Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The day after - the bad stuff and a challenge to the lgbt community

To those who fought the good fight in Arkansas, Florida, California, and Arizona, don't get discouraged. The battle ain't over yet.

But something needs to be said to my lgbt brothers and sisters at large.

So many in the lgbt movement want to adopt the terminology of the African-American civil rights movement because we are captivated by the visible aspect of this movement, i.e. the rallies, the marches, the speeches.

But we need to reconcile ourselves to the fact that we are not nor will we ever be like that movement. Certainly there are similarities, but we get so entranced by what happened back then that we don't seem to have perspective.

Black folks back then had to march and rally. Visibility was, at times, all they had. The lgbt struggle is different in that we have more tools for success. But we aren't taking advantage of them.

For example:

How many of you are familiar with Paul Cameron and how his bad research tactics influences religious right claims about lgbts?

How many of you know the name of the so-called pro-family group in your area? Do you know their leader or the policy issues they are pursuing now or will pursue in the future?

How many of you are mobilized to fight said iniatives should they come up against the lgbt community in the future? For example, I suspect the Arkansas success against gay adoption is going to cause a groundswell of the same type of legislation in other states.

Before you answer, let me tell you what the other side does.

They study us daily. They read our web pages and listen to our spokespersons in anticipation of getting an advantage that they can use against us. But mostly, they plan and strategize behind the scenes.

That is the reason for their continued ability to mobilize, exploit fear and ignorance even in the face of an electoral defeat, and keep a lock on the words "morality," "values," and "truth."

And us? Some of us (please notice that I did not say all of us) wait until we are threatened by ballot initiatives before we mobilize and concentrate on the enemy.

Some of us wait until our leaders (or celebrities, I get the two mixed up) comment on an issue before we give a damn.

Some of us think that it is more important to focus on the alleged sexual orientation of a legislator's son rather than the fact that the said legislator is using incredibly bad studies and research to demonize the lgbt community.

Some of us will give the religious right a pass when they distort studies and refer to discredited studies because we don't want to play "gotcha games."

And some of us get so filled up with righteous indignation that we don't channel it at the religious right but at our own and why? Because someone used the wrong semantics; i.e. slipped up and said "civil unions" instead of "marriage."

In other words, we are a community with much potential but right now, we are a hot mess.

And hot messes don't win ballot initiatives or elections.

The following tips are merely my opinion as to what we should do next:

1. Get away from the African-American civil rights movement terminology. Certainly we should use it as a blueprint but we should also be trying to establish our own style in fighting for our rights.

2. Educate yourselves about the religious right. Look at their arguments and study their talking points. Develop talking points to counter them and above all, call them out when they lie. Don't be afraid to say that they are distorting certain arguments. And keep on them when you do. Be as tenacious as a pitbull. Make them explain themselves.

3. Keep the passion we have but let's channel it in the right direction. We basically want the same thing but our community has diverse opinions as to how to reach our goals. Yelling at each other over semantic points only hurts us.

4. Don't wait for things to happen. Anticipate. Or hell, create. A letter to the editor over a bad talking point/study or a blogger alert does wonders in getting the conversation talked about on our terms

5. Don't rely on visibility for visibility's sake and avoid the lure of transient empowerment.

6. Don't wait for Ellen, Rosie, or T.R. to say something. Look for lgbt heroes and spokespeople in your own areas. They are out there.

Like I said, this is just my opinion, but that's what I think we need to go next.


Kevin said...

Hi there. After the passing of Prop. 8 which potentially cancels all gay marriages (including my own) I am now waiting for Paul Cameron to release a study showing that gays and lesbians cannot remain married even though given the chance!

BlackTsunami said...

Cannot or will not? You know how Paul Cameron is.

But you know what, the point is not to wait.

BlackTsunami said...

But seriously, Kevin, I know you are pissed and I dont' blame you.

We weren't exactly Rosey down here when the anti-marriage equality initiative passed in 2006. All we can do though is hold on, not give up and when necessary reorganize and rethink the game plan.

Hazumu Osaragi said...

So, where is the think tank that will analyze the h8rs rhetoric and strategy? That will study the best way to reach the public through the min-field of in-built prejudices and cast equality as the right thing to do? That will put out talking points and do/don't lists for LGBT members when public speaking (or even public behaving -- think Folsom Street Fair, Which for the good of the community MUST be moved indoors with controlled access AT THE VERY LEAST.

Where are the people who will do this, and who will call out any beyond-the-pale behaviour by any community member, or anyone whose behaviour could reflect poorly on the community.

Where are the tools we need to be able to formulate correct strategy and correct actions?

Where is the clearinghouse that collects analyzes and disseminates any and all acts of discrimination or violence against any members of the lgbT community (let's not forget the T -- hetero-cissexual society says they're super-homo, so lgbT are stuck with them.)

Where's the people who will collect audio-visual evidence of rabid, frothing-at-the-mouth hatred, and posting it on YouTube, and linking it into the databases and websites we need to catalog and coordinate all the information we need to bring the battle to the h8ers?

Where is it?

Until then, we're defeated. The only thing we can do is provide them a brain-drain as we find and move to those oasis's of equality that value our strengths and don't see our differences as something to be overcome/defeated.

BlackTsunami said...

There you go,

You are touching on what I'm talking about. We need more thought in that direction.

BTW there are web pages out there who do what they can to catalog religious right nonsense. I have links to them on this page.

Unknown said...

I think the Rockway Institute needs a lot more attention.

From their mission statement:

“The nonpartisan Rockway Institute brings together scientific research and professional expertise to counter antigay prejudice and inform public policies affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The Institute's view is that public opinion, policies, and programs should be shaped by the facts about LGBT lives, not by political ideology. A primary goal is to organize the most knowledgeable social scientists, mental health professionals, and physicians in the United States to provide accurate information about LGBT issues to the media, legislatures, and courts. The Institute also conducts targeted research projects to address the nation's most pressing LGBT public policy questions.”


“More generally, the Institute serves as a “go-to” resource for other organizations that need experts and research information about LGBT issues in their public education and advocacy activities. Areas of expertise include:”

The rest of it is worth the read, as well as canvassing the site. They also have a comprehensive list of experts to draw from on their media resource page - all hyperlinked to their profiles.

The MSM needs to be made (by us) abundantly aware of this group and this list, as too often I have seen pro-gay “experts” bumble, if not outright ignore, obvious Cameron garbage and/or anti-gay leaps in logic.
“1. Get away from the African-American civil rights movement terminology. Certainly we should use it as a blueprint but we should also be trying to establish our own style in fighting for our rights.”

I don’t think we need to get away from the association, I think we just need to do a better job of clarifying it.

I have never equated the AA civil rights movement with our own, but I think the comparison is apt - civil rights-wise. Further, I have always taken the complaint of the comparison as a talking points canard.

Perhaps I’m just projecting, but I’ve always taken the comparison to mean that being gay is not a choice, and the anti-gay complaint of the comparison to mean that being gay is a choice. Actually, when they complain about it, they often make sure to compare skin color with “homosexual behavior,” thereby essentially defining us out of existence. IOW, there are no homosexuals in need of protection, we’re just a bunch of heterosexual perverts who want special rights for what we (may) do in bed.

Further, the issue of “choice” is at the heart of our movement, so I think we should continue to make that comparison, specifically to annihilate the “being gay is a choice” mantra.

The only things I would change in regard to using that, or any other example of a civil rights movement (eg. women‘s suffrage), would be to preemptively explain that these movements may have been different in practice, but not in principle. At least not as far as choice is concerned. No one chooses to be a woman, or black, or gay, or a black gay woman for that matter (unless you believe in reincarnation, lol).

The “homosexual behavior” retort will invariably be brought up, at which point their hateful motive will be exposed. Not the fact that they don’t think homosexuals exist, but in having just ignored everything we just said about being gay NOT being a choice.

Then they can be confronted as to the reasons WHY THEY ARE TRYING TO HIDE the fact that they think we are too stupid to realize that we are actually heterosexuals.

They will then deny, both that they think we are stupid, and that they are trying to hide anything, but for anyone with a working brain who‘s watching, the damage will be done.

Kevin said...

Hi Hazumu, you said:

"think Folsom Street Fair, Which for the good of the community MUST be moved indoors with controlled access AT THE VERY LEAST."

I totally disagree with you. If you have ever been to the fair, you will know that 95% of the people there are fully dressed in regular street clothes and are just having a good time. A very, very small percentage are naked (I bet I only saw 5 people there last year totally naked and one of them was one of my good friends). To hide is not good. How far do we have to extend this hiding? Do we take our pride parades indoors and out of sight? Do we take the flags down from our flagpoles and move them indoors?
Hiding is not the answer.