What If the Gays Stopped Being Polite and Started Getting Real?

September 24, 2007 at 11:56 am 3 comments

Richard Rothstein hits the LGBT activist nail on the head in this excerpt from his post called Black America To Gay America: Jena Six, This Is How It’s Done!

Consider that days before a possible ENDA vote, ENDA is not on the front pages of any newspapers or among the headlines on CNN, ABC, NBC or CBS. ENDA may represent a solution to a gross injustice and outrage that is more than equal to the issues surrounding the Jena Six, but, to put it bluntly, as has been the case since the 1950s, blacks do it better, much better. You can be damned sure that if ENDA concerned basic civil rights for African Americans, there would have been a tent city within shouting distance of Capital Hill until justice was done.

We have the best chance ever of passing much needed legislation like ENDA and the federal hate crimes bill, but we have failed to generate the kind of activism and moral urgency around the issues that will propel us to victory. And, its not just the traditional media that is in many ways missing the story, but also the LGBT media has not picked up the story and urged action.Through sheer force of will, Black activists with the support of progressives of all colors, have made the injustice around the Jena 6 such a national issue that even President Bush was forced to comment. I do not believe in any way that Bush has any concern for the Black students facing criminal charges stemming from a series of racist incidents, but that he was forced to comment is a sign of activist power.

On LGBT issues, Bush has not commented on the possible passage of ENDA, has threatened to veto the hate crimes bill and has advocated strongly a constitutional amendment that would have committed LGBT Americans to second class citizenship. And rather than engaging in smarter, more effective strategies for achieving equality, we continue to spend more time wondering about the sexual orientations of celebrities, obsessing over the latest Britney fiasco and shopping for fabulous outfits for the next over-priced see and be seen fundraising gala.

Gay advocacy? Queers stand as the only minority left in America that remains unprotected from discrimination in the workplace, in housing, health care, social services and education. And while tens of thousands of black Americans are in the streets with raised fists, supported by thousands of white supporters, tens of well-dressed and very polite gay advocates are shooting off emails and position papers.

What is it going to take for us to move past the endless bickering that engulfs our community and fight for our civil rights as though our lives depend on it?


Entry filed under: Advocacy, Blogs, LGBT, Politics, Race.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. BB  |  September 24, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    Question-What is it going to take for us to move past the endless bickering that engulfs our community and fight for our civil rights as though our lives depend on it?

    Answer-Unapologetic Self Love

  • 2. Richie Urban  |  September 25, 2007 at 9:00 am

    T-R-U-E S-T-O-R-Y—7 Strangers Picked To Live In A House

  • 3. elaichietcetera  |  September 25, 2007 at 9:53 am

    I think part of our problem is invisibility, not for the flamboyant lispers who are nearly forced out of the closet at any early age, but for the majority of us who fear taking a stand with cameras present, lest our jobs and relationships with friends and family, to whom our sexual nature may be undisclosed, be compromised.
    Another problem is lack of unification: not every gay man wants that piece of legal red-tape binding him/her to another person, and there are many who are content with their polygamist set-up of a stable wife at home doing most of the raising of their children while they pursue career interests and a secret agenda of homosexually-inclined sexual exploration; honestly, Senator Craig’s story has been told to me many times over the years.
    A third problem that I see is lack of energy in the “out” sector of my own age-group (late 30’s-50’s). Many of us were quite active politically when younger, and in passing years we have lost many loved-ones to AIDS. We’re tired. We’ve dealt with the confines our lives and have settled into a comfortable rut. Couple that with a budding young “out” generation entering into an American society that, in general is far more accepting than in the past. (I could cite many TV shows that 20 years ago would have been unthinkable). This generation takes for granted what work has been done already, and sees no need to attempt to retain it or work for better. In fact, I definitely think the media creates an illusion of a greater acceptance than is veritable, causing a peaceful complacency across the age-board in the gay community.
    Sad to say, but the melodic theme of Brokeback Mountain still echoes distinctly behind many closed doors and, despite many bold voices who have shouted for equality since Stonewall, we remain a love that dare not speak its name.


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