Are Too Many Gays Spoiling ‘A Day Without a Gay’?

Since we first mentioned it back in November as one of the better protest ideas that netroots activists have come up with, “Day Without a Gay“, which asks gays and lesbians to donate their time tomorrow to a gay or lesbian charity, has gone mainstream, attracting the attention of the world’s press.

The idea has changed a bit as well. While the original organizers, Sean Hetherington and David Craig, focused on using the day to help out your community, the event now has many, many planners, spearheaded by Join the Impact, who are now also urging gays and lesbians to not buy anything tomorrow, strike, protest or just simply take the day off. This smorgasbord of civil actions has resulted in the group losing its focus and, as we pointed out when the idea first came about, the one thing that we didn’t like was the idea that gays and lesbians will just use the event as an excuse to stay home and watch Oprah.

To be fair, organizers are also telling people not to use their television, cell phones (“even if you have an unlimited call plan” they tell us) or Internet. This is silly. Why? Because nobody will notice. It will have zero impact on cable companies, who don’t bill you on a daily basis or monitor your television usage, and telecom companies, for the same reasons. By focusing the event on trying to cause a financial impact through inaction as opposed to making it an event about actual action, like volunteering or holding rallies, we’ve given the blowhards at Fox News an easy opportunity to say “Look, all the gays dissapeared and nobody noticed!” They’re going to say it anyway, I’m sure, but we shouldn’t make it easy for them.

This is the double-edged sword of grassroots activism. When nobody owns an idea, it can mutate and change. Sometimes the mutations lead to better ideas, sometimes to worse. For instance, many cities will also be holding rallies tomorrow after work, so that those who can’t afford to take the day off can participate and make their voices heard.

In San Francisco, the day will be marked by a 6 p.m. rally and march in the Mission District. But local organizers say they don’t expect all Prop. 8 opponents to “call in gay” and instead spend the day doing volunteer work, as some proponents urge. For instance, in San Francisco one rally organizer explains:

“I’d like to take the whole day off myself, but it’s not possible,” said Ryan Rudnick, a pre-school teacher who also helped organize a Nov. 15 rally outside City Hall that attracted an estimated 7,500 supporters of same-sex marriage. “That’s why we wanted to hold a rally and march in the evening, to show our support.”

So, we’re really interested in what your plans are for ‘Day Without a Gay’. Are you calling in gay? Planning to protest? Volunteering? Nothing at all?

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  • Joe Moag

    I work at home so that kind of negates the “no attending the office” component for me. Will Queerty be up and running tomorrow? Just a question, not a loaded one…

  • Matt

    I will be at work. Sorry but the economy is slow, business is slow, and I need to be here at work to show that I shouldn’t be the first on the chopping block. Anyway, there isn’t anything planned here in Atlanta. At least it hasn’t been mentioned in the local gay rags. I’m for equality but I need to eat as well.

  • Matt

    @Matt: Good question. I proposed the same question on Towleroad comments and they deleted it. They don’t like me much over there. I’m a little right of left so to speak.

  • Matt

    @Joe Moag: I meant at you not myself. Although I do chat to myself sometimes. I have mad cow.

  • Japhy Grant

    Yup, Queerty will be here. We’re dedicating the day to stories about gays and lesbians and the issues that effect them. You know, to switch it up a bit.

  • Joe Moag

    @Japhy Grant: Thank God, or I would have nothing to do between pushing papers around my desk.

  • REBELComx

    It looks like there is nothing going on in my town. Which is not surprising seeing as to how the Lehigh Valley had their National Day of Protest a day later than the rest of the country (on a SUNDAY) and only 30 people showed up. I don’t even see anything on the official Lehigh Valley Pride website about it at all. Sadly, I’m one of the one’s who wouldn’t be able to afford taking the day off…but it looks like there’s nothing to do with a day off anyway. Oh well, at least I can get free food at the Holiday Luncheon at work then. This whole think kind of reminds me of that John Stamos movie that was on TV a few months ago, where all the gays go on strike.
    Oh, Japhy, any chance you can get the adorable boy from the above video for Morning Goods? He’s exactly my type at least. Hehe.

  • CondeNasty

    Yeah 3 people in my office were fired yesterday. I will be at work….making sure the mortgage gets paid.

  • Wolf

    You hit the nail right on the head Japhy.

    “When nobody owns an idea, it can mutate and change. Sometimes the mutations lead to better ideas, sometimes to worse”

    That is SO true. One of the biggest problems we are having right now is the fact that no one is leading. And part of the problem of that is no one trusts any of the old leaders anymore. Also there should be a central websote or Blog where people can post whats going on for our CIVIL RIGHTS. IMO right now its just STUPID to focus on MARRIAGE. Like it or not may younger gays and older who are not interested in Marriage will not get behind the cause. Also its just the tip of the Icenerg. Its a babystep. We need to extend the Focus to ALL THE OUR RIGHTS WE ARE DENIED AND THE OUR TREATEMENT AS SECOND CLASS CITIZENS IN THE US and settle for nothing less. That is the way to get maximum backing for our cause. Prop 8 should have served as a smack in the face. A wake up call about exactly HOW FAR WE HAVE NOT COME IN 40 YEARS SINCE STONEWALL. Right now it should NOT be the Focus IMO. We need to pull this shit togther and do it quickly.

    I have stated before I AM WILLING TO BUILD A WEBSITE/BOARD TO HELP. SORT OF LIKE A CYBER COMMUNITY CENTER WHERE EVERYONE CAN POST WHATS GOING ON WHERE AND WHY AND IDEAS CAN BE THROWN AROUND. But I do NEED HELP in building it and getting it up and running. If anyone is INTERESTED please contact me. WE as a COMMUNITY right now need FOCUS, LEADERSHIP, and to broarden our cause.

  • The Milkman

    I have patients to see, during appointments that were scheduled months ago. Exactly how is acting in a totally unprofessional manner by “calling in gay” and making the schedulers cancel or reschedule all those sick people going to change any minds or advance GLBT equality? This is utterly lame. No wonder we lose these fights so frequently.

    My support for equality consists of monetary donations, drumming up support and voter turnout among my friends/coworkers/acquaintances, and getting my Oklahoma relatives to work for whoever is running against Sally Kern. I’m happy to do any other volunteer work as well. But I won’t be participating in this lame-ass “day without a gay”.

  • The Milkman

    Oh, and yeah… I agree with RebelComx… that guy in the video is pretty adorable.

  • Tim

    This is a terrible idea. I smell ‘backlash’.

  • Strepsi

    JAPHY — how is it “one of the better protest ideas that netroots activists have come up with”? The more I think about it the dumber it gets.
    1) It punishes companies who have hired lots of gay people!
    2) In really homophobic workplaces it will have no effect
    3) In today’s economy calling in sick is reckless and likely to get one fired — my sexuality should be NO grounds for discrimination, but neither should it be grounds for me not to do my job!
    4) it is not in any way measurable

    In short, an action that no one can tell if it is a success, that only hurts gay friendly employers. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

    I like the intention, but if we must do something personal, can we stick to the tactic of NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY — Promise to come out, to 1 person, in your own way. People find it harder to hate those they know. ANd if the idea is to encourage volunteerism for cay causes, make it on a SATURDAY.

  • Hrist

    This is odd for me. And I probably won’t be calling in “gay” to work tomorrow… On the one hand, I work in an office that’s actually quite gay-friendly, and extends benefits to cover domestic partners. My office seems to be doing things RIGHT, and I feel like, if I call in “gay”, I’m saying that they do things WRONG, which is untrue. I DO have work that needs to get done, and I don’t like the thought of ditching it for a day, when my supervisors and coworkers are all very supportive. It’s a difficult moral quandary. :/

  • Michael Bedwell

    Why does your lead misrepresent 50% of the original idea as reflected in 100% of its title which ISN’T “A Day With A Gay Volunteering.”

    You’ve become the cyber equivalent of a brainswashed, willfully blind religious nut who will defend any idea his church hands down because it was his church that did it.

    Just because this has “netroots” doesn’t make it any less retarded from its first brain fart. Too bad we don’t have a Mac polticial equivalent to make commercials mocking all the bugs in the ideas of the Netnicks. And tomorrow you’ll see their system crash again; the gay movement equivalent of the Blue Screen of Death. Others call this part of the grassroots movement. Problem is, it’s permeated with intellectual crabgrass.

    And just when I thought this idea had already reached the zenith of its idiocy, now comes the “withdraw $80 from your bank account” nonsense.

    EXACTLY the same problem that you’ve identified re off the PC/away from TV blah blah blah: there’s NO fucking way to measure it so we couldn’t demonstrate success and, therefore, we can’t demonstrate the political/economic power that’s supposed to be the goal.

    And Idiotic Idea #2 is worse than Idiotic Idea #1 because while few employers have really huge numbers of employees, most banks have thousands of depositors. If two queens from the 20-person department at Acme Phuckoff & Dye call in “gay” they might be noticed—AND they might be put on notice for risking being fired for job abandonment.

    But most banks have THOUSANDS of depositors. Therefore, it would take HUGE numbers of withdrawals beyond the tens/hundreds of thousands[millions of] transactions that go on by ATM and online in any given day to be noticed. Or do they want us to take time away from that wonderful volunteer work to go personally to the bank, find parking, wait in line, and yell as loud as you can as a teller finally waits on you: I’M GAY AND, LOOK, EVERYONE—I’M TAKING OUT A WHOLE $80 TO SHOW HOW POWERFUL I AM?

    Yes, a HANDFUL of TV stations out of the HUNDREDS around the country might call a few businesses and banks and ask if they’ve noticed any numerically significant activity…and the answer will be, loosely translated: Get real, Mary!

    Ooooh, pinch me! Yet ANOTHER self-righteous circle jerk er protest march in San Francisco going nowhere, figuratively AND literally! Now, if they went to the home of the SF Archbishop who, it’s been documented, formally conspired with Mormon hierarchy to pass H8TE or to a Mormon meeting place THEN there might be some point. Because it would give them the opportunity to identify to the rest of the country who the professional haters are. But, wait, the Mother of Impact, Amy Vogue On the Outside Vague On the Inside is against that.

    Repeat: Get real, Mary! is exactly what the children/childish minds behind the Join the Impacted Bowels NONrevolution should do or “Stonewall 2.0” will soon be declared stillborn. Most of the criticism of various existing “gay leaders” was valid. But too many of those calling for giants to replace them have settled for mental Munchkins.

    Time to reboot, Baby! Yes, take some time off—at least from wasting it with illusions er ideas like this and READ A BOOK…a book about what worked and didn’t work in the black and Latino civil rights movements, in the earliest days of post-Stonewall “zaps,” and with ACT UP.

    THEY changed society. The only change I see going on now involves mental diapers.

  • Jason

    I agree with many of the above. My workplace does most things right, my coworkers/bosses are supportive, and I live and work in San Francisco. Also, we may be facing cutbacks, and in this economy don’t want to do anything that makes me look blatantly irresponsible. It just doesn’t make sense.

  • Jaroslaw

    A very dear friend’s retirement party is tomorrow, which under normal circumstances I could forgo (if I felt this idea was sensible) but (a) she lives in Canada so I probably won’t see her for a long time and (b) she is retiring due to a dire illness which luckily is now in remission but who knows.. and (c) the job I have is very independent so it won’t matter if I’m here or not, the work is still there.

    Having said all that, I understand the concept behind the idea and realize unlike a number of posters here that no idea will please everyone or be practical for everyone.

  • Ray

    i’m not calling in gay, and that above video should have been shot in the nude.

  • Jaroslaw

    Duh, I missed the video, thanks Ray – I agree. the guy is totally cute….

  • Leland Frances

    The original organizers are from WeHo which explains why they have no concept of reality. [Anyone really expect The Abbey to be closed tomorrow?]

    And one of them is a personal trainer AKA “Another One of Reichen’s Ex’es.”

  • DaveO

    The idea that the event could have been “spoiled” presumes that it was a good idea to begin with. It does the movement real harm when poorly thought through ideas like this become a rallying cry for some small segment of activists who claim to speak for the larger community. There are, amazingly enough, lots of gays with actual jobs and actual responsibilities.

  • Robert

    I am currently unemployed (and I’ll gladly take the place of anyone crazy enough to call in gay lol… kidding, I support your choice to call in gay).

    However I have to agree, its punishing the wrong type of employers… every employer that I have worked with/for while not knowingly hiring a homosexual has not had a problem when my sexuality did ‘come out’… so I’d feel bad subjecting my coworkers and employers to having to cover my workload.

    Oh and on a purely selfish not if anyone in the Los Angeles area is hiring feel free to let me know… lol.

  • Robert

    Oh… and I’m going to go on record and say the boy in the video is cute, but the video isn’t well thought out… and kinda not helpful (cute but not helpful).

    What would have been great is if one or two of the people that were mentioned were straight but opting to call in gay in support of No on 8.

    Which leads me to another point, why not have anyone who supports No on 8 call in gay/gay supportive to show support.

    Just my .02

  • Distingué Traces

    I support this idea, but I think it’s important that people — professionally, without debate — make it clear in their workplace why they are absent for the day.

    This is not going to have a broad economic or social effect — very few industries have an overwhelmingly gay labor force in the way that so many have an overwhelmingly immigrant labor force.

    So the way this will have an effect is not on the large scale — bringing business to a halt — but on the personal scale, as without unprofessional confrontations we make it clear to coworkers that our commitment to marriage equality remains strong.

  • seitan-on-a-stick

    Oprah sucks! Ellen is the daytime Queen with the stay-at-home Gays. Queerty seem to be out-of-date all of a sudden. Does Japhy get out much?

    On the Gay-cott (Day without Gays) I agree with the blogger who suggested Saturday with No on 8 folks leafletting Gay-frequented bars, shops and restaurants rather than a frail workplace environment who may not get the point.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    Um..I’m retired and spend a great of my time on the Internet, writing letters to my congressman and legislators on behalf of gay civil-rights, etc., so calling in sick is not an option. Should I just pick a corporation out of the phone book and call in “gay” to them?

    UPS arrived a little while ago with a scanner that I ordered from Amazon last week. Should I have told the UPS delivery man to take it back?

    Should I also have called Amazon to inform them of my intention to do so?

    The USPS delivered my mail this morning. Should I take it back to the post office and tell them, “No thanks. I’m queer. Please re-deliver my mail tomorrow instead.”?

    I made my once-a-week to Publix to shop for groceries last night. Should I send them a note telling them that I fucked up and I will NOT be shopping in Publix today instead?

    I bank online and all of my monthly bills are paid by auto-debit. Which checks should I ask my bank not to write and mail out today? The electric bill, the gas bill or the telephone bill?

    I had planned on going to see MILK with a friend tonight after a light dinner at The Boston Market.
    Which homophobic chicken should I boycott? I don’t seem to recall The Boston Market discriminating against gays, but I could be wrong?

    And, lastly, should I boycott Harvey to show my support of A Day Without Gay?

    I am so confused? Can I get a little leadership here, please?

  • Eclipse

    @Strepsi: I agree. It’s a horrible idea. Visibility wins hearts and minds. Not calling in sick. Earning money you can later donate to queer charities helps, letter writing helps, campaigning for queer-friendly politicians helps. Staying home is a waste of time. What will the media do? Go door to door looking for gays who are participating? Please. No one will notice. No one will care.

  • macguffin54

    i requested the day off when i first heard about the idea (i still have personal days left). i will let them know tomorrow why though (that way i will not get in trouble for calling out since it is my pre-requested personal day, but i will still show my “solidarity”, or whatever word you choose to use.) i don’t plan to stay home and boycott shopping, nor do i plan to work for charity. i think the idea of all of us doing something on the 10th is a good way to show unity, though the disagreement over what to do will probably get us ignored or laughed at. i think the protests are the best idea. visibility is always better than invisibility (not being at work), so calling out of work will probably get us nothing but a day off. but hey, that’s enough for me.

  • AladinSane

    I’ve been unemployed for 4 months and am about to recieve eviction papers on my apartment. If I could find a job there would be no way I’d call out, I’d just be happy to have income. This “protest” is a horrible idea. Why couldn’t it have been “Gay Go To Work Day” with every one of us fortunate enough to have a job in this economy went to work and “worked” on building support with straight allies?

  • J

    I’m going to school tomorrow, and asking my headmaster if our school has a non-discrimination policy regarding hiring, and student selection. I’m from Michigan, and Michigan’s ENDA only applies to state jobs, and, since we’re a private school, it does not apply. So, I’m making it a day with a gay.

  • redball81

    seriously though–i think many, many of you are missing the point. this demonstration is a show of economic power–a symbolic show. no one is trying to ruin the economy, and honestly i really don’t think we can with just one day of $80 withdrawals. that is my reading of the demonstration.

    tomorrow, my partner & i will proudly withdraw $80 from each of the 4 bank accounts between us. who knows–this could make a big media splash if lots of people participate. the banks WILL notice if an anomalous, astronomical number of people withdraw $80 amount on the same day. financial institutions collect stats on these things and know that, for example, “oh usually 1 million people withdraw $80 on any given day but on 12/10, 20 MILLION people withdrew $80.” they will know.

    and i am so excited to be part of this demonstration b/c the more powerful we can come together as a community, the more inspired we will be to do more and bigger things in the future, to raise our own & our society’s consciousness and fight for our civil rights.

    pls consider the bank withdrawal demo tomorrow. i, for one, will be doing it, and sitting out from the class i am a teaching assistant for. instead of attending class i will be volunteering locally and NOT PURCHASING ANYTHING!


  • hardmannyc

    It’s an asinine idea, and no one except the organizers will be doing it. Except they won’t be doing it, either, because they’ll be working on, you know, making sure people aren’t working.

    Lame. We’re, what? 2% 5% of the population? Who the hell’s going to notice if, in an office of 100 people 2 or 3 don’t show up?

  • Lester

    @Wolf: Wolf, please contact me about building a web portal for grassroots activists. I’ve been feeling the same frustration here in the US Capital of Narcissism of South Florida and have spent 3 unsuccessful years trying ideas. We have the 3rd largest gay population in the US and we had 750 protestors on Nov 15th, and our Vote No on 2 Campaign was split in half because of egos.

  • Chris

    I can’t believe that guy in the video is straight!

  • REBELComx

    I don’t think he is, Chris. He’s playing a straight guy for the purposes of the video…ya know, ACTING.

  • Charles J. Mueller


    People like you, who take a piss/dump on ANYTHING that anyone tries to do to advance the cause while sitting behind the relative safety and comfort of your computer screen, are the reason why the LGBT movement is having such a hard time winning it’s rights. You take obvious delight in holding the rest of back.

    People like you do not deal is success or winning, only negativity, doom and gloom.

    How does it feel to be a prick and loser, Mr. Hardon?

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