The Gay Activist’s Guide to Productive Gay Activism

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The Gay Activist’s Guide to Productive Gay Activism

Oh, LGBT activists, you make all of us regular gays so proud, and then, well… you don’t. Don’t get us wrong. We want you on that wall; we need you on that wall. We love it when you fight for our rights and defend our existence. But when you misfire, or fire at nothing, well… we don’t.
 
A lot – and I mean ample, ample activity – has happened within gay rights in the United States in the past six months, enough to give even the most removed follower neck strain, and LGBT writers and bloggers whiplash. With every major event – DADT, marriage equality, ENDA, gay immigration, and most recently, the suicides – a corresponding action/march/protest/t-shirt website moves forward. Some of them have been strokes of genius; others, quixotic, at best – misfires that cost us all scorn from the straight majority we, like it or not, need to win over to gain traction in this cultural quagmire. So, for the activists – and other like-minded individuals (keep in mind, that sometimes just putting your foot down is activism enough) – here is a Top-Five list of recent tactical “Dos” and “Absolutely Do Nots” for continuing the fight without making us all look like raving, self-centered, overly dramatic lunatics as we march forward.
 
5. Issue: Target’s donation of $150,000 to MN Forward, a group that ran ads supporting Republican Tom Emmer, a candidate who opposes gay marriage.

Wrong move: Target’s Bigot Special”,“a video made by two activists affiliated with the group Queer Rising” in which protestors pulled out a megaphone announcing two-ply toilet paper for sale “Cause when you’re full of shit like Target is, you need something to wipe the shame with.”
 
Right move: “Target Ain’t People”, a video supported by Moveon.org, in which another group of protesters reworks and stages a Depeche Mode song to highlight Target’s support of a candidate who is anti-marriage as well as the Supreme Court’s decision to allow major corporations to fund political campaigns.

Analysis: While Queer Rising’s video showed up on some influential blogs, such as the Advocate and Towle Road, it came off as a bitter, insipid protest pulled off by cranks. The footage of the managers kicking the protesters out didn’t help. On the other hand “Target Ain’t People” went viral, and drew attention to two important issues: corporate ownership of political candidates AND Target’s lack of support for LGBT rights.

4. Issue: The president’s move to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and then his backpedaling in Congress and finally, challenges to the law’s reversal in the courts.
 
Wrong move: White House Fence Chainings, which included Lt. Dan Choi and Cpt. Jim Pietrangelo handcuffing themselves to the White House fence in March, then April, followed by a group of five other DADT protesters in May. Each and every person wound up in jail, some multiple times. Point taken – once was enough.
 
Right move: Lt. Dan Choi’s re-enlistment at the Times Square Armed Services Recruiting Station after U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips overturns DADT in Log Cabin Republicans vs. the United States.

Analysis: Instead of recruiting lawyers and fund-raising to bail our activists out of jail over and over for the same tired action, why not use the money to fund some more lawsuits? Obama tuned out the White House actions; he certainly listened when Phillips spoke, inviting the first LGBT blogger to the White House this week. That Dan Choi re-enlisted demonstrated that LGBT people give back to the country when their rights are given to them.



Comments [4]

Not2Taem's picture

Spot on

.

Grace Moon's picture

i

like your break down.

though I kinda err on the side of any action is a good action. Unless it costs someone else's life, health, or finances.

tweet tweet @gracemoon

Amy Nicole Miller's picture

awesome

I appreciate your analysis of the It Gets Better Project.

Robin Rigby's picture

Great analysis.  There's an

Great analysis.  There's an organization that was started in LA & is now in several cities (including here in San Diego) that gets gay folks involved in community service in their larger community.  It's called Gay for Good.  My local chapter just started in August.  So far we've cleaned up a beach and a community garden & packed food for seniors at the San Diego Food Bank.  Check out their website at gayforgood.org to see if there's a chapter near you or start one of your own.