordinary Americans. Those who want to make a difference need to come out of the closet, move out of the safe cocoon of their gayborhood, be proud, and make something of themselves.

Gary47a said...

Ms Sturtz needs to study the slow, methodic work of the Civil Rights movement. Thurgood Marshall and Dr King planned very carefully, and cultivated allies, working the system. Her little ego trip temper tantrums pissed of people who csn help is achieve equality, possibly slowing success.