Did You Call in Gay?

Today is Decemeber 10th, International Human Rights Day and also, A Day Without a Gay. Are you calling in gay today? Email us your photos, tell us your stories. We’ll be updating on news about the event throughout the day.

The event has sparked massive media coverage this morning, with the NYTimes running a story on the new wave of gay activists that are rejecting the older model of gay groups like Equality California for a net-centric, youth-oriented movement. They write:

“Many grass-roots leaders say the emergence of new faces, and acceptance of tactics that are more confrontational, amount to an implicit rejection of the measured approach of established gay rights groups, a course that, some gay men and lesbians maintain, allowed passage of the ban, Proposition 8.

“I think we are demanding as a community that we democratize our processes and ensure we all have a voice,” said Molly McKay, media director of the volunteer group Marriage Equality USA. “Because we are not a campaign. We are a movement.”

The L.A. Times takes credit for the idea, saying it was first proposed by columnist Joel Stein. The L.A. Times blog writes:

“It was first proposed by Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein and is patterned after the 2006 “Day Without A Mexican” work stoppage. After Stein wrote a Nov. 14 column proposing the idea (which he said he got from a friend), activists seized upon it and chose Dec. 10, which is International Human Rights Day. Sean Hetherington, a personal trainer and standup comedian who is coordianting it, also added an element of community service to the day, urging people to volunteer their time to help the needy.”

Not to take away from Stein’s column, but having been in the crowds that marched the day after the election, I know the idea was already percolating.

In Houston, the Chronicle profiles some locals who are taking the day off:

“Attorney Jerry Simoneaux is taking off today. So are the 10 other people who work at his Houston law firm.

Eric Weitzel was already scheduled to be off from his retail job, but he plans to call in anyway.

Simoneaux and Weitzel are among the gay men and women in Houston and across the country taking part in today’s “Day Without a Gay” economic boycott. Outraged by the recent passage of California’s Proposition 8 to overturn state rules allowing same-sex couples to marry, they and their supporters want everyone to be clear on where they stand.

“We aren’t going to lie down and let people treat us as second-class citizens,” said Weitzel.”

In San Francisco, many are unable to take the day off, so protest organizers have planned a rally after work.

While it’s not clear how many people will actually skip work, the “Day Without a Gay” movement has spawned several marches and rallies across the Bay Area. KTVU reports:

“In San Francisco, several local groups have organized a rally at 6 p.m. Wednesday at 24th and Mission streets. Organizers in Berkeley and Oakland have also planned events. Cat Kim, an organizer with Join the Impact SF, said more than 300 people have responded to the San Francisco event’s Facebook site. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano will be one of speakers at the rally, Kim said. After the event, attendees will march up Valencia Street to the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center, located at 1800 Market Street.”