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  Michelangelo Signorile

‘It’s time for these new, even risky approaches, and it’s time to ask for it all — now. That’s why I’m going to Washington for the National Equality March’

SOUNDBITES — “It’s time for these new, even risky approaches, and it’s time to ask for it all — now. That’s why I’m going to Washington for the National Equality March — called for by legendary activists David Mixner and Cleve Jones — even though, like others, I wasn’t initially down with the idea. It’s time the rest of us showed up on the National Mall and let Obama know that the cocktail party crowd — the suck-ups, the sycophants, and the scaredy-cats — doesn’t represent us. We want full equal rights (or at least see a substantial commitment to moving in that direction) — not photo ops and wine spritzers.” —Radio host Michelangelo Signorile on why he’s heading to the National Equality March

By:           editor editor
On:           Aug 25, 2009
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  • 27 Comments
    • Joel
      Joel

      “…let Obama know that the cocktail party crowd — the suck-ups, the sycophants, and the scaredy-cats — doesn’t represent us.”

      I couldn’t agree more strongly with Michael’s comment above.

      By its anemic planning and dull-pointed thinking, however, the march is just as likely to reinforce in the administration’s mind (and probably the congressional leadership’s mind too) that the “cocktail party crowd” are the real strategists and tacticians.

      It is going to take something more than the expectable to shake “our friends” in Washington. Strategists on the Right have figured this out recently, with their tactics on the local level, so why can’t we? How many warm up marches on Washington did the health care lobbies organize before stripping the gears off Congress and the WH?

      Aug 25, 2009 at 4:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew

      “It’s time the rest of us showed up on the National Mall and let Obama know that the cocktail party crowd — the suck-ups, the sycophants, and the scaredy-cats — doesn’t represent us. We want full equal rights (or at least see a substantial commitment to moving in that direction) — not photo ops and wine spritzers.”

      Oh, so now the National March for Equality is to PROTEST HRC? That’s the new Plan? Many of us are already protesting HRC by not sending them anymore money. That’s a lot smarter than SPENDING MONEY going to Washington DC when THERE WON’T BE ANYONE THERE!

      This March will not draw more than 50,000 people, even though Cleve Jones said he “expected a million marchers.” It does the OPPOSITE of showing strength – it demonstrates weakness. Resources are important. Even if 50,000 people go, they’ll spend $500 each, for a total of $25 million. For the “embarrassment” of a poorly attended event? The LGBT “movement” doesn’t not have a strategy or a Plan for Equality. These half-ass events only make it more obvious. We should save our resources for something that will actually make a difference.

      Aug 25, 2009 at 4:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InExile
      InExile

      This march is very important right now. Those of you talking against the march should just shut up! If you disagree with the march then don’t try to sabotage the success of the march for the rest of us that are no longer comfortable sitting in the back of the bus. Our President, Congressmen, and Senators are doing NOTHING for us. Our politicians need a reason to act (political cover), it is our job to provide them with that cover. I can just hear Barack Obama saying “we did not act on our own behalf” when justifying why he did nothing for gays in the next election cycle.

      Aug 25, 2009 at 4:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @InExile: It know seems the only supporters of this ill-conceived March are the angry activists – all 20,000 of them in the US. Unless you can get 500,000 people to DC, you simply make us look weak AND foolish.

      You can’t use the “back of the bus” argument, either. Blacks were opressed, we are HATED. There is a huge difference. People hate us because of their beliefs – religious beliefs. If you want to March around all angry – I suggest Sunday mornings. There are 350,000 appropriate locations nationwide.

      Nobody has sought to sabotage this event – but we knew in the early weeks it was poorly planned and it did no generate much enthusiasm. Now, there are financial questions. It’s a mess.

      There are many much better ways to make a difference. This March was DOA.

      Aug 25, 2009 at 5:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InExile
      InExile

      @Brian: There needs to be more attention on Washington, not just locally. Local action will only be beneficial in regions where change in laws can actually happen, the real change must come from Washington. The fact is, if we are not marching for our rights in Washington then the politicians will think we must not care about our rights at all. By throwing cold water on this march you are aiding and abetting the very people that we are fighting against for our rights so please just stop.

      Aug 25, 2009 at 5:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joel
      Joel

      Expressing doubts on a blog comment thread is “sabotage”? I’m intrigued by this puerile drumbeat: if the march fails, now it will be the doubters’ fault, instead of the planners?

      Not a soul has done mass mailings, seeking to draw people’s money and attention away from the march, towards a competing project. Not a soul has pulled a Nixonian “dirty trick” to sabotage march logistics. Not a soul has proactively emailed lists of leading activists in the states, seeking their withdrawal from the march.

      Opinions, dialogue, doubts and even criticism are not “sabotage”, they are fundamental freedoms in this nation– the same that have achieved what we have, and will get us the rest.

      So, please, yell the word “sabotage” all you want, or stomp your feet and tell people to “just shut up,” but if you don’t respect other people’s right to speak, no amount of worn soles will move you down the line to our full rights.

      Aug 25, 2009 at 5:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InExile
      InExile

      [img]http://s3.amazonaws.com/twitpic/photos/full/1978451.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=0ZRYP5X5F6FSMBCCSE82&Expires=1251237282&Signature=iPdOWMUJ5npsZgwYpPFyWzL7kyk%3D[/img]

      IT IS TIME TO MARCH.

      Aug 25, 2009 at 5:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joel
      Joel

      <– InExile: Thanks for demonstrating a level of political maturity and potency in alignment with that nutjob who brought a different sort of “Obama face morph” pic to Barney Frank’s town hall meeting.

      P.S. Just in case you’re thinking about making a mess in the garage in the weeks prior to the march, just wanted you to know that big political papier mâché effigies usually don’t move the needle in Congress much either.

      Aug 25, 2009 at 5:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InExile
      InExile

      @Joel: What does move congress since you are such an expert? Please do tell because nothing we are doing now is working.

      Aug 25, 2009 at 5:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joel
      Joel

      Is that a serious question? The entire nation has been witness over recent weeks to certain lobbies implementing tactics that, at the local level, have literally altered the goals of both the WH and Congress on one of the highest-profile policy debates in years. The hollerers at congressional town hall meetings may be deplorable, but their overseers are not dumb. So I ask again, how many warm up marches on Washington did they need to be so effective in just a matter or weeks?

      Aug 25, 2009 at 6:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • billybob
      billybob

      As someone who lives in DC. I have lots of LGBT friends around the country, many very politically active, and not one of them has asked to stay in my home. In fact, most don’t even know that a march is going on. This thing is a train wreck.

      I don’t even think I will attend, and I only live about half a mile from the site.

      Aug 25, 2009 at 6:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InExile
      InExile

      @Joel: It is a shame there have been no town halls on gays rights because you might be on to something there.

      Other oppressed groups have marched and it worked for them so why not us? We need to try everything to get our movement going. My concern is our window of opportunity is running out because we have mid-term elections in 2010 and the Presidential election in 2012. The march may give us the added media exposure as well as help to motivate our own community to do more marches on the local level.

      Our health care debate’s failure belongs to the president because he did not take a leadership role in making it happen. handing it over to congress is like giving a thief your money and asking him to keep it safe. the fact is, he did not want to stick his neck out and take ownership of of health care reform so here we are. He has taken the same approach for his promises to the LGBT community.

      These politicians need the political cover to act that only our community can provide and a march is a great first step.

      Aug 25, 2009 at 6:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev
      Chitown Kev

      @InExile:

      You asked, “What does move congress since you are such an expert?”

      The answer: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

      That can happen in many different forms

      Aug 25, 2009 at 6:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joel
      Joel

      InExile: I simply disagree with you and many others who are suggesting that “we need to try everything.”

      No, we don’t. As we find ourselves flailing, now is not the time to be diffuse, for thousands of hands to throw thousands of handfulls of Jell-O at thousands of walls, hoping that somehow somewhere someday something will work.

      What we need is focused, forceful leadership, arising out of a very difficult self examination. What we need is more of what California experienced in the sorry aftermath of Prop 8: a cold hard look in the mirror at our level of political maturity, strategic acumen, and vertebral fortitude.

      Mark my words: that uncomfortable family discussion in Calif. will be repeated, on a national scale, after this anemic march. Perhaps only then we’ll start to see new coagulations of people and ideas to move us forward with potency.

      We do not need “gay rights” on any meeting agenda to say who we are at the local level. Indeed, many of the town hall flare ups have occurred at meetings that were billed as general congressional town hall meetings. I worked on the Hill. I worked on a big march. Marches don’t work anymore. What does? People standing up, in their communities, with straight allies at their side, saying: “this is me, I’m part of this community, I employ people here, I pay taxes here, I have a family here; are you in favor of treating me equal to my neighbors, or not?”

      And it has to happen again, and again, and again.

      And it has to be lined up with, yes, a gutsier approach and schedule from our voices inside Washington.

      I love and feel for any person going to Washington, but I ache that this entire endeavor has been advocated upon us by people who, deep down, are surely smart enough to know it will have very little, if any, tangible political yield. It’s an act of tactical desperation, and when those two words are side by side, you’ve lost it.

      Aug 25, 2009 at 7:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InExile
      InExile

      @Joel: Guess it all depends how desperate you are as to how you look at this. Your points are well taken.

      Aug 25, 2009 at 7:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @InExile: Your words: “media exposure” for the March for Equality would be a terrible thing. There won’t be a crowd. It would be an embarrassment. You would need at least 500,000 people for it to be noticed. So far, it looks like maybe 25,000.

      I agree with Joel on the politics and the FACT that this movement isn’t moving. Clearly “local” conversations are very important and effective. But, I don’t think we’ll win politically until we change the “beliefs” about homosexuals. That’s a religious conversation and most are afraid or have been brainwashed to not allow it. But, if we are ever going to change beliefs, we need to reject biblical lies. Good people will choose Equality over Religion. We should figure out how to do that as soon as possible.

      Finally, you continue to claim we are “oppressed” and I don’t think that’s true. We are hated and feared. We need to change that – Joel’s one-on-one or small groups, is the best way. As people get to know us and relate to our lives they begin to realize the biblical crap was a bunch of lies. We should have faith in each other, not ancient superstition and trust our own sincere judgement, instead of some fantasy God and tired dogma.

      Aug 25, 2009 at 7:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon B
      Jon B

      @Joel: I didn’t see any Joel’s on the TV ranting about gay rights at townhalls. You can talk about “political maturity, strategic acumen, and vertebral fortitude” all you want, but unless you’re actually at a townhall meeting with your Congressman and get up and act on your strategy you’re just another faceless body behind a computer somewhere attacking people who are actually planning something, however “anemic” that plan might be.

      @Brian: You know why 500,000 people won’t be there? Because you and others are going to stay home waiting to see the official count when Queerty posts it in order to write “FIRST! haha, told you so” in the comments section.

      Also, you’re just wrong: the problem is that we’re oppressed. Who cares if we’re hated and feared, so long as we have the same rights as everyone else? Acceptance follows equality, not the other way around.

      As for religion, it’s probably not going anywhere… so prepare for disappointment

      Aug 25, 2009 at 8:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InExile
      InExile

      @Brian: If you think you will change the “faithful’ you are dreaming. These people believe what they believe as it is written in their bible or whatever. They do hate us without a doubt and we are oppressed because of that hate. That hate will not change.

      I think I qualify as oppressed being forced to choose between my partner of 14 years and my country losing my career, home, friends, family, and the place I called home for 25 years to move to a foreign country. I am watching my life pass me by while I wait for these discriminatory laws to change. When you have lost almost everything to discrimination, you tend to look at any step forward in a positive way.

      Sitting at home and writing letters that are answered with a form letter by congress is not moving us forward, in fact it is making it easy for Washington to keep us exactly where we are right now. Maybe this march is not perfect but at least it is a step forward.

      Aug 25, 2009 at 8:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joel
      Joel

      @Jon B: Let’s be careful in assuming that you’re either for this march, or you’re a catatonic queer gripped in apathy. I have given untold hours, energies, and more than a few dollars in public service, and always will. It is a facile conflict you’re pushing between cheerleading this march, and apathy.

      Aug 25, 2009 at 9:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Jon B: You said: Who cares if we’re hated and feared, so long as we have the same rights as everyone else? Acceptance follows equality, not the other way around.”

      If you are hated and feared you will never have “equality.” Court ordered “rights” aren’t enough to create equality – ask blacks, i’m sure many would say despite Civil Rights Laws they still aren’t “feeling” equal. Acceptance implies “in spite of our feelings, we’ll accept you.” That sounds a lot like the so-called “gay friendly” churches “accepting” the homosexual sinners.

      As far as the future of religion, do some homework. If ONLY people under the age of 30 were voting gays and lesbians would win every vote. Young people have abandoned religion. It seems after 2,000 years we’re coming out of the darkness.

      It is the “beliefs” that we must challenge. These religious beliefs are what dictate votes and feelings about homosexuals. Ignoring that reality, no matter how many small Marches you have, will prevent your equal rights and more importantly – your equality.

      Religion made us “wrong.” Ignore that and we stay “wrong.”

      Aug 25, 2009 at 10:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @InExile: You said: “If you think you will change the “faithful’ you are dreaming. These people believe what they believe as it is written in their bible or whatever. They do hate us without a doubt and we are oppressed because of that hate. That hate will not change.”

      It’s already happening without our input. Religion is changing in order to survive. We can speed up that process.

      You acknowledge the source of the hatred of gays and lesbians, but you will not challenge it. That is why your last 5 words are accurate.

      We are not wrong – Religion is.

      Aug 25, 2009 at 10:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew

      @InExile: Washington (politicians) know everything in your Comment. They know the issues and they know the numbers. This March is not a STRATEGY – it is an EVENT. It won’t change any minds – that takes more than forming a group and walking together.

      It know appears it is an event that will just make us look silly, not strong. There are better ways to spend your money. Try “converting” a dozen people to the doctrine of “fairness and equality.” You may be pleasantly surprised at the reaction you get. While many religious people are terminal, a large percentage are good people – IF THEY KNOW US. Let them know you.

      Aug 25, 2009 at 10:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kropotkin
      Kropotkin

      ” “It’s time for these new, even risky approaches, and it’s time to ask for it all — now. That’s why I’m going to Washington for the National Equality March”

      Huh? I seem to recall that we’ve had national equality marches before? How is this new? Why throw away a model of activism that’s work spectacularly (would anyone have guess in 1993 that we’d have marriage in four states by 2009?)?

      Another national march is a waste of time and resources. Marches are for raising awareness and you’d have to live in a cage not to have heard about the equal marriage struggle by now. This is the time for localized and direct political action.

      Aug 25, 2009 at 11:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @Andrew: You said “We should save our resources for something that will actually make a difference.”
      ________________________________________________________________

      Really? Any suggestions? Look, I’m not a huge fan of the march. I’ll go because I’ll support anything that will draw attention to us right now, however, if you are going to criticize, then step up to the plate and offer a suggestion.

      Aug 26, 2009 at 11:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew

      @Cam: I did: There are better ways to spend your money. Try “converting” a dozen people to the doctrine of “fairness and equality.” You may be pleasantly surprised at the reaction you get. While many religious people are terminal, a large percentage are good people – IF THEY KNOW US. Let them know you.

      Everyone knows about gays – we don’t need a March to let people know we’re here or that we can form a group and walk. We need conversation – direct one-on-one conversation with friends, neighbors and others. When people know us they get over their religious beliefs that we are defective and dangerous. That’s how we win. One by one. If every LGBT person had 20 successful conversations this year, we would create more allies than any March could ever produce.

      Start talking.

      Aug 26, 2009 at 11:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joel
      Joel

      Cam: Perhaps you didn’t read earlier in the thread, but the “any other suggestions” tin cup (as it is hardly a gauntlet) has already been laid down, and then easily dealt with. In addition to suggestions made earlier, and also by Andrew, there are obviously countless efforts and projects at the state and local levels. Indeed, this blog and others have covered Maine’s current need for support.

      Which brings another illogical irony to mind, when listening to the entreaties of march organizers and supporters. When confronted with competing needs at the state and local levels, they have been quick to respond that we can do more than one thing at a time, that our resources and energies are not as limited as one might think, and that “many different things” are required right now.

      Yet, when anyone questions the march, we’re scolded as if the march is the only going option.

      So, we can do other things, and at the same time there is nothing else to do but this march?

      Aug 26, 2009 at 12:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Markie-Mark
      Markie-Mark

      Money talks. Here’s what I’m doing: My vacation/tourist dollars are being spent in New England. I’m not going to Florida any more and I’m not going to California any more. And California wine is off my table. Maybe it’s not the right thing for everyone, but I believe that if enough gays did that it would be noticed. And it might make a difference in Maine.

      This last election was an eye-opener for me. In the primary I voted for the candidate that was in favor of gay marriage. I knew he couldn’t win, but if more gays had voted for him, he might have changed the debate. When he dropped out I voted for the candidate that was in favor of gay marriage on the party line that has had gay marriage in its platform for years now – the Green Party. I tried to talk to straight and gay friends about this issue and they indicated that they reallly didn’t care. So, now I’m looking for some new friends.

      The problem with the march that no one has pointed out yet is that the gay community is very much divided between people who want and deserve freedom and Obamapologist. That will be the undoing of the march. Real leaders would take us away from that divide and focus on activitism that would unite us in a positive way. The Obamapologists will wake up in time – at least some of them will. But I believe this march will bring the two groups together for a counterproductive clash. That and a low turnout will show us to be weak.

      Aug 26, 2009 at 11:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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