Small victories, small excitement

June 21, 2010 at 6:18 pm 57 comments

By Julia Rosen

There is an article in Newsweek about all of the small victories we have had since Obama’s election on LGBT rights. The secondary headline reads: “Gay rights advocates have seen significant progress on LGBT issues, yet still are not celebrating. Why is that?”

I bet you have a few answers to that question, but the biggest reason is that they have been small, partial steps, not significant fundamental reform and change. Take today’s very good news that the Labor Department under Secretary Hilda Solis will be issuing a new regulation that orders businesses to grant unpaid leave to LGBT employees to care for their loved ones under the Family and Medical Leave Act. AP reporter Phil Elliot:

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis planned to announce Wednesday that the government would require employers to extend the option that has been available to heterosexual workers for almost two decades, two officials briefed on the plan said Monday. Neither was authorized to speak publicly ahead of the announcement.

The move, coming less than five months before November’s congressional elections, seemed likely to incite conservatives and Republicans who stood in lockstep against the Obama administration’s earlier efforts to repeal a ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. It also appeared likely to be popular with loyal Democrats and organized labor.

The Family and Medical Leave Act allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year to take care of loved ones or themselves. The 1993 law, which also allows employees to take time off for adoptions, has previously only been applied to heterosexual couples.

Incense those conservatives, because this is one change I am pretty damn sure that vast majority of the American public will support. It is about treating people decently, just like hospital visitation rights. There is no way that this would have happened under a McCain administration and is a sign that things are different and better.

But the big changes, the ones that loom large in symbolism and meaning have not yet come. Back to that Newsweek article:

But here’s the catch—the bigger issues are consistently on the verge of happening, but never seem to be a done deal. There is a divide between Washington insiders who understand that government is painfully slow to move, on any issue, and a newly activated core of gay activists who want immediate change. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” hasn’t been repealed yet, the gay-marriage trial could take years to reach the Supreme Court, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act continues to block gay couples from countless legal benefits, including—in a bizarre twist—the right to a swift and affordable divorce.

[snip]

If you look at timelines detailing the milestones over the decades in the gay rights movement, you’ll see more and more markers after 2008, with the gay-marriage movement gaining more states and President Obama allowing same-sex partners of federal employees to receive certain benefits. Yet sometimes being so close to success, when it’s not fully achieved, is confusing, and upsetting.

You’ve got that right. We’ve gotten cautious, incremental change, but no big ones that signal a change in society’s acceptance of LGBTs. It’s one thing for the polling to say that 75% of Americans favor repealing DADT and it’s another to see openly gay and lesbian soldiers serving proudly, instead of in the shadows of forced out of the military.

So, thank you Hilda Solis and those who made the inclusion of LGBTs possible in the Family Medical Leave Act, but we have a long way to go to full equality. Meanwhile, we will take those frustrating feelings of partial victory and pour them into working towards those big proud victories that are nearly within our grasp.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

“The Mormon Proposition” This Really Bothers Me

57 Comments Add your own

  • 1. JonT  |  June 21, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    subscribing. Good news though :)

    Reply
    • 2. K!r!lleXXI  |  June 21, 2010 at 7:14 pm

      Ditto

      Reply
    • 3. Kathleen  |  June 21, 2010 at 8:29 pm

      Ditto

      Reply
  • 4. Alto  |  June 21, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    subscribing

    Reply
  • 5. Ronnie  |  June 21, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    It’s very hard to celebrate any crumbs that are thrown at us when you have the GOP of Texas publicly stating that they will push to make homosexuality illegal again and throw those who perform Gay marriages in jail 7 thats’s just a few of Nazi-esque plans they Have for Texas & the desire to enforce it nation wide….I’m just saying… >( ….Ronnie

    Reply
  • 6. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  June 21, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Exactly. We all need to step up to the plate, take this frustration over only being tossed the crumbs from the table instead of being invited to the feast, and pour that into working toward making sure that we finally, unequivocally, completely get our full civil and human rights.

    Reply
  • 7. Alan E.  |  June 21, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    I think there is a major disconnect between the history of gay people and today’s gay youth. There just isn’t that channel to feed stories as effectively about who we are and where we’ve been. It’s easier to come out now, and there aren’t as many day-to-day incidents or shit to deal with (not to denounce or not take into account all those horrendous events still taking place; there’s just not as much). I mean, look at all the political power we have with Ellen and Will and Grace and all . Sure, Milk was a start, but the conversation can’t stop. We need more solidarity, and to get people to do something challenging beyond just fitting in.

    On the other hand, it is nice to win a few, especially with the opposition forces we have, but we can only celebrate in stride. We won’t go parading in the street to celebrate these small victories, but if (when) we win marriage equality (or something of the same sort, like DADT repeal), then you bet we will be in the streets again celebrating. Until then, we need to get more people out there.

    Reply
    • 8. Ian Andrews Madsen  |  June 21, 2010 at 9:48 pm

      As a gay youth, I don’t think the disconnect is as bad as you might think. Because it’s easier to come out of the closet, more youth are coming out of the closet. The more it happens, the more normal it is to straights.

      I attended BYU – Idaho for 2 years (closeted), and I encountered something interesting. It’s becoming somewhat of a trend for returned missionaries to come home and discover that one or more of their high school friends is gay (including Mormon friends). While most are still opposed to gay rights, the issue has become personalized for them, which is the first step in the right direction.

      Reply
      • 9. Alan E.  |  June 21, 2010 at 10:15 pm

        I think that because it is easier to come out, and since culture is moving towards being more individualistic, the disconnect lies between the individualization and the lack of concern or wanting to even discover the past. It takes a lot of work, certainly a lot more than say an African-American or Latino community, to spread gay culture and history. Heck, it takes a lot of work to just convince people to put on a damn condom, gay or straight.

        Reply
      • 10. Kathleen  |  June 21, 2010 at 10:26 pm

        I think part of the problem of passing on history is that gay kids aren’t necessarily born to gay parents – that is, one is not necessarily born into one’s own clan. The passing along of family stories is how many of us learn of our heritage.

        Of course, the other part of the problem is that our history is not taught in the schools.

        Which reminds me, for those who might not have heard, Stonewall Uprising has been released:
        http://firstrunfeatures.com/stonewalluprising_playdates.html

        Reply
      • 11. Alan E.  |  June 22, 2010 at 9:22 am

        Exactly Kathleen. Without a direct line to pass down the stories, we are at a disadvantage. I’m super excited about Harvey Milk Day here in California, but it’s still not the rest of the country.

        Any ideas, outside of movies, of how we can share our stories to show that every experience is not unique, that someone somewhere has gone, or is going, through the exact same thing. There is still bullying in the schools. That child is not alone. There are still people shouting FAG from cars or across the street (or in your face), but that person is not the only one who is facing that fear. We need to face it together. It’s easy to become a part of the community and basically hide. We can’t be “normal” in society until we are all normal.

        Reply
      • 12. Sally Sheklow  |  June 22, 2010 at 5:10 pm

        Alan,
        Two pretty good films are available through Netflix: “Before Stonewall” and “After Stonewall ” in addition to the new Stonewall Uprising which I just looked up and is also available on Netflix.
        There are actually quite a few good documentaries out there. Reply to me if you want a list.
        Sally

        Reply
      • 13. Kathleen  |  June 22, 2010 at 5:23 pm

        Alan, besides films, I think written works are valuable as well–both non-fiction and literature. Learning the history and our place in various societies is valuable, but also the sense of personal identification that comes in works of fiction can be powerful. I think parents can encourage this reading, and it should be included in school curriculum — in history and literature classes.

        I also think that as more glbt people feel comfortable leading their lives openly, not hiding who they are, there are more visible role models available, thus making children feel less like ‘the only one.’ I know that I was exposed to openly gay people the entire time I was growing up, and my parents’ (well, at least my mother’s) attitude was so matter of fact that I have never felt there is something wrong with me that I have felt attraction to women as well as men; I’ve always known I wasn’t the only one.

        Reply
  • 14. Franck  |  June 21, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Sadly, I’m one of those who see these small steps in a sad, if not bitter light despite what they mean. As the non-American half of a bi-national couple, all of this still changes nothing to my situation, and you could say optimism isn’t exactly my forte lately.

    Reply
    • 15. michael  |  June 22, 2010 at 12:59 am

      Franck,
      As the American half of a bi-national couple, I am in complete agreement. The harsh climate and hostility directed at non-Americans is bad enough…and only further amplified by excessively institutionalized homophobia. People sometimes sarcastically joke about leaving the USA if politician X, Y, or Z gets elected bc of the type of policy they support/oppose. Unfortunately, I feel pretty much forced to seriously consider such action out of financial and psychological distress. I can’t support my partner and myself on my salary alone, and I can’t sponsor him to acquire the rights most people take for granted. He can’t get a job here, and we both live in fear of being separated (e.g., a random “checkpoint” or similar situation). Straight couples simply don’t have to deal with that, and so to me–these breadcrumbs are like feeding horse shit to a starving population. It’s cruel torture.
      =(

      Reply
      • 16. Franck  |  June 22, 2010 at 11:31 pm

        Yes, I don’t see many bi-national couples that don’t experience hardships due to the immigration policies. In my case, the combination of financial crisis and recent political upheaval in my country (Madagascar) , I haven’t been able to just even meet my partner face to face in almost three years (three years as of tomorrow, in fact).

        All that time was spent searching for any possible way I could join him in California. The fact that I’m still here three years later says a lot.

        Reply
      • 17. Kathleen  |  June 22, 2010 at 11:58 pm

        Franck, this breaks my heart. I’m so sorry you have to deal with this.

        Reply
    • 18. Shun  |  June 22, 2010 at 4:53 pm

      I too am in complete agreement here.

      This is why it’s very important that besides these efforts, the Uniting American Families Act must pass now. If only more of the gay community knows/cares about it… :(

      Reply
      • 19. Ronnie  |  June 22, 2010 at 4:55 pm

        I care…..<3…Ronnie

        Reply
  • 20. Sagesse  |  June 22, 2010 at 5:24 am

    Commentary from the right on Obama’s Father’s Day proclamation

    A Father’s Day lesson in bigotry

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alvin-mcewen/a-fathers-day-lesson-in-b_b_620392.html

    One comment that is starting to appear, this one from Peter LaBarbera

    “Gay parenting is a selfish social experiment whose long-term effect on children has not yet been determined — biased homosexual-authored studies notwithstanding,”

    They’re labeling the academic research as biased because many of the respected academics working in the field are LGBT. Isn’t that why there’s peer review? Oh, I forgot…. their experts don’t need peer review.

    Reply
    • 21. Bolt  |  June 22, 2010 at 6:44 am

      David Boies illustrates the proposition 8 proponents position beautifully,

      “What they’re prepared to do is just take any position that tries to limit or restrict or eliminate gay and lesbian marriage. And that is without any coherent theory, without any science, without any rationale. I don’t think they have a rationale that is against gay and lesbian marriage. I think they are just reaching out and striking at gay and lesbian marriage wherever they find it.”

      And, I asked, by extension – gay and lesbian people?

      “Inevitably. As you heard the eloquent testimony that was played in court today – is that when the state discriminates against some of its citizens – it inevitably stigmatizes them and sends a message to other citizens that discrimination against this class of citizens is OK. That somehow, these people are different – they’re not full citizens, they don’t deserve all the rights. And when you send that message, that’s when – as Terry said so effectively – you’re opening up the area for further discrimination and even hate crimes.
      One of the things Ted made very clear was that they had one theory at the time of the ballot, they had another theory after the ballot passed, they had another theory when they started the trial, they’ve got another theory now. And what that really says is that they don’t have a theory. They don’t have a rational basis. All they have is a willingness to seize on whatever arguments they can come up with for this objective.
      The objective is driving the arguments. The arguments aren’t driving the objective.

      If the upper courts decide to argue within the box that Walker creates, their words will be powerless, forever!

      file:///Users/monroeweed/Desktop/Interview%20with%20Prop%208%20Challenger%20David%20Boies%20on%20the%20Trial,%20Releasing%20the%20Trial%20Videotape,%20and%20the%20Threat%20to%20the%2018,000%20Married%20Couples%20%7C%20LGBT%20POV.webarchive

      Reply
    • 22. Alto  |  June 22, 2010 at 9:30 am

      I wonder if Peter LaBarbera has any idea how biased and opinionated his unfounded statement sounds. In my humble opinion, he needs to go crawl under a rock somewhere, and stay there.

      Reply
      • 23. JonT  |  June 22, 2010 at 11:14 am

        Oh, he does, count on it. Joe.My.God refers to him as porno pete. He’s definitely one of the haters.

        Reply
  • 24. Sagesse  |  June 22, 2010 at 6:06 am

    Some Mormon reaction to 8: The Mormon Proposition

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/joannabrooks/2838/8%3A_the_mormon_proposition_gets_it_right/

    Reply
  • 25. David Kimble  |  June 22, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Last evening, my mother got a call from NOM (National Organization for Marriage), who was in large part behind Prop8 and its passage. They are again spreading their fear and hatred message, in hopes of garnering some more money. I thought it was appropriate to tell everyone here, the battle is not over, even if we win this round.
    <3 David

    Reply
  • 26. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  June 22, 2010 at 7:42 am

    No, David, the battle is not over. Not by a longshot. In fact, I cannot even go to my local polling place to cast my vote here because it is in the local LDS, and by halakah, I cannot enter there. I have called my state board of elections and pointed out where this is a violation of church and state, and am calling the ACLU about this also.

    Reply
    • 27. Tom  |  June 22, 2010 at 8:17 am

      Why not full legal status for domestic partnerships or civil unions? Wouldn’t that be a welcome thing?

      Reply
      • 28. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  June 22, 2010 at 8:54 am

        @ Tom: That would only be more crumbs. Separate but not equal is NOT acceptable!

        Reply
    • 29. SB Mom  |  June 22, 2010 at 9:00 am

      Richard, surely that is illegal!! Maybe you should go with a police escort .

      Reply
      • 30. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  June 22, 2010 at 11:24 am

        I did go and vote at the LDS church, and while I was not there on “church” business, the signs that it is part of a church building are all over the place. The tracts are out where you can see them on your way in and out, the marquee obviously cannot be removed, and the overall structure of the building inside and out let you know that this is a house of worship. I have spoken with both the county board of elections and the state board of elections as well as filing a complaint with the ACLU, and I have also written a letter to the editor of the Fayetteville Observer. I am also planning to be at the local BOE meeting next month. One way or another, we have to get taxpayer-funded activities such as elections into the governmental structures where they belong. And when elections are held in the local schools, that also gives our younger generation a living civics lesson on the importance of voting. When I was growing up, it was a big deal that the schools were closed for election day so that you could exercise your right to vote. It taught me that going to the polls was very important, and that if you did not vote, you had no voice in your government. Now that elections are no longer held in the schools, our children get the idea that elections are no big deal.

        Reply
    • 31. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  June 22, 2010 at 9:02 am

      @ Richard: You aren’t there on ‘church’ business but rather on political business so there should be absolutely no stopping you from entering the building.
      That should be HIGHLY illegal!

      Reply
      • 32. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  June 22, 2010 at 9:35 am

        @ Santa Barbara Mom, it is due to my religious beliefs that I cannot go in there. But yes, it should be illegal. when I was growing up, all elections were held in the schools–a government function of civil liberties and responsibilities conducted in a government building. And yes, allowing a religious building to be used for a governmental elections should be illegal. That is why I am contacting the ACLU about this.
        @ Mark–even though I am not going there on church business, it is still in a church. And yes, as I stated earlier, I agree that it should be illegal to hold elections for public, taxpayer-supported offices in any religious building. I would not even want them in the local synagogue because there would be people who would not go out to vote due to feeling imposed upon by the nature of the building.

        Reply
      • 33. Alan E.  |  June 22, 2010 at 9:40 am

        The church could have up messaging in the walls that is not directly related to the current ballots, but they could have indirect info (such as Gays Are Evil, but this is an extreme case). It’s protected for the church because it’s part of their standard messaging, but it’s also not directly related to campaign messaging. I can see a whole can of worms there.

        Reply
    • 34. Sheryl  |  June 22, 2010 at 12:11 pm

      Richard, my polling place has been at a church for the past 4 years (not an LDS building, but a church nonetheless). I’ve never given a second thought to that. Didn’t know that your religion forbade you from entering other church buildings. I know that, here at least (Concord, California), polling places can be difficult to come by for a lot of reasons. Certainly churches cannot be expected to remove all notices, etc. related to their religion. Nor should they be forbade from opening their buildings for non-religious purposes for the general public.

      Sheryl

      Reply
      • 35. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  June 22, 2010 at 1:33 pm

        No, they should not be forbidden from opening their doors for non-religious uses for the public. However, when it comes to elections, and other governmental functions, there should be some sort of limit there. I realize that buildings are in short supply in some areas, but surely there are schools, city halls, libraries, or other government buildings or other public buildings that are not of a religious nature where elections can be held. Here there are two schools, the local library, town hall, and several other public locations that could have been used. I am a Jew and would not want to see Beth Israel used for an election because I know that some people would never go into a synagogue to vote. Also, when we use the schools for elections, the children learn just how important it is that you get out and vote. I feel that a large part of the low voter turnouts in so many elections, including off-year elections, is due to our children never being exposed to the process of voting because they no longer set up the polls in our schools. And to me, that is the biggest shame in this whole thing. Our children are not learning about the importance of voting. As a result, fewer of our young people are registering to vote, and even fewer of them are voting once they do register.

        Reply
      • 36. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  June 22, 2010 at 1:34 pm

        Our polling site has been in the annex building of a baptist church for about 15 yrs now….never gave it a single thought.
        I am there for reasons other than Religeous so the structure doesn’t matter to me at all.
        Now that we vote via mail-in it matters even less LOL

        Reply
      • 37. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  June 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm

        @ Mark M. (Seattle) I did not even find out that we have no-excuse (no reason needed) absentee mail-in ballots available until today. They have not done a very good job in this state of making that fact known to the general public. However, now that I know about it, I will definitely do that for the general election in November.

        Reply
      • 38. Alan E.  |  June 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm

        I only vote via absentee ballot, and if I forget to mail it in, I can always just drop it off at the polling station now. No waiting in lines anymore!

        Reply
      • 39. Santa Barbara Mom  |  June 22, 2010 at 8:06 pm

        Sheryl, I have found two people with your name on Facebook, but apparently neither one of them is you?

        Reply
      • 40. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  June 22, 2010 at 8:36 pm

        @Santa Barbara Mom. there is also a P8TT group on Facebook, and if you look there, you will find Sheryl. In fact, you will find all of us here who also have Facebook accounts. And I for one would enjoy having an additional way to contact you. After all, you have been one of those here on this site who has given me the courage to step out the way I have since January.

        Reply
    • 41. jc  |  June 22, 2010 at 1:14 pm

      maybe john stossel would love to hear about this and do a special episode on such issues! :) take it to a national issue rather than a local one! just a thought…

      Reply
  • 46. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  June 22, 2010 at 9:51 am

    And I have just finished my secure online complaint form to the ACLU of North Carolina. I hope to hear something soon. As I said earlier, I know that there are people who would not go into Beth Israel to cast their ballot, so why should anyone anywhere have to go to a religious building to cast their vote?

    Reply
    • 47. Kathleen  |  June 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm

      @Richard, American Humanist Association has filed suit in Florida and apparently set up a legal center:
      http://www.americanhumanist.org/hnn/archives/?id=275&article=0

      Reply
      • 48. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  June 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm

        Thank you, Kathleen.

        BTW, I sent out a thank you email to Olson, Boies, et al. last week, and so far have heard back from Olson and Jeremy Goldman. I then replied that I hoped they would share the email with everyone in their offices, because I know that they could not have done everything they have done without their full staff being involved and helping. So yes, folks, our emails do get through to them and do get read.

        Reply
  • 49. bb  |  June 22, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Reading the comments above, I didn’t see anyone saying the real issue (or danger): what about those LGBT folks that live in states were it’s sill legal to discriminate? Having the FLMA covering LGBT is great, and please don’t misunderstand me– I think that is a really good thing– however, LGBT living in states were it’s still legal to be fired can still be fired if they file for FLMA. Granted, they can’t be fired for filing for FLMA, but they can be fired for revealing they are gay or lesbian. So the 12 weeks of leave would be replaced with pernanent leave.

    Living in California, and if I needed to file for FLMA, I’d be safe and still have a job waiting for me when I return, but what about those living in the other states? I don’t see this as a significant change. It just adds to the slippery slope many of us are still walking.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

    Reply
    • 50. Alan E.  |  June 22, 2010 at 10:05 am

      Can a federal employee be fired for being gay? I don’t understand the coverage for that from state to state.

      Reply
      • 51. bb  |  June 22, 2010 at 10:36 am

        Alan, a Federal Employee would probably not be fired for being gay. I’m not a Federal Employee, so I can’t speak on that matter, But what I do know is that, based on state laws, if one files for FLMA, one must reveal what is the nature of the leave. If you disclose that you are to be taking care of a “partner” or son/daughter of a “partner”, the employer would see that.

        If there are no protections for LGBT in the state which you are employed, say Okalahoma or Texas, then the employer would be in his/her right to fire you upon returning from your 12 week leave. The employer, who has more than 50 employees can not refuse the leave to you–it’s a federal law which surpasses the states’ law–but upon returning, the employeer would be in his/her right to fire you.

        There are 18 states (correct me if I’m wrong) that provide protections to LGBT for employment, housing, etc. There are several cities (outside the 18 states) that also grant the same protections. So, for those LGBT that do use the FLMA and who work in those protected states/cities, then the employee would be protected from employer discrimination.

        On the surface, this extention of FLMA sounds really good, if the need arises. I’m just saying it’s not all that it’s cracked-up to be–there are repercusions if someone tries to use it without knowing first if they are protected from employer discrimination.

        Reply
    • 52. Kathleen  |  June 22, 2010 at 10:17 am

      FMLA applies to more than just federal employees. From the US Department of Labor website:
      FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees.

      So bb’s comment is on point. You may be eligible for the benefit, but if you don’t have state or local protection against discrimination, trying to take the benefit could cost you your job.

      Reply
  • 53. Santa Barbara Mom  |  June 22, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Check out the shirt my son has just created !
    http://www.zazzle.com/do_ask_tshirt-235366264524608132

    Reply
    • 54. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  June 22, 2010 at 1:26 pm

      I love the shirt, Santa Barbara Mom, and I will be showing it to BZ after both of us get done with everything today and are back home. I think this would be a great shirt for everyone to wear on the Equality Rides.

      Reply
  • 55. Joel  |  June 22, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    I just read this in the Kansas City Star on-line:

    “Obama’s Labor Department on Tuesday announced it has broadened the definition of “son and daughter” so employers would be required to offer workers in same-sex relationships the right to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for partners’ newborns or to adopt.

    Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/06/21/2033685/ap-sources-gay-workers-to-get.html#ixzz0rcxMxeJs

    This means that I only get access to FMLA if my husband and I have a child? Sorry, President Obama, but it does my husband and me no good at all, if that’s the case. Mark has several different medical issues, and it would be nice if I knew that I could absent myself from work to care for him without fearing for my job. The company I work for already has non-discrimination rules in place, and Mark is insured through me.

    Reply
  • 56. James Sweet  |  June 23, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    While it is true that small incremental change is all that can realistically be expected (and that goes for all social and political change — watershed moments like the fall of the Berlin Wall are the exception, not the rule), I’m really not a fan of how the article implies that gay activists should be more patient, e.g. talking about the divide between them and “Washington insiders who understand…”

    Whenever a minority group tries to be vocal, the majority tries to tell them they are being too loud. Even some sympathetic members of the majority will do this — “Oh, I support racially integrated schools, of course, but don’t you realize the violence that it will cause if you try to forcibly impose it on people who are against it?”

    That the demands of activists are unlikely to be met should not be an argument for them to reduce their demands. That’s just silly.

    Reply
    • 57. fiona64  |  June 23, 2010 at 1:49 pm

      Every time someone brings this up, I share Martin Luther King, Jr’s, “Letter from Birmingham Jail”:

      http://abacus.bates.edu/admin/offices/dos/mlk/letter.html

      Quote (emphasis added):

      One of the basic points in your statement is that the action that I and my associates have taken .in Birmingham is untimely. Some have asked: “Why didn’t you give the new city administration time to act?” The only answer that I can give to this query is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one, before it will act. We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Albert Boutwell as mayor. will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is a much more gentle person than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to maintenance of the status quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

      We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

      Love,
      Fiona

      Reply

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