Day Without a Gay: Great Idea, Terrible Name

Imagine the world without gays: The hair salon’s empty, the spin class lost without its instructor, neighborhood’s totally lacking in cute little shops that specialize in imported soaps infused with essential oil, because there’s nobody to buy them. Well, on December 10th, a Day Without a Gay won’t just be the set-up for an Ugly Betty nightmare sequence anymore. It will be real.

When we first heard about ‘Day Without a Gay’s,  plan to “call in gay” we snickered “Isn’t that what Disco Monday is for?”, because as many of you have pointed out, we’re a little cynical.  The more we learned about what organizers of the group had in mind, however, the more the cold, cold cockles of our tiny grinch-like heart saw the value of the idea, even if the name makes it sound like something that will only effect ladies who have hair appointments.

Day Without a Gay chose Dec. 10th, International Human Rights Day as a way “take a historic stance against hatred by donating love to a variety of different causes.” That’s right, you don’t get to sleep in and catch-up on your DVD box set of The Wire, you get to donate the time you’d normally spend working for Straightie to worthy causes. The site, yet another grassroots internet initiative, offers up volunteer opportunities in all 50 states with the idea that we can “shift our strong feelings about injustice toward service.”

The Day Without A Gay mission statement reads:

“Gays, lesbians, and straight allies plan to call in “gay” to volunteer within their local LGBT communities on December 10, 2008 to protest passage of anti-gay constitutional amendments in Arizona, Florida, and California. Wherever possible, gay Americans and allies plan to volunteer for local gay and civil rights organizations across the country through a brand new national database at www.daywithoutagay.wetpaint.org.

Every day since Election Day, thousands have protested up and down streets in cities across California, including in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento. A national, grassroots coalition of LGBT activists have followed in their footsteps. Now gay citizens and their allies are teaming up to show America and the world the compassion, the love, and the posititve spirit of the gay community through service.

On December 10, 2008 the gay community will take a historic stance against hatred by donating their time to a variety of different causes in order to raise public awareness of the need for LGBT equality in marriage and in other civil rights.”

This is a great idea. One of the questions we’ve all been asking ourselves is beyond protesting, what is there the gay community can tangibly do. The protests are important, as it’s incredibly clear that far too many Americans who think gay people live a charmed, hate crime free life and/or want to smash down all the churches and make their children dress like Little Lord Fauntleroy and it’s only through visibility that people will start taking a closer look at the second-class status of our community.

But it’s equally important that we reinvest in our community. If we want to be successful, we need to not only question our gay leaders, we need to be willing to step up to the plate. Day Without a Gay is a fantastic way of getting that ball rolling. We’re also fans of any movement which includes this question in their FAQ:

Will this get me on Oprah?
If it will get you to help out, then…yes…you’ll be on Oprah, Honey.

Since we’re not allowed out of the house, Queerty will be celebrating Day Without a Gay by taking December 10th to highlight the stories behind some of the LGBT/ Equal Rights organizations around the world that are working on our behalf.