If We're Going to Make It a Battle, Let's Do It Right

A Decent Proposal for Equality

Two weeks ago, 2,000 protesters marched on the Los Angeles headquarters of CNN, shutting down the street. They banged on the windows (til one of them ordered them not to), they sat in the street, they were determined to make their collective voice heard. Frustrated, an L.A.P.D. officer asked by megaphone, “Who’s in charge here?” and someone shouted, “We all are!”

Nobody can look back at the last two weeks and say that something hasn’t fundamentally changed within the gay community. The scope, speed and ferocity of the protests that followed in the aftermath of the passage of Proposition 8 are unprecedented.

The question on everybody’s mind is “What now?”

The far right and religious conservatives look at the crowds marching in the streets and call it “terrorism”, “fascism” and “anarchy”; mostly disingenuously, but not always so. They tell those who will listen to them that marriage equality is the first step to knocking down the churches and that it will force children to discuss sexuality at even the earliest ages. The words “witch hunt” and “blacklist” are being thrown about with casual ease.

Their argument is that people should be free to believe in and support a political cause without consequence, willfully ignorant of the fact that they’ve been denying that same luxury to equal rights advocated for years. They don’t like that the tables have been turned. They point out isolated incidents of limited violence made against Yes on 8 supporters, while ignoring that No on 8 supporters have been attacked as well.

Within the gay community, there are real fissures: Some new, some old ones brought back to life. Lori Jean of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center shouts that the only group to blame for the passage of Prop 8 is the Mormon Church. This is as simplistic as George Bush’s characterization of the war on terrorism being a conflict against “evil-doers”. Others lay the blame at the feet of the No on 8 campaign, which myopically put all of its eggs into television advertising and phone banking while actively scoffing at the idea that face time with voters would make a difference.

Like most things in life, there’s plenty of blame to spread around for the defeat in California. It’s true that the Mormon Church mounted an impressive fundraising campaign, but only the naïve would think that there wouldn’t be a ferocious battle for same-sex marriage in one of the most influential and largest states in the nation.

Maybe we needed this to happen. For Californians to have been granted the right to marry and then have it snatched away again less than six months later made a subtle discrimination blatant, not just in one state, but across the country. Similar measures in Florida, Arizona and Arkansas that passed on Election Day have made this a national movement and while Prop. 8 remains the focus, most everyone sees this as a battle to eliminate gender and sexuality discrimination from American civic life once and for all.

The California Supreme Court has agreed to rule on the legality of Proposition 8, but even if the judges rule in our favor, it will be on a process-based technicality and anti-same-sex marriage activists will try again. We must face the fact that if we are to win, we can’t rely on court battle after court battle. We must be willing to change the minds of at least some of the people who now oppose us. The difference between challenging someone’s beliefs and disparaging them is that only one gives you a shot at changing someone’s mind.

There’s also the other 33 states that outlaw gay marriage. If California were to win back its rights and leave the other states to fend on their own, they would be the worst sort of family.

This is a big and daunting fight, but it is the civil rights battle of our time. There are other important issues that the gay community needs to address: poverty, its own institutionalized racism and misogyny, drug abuse and HIV-related issues, but marriage equality isn’t just a totem. By demanding that LGBT people be treated equal citizens, it will be easier for more people to live their life without fear. This will make it easier to reach out to minority communities and the poor. It will widen our community, introducing more diversity of opinion and it will raise allow gays and lesbians to hold their head up high.

There are three questions that must to drive this revolution. By discovering the answers, we will be able to chart a course ahead.

The first is, “Who are we?”

On the surface, this question is obvious, but its simplicity is deceiving. Who makes up the gay community? Saying that it’s just the people who have same-sex attraction is inaccurate—we should not count the Larry Craig’s and Ted Haggard’s of the world among us. The gay community ghettoized itself in cities as a way to protect itself from those who hate us. We’ve outgrown the usefulness of the ghetto. It’s the final closet the gay community must escape from.

Many gays and lesbians already have and live far away from the bars and clubs of Chelsea, SoBe and WeHo, but they often feel that they have little relation to urban gays, who can be intolerant of anyone, even other gay people, if they don’t subscribe to the same political and social orthodoxy as they do. The gay community needs to become a more egalitarian place, not for any intrinsic good, but because we don’t have the luxury of being choosy about our allies.

We must decide that the only requirement to get your gay card is a commitment to ensuring equal rights for LGBT people. This means the composition of the gay/queer community will change and that the traditional gay community will have to accept people who will not always agree with them, but this should not be a impediment to a community that prides itself on diversity.

The second question we must ask ourselves is “What do we want?”

The gay community ought to write a Declaration of Equality and it ought to do it openly and transparently. We must decide what “equality” means to us. Is it civil unions or marriage? Should we include removing Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell and employment non-discrimination? What in essence, are we demanding? We must make clear that our interests are in civil rights and that we have no designs on redefining religious institutions. We must make clear what actions we will take against those who oppose us, whether it be through speech or through dollars. If we are to boycott, we must boycott equitably. Does a grocery store clerk who donates to a measure that denies us equality warrant a boycott of the entire chain? What if it’s the CEO?

By crystallizing our goals we will make a stronger case. Legislators, business people and mothers and fathers will know exactly what it is the gay community seeks and what the consequences will be for those who seek to defeat us. We will be defining ourselves instead of letting others define us by unifying our community around a common set of principles.

The final question we must ask is, “How do we get there?”

If we’ve succeeded in answering the first two questions, we’ll have gone a long way to answering the third. We need to actively seek out and enlist people to join our cause, not just in the places we know, but also in places that we’ve written off.  The Internet holds great promise for helping that along. These questions cannot be answered by a select few, however. This needs to be a movement of Gay, Straight, Black, White, Latino, Asian, Republican, Democrat and independent. It must be a movement that gives a voice to anyone willing to speak up and demand equal rights for all Americans. This can’t be a movement ruled by vanity or ego, but by good ideas and a commitment to justice.

There’s a sense of inevitability about the gay community achieving equality. We know we’re on the right side of history, but being morally right is not enough. Waiting for public sentiment and understanding to change on its own is not enough. We must hasten the inevitable—and we must do it the right way, with persistence, love for our fellow neighbor and with open arms to new allies and to new ideas.

“Who’s in charge?”

We all are.

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  • Shark

    Really cool.

  • ReedMcGowan

    Beautifully written, I could not have said it better. As a gay man of faith (Christian), I abhor the labels that have been placed upon the LGBT community, especially by the religious folk who do not practice what they preach. Of course, not all denominations are intolerant of our community (UCC is one), and by the same token, we should not be equally as closed-minded in the process by reaching across the aisle to achieve success in human rights. There are gay men & women of faith who desire to break the barriers of this discrimination, and use their own understanding of spiritual wholeness to achieve common ground for ALL humans beings.
    The issue of human rights (whether we like it or not) cannot be addressed unless we acknowlege others’ human worth. How can we seek compassion or respect from others if we don’t give it in return? You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you demand violence, you will get it. You cannot force people to respect you through coercion. However, MY faith tells me NOT to engage in that. I can’t speak for others’ beliefs and how they practice them, but I don’t enjoy violence in any form. It only breeds more hatred. This is why the argument of fighting fire with fire does not stand with me. Everyone is wrong at times. We all feel the same emotions that drive us to regretful expressions of ethical discord & inconsistency. I try to acknowledge the detriment of my actions, and work towards correcting the issues for the goodwill of all. This is what my faith dictates. Other people may choose to remain in their insolent bubble of animosity. If they choose not to engage in respectful interaction, then I try to restrain the personal affront and move on. Good luck for them in their conundrum. As far as everyone else is concerned, I advocate balanced tolerance for gays, straights, religious and non. It’s the only way to hope to resolve crucial differences of opinion….treating other people as you would want to be treated. It is so simple, but the lessons we learned in school as a child are the most obvious in life….learn how to get along. Accountability is the key! It may be next to impossible at times, but if we are to earn respect, we must show that we are capable of giving it. It is a process of enlightenment & healing for everyone involved. And those who resist civil change are simply the ones who are unwilling to grow with humility, maturity and benevolence.

  • Russ

    Brilliant post. I think the struggle to win our neighbors’ hearts and minds – and votes – will be a maturing, defining step for the queer community, as the AIDS crisis was in some ways. You’re right, we can’t sit back and expect the courts, the legislatures, Congress to hand us equality without any effort on our part. You raise some great questions; an excellent starting point, good job man.

  • Makron Commander

    For the record, I’m straight. Why should we win over some people to vote for us? The majority should never determine the rights of a minority. Can Black voting rights be determined by popular votes? what if it was brought up for voting and the popular vote declares it as law, would that be right?
    And to the christians, old testament is what it is, OLD. Jesus taught to love others, not treat others as animals and deny them basic rights. these people should grow up!
    This process of voting is incorrect.

  • St. C.

    Amen to that! I agree wholeheartedly that the LGBT community needs some kind of “charter” to state exactly what its goals are and how they are to be achieved, but i would take it one step further and make this an international movement, to show that our community is not bound by borders and to show that we are a collective entity. Whose in Charge? WE ALL ARE!!!!!!!

  • Bruno

    And after we write down our agenda/manifesto we need to tell the Democratic Party to put up or shut up. Either you’re for gay marriage, or we won’t vote for you.

  • ggreen

    Part of the problem is apathy in the gay community. I know plenty of gay men and women that aren’t even registered to vote. Every time the No On 8 protesters came through the Castro (and they came several times) the bars were packed with boozers who momentarily cheered and went right back to lapping it up as soon as the marchers went past.

  • Michele Mercure

    This is brilliant. You are so on the mark! And very inspiring.
    Thank you.

  • Kid A

    @ggreen: I agree, we can’t blame the passage of 8 on others, when (I read) 50% of Californian gays did not vote. (Feel free to correct me on this number.)

    Some may say that they don’t want to get married, so what’s in it for them? I’d say this: anti-gay voters clearly misunderstand the difference between civil and religious marriage. They aren’t voting to “protect marriage” as they so often say. They are essentially making a socially symbolic vote to keep the queers out. Even if they are not technically voting on something that affects you, the intent behind it is cultural violence against who we fundamentally are.

    Sometime, the vote may affect not marriage, but adoption, workplace discrimination, other topics that can affect the not-marriage-minded.

    Besides, to keep things like 8 from passing, we obviously need many straights to vote our cause. How bitchy and selfish is it for some gays to say “that doesn’t affect me” while straights vote for us? Very.

  • Kid A

    Also, thanks Japhy for an inspiring article!

  • Chris L.

    I’m about to email this to everyone I know. Thanks so much.

  • gayvirgo

    Well done. Thoughtful and insightful.

  • Paul

    Thank you, Japhy.

    I also think we need to be careful when analogizing to the civil rights movement that African-Americans trailblazed. That rightfully angers some people, because while there are plenty of gay bashings and gay youth suicides, for the most part, we are not having the firehose turned on us by the sheriff.

    Our struggle, for example, for the right to visit our partners in the hospital because we are, in fact, family. That doesn’t “play” as well on the 6 o’clock news–especially in this 30-second soundbite society–as the atrocities that helped America see what it was doing to its black citizens. But it’s no less important than integrating schools, workplaces, and lunch counters.

    I also think everyone has a responsibility to gently teach their families. I am amazed at how far my fundamentalist Christian family has come on this issue. Change scares people, especially when that change is cast as radical or religion-altering. We need to assure them that we merely want civil equality and that churches rightfully will deal with homosexuality separately, as they should under the First Amendment. I will march for civil gay marriage, but I’ll also be the first to march for a church’s right NOT to religiously wed a gay couple.

  • Steven

    Great article, despite it being grammatically incorrect in a few places.

    Proof read?!?!

  • ask ena

    @Makron Commander:

    Great post Japhy, but I sort of agree with #4 as well. We must define our goals on our terms, pro-actively, and not as a response to our bigoted opponents. I believe this has been our downfall. When we are fighting the lies of hatred and bigotry, people only remember the lies, hatred and bigotry.

    I, for one, think we need to prepare a massive overhaul of our rights status in this country, to include all the injustices we face which go far beyond marriage and the sexual and moral associations that are connected to it. By raising awareness of all of these inequalities at a structural rights level,they will be seen as part of the same fight, a fight for basic equality in which compromise is just plain unamerican.

  • The Gay Numbers

    Well, you have certainly raised the level of discourse at this site. Thanks for that.

    I think someone else said it, and it needs repeating. We aren’t a community. We are population. That population only has two things in common — that we share the characteristic of having sexual and emotional desire for the same gender and that others want to oppress us for our differences from the straight populations. I am not sure that is a basis of building a community.

    The differences you mention within the gay community are profound. I am a black guy. Trust me. I’ve experiences them sadly first hand. I am not willing to break bread with white gays who are racist. That maybe unfair and it may impede progress, but I know a lot of black gay men who are like me. I think its a certain exhaution. We are double minorities, and therefore, constantly fighting each side is overwhelming.

    What do I need to see? I need to see more of what I saw with HRC last year with the Jenna 6. I need to see denounciation of gay white racists. I had a really good friend when I lived in DC. I will never forget- these log cabin republicans show up to his party. My friend is a white guy. I should mention that first. The log cabin republicans would not talk to me or any of the other people of color at my friends party. He walked over to them after an hour of this, and disinvited them. He showed me he was my friend.

    This, on the deepest personal level, is what needs to change and happen with gays if you want to go beyond being a population to being a community. Make the bonds. Real bonds. Not I like to screw the same gender and therefore we are the same. Diversity is great. But diversity does not by itself mean community. Community is also commonality of values. What does the gay community value?

  • ReedMcGowan

    @The Gay Numbers:

    You are so correct in your observations. The racism that exists within the gay community is just as bad as the division between gay men, lesbians and transgender identities. As corny as this old adage says “why can’t we all just get along?”. I believe the gay community is only suffering from what the nation as a whole is suffering, and that is identity crisis. We are indeed in a transitional stage at this stage in history, and it is time to ask ourselves as a mature nation…what do we REALLY stand for? If we cannot support one another as Americans on ALL levels, then we will continue to fragment and deteriorate at a rapid pace. Maya Angelou recently noted that our country was finally “growing up”. Well, by comparison, we must ask ourselves as a gay community how have we grown since Stonewall? Next year will be the 40th anniversary. As we know, when gay men hit 40, they are usually dismissed or stigmatized. Let’s hope that doesn’t manifest in the same way for us in this coming year. We MUST utilize our strengths, heal our wounds, and act responsibly as a mature community in the next phase of our lives. Affirmation is healthiest when we acknowledge ALL facets of our culture. A respect for history and our diversity is necessary, but a commonality of values MUST be determined. Our values must extend beyond the materialism of the current status quo, and converge to create a deeper understanding of integrity and human worth.

  • froggyola

    @Makron Commander: I agree. This should not have even been on the ballot. Voting on the civil rights of others? Strangers telling a minority what it can or cannot do? This is wrong all the way around and must be reversed and equal rights given to all citizens nationwide. If your religion doesn’t permit you to understand gay people, fine. But I won’t have my rights trampled by your religion. Once again, separation of church and state is the cure for this disease of intolerance.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @ReedMcGowan: Well- I just think its impossible to have a real conversation with people until you determine what you value? Without that, you aren’t aware of yourself enough to do anything lasting.

  • Clayton Chrusch

    I would put this in the manifesto:

    1. Any advance in equality, even a half-measure, is acceptable.

    2. Any ally, even a half-hearted one, is acceptable.

    3. It doesn’t matter if we win through the action of the courts, the law-makers or the voters. They are all part of our democratic system. Rights should be guaranteed and people should not vote on them, but before they are guaranteed, they have to be established by voters and their elected representatives.

  • M Shane

    It seems more than unsensible to expect that all of the different varieties of gay people; i.e. the suburbane right winger assimilationists and urban POLITICALLY progressive liberationists would meld behind something; particularly marriage, which is a devisive point in itself and represents mainstreaming as much as anyhting. The posture is that we would get some kind of foothold just by fighting for a civil right.

  • Wolf

    It shouldn’t be “just aboout Marriage” anymore. It should be about EQUAL RIGHTS Federally, Civilly, and Legally across the Board and we should fight for NO LESS. By doing so we seem grateful for crumbs. Its a tough battle but its not new. Its been going on since early morning hours of June 28, 1969 at The Stonewall Riots in NYC. Thats almost 40 YEARS and we have still yet to get equality.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    Japhy, my hat’s off to you for a very thoughtful and insightful treatise. Excellent. As The Gay Numbers said, “You have certainly raised the level of discourse at this site. Thanks for that.” He was spot on!

    And I fully agree with a lot of the other posters on this site that we all need to take a good hard look at our own bigotry and hatred and petty dislikes. Certainly, there is no sin in trying to become a better, more loving individual, who not only cares about himself, but others as well. We are all sailing on the same boat, on the same sea and on the same planet. It’s time for all of us to realize that, Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgendered, Black, Asian and White, my apologies if I have left anyone out, are all deserving of the same treatment. We call ourselves the “human” race. Isn’t it time we began to think and act like human beings and let our hearts rule instead of our heads?

    That said, however, I must also say that I think that we do ourselves a dis-service by internalizing and blaming ourselves for what has just happened at the polls on election day. Just as a woman should not blame herself for being raped, we should not blame ourselves for blatantly having our civil-rights so rudely snatched out of our hands as occurred in California with Prop8. It was flat-out wrong no matter what reason was given to justify it. justified.

    I also think that as a community, that we have been doing this for far too long, which plays straight into the hands of the people who like to point at us an say, “See, I told you he’s not worthy of respect or civil-rights…he even admits it.”

    We can argue until the cows come home about who is to blame for this revolting development, but I think that Makron Commander hit the nail squarely on the head when he said “Why should we win over some people to vote for us? The majority should never determine the rights of a minority. Can Black voting rights be determined by popular votes? What if it was brought up for voting and the popular vote declares it as law, would that be right?”

    It don’t no simpler than that, folks!

    I could not agree with him more. And, I think that we need to keep asking ourselves this question, over and over and over, until we finally get it.

    Why do we feel this need to suck up to people who hate us and beg for what should have been ours all along? Why all this soul-searching? Why do we have to explain, get approval, reinvent ourselves and prove to anyone that we are entitled to what is guaranteed to everyone under the Constitution?

    Was it required of black people to explain or apologize for their blackness?

    Did Jewish people have explain and apologize for their Jewishness?

    Did women have to explain and apologize for their difference in gender?

    Are Asians, or any other minority group in America asked to explain and apologize for their ethnicity?

    And, could we honestly and legally justify putting up the rights of any of the above named groups to a vote?

    Ashton Kutcher, another straight man, recently made a salient point on the Bill Maher Show with respect to the passing of Proposition 8.


    That said, is there really any further reason to keep on beating ourselves up over this issue? Why isn’t the law being upheld and the tenets of our Constitution being lived up to? Or do the “so called” rights of the religious wing-nuts and the abuse of freedom of speech super cede the Constitution?

    What part of that do people of religion (and I include all of them) and those whom we vote into public office to represent us, not understand? But even more difficult to comprehend is, what part of that does the GLBT community not understand?

    Face it, kiddies. We’ve been fucked. With no lube…and without a kiss!

    Shall we say, like Anna in The King of Siam, “Thank you, your Majesty. That was good your Majesty. Give us another kick if you would, your Majesty.”

    Or should we, like Howard Beale in the film Network, go to our windows, stick out heads out and yell down into the street…

    “I’m madder than hell and I am not going to take it anymore.”

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Charles J. Mueller: Let me speak plainly as a double minority to your post. I apologize if I don’t undertand what it means. But if I do. Let me just say- If a black person did not get up to vote (as over half the gay “community” didn’t) on an issue that would affect all black folk, you can be damn sure I would be leading the movement to kick their ass. No excuses would be acceptable other than they were in a coma or dead.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    Dang. I apologize for my numerous, egregious errors. Trying to type and edit a posting in this small window, is like trying to read the United States Constitution through a postage-sized window at fifty feet.

    Next time, I will compose my posting on MacWord, where I can spell check it for accuracy and appearance and copy/paste it to this box.

    Hold the applause down, guys. ;-)

  • Wolf

    You know this internal strife is what kills us. We can debate what and who is to blame until Guns and Roses NEXT album comes out but ya know what at the end of the day we really can never be sure why it failed. Its all conjecture and worse than that its conjecture that is taking the focus off what really matters. WE AS GAY MEN AND WOMEN ARE TRATED AS SECOND CLASS CITIZENS.


    We ALL need to band together. We all need syand up and fight. This IS the time. Prop Hate was the smack in the face. We cannot and we should accept being treated like this. So please stop the anaylyzing and start fighting and standing up for whats right. What we DESERVE. Equality.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    @The Gay Numbers: You got what my post meant, loud and clear, dude and your reply proved it. That’s the kind of spirit we need, not all this namby-pamby, apologetic, “I’m so sorry that I offend you by being…what did I do wrong” rhetoric.

    They, the religious right, did the wrong, not us, and they need to be held accountable for their actions just like everyone else.

    As you sow, so shall you reap. No, I haven’t turned into a bible-thumper, but it sure seems appropriate in this instance.

  • Sara

    @Makron Commander:

    I must say I agree with Makron.

    I’m not American, although I’d like to live there and intend to do so, and I would love to contribute to this fight for equal rights, I don’t think that the majority should be able to decide about the rights of a minority.

    Other than that, count me in.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    @Wolf: Spot on man. Get mad, Get real mad. Get fighting mad.

    I have bad news and I have good news.

    The good news is, there is no savior coming to save our queer asses.

    The good news is, we can save out own asses.

    And do you know what? When we do, we are gonna feel so fuckin’ good about ourselves that we will be dancing in the street to celebrate our victory.

    This fight and what the religious right just did to us, was NEVER about love of fellow man. It’s high time we realized it and stopped treating these hateful bigots like they are the untouchables.

    Instead of allowing them to trod all over us with their cavalry boots, we should be hitting them where it hurts, in their pocketbooks.

    Picket the stores that support anti-gay discrimination.

    Boycott businesses that refuse to do take our money.

    Report them to the Better Business Bureau, The Department of Licensing and whomever else they must account to in order to keep their doors open to the public.

    Point out their bigotry and hatred to every who patronizes them.

    Make life a living hell for them, just as they are doing to us.

    And if that doesn’t work, sue the asses off them. We have as much right to litter-up the court dockets with frivolous lawsuits as the straights do. And, we’ll make a lot of our gay lawyers happy too. lol

    Screw this lazy-assed attitude I keep hearing on these boards that we should just “pass ’em by and simply go elsewhere,” like the eHarmoney flap. All that does is to allow it to happen over and over and let them get away with it. Doing nothing about being snubbed by them, is giving them our tacit approval to continue doing more of the same. These kinds of people need to be made examples of in the exact same way in which they try to make example of us.

    And what happened in all the city streets all across America was a good start. We took back the power from all the tuxedo-clad penguins at HRC who wobble around like bowling pins struck with a bowling ball each and every time someone rolls a strike at the LGBT community.

    We are ALWAYS on the defensive, never on the offensive and as a result, they beat us to the punch, just like they did in California. This war that they have declared on the GLBT community, did not start last week, last month or even last year. They have been stocking their war chest with ammunition and laying the groundwork for their attacks on us.

    Having beaten us not only in California, but in the other states as well, they are drunk with power and puffed-up egos. You can rest assured, now that they have this tremendous quadruple victory in their hip pockets, that they are planning the next wave of invasions into our lives. Bet on it.

    All the more reason whey we cannot sleep and must keep a constant vigil for nest political adventure they are planning.

    We need to be putting a foot out on the lanes each time they roll a ball down the alley in our direction so that it becomes a gutter ball. Let them keep spending their millions on anti-gay initiatives until they spend themselves into the poorhouse and put themselves right out of business. Dobson’s Focus On the Family, is a good example. Over 300 people had to be laid off due to the outlay of cash thrown at Prop8. Good. This is just what we want. Less people to do their dirty work!

    And let no one fool you because businesses (tax free at that), are exactly what these Churches are…big time! Just think of how much money we would have to fight these bigots with if the government granted the LGBT community the same tax-free status they enjoy.

    Hell,the IRS won’t even let us deduct a contribution to fight this kind of lop-sided discrimination. This is not even a fair fight. And they expect us to play fair with them, show them respect and kiss their boots? Not this faggot, thank you very much.

    Bombard Washington, DC, your state Governor, your representatives and legislators with letters. Keep up the pressure up and let THEM know that you are fighting mad and that you will not vote for them again if they cannot or will not represent you and defend your rights as a American Taxpaying citizen. They are our public servants, not the other way around. And if they can’t understand or accept that fact, they out with them.

    Write to your newspapers. Tell your families and all of your friends, straight and gay, just how unfair and upsetting this is to you and how wrong it is. Urge them to write letters too. Most of them just don’t know, just like my own family up in Hudson, NY. They know now, that’s for sure! And you know what? They agree that this is wrong and agree that this needs to change.

    Remember all those great signs we made up just for the National Day of Protest? Why aren’t we out there slapping them up on fences, lamp posts, store windows, brick walls, anyplace where they can be seen, just like Justin did in Queer as Folk, where they can serve as a steady reminder of the injustice that has just been perpetrated on the LGBT community. They aren’t doing us much good in the landfills, you know?

    These are just a handful of suggestions for grassroots actions that we can be taking, instead of sitting back, praying and hoping that the Administration will come to our rescue as our sink continues to sink.

    Get those thinking caps on guys. Are we gonna let these assholes show us up? We have the money. We have the educations. We have the intelligence. We have the talent. We’ve got every fuckin’ thing we need to succeed and beat them at their own game.

    So, what are we waiting for? The second coming of Christ?

  • Charles J. Mueller


    Good deal, Sara. This is not just an “American issue”. It involves members of the GLBT community globally and the world has grown much too small for us to play the ‘stick our heads in the sand” game, it’s not our problem.”

    It does my heart good to hear your words of support, despite the fact that you are not yet an American Citizen.

    Welcome aboard, Sara. We need all the help we can get. :-)

  • ReedMcGowan

    @The Gay Numbers:

    @ReedMcGowan: Well- I just think its impossible to have a real conversation with people until you determine what you value? Without that, you aren’t aware of yourself enough to do anything lasting.

    And I agree…but I think if we stood for each other, and became more aware of our legacy since Stonewall, it would be a great way to start the conversation and mobilize action. We are so fragmented, and the internet has played a large role in dissecting the community & social scene. We can use it to our advantage, though, now that sites like this and Facebook, etc, are popping up and we have more outlets to voice our concerns. I would say that “what we value” is pretty common with anyone else who wants equal human rights…we just have to make it more apparent as a united force to the others who are still living with antiquated ideals that tear us apart, rather than unifying us. Racism is indeed at the top of the list, just as any other form of bias & hatred.

  • Symonds

    Good speech, Japhy. Looking at these responses here, I have to wonder if we (as a community, if not a species) aren’t always at our strongest when we’re being reactionary. Life’s funny like that. If you think about it, you realize the so-called moral majority never actually stood to GAIN anything from prop 8 in the first place; the vote ultimately just reduced to recognizing the gay community or galvanizing it. So let’s take the second-best option and run with it, shall we?

    Who are we?

    There’s always been some truth to the statement that there’s no such thing as a gay community, at least in the sense that people of all stripes are attracted to the same sex. But that sentiment fails to recognize the difference between same-sex attraction and healthily accepting one’s identity as a gay person (which, if the words ‘gay community’ are ever going to rise above the level of oxymoron, must be the only real membership requirement).

    It’s a given that we all have a slightly different way to interpret our attraction to members of the same sex. The perpetual modifications to the GLBT acronym are evidence enough of that. But the common thread that runs through all of these- that testifies to our peculiar status among minority groups- is that rather than speaking to our particular traits in isolation, this identity exists in the relationships we have with other individuals. In other words, to define onesself as gay is to believe that we cannot fully be ourselves except in the presence of those who are not.

    As long as we’re comparing this fight for civil rights to the fights of yesterday, I’d like to point out an interesting discrepancy. White supremacists often argued for the moral and logistical superiority of their defining trait (race), and readily identified as such in what might be called a positive way. But the current crop of (dare I say) ‘heterosexual supremacists’ do not. They argue for the moral and logistical superiority of their BEHAVIOR. They may, for example, argue that God ordered men to get married to women; they will argue far less often that God indended men to be straight. Most wouldn’t even think of themselves as heterosexual except in a discussion about gays. Popular opinons aside, I do not think this is primarily (or at least, is not only) an attempt to make gays look like willful social deviants. To me, this seems representative of a worldview that narrowly defines human beings only in relation to certain objective things (social institutions, biblical virtues, genes and what have you).

    So that’s the line I draw between myself and Ted, and more generally between the Dobsonites and our allies. Regardless of whether or not he can admit to himself that he’s attracted to men, and even that that is called ‘gay,’ he thinks of it as non-essential: a superficial trait rather than a matter of identity. But I, and I think everyone in this big bubbly gay community, recognize that our relationships with other human beings, and our capacity for them, are among the most foundational aspects of ourselves.

  • Steve

    Letter-writing and picketing both work much better than boycotts. Letter-writing campaigns, in which elected officials receive thousands of letters on one topic, often result in legislation. Picketing usually results in news coverage, which results in increased issue-awareness in a wide audience.

    A boycott by only a tiny fraction of people won’t make a nickels difference to most businesses. The only exceptions are small businesses that are located in a gay ghetto, where a large fraction of the customers are gay. Boycotts of large companies, or in other locations, won’t work because only a small percentage of the people will participate. What’s worse, if we were to announce a boycott of a large national company, the “Christian” organizations will likely respond by endorsing that company, and it might actually increase their sales.

  • Wolf


    Well letter writing and picketing is just a small part of what needs to done. Boycotts can hurt. Many WORLDWIDE companies DON’T want to be associatted specifically with the Christian right and look bad on a Human Rights issue. And truthfully sales is not what hurts the Companies. Its the STIGMA assciated with it. And right now it shouldn;t just be companies. It should also be the Federal Goverment which is targeted with this issue. I have said it before and I WILL say it again. Its NOT about the symantics of the meaning of the word “marriage” its about EQUAL RIGHTS, Women DID NOT win Equal rights by letter writing, African Americans did not win equal rights by petitions. They did so by Standing up and Being Heard! Every Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered person is America should be PISSED. And we should USE that ANGER. We are treated as second class citizens in country even though we pay our taxes like everyone else but we don;t enjoy the same rights. That is why American began in the first place Because of Freedon from Tyranny and No Taxation WITHOUT representation.

    We all need to stand up. But NOT just the Gay Community. We need to call on our Heteosexual Friends, Family, Celebrities, Politicans, Sports Stars, everyone TO STAND WITH US. NOW IS THE TIME.

    I propose if by June we do NOT have Equal Rights on The 40th Anniversary of Stonewall we March on Washington in such numbers that we can no longer be ignored. If anyone out there any organization would like to start the ball rolling with this I would be willing to do whatever I could to help.

    I am sick and tired of not having the same rights and protections. Its time to FIGHT

  • Raphael

    @Makron Commander:
    This is EXACTLY my point!

    I can’t think of a single case of civil rights being protected by popular vote.

    The majority hates us, and trying to win their approval WILL NOT WORK.

  • Charles J. Mueller


    Wolf, I think your idea of a march on Washington on the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall is an excellent suggestion. I know that I would definitely be there.

    Who would you suggest as possibilities for getting the ball rolling? Do you recall who was behind the AIDS Quilt Rally in Washington, DC? We need to find people who know how to organize this sort of thing, as I know dip-shit about organizing such events.

    Any ideas, anyone. And forget HRC. They will probably just tell us to “cool” it and keep a low profile so we don’t “upset” anyone.

    All Joe wants to know, is where the next “Equality” Fundraiser will be held and how big the checks we send him will be.

  • Wolf

    @Charles J. Mueller:

    I’ll do some Reaeach. If I remember correctly Stonewall 25 was a Commitee in its own right supportted by various other Gay Groups.

    Japhy with your permission I would like to ask if anyone has any ideas or can refer this idea and my email to any groups that might be interested in starting the ball rolling to please feel free.

    This is something that really needs to be done. Its been 40 years since Stonewall. We need our Rights and we need them NOW

  • chuck


    Amen, brother. I was at Stonewall.

    Where has that spirit gone?

    I’ve waited 72 years for my rights. Like you, I am tired of waiting.

  • michael

    @Paul: I know we are not having the firehose turned on us but that was also the 50’s and the 60’s. Civil rights are civil rights and it does not matter what colour,
    what gender, what ethnicity you are. If gay people had of tried to come out and demand their rights at the same time as blacks did they would have killed all of us. Just because our movement is coming of age at a different time does not make it less equal. This is not a contest for who are the biggest victims. Or is it?

  • Mark

    Do not forget who we are fighting: RELIGION. Plainly put, it’s religious people who are at war with US. Not the other way around. And their weapons? LIES. More lies. Even more lies.

    I saw far too many TV ads in CA that proved 100% that their weapon of choice is a LIE. This is what religion does. It puts forth LIES. If you disagree with that statement you are not paying attention.

    Examples: Ted Haggard. Liar. About his sexuality. Mother Theresa. Liar. About her belief in god. Pat Robertson. Liar. About his communing with a ‘loving’ god. Benny Hinn. Liar. About his ability to heal the sick. Tony Alamo. Liar. How about all those girls and boys who got those beatings and sexual abuse.

    The list is freakin’ endless, people. ENDLESS. And this Prop 8 lie was nearly as low as it gets from the Christian Lie Machine.

    Sorry, folks. I know the true source and center of this issue. It started when the Catholic church turned on its own people about 1500 years ago and started denying us our equal rights. It was all about power and control, because up until that time Catholic same-sex marriages were happening all over Christendom.

    The utter denial of the spectrum of sexuality that the church has is nothing less than Middle Ages ignorance. Stop excusing religion and turn on them. They refuse to be a part of the 21st century. Refuse to acknowledge that and you will have true power. Get your power back. NOW. The time for telling our community that a ‘true Christian is loving and good’ is f*cking over. They proved once and for all that they are NOT loving and they are NOT good and they are NOT for equal rights.

    Okay, you say ‘No, Christianity has been hijacked.’ Really? They have the most powerful god in the universe. Yet they got hijacked by some mere sinful mortals? Get over yourselves. The Christian religion is a farce!

    Look. They PROVED they’re not worthy. Don’t just take my word for it. THEY PROVED THEIR INTENTIONS IN AN ELECTION. Catholic priests are 90% gay and yet they still spew anti-gay rhetoric in pulpits all over the nation. The Pope himself has never gotten his dipstick wet and yet he wants to tell YOU what’s good and not good with regard to YOUR sexuality? LOL! No religious person has the right to tell you or me what is right about sexuality.

    Fight back. Stamp out religion from being a force in YOUR government. Tell them to back to the first century if that’s where they want to be.


    We must win. I don’t think we any other choice!!!

  • chuck


    Excellent post, my man. You’ve hit the nail squarely on the head. Every single wrong we gays have suffered, has been at the hands of Christianity or fueled by religious bigotry and hatred.

    That more people cannot, will not or simply refuse to acknowledge what is so readily apparent, just blows me away. Just the fact that there are so many among we gays, who support the Church and everything it stands for, is mind-bending. Talk about sticking one’s head in the sand?

    Boot-licking appears to be one of mankind’s most popular fetish!

    Like you, I would just love to see religion stamped out. It’s an idea whose time has come. Unfortuntely, however, I do not see that happening anytime soon. Of course, I would love nothing better than being proven wrong.

    I think we are being too simplistic when we point to the Institution itself, as being the whole problem. The institution, as is true with all ideas and isms, is the result of people allowing themselves to be brainwashed, under threat of punishment from a not only the Church itself, but from a higher power on high. Being told that you will be sent to hell, simply for refusing to follow the orders of the pope, priests, bishops and the Church hirachy is powerful stuff, to be sure.

    But even more importantly, we need to realize that the large majority of human beings are scared the fuck out of their minds at the idea that death is the end all of their miserable existences. They are so unhappy with the meaningless, unfulfilled temporal lives, that they desperately need that promise of an “afterlife” that the Church hold out to them like a bribe, which is essentially what it is.

    Give us your hearts, give us your time, energy and oh, don’t forget, all of your money, which is “The root of all evil”, and we will give you the “Keys to the Kingsom” in exchange.

    That so many millions of people, world-wide buy into that fairy tale, just beats the shit out of me. They simply cannot accept their mortality and the laws of nature, just like all the other living things on this planet…and the Universe as well.

    All thing end. Nothing lasts forever, not even our sun, not even our galaxy, not even the universe. Sooner or later, everthing dies and gets recycled.

    Why is that so hard for humans to accept andunderstand? Can’t they just be thankful for having had the opportunity to visit this beautiful planet for a short period and let it go at that? The concept of eternal life runs so contrary to nature and everything that science has learned about our existence.

    Would that we were like the animals in the forest, who do not have to deal with this religious rhetoric. They are not sticken with this horrendous lie and mind-fuck that the shamans have projected onto mankind.

    Lucky them.

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