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Old Problems Plague Gay Movement

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The contemporary gay rights movement got off the ground way back in 1969. Despite nearly forty years of struggle, activists still can’t overcome one fundamental hurdle: should the gay movement subscribe to separatist isolationism or dedicate itself to more universal human rights?

The pressing matter came into sharp contrast during last year’s ENDA debacle, when homos took sides on whether or not to accept a trans exclusive employment non-discrimination act. While some organizations – such as Human Rights Campaign – rallied for an incremental approach, hundreds of other organizations insisted on all or nothing. The resulting drama highlighted a problem that has been brewing since the beginning of the movement.

The Stonewall rebellion led to the formation of the Gay Liberation Front, which dedicated itself to fighting solely for same-sex lovers. It wasn’t long, however, until frustrated activists broke off to form the Gay Activist Alliance, which worked with other liberation groups to achieve universal equal rights. Their purview extended beyond the gates of Oz and into the real world. Though neither organization stood the test of time, their ideologies continue to dominate – and divide – the gay rights movement.

New Republic journo James Kirchick gave the old debate new life this week when he published a scathing editorial against outgoing National Gay and Lesbian Task Force director Matt Foreman. Though much of his piece – which The Advocate published – gets caught up in the old liberal v. conservative debate, Kirchick raises interesting political, social and moral matters.

Kirchick opens by taking on Foreman’s record at the Task Force, which apparently Kirchick doesn’t think did enough for the gay community. He writes:

[Foreman] was many things during his five years at the top of one of the country’s preeminent gay rights organizations. He was an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq. He fought against privatizing Social Security. He stood foursquare against the erosion of abortion rights.

But what any of these issues have to do with lobbying for gay rights — presumably Foreman’s job description — is beyond me.

Kirchick later uses Foreman’s opposition to an exclusive ENDA, as well as some Task Forcers’ opposition to marriage as an indication of why the Task Force actually harms the gay community.

The Task Force’s flaws, he writes, stem from the fact that they’re committed to “broader social justice movement”. This should come as no surprise – anyone who’s familiar with the history of the gay rights movement knows that the Task Force formed from the ashes of GAA, the organization which focused on cross-cultural struggle. Despite its history, Kirchick can’t seem to wrap his mind around the fact that gay people may want to help other people who are oppressed. Or perhaps he’s intimidated by the “Marxist” inspired “queer theory” – who wouldn’t be? Thinking outside your box can be a frightful experience, even for the political elite.

We won’t comment on the Task Force’s relationship with the United Nations or alleged allegiance to wealth distribution. We will, however, say that it’s morally irresponsible to dismiss an organization for looking beyond its ranks. Would it be acceptable to save a gay man from a burning building and let a black man be consumed by flames? No, of course not, nor is it acceptable to work for group rights without realizing that there are others who need uplifting, as well.

Kirchick and his ideological adherents practice the most dangerous type of isolation: selfish activism. Those who insist on getting the goods for the gays and no one else are just as guilty as those who work against universal human rights. Foreman, whom we interviewed earlier this week, puts it best when he says the gay rights movement faces one huge division: our ultimate end.

I think where there is a divergence and there is not a consensus is the long-term vision for our movement. Part of this is trying to figure out… We are part of something bigger than just trying to get the technical equality under the law. That’s a prerequisite, but we can’t pretend that’s the end. That’s really a more just society.

Are we willing to work simply for gay rights and call it a day or should we work for universal equality? The answer seems simple to us.

Of course, Kirchick’s correct in pointing out that there are a number of gay-centric organizations – HRC, Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund, and many more – all of which are great in their own way. It seems to use, however, that while we should all fight for gay rights, we shouldn’t forget our fellow man.

By:           Andrew Belonksy
On:           Feb 7, 2008
Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

  • 64 Comments
    • Charley
      Charley

      The last NGLTF convention I went to in Miami had mandatory racial diversity training. I was there to learn more about gay rights issues. It is a deep emotional thing. Like if you are gay you would vote for a gay candidate, black a black candidate, a woman a woman candidate. To love the whole world and want fairness for everyone is a great John Lennon concept, but one should start with themselves, and I start with queer me and queer issues. I get Kirchick’s point.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 9:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charley
      Charley

      We don’t yet have the luxury to fight for everyone. Not until we get our full rights as citizens of the United States should we spread our energies around to help the disadvantaged and disinfrancihised. I have heard all my life, “What about the starving in Africa?”. I am compassionate, but it is not my business as a second class citizen in this country. As long as religions are designated tax free, let the responsibility to feed starving people be on their shoulders.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 9:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul Raposo
      Paul Raposo

      Does NOW practice selfish activism? What about the NAACP; or The United Negro College Fund; or B’nai Brith; or the Immigrant Workers Center; or Planned Parenthood? Why do LGBTQ’s have to worry about everyone else, when very few others give a goddamn about us? The other 95% of the population has it’s own agenda; why can’t we have our own? A tent can only get so big, before it collapses.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 9:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mozzer13
      mozzer13

      Anyone who thinks we will ever get real equality while others lack that equality is naive and has not paid attention to centuries of oppression.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 10:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Billie
      Billie

      It is right to fight against racism, because all LGBTQs aren’t white. I think the white privilege of many LGBTQs is apparent to everyone but them.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 10:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charley
      Charley

      Paul,
      You are correct. It’s about staying focused on the personal social issues that need change. Rosa Parks may have cared about outher causes, like “Save the Whales”, but her focus was personal and she made a firm statment for Civil Rights, her rights.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 10:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charley
      Charley

      Billie,
      Your fight is with homophobic black churches, and people like black petacostal pastor Leah Daughtrey of the DNC, not priviledged whites in the LGBTQ movement.
      I voted for Obama.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 10:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • kelli busey
      kelli busey

      Lets assume we win rights for gay men. Gay men who are white. Gay men who speak a germanic language. Hmmmm….

      Feb 7, 2008 at 10:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charley
      Charley

      Kelli,
      I am referring to all LGBTQ couples right to marriage because lawmakers see marriage sanctified under god, and don’t get the federal rights that are denied under DOMA.
      These are the gay rights worth fighting for because it will enforce separation of church and state under the constitution.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 10:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • James
      James

      Gay isn’t a visible, rigidly defined minority. We gays have the luxury of slipping in and out of different identities, whether they be gender, race, religion or other, a luxury that more constrained minorities such as African Americans or Jews don’t necessarily have. As long as we have that identity diversity within our ranks, OF COURSE we will be drawn to other causes. Homosexual organizations should definitely stick to homosexual issues, but why chide the gay PETA members for forming a subgroup? As for transsexuals, I can’t believe that we are leaving in the cold a part of our community that marched at Stonewall 40 years ago…

      Feb 7, 2008 at 10:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mozzer13
      mozzer13

      Charley, I am just exhausted with gay folks discussing how homophobic black religious people are while never questioning how racist gay white folks often are. It is all tied together, and the sooner we acknowledge that, the sooner we can eliminate it. Our fight isn’t with homophobic black churches. It is with those who would oppress anyone.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 10:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mozzer13
      mozzer13

      And the last time I checked, there are a hell of a lot of homophobic WHITE churches. Why do we call the churches out by race? It is just dividing us further.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 10:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charley
      Charley

      James,
      I disagree, gay is visible. That is the argument that homophobes give. I think of Matthew Sheppard. He could not have passed as straight. Maybe I have extraordinary “gaydar” but most of the thousands of gay men I see here in Palm Springs couldn’t pass for straight, even though they may think so. There are gay characteristics one cannot hide or cover up, nor should they to please a homophobic society.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 10:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • kelli busey
      kelli busey

      Charlie.
      The National Gay And Lesbian Task Force has been the search light guiding the GLBT community thru the ENDA storm. Where would we be without them? Just another stone in the HRC bag at the bottom of the sea! You may feel comfort thinking that HRC is working on your issues untill one day you find the bite marks on you back.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 11:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charley
      Charley

      Mozzer13,
      You are so on the defensive, that you don’t think I know about the white homophobic churches and candidates like Huckabee?
      I was saying your job as a black gay man is internal with black churches, and that is what Obama is approaching. He brings up the subject with black pastors. Hillary only talks to the gay community about gay issues, but never brings up homophobia outside to the broader religious community. That is why I voted for Obama.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 11:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mozzer13
      mozzer13

      LOL! Charley, I’m so white that I’m practically opaque! :)

      I don’t think I’m defensive. I just get really irritated when white gay folks won’t take some responsibility for racism. I cannot imagine how we don’t see that these things are tied together, and bringing up homophobic black churches does not excuse our responsibility to fight for an integrated system of social justice.

      FYI, I’m thrilled you voted for Obama, and you’re absolutely right that Clinton only seems to care about gay issues when she’s in front of gay people, just like her husband. And I’m with you on the idea that whether or not we can “hide” is irrelevant and somewhat homophobic. I’m just saying without considering ourselves a part of a larger movement, we’re never going to get to our goals. Ever.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 11:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charley
      Charley

      Keli,
      I associate HRC with other bottom feeders like Log Cabin Republicans. I supported HRC until they gave my money to a Republican Candidate. Then I said, enough.
      I met some wonderful activists at the NGLTF, fighting for veterans, service men, ect. They are about the best around, but I did not like the spreading out of universal issues. I got the feeling that they went so hard into diversity training for LGBTQ’S was bacause of Matt Foreman’s partner, a hot hunk from Cuba.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 11:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mad John
      Mad John

      Gotta love the halfwit demonstrating for gay rights in a shirt that depicts a man who enslaved gays in forced labor camps. Idiot.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 11:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John
      John

      these kinds of debates really frustrate me, because, like billie points out, “gay people” doesn’t represent one singular subject, but multiple social positions… so for a gay rights group to deal with only “gay issues” center a white gay male, and ignores the fact that gay people also deal with racism, poverty, etc…. and james, to make the claim that “homosexuals” can go in and out of race, gender etc. unlike african americans or jews elides homosexual african americans or homosexual jews from term homosexual…

      Feb 7, 2008 at 11:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John
      John

      ok, i have the flu, my grammar is a bit poor on my post.. my bad

      Feb 7, 2008 at 12:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul Raposo
      Paul Raposo

      What about all the femme gays and butch dykes and trans people and fat, or old, or disabled LGBTQ’s who are routinely ignored by all the gays suffering from white, liberal guilt? Let’s get our own house in order before cleaning everyone else’s homes.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 12:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hisurfer
      hisurfer

      From back one: NOW and NAACP do take stands on multiple issues, not just female- or black- specific. It’s not just fags and dykes who ‘care about others.’

      I find this an interesting discussion but a silly argument. It’s not either/or here … any movement should have narrow-focus and broad-focus elements. There’s a danger, of course, that any one organization can go so far in either direction that they become irrelevant, but overall: we need and should have both approaches.

      ANother side: if race is a social construct then yeah, there are people who can go in and out. Case in point: Obama wasn’t “African-American” until he moved to Chicago in his twenties. He might have been popolo in Hawai`i, but that’s quite a different thing.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 12:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Librarian
      Librarian

      It is simple to fight for gay rights while also fighting for a more just society. This larger agenda is called human rights. The rest of the world gets this concept, which includes nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 12:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charley
      Charley

      People for the American Way approaches all issues of social injustice, there are others. They are great, but another 501 c 3 org, like NGLTF, HRC, NAACP and all the rest, getting tax exempt donations under the watchful eye of the IRS.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 12:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charley
      Charley

      My point is, how much activism can they do and still keep in good with the IRS. Not much.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 12:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AKN
      AKN

      I think it’s admirable and completely rational for gay activists to take on an agenda that’s broader than just gay equality, but one thing I agree with Kirchick on is that rejecting or demanding silence from conservatives and Republicans who genuinely support LGBT equality, no matter how misguided they may seem on other issues, is a divisive waste of opportunity. I don’t think it’s unrealistic for pro-gay liberals and pro-gay conservatives to work together on gay issues while agreeing to disagree strongly (and work toward opposite ends) on others. Conservatism and gay rights are no longer mutually exclusive. Gay rights is not the same wedge-issue for Republicans that it used to be, and yet the left is still shouting for them to f*ck off because of an all-or-nothing mentality that often lands LGBT issues at the back of the bus. (Seriously, aside from a non-inclusive ENDA passing in the House, what has the year-old Democratic Congress done in terms of pro-gay legislation? Zip.)

      I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s hard to get someone to listen to you when all they hear is vitriol.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 1:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      To gain a real perspective on this question we have to understand why our movement is so profoundly radical. Our agenda for full equality is not is going to be fulfilled short of deep-seated change. The same can be said for other struggles, especially those of African Americans, immigrant workers and women and above all trade unionists.

      We and these other groups have agendas that are reasonable and urgently need implementing, and what makes us potential allies is that our agendas ARE NOT going to get put into action without sharp struggles.

      Remember ENDA. It was a fine but limited bill and they tore it to shreds and then dropped it. They have no plans to pass hate crimes and hate speech bills that will harshly punish racists, immigrant bashers and antigay bigots. They aren’t about to stop the war or jail environmental spoiler. They’ll continue to try to break unions and drive down our standard of living and that‘s plunging the economy into a steep nosedive.

      What we share with our allies is really a common agenda, not separate ones. Our fight is enhanced, not lessened by the fight of African Americans in places like Jena. For all of us the passage of a few more timid antidiscrimination bills is meaningless if our standard of living is sabotaged by corporate predator and we’re in danger because of their war policies.

      GLBT folks have been in on every great battle in US history. We were at Bunker Hill and Gettysburg; we spearheaded the feminist and suffragist movement and stood up in the fight to build union and support civil rights and liberties. We were instrumental in the antiwar movements during Vietnam and now. The fact that we’ve been the target of witch hunts and that the right fears and hates us so much means that’s not gone unnoticed.

      American society is being propelled down a path that will inevitably lead us and our allies into a head butting contest with the powers that be for real, fundamental change. The battle to preserve ENDA from the tender mercies of Barney Frank and the Republicans is helping mold a new left wing in our LGBT communities.

      In the past we’ve fought for others, but now it’s our time. Its time face up to bigots, protect ourselves and fight for full equality. Our battle for equality is compulsory. But if we continue spinning our wheels in Democratic and Republican closets while waiting to be ‘saved’ we get nowhere. Now is the time to defiantly step out of their political closets and join our allies, in our own name to fight for our common agendas.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 2:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      Seems like a lot of people are writing with the assumption that where you put your dick or what you do with your cunt somehow determines your political leanings – or mitigates them. There are black gays, asian gays, militant nazi poodle grooming gays. Seems the one thing they have in common is… So, yes. In order to be as focused and united as possible (instead of devolving into the vitriol-flinging, divisive alphabet soup we’ve become)we should concentrate on that which defines US. Can you – as an individual – still march for PETA or, hell, a fascist republican zealot? Sure. But you don’t need a “gay” reason to do so.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 5:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • kelli busey
      kelli busey

      Wow Mr Bill Perdue! May I Quote you please?
      That is so moving. Thank you.

      Feb 7, 2008 at 11:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      Anytime Kelli, but in return I want to use ” You may feel comfort thinking that HRC is working on your issues until one day you find the bite marks on your back.”

      Feb 8, 2008 at 9:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charley
      Charley

      Bill Perdue
      Join our allies? Name one. What group wants us to join them hand in hand up the mountain top ? Black groups namely NAACP hates us. Obama is the only candidate saying to reject us is not part of MLK’s dream.

      Feb 8, 2008 at 12:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • james ii
      james ii

      a previous james wrote:
      “We gays have the luxury of slipping in and out of different identities, whether they be gender, race, religion or other…”

      But we shouldn’t have to! See, it’s because as gay or lesbian, bi or trans, that we can get beaten up or denied equal rights, that many of us choose to hide behind other identities! And remember, there are many of us who because of how we sound or look or walk or whatever, cannot hide!

      How often, when you see a march or demonstration held by a black or women’s or immigrants’ rights group do you see their message muddled up by inclusion of glbts? Never. I have taken part in marches for reproductive freedom and immigrants rights, but i haven’t gone to these flying a gay lag — i’ve gone because my friends whom this mattered to asked for my help and i wanted to support them. One of these friends, i brought to one of these gay equality marches in chicago a couple years ago [who knows, it may have been the one in the picture here] and upon seeing the ridiculously long messages on the signs, etc., she said, ‘i thought this was a gay march?’

      Like others have said, we haven’t got the luxury yet to lend our organizations and platform to others.

      Feb 8, 2008 at 12:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      Charley I’ve been reading you comments and I’m sure that you couldn’t find an ally anwhere or anytime. Your blinkered vision, colored by 300 years of American views on ehtnicity are your own, but when you claim we have no allies and that we don’t need them your’re dead wrong.

      If we don’t run our own independent political camppains we never get anywhere and we’ll stay dependent on backstabbers like Obama and Clinton. If we don’t support our allie, and ask for their support none of us will make it.

      I don’t know what planet you’ve been living on but I want to aquaint you with some fact about politcs here on Earht. Our ‘enemy’ is not ‘black’ churches, but the leaders of all cults that spout antigay bigotry and the ABSOLUTE Majoritykmajority of those are chatolics, proetest evangelicals and mormons. ututdptlical iey d me bt,eroraer, but that dosen’t stop the NAACP in California form supoporting same sex marriage and it didn’t stop fortyuuld

      Feb 8, 2008 at 12:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      Sorry for the mess above, I have a nasty case of cataracts and hit enter before editing my remarks.

      Charley, I’ve been reading you comments and I’m sure that you couldn’t find an ally anywhere or anytime. Your blinkered vision, colored by 300 years of American views on ethnicity are your own, but when you claim we have no allies and that we don’t need them you’re dead wrong.

      If we don’t run our own independent political campaigns we never get anywhere and we’ll stay dependent on backstabbers like Obama and Clinton. If we don’t support our allies, and ask for their support, none of us will make it.

      I don’t know what planet you’ve been living on but I want to acquaint you with some facts about politics here on Earth. Our ‘enemy’ is not ‘black’ churches, but the leaders of all the cults that spout antigay bigotry and the ABSOLUTE MMAJORITY of these are catholics, protestant evangelicals and mormons.

      You’re dead wrong about the NAACP. The NAACP consistently supports us in California and has done so for at least the last 40 years. Just a week or so ago Queerty reported that Julian Bond “ an icon in the civil rights movement for nearly 50 years and longtime national Chairman of the NAACP, has stepped into a leadership role with the Fairness for All Families Campaign the statewide coalition effort to defeat the deceptively named “Florida Marriage Protection” Amendment.

      Bond will serve on the Honorary Board of the campaign to defeat the constitutional amendment, slated for the 2008 ballot, which could strip away employee benefits while barring the passage of measures to help Florida families.” I guess you missed that and all the other stories about unions and other groups supporting our struggles.

      Feb 8, 2008 at 1:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charley
      Charley

      Million Man March wouldn’t let gays march. In so far as trade unions go, most of the larger Fortune 500 companies have gay groups organized within the company.
      You are an exception in that you think the movement actually has some power, like the Bolsheviks that brought down Russia. Individual initiatives in the courts is where change will happen.

      Feb 8, 2008 at 1:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane Walsh
      M Shane Walsh

      I’m not sure what the real issue here is. Because your not a Sullivanesque nut job assimilationist who hankers to BE LIKE heteronorms, should not preclude your being compassionate toward other people.
      In fact, quite the contrary, if we want to build a diverse world, we need to respect and fight for others as we would have them respect us.
      I’m not a buddist priestess, but want them to be happy expanding their own lives.

      Feb 8, 2008 at 1:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charley
      Charley

      M. Walsh
      Obviously you have not read the thread, just the last part starting with Bill Perdue.
      I am very compassionate towards other people’s stuggle. That is an inate quality of gay people, because many like me were picked on in school for being a sissy. Most of my friends throughout life have been other minorities.
      This thread started off with NGLTF giving diversity training to gays and Matt Foreman wanting to include every group under the gay umbrella. My argument continues to be “focus” on the main issue of getting full rights for LGBTQ’S. Once that is done, then we can work with other movements to get their rights.

      Feb 8, 2008 at 1:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charley
      Charley

      M. Walsh
      Your proposal sounds just like the Democratic Party’s platform. I think it is right, and Obama is the best candidate for this. Bill Perdue doesn’t think we should still be working with the Democratic Party but form our own revolution with so called figment of the imagination “allies”.

      Feb 8, 2008 at 1:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane Walsh
      M Shane Walsh

      p.s. One of the most awesome, selfhating, and ignorant things that gay people have done since HIV (we should be punished out of sight?) is to listen to apologists like “place at the table” Bauer or Andrew Sullivan, and their ilk who popularized the idea of fragmenting our communities into dubious pseudo-straight pairbonding units.
      That was crazy, just when people, after Stonewall, were learning the great versatility of our friendships and passion of our relatedness with one another. God knows we are isolated enough being alone with the knowledge of our souls without pretending diving into new closets.

      Feb 8, 2008 at 2:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charley
      Charley

      Those two sickos, Bauer and Sullivan, are Christians, and they think that through Jesus all people will love us and the world will be one.

      Feb 8, 2008 at 2:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • James
      James

      RE Charley,

      I’m not saying that all gay people can ‘hide’ their sexuality, whatever that means. I’m merely trying to point out that the expression of sexuality isn’t contained and defined like it is for black people or Asians. A person with 1/4 african heritage will still be characterized as black in our country, but many people pass from ‘gay’ to ‘straight,’ and back again (whether its ‘real’ or not) in their lifetimes.

      Feb 8, 2008 at 2:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane Walsh
      M Shane Walsh

      James, one thing that you overlook, I think, is that color or race distinctions are more easily evident than sexuality to to the human eye. None of them is an any more important social construction to be set aside. Afro-Americans or people of black color are distinct (more or less) in America because they represented a less than human social class. That is not the same everywhere. You wouldn’t guess that american blacks are more prejudiced toward
      Africans than they are to American whites. You might not know that Irish people were subject to at least as much prejudice as negros.in some areas. I know that because I grew up with it and knowing that all of my relatives left this part of the midwest because Irish people couldn’t even get jobs.
      Clearly, I know that gay people who are really acting themselves and living the lives that nuture us are just unique. If I have sex with women and tell hetterosexual jokes etc, I can fool people , but is that any different than an asian who has all kinds of plastic surgery or a black who lightens his skin? i’ve never ben a called a sissy but I will always be uniquely attracted to men and have sex with them and that makes me a lot different, if I’m honest. It ‘s very contained and defined. The greatest responsibliity that we have as queers is to climb out of our closets and be public.

      Feb 8, 2008 at 9:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane Walsh
      M Shane Walsh

      Oh Bill and Charlie: I did want to remark that my older brother is a very active member of the NNACP, in Idaho. I guess because he’s Irish(?) but he’s getting really tired of it because there is so much homophobia recently from the ministers, and he has a number of gay friends.
      & the reason that a numer of religious Blacks are anti-gay is that The So Baptist conference is definitely anit gay and that is black and has over 6 million participants.
      Sorry Charlie, I jumped in mid stream–rough day.

      Feb 8, 2008 at 9:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane Walsh
      M Shane Walsh

      Another thing, the most important, is that societies possess civility and tolerance as a state of mind or else they are cruel and intolerant. America was founded by some pretty cruel people and is to this day is possibly worse; willing to go murder innocent people and destroy civilizations, and to practice deception and corruption as a way of life-in the name of ‘good business’ . We could all well go a long way to stop living on hate and fear. and spreading a culture which is compassionate.both towards ourselves and others.

      Feb 8, 2008 at 10:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ian J UK
      Ian J UK

      Just a look at the photo, says it all, what are we trying to do? the message is getting watered down to much…….
      if you don’t support the “war” or whatever go on a march about that…leave it out of a ‘Gay Rights’ parade.
      The Gay Rights movement is being hijacked by other groups to hang their ‘banner’ on.

      Feb 9, 2008 at 3:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane Walsh
      M Shane Walsh

      I thought that was just goofy myself; like some poor soul got lost or confused about what the parade they were in.

      More seriously, gay peoplehave lost a sense of unity and identity: too much assimilation; not enough personal authenticity

      Feb 9, 2008 at 12:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John Smith
      John Smith

      Getting equal rights for everyone takes time. Look at history. The 15th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution in 1870 gave former slaves the right to vote, but only men could vote at that time. Some nineteenth century feminists opposed giving black men the right to vote ahead of white women, but they had to wait 50 years for their turn.

      Feb 9, 2008 at 12:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charley
      Charley

      M. Walsh,
      You are right. The movement should come from the personal anger of being hurt and oppressed, of being treated like 2nd class citizens.
      I am a humanist, for human rights, but the huge umbrella of other movements is none of my business as long as anger at the core of my being is burning in me like a volcano.

      Feb 9, 2008 at 12:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Leo
      Leo

      Who gets to pick what allies? Who decides what’s authentically gay?

      Who’s more authentic, a straight acting, rugby playing, church going, gay CPA in Dallas who supports free markets or a butch dyke, atheist, college professor, in Berkeleey CA, that supports wealth distribution? Which of these two gets to pick our “allies”. Who gets to shove who’s agenda down the other’s throat?

      As someone mentioned the woman in the photo has a Che t-shirt on.

      What if I don’t want to be allied with apologists for someone I consider to be a murderous thug? You’re telling me I must in order to be properly, compassionately gay? Sorry. Not my ally.

      I don’t believe in socialism and I’m not going ally myself with people who see it as their mission to promote it.

      Do people who have moral qualms about abortion have a place in the movement? In order to properly gay do you have to maintain that abortion in the 3rd trimester is just fine and dandy?

      Is there only one gay approved take on foreign policy that we must all hew to?

      We love to pay lip service to our diversity when it comes to race, gender, gender identity, and sexual expression. But when it comes to matters of politics, economics, social policy, law, foreign relations etc. we’re all supposed to be pushed through the same idealogical meat grinder in the name of unity and alliance building. Not gonna happen.

      Back when being gay meant being a member of one of a few largely progressive gay urban ghettos it was easier to push a broader left leaning agenda.

      It won’t work now because as the gay identified population becomes larger, more diverse, more geographically dispersed the number of issues that people will coalesce around is going to become smaller. And the so called leaders of the movement need to deal with that.

      Feb 9, 2008 at 1:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane Walsh
      M Shane Walsh

      Life, Life. Leo you need first to decide where your primary loyalties lie. As you say there is a larger extended community the trick is to believe what you need to and find your niche amongst gay people. I suspect that you don’t know really what the person in the Che shirt thinks but have come to beklieve certain things.
      The situation that Che confronted is not exactluy what we have here. Would you prefer the fascism that is creping up on us ? What is the face and what are the aspirations of a socialists now. Is it better to be under the thumb of a few Foreign owned Corporations. Or to have our own partially nationalized , democracy. We live in a country which where our current way of life is not sustainable. How is it going to change.?

      Well,I don’t know all of those things, but I do know that whatever my decisions come to be as I learn, no matter what, I am gay, and I have to find my commonness their first. Kind of like getting shoes so that I can walk.

      Feb 9, 2008 at 2:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane Walsh
      M Shane Walsh

      I don’t like to keep repeating it , but gay people, more in the interest of comfortable closets than honesty, have been hornswagled by bimbos like Andrew Sullivan to believe that if we just get marriage rights and military acceptance we’ll just flow into the mainstream of American life like so many greasy sardines.

      A lot of people fall for that illusion and get so lost that they don’t know who the fucjk they are.
      We hzave to start again with a knowledge of who we are first and formost.

      Feb 9, 2008 at 2:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hisurfer
      hisurfer

      The problem is, *my* vision of a just society is probably going to be much different than most of yours – and most definitely different than our bourgeois leaders in DC and LA.

      I dropped out of a lot of leftist groups a few years ago (not that I was terribly active) when it became gospel to oppose NAFTA (I agree with free trade) and to support Nader (I think he’s a counter-productive twat). There’s a danger that some gay activist groups will become equally broad, or equally doctrinaire on issues that I don’t agree with.

      I’d also argue that there are natural allies we should seek out and nurture. And I’ve found civil rights groups to be among our strongest allies, NAACP-Idaho (I didn’t even know there were black folk in Idaho) and a few right-wing churches not withstanding (though I’d be hard pressed to call any evangelical church a civil rights agency – they hate everybody who’s different black or white). NAACP California is an excellent example of a group that has our back – and they are a bit bigger and more influential than NAACP Idaho.

      Phobia, racism, and sexism are all so interrelated that it’s hard to address one without tackling the others.

      Phobia, war, poverty, global warming, Che Guevera – you have to work a bit harder to tie all these together.

      Feb 9, 2008 at 4:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Leo
      Leo

      “A lot of people fall for that illusion and get so lost that they don’t know who the fucjk they are.
      We hzave to start again with a knowledge of who we are first and formost.”

      So any gay person who doesn’t find themselves on same side of the issues as you must be lost? So obviously my hypothetical lesbian in Berkeley is correct and gets to set the agenda and my hypothetical CPA in Dallas should what? Go suck eggs? So much for unity and coalition building.

      If a person doesn’t believe in worldwide socialism it’s because they’re somehow detached from their sexuality, damaged and lost–what a profoundly bigoted assertion.

      Read Richard Goldstein much? He’s been peddling this claptrap for years to little effect.

      If there’s an unhealthy illusion afoot it’s the one of the monolithic Gay community.

      Feb 9, 2008 at 4:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      Hisurfer, you’re doing apples and oranges,.
      Oranges. The best alliances, or more accurately coalitions are usually narrowly focused on things like support for the real ENDA, immediate withdrawal of troops, Jena, support for fair treatment for immigrants and imported workers and comparable questions.

      Coa;ition building creates cordial relations between organizations and communities but not successful if they jumble together the political agendas of every group involved. For instance religious pacifists from the American Friends Service Committee and some hard left atheist group can agree on a program to end the war, but not on much else. A narrowed focus works best. A key to our participation in these coalitions is that we do it in our name and that we insist on tit for tat. We support them, they support us.

      Apples. Political parties, on the other hand, need a broader program whose supporters buy into most of its program. Right now the Republicans are splintering because they supported the genocide in Iraq, union busting and bigotry and were as much as captured by superstitious clods, rednecks and neocons. The Democrats will follow a similar path after they’re elected because they’re basically Bush Lite; more war, economic chaos, bigotry, etc.

      That will lay the basis for the creation of a large leftwing party capable of contesting power. For now it looks as if that will be the union led US Labor Party. Unions are the heavy infantry of social change.

      Feb 9, 2008 at 5:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      Leo, you don’t need to worry about these questions. They’re pro-GLBT questions and you’re a clueless reactionary. Cuddle up to genocidal prowar thugs like Bush or Hillary Clinton but don’t imagine that you’re part of our fight. You’re the enemy.

      Sam Adams was talking about right wing hacks like you when he said ‘If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.’

      Feb 9, 2008 at 5:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane Walsh
      M Shane Walsh

      I’m probably not being clear. Actually, most gay people around me are so blindly materialistic that I can’t imagine them sacrificing much of anything. I think that my own positions regarding most things are hypothetical. I just personally don’t believe in people exploiting others:but that is beside the point. I don’t think either that people have proved very good at governing themselves(so where am I?) What we have in common is that we develope uniquely affectionate relations with other men and like to have sex with members of our own sex. That makes us different enough to have
      at least thoe motivation to get to know each other.
      Maybe it’s because I’m a pretty gregareous person and don’t find it hard to “agree to disagree’ I seem to be able to find something to talk about with anyone. I don’t think I’ve heard of Richard Goldstein even. I read a lot too.
      I’ve never been a groupie so I wave my own flag. I have to struggle to belong because I’m very outspoken. If I’ve seen any illusion afoot it is sure not socialist and it has far less to do with any monolithic Gay community than it has to do with getting bussiness associates.
      I like gay friends and wish that that was more common here in the midwest frankly. If you’re arounfd people who are twisting your arm to believe something , I can see why you would get cranky. I’m just not that judgemental.

      You must have gotten snagged on a branch somewhere

      Feb 9, 2008 at 5:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charley
      Charley

      Bill Perdue,
      You seem to think the bad guys are corporations. Many are coming to their demise due to greed.
      Unions heavy infranty of social change ? Yes, in an economy with an upward spiral where the fat cats are getting richer. But what happens in a financial armageddon of economic collapse, which seems to be where we are heading ? Ford laying off thousands, Chrysler, Macy’s just to name a few. Where are the Unions when there are no workers or jobs to be had, gay or otherwise ? They don’t exist.

      Feb 9, 2008 at 6:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hisurfer
      hisurfer

      Bill, I come from a union family and I belong to a union, so don’t get me wrong here, but: unions haven’t been mechanisms for social change in decades, if not half a century.

      That, and I can’t think of a leftist system that hasn’t matched capitalist ones for brutality since Anarchist Catalonia. Maybe I’m missing one. We used to be told that Tito’s Yugoslavia was a good example of benign communism, but we all know now how wrong that was.

      Feb 9, 2008 at 6:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane Walsh
      M Shane Walsh

      It seems to me that we live in a world which has little to compare to in the way of even having an idea as to what to do.

      The true undercurrents of what has been happening in the world with the vastly altered value of currency , with the people who really control things and thier international agendas, has all happened under radar. I think that there is a tendency to want to rely on
      beliefs and systems that are tried and true.
      The fact is that we’re all just waking up to a fucked up world that is out of our hands–I have to laugh at people who tell me that this is a recession (two bad guarters) like any other and we’ll just recover and be on our way!
      Please, do read ! Nothing is anything like it ever was and a whole lot happened sureptitiously under our noses while everyone was watering their yards and putting up plastic flamingos that is not going to be undone.
      The U.S. debt was at 0 during Clinton’s time-today we are Ten Trillion dollars in debt.
      And Bill, we don’t make anything, so what are Unions going to do? We’ve got half of the world hating us and wanting to blow us up.
      The Democrats or Republicans don’t dare talk about what is really going on.
      All that we can do now is to be honest about whats happening and not get too spun out on
      ideology.
      I know a few thigs about myself and vaquely what I want. and hope to make peace with the world(ha). At least I can find community in the midst of the madness and see if we can’t fix what we can while we still can, and figure out all that we’ve missed. Maybe go back to Betton Woods after the last depression which would have kept us sane. Perhaps

      Feb 9, 2008 at 7:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      Hisurfer, if you’d said “unions haven’t been mechanisms for social change in decades, if not half a century” until about 2004 you’d have been correct, but things have been heating up recently. Change To Win split from the AFL-CIO a little over two years ago, taking with it unions with just over half the membership. CTW’s policy is to quit bankrolling Democrats and use the money organizing the unorganized. The AFL-CIO itself has taken a sharp turn to the left and is funneling funds and efforts, including mobilizing students for organizing campaigns. Union membership has been increasing at better than 10% a year since 2005. The National Nurses Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO is a prime example and is undergoing explosive growth and also leading the fight for socialized medicine.

      The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists have featured organizing drives and moves towards independent political action and breaking with the Democrats in their last two conventions. The AFL-CIO passed strong antiwar resolutions at its conventions. US Labor Against the War is a formidable component of the antiwar movement that has fraternal relations with the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions of Iraq, the largest component of the trade union movement there which is centered in the petrochemical industries. And the US Labor Party is ever so leisurely lumbering along at a snails pace, taking it easy and taking frequent breaks (sigh) implementing its program to contest elections with the twin parties.

      You’re right about the Stalinists being oppressive and making a mess of things, they’re the only party in the world that always screws up.

      Below are some links if you’re interested but you’ll have to paste them – if they’re live hyperlinks they sometimes trigger Queerty online defenses and block posts.

      http://www.changetowin.org/

      http://www.cbtu.org/

      http://www.studentlabor.org

      http://www.fwcuiraq.org/

      http://www.uslaboragainstwar.org/

      Feb 9, 2008 at 9:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      Hisurfer, if you’d said “unions haven’t been mechanisms for social change in decades, if not half a century” until about 2004 you’d have been correct, but things have been heating up recently. Change To Win split from the AFL-CIO a little over two years ago, taking with it unions with just over half the membership. CTW’s policy is to quit bankrolling Democrats and use the money organizing the unorganized. The AFL-CIO itself has taken a sharp turn to the left and is funneling funds and efforts, including mobilizing students for organizing campaigns. Union membership has been increasing at better than 10% a year since 2005. The National Nurses Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO is a prime example and is undergoing explosive growth and also leading the fight for socialized medicine.

      The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists have featured organizing drives and moves towards independent political action and breaking with the Democrats in their last two conventions. The AFL-CIO passed strong antiwar resolutions at its conventions. US Labor Against the War is a formidable component of the antiwar movement that has fraternal relations with the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions of Iraq, the largest component of the trade union movement there which is centered in the petrochemical industries. And the US Labor Party is ever so leisurely lumbering along at a snails pace with its program to contest elections with the twin parties.

      Below are some links if you’re interested but you’ll have to input them – if they’re live hyperlinks they sometimes trigger Queerty online defenses and block posts.

      www dot changetowin dot .org

      www dot cbtu dot org

      www dot studentlabor dot org

      www dot fwcuiraq dot org

      www dot uslaboragainstwar dot org

      Feb 9, 2008 at 9:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • underbear1
      underbear1

      It angered me the organizations and politicians willing to rip the Rights of transgender people from ENDA.
      I live as seperated from heterosexuals as I can achieve. Over 2 decades in the trenches of AIDS, having an entire village turn on me as grafitti was scrawled across my home and garage. Being chased by three bashers with clubs of sawed off tree branches 4 inches in diameter, made me what I am. I can be civil towards heterosexuals I interact with, but they are never going to be more than aquaintances…not in this lifetime.
      The three piece suit queers in both political parties NEVER did a thing for the LGBT community,
      Paul Monette tagged them well, in his Poem MANIFESTO….they live their lives, with nothing smaking of sub.

      Feb 10, 2008 at 12:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • underbear1
      underbear1

      smacking…typo

      Feb 10, 2008 at 12:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane Walsh
      M Shane Walsh

      It just occured to me that it wouldn’t hurt a lot of people still , in the way of developing self respect to learn self defense. I remember taking classes in Karate once. I’m not too afraid of anybody, but I wouldn’t want o be chased around with trees either.

      Imagine if what we even watched was infused with positive portraits of ourselves. I see that they came out with Butch Casedy and the Sundance Kid again. That should have been Gay!

      Feb 10, 2008 at 4:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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