Reexamining the direction of our community

March 15, 2011 at 5:00 am 57 comments

By Adam Bink

As I wrote on Sunday, I was at a convening of LGBT bloggers and activists on Saturday, sponsored by the Haas, Jr. Foundation. As always, it was a great opportunity to step back and reexamine where we are as a movement, what we focus on, what’s working, etc.

For the most part, this year’s focus centered on under-reported issues that don’t receive enough attention or funding: LGBT youth homelessness, family and coming out, LGBT immigrants.

It’s difficult to link to this so you can get the full picture, but over the course of the one-day conference, an interesting discussion emerged over Twitter between myself and my colleagues Bil Browning at The Bilerico Project, his partner Jerame Davis at Stonewall Democrats, and Michael Crawford at Freedom to Marry on current funding streams. While Michael argued that “People do decide what issues they donate to whether we like it or not. That’s how it is,” Bil and Jerame made the point that many national organizations and individual funders have ignored these important issues, choosing to fund and prioritize marriage instead, which was a mistake. “Expansion is good only so long as it isn’t at the expense of other important issues. That’s the key,” wrote Jerame.

I think there’s something there, although a few other points to make. The first is what I tweeted in the discussion: if you did a word/tag cloud of all the content of all the posts written in the last few years by both external bloggers and “legacy” organizations like HRC, you would find that marriage and marriage-related issues would be at or near the top, and LGBT youth homelessness and immigration way down the list. Those who blog and make the criticism bear responsibility as funders and national/state-based organizations do. This isn’t a criticism, since I have always believed people have a right to choose what they prioritize in their work, and part of it is the need to report “the news” if you’re a writer, but if you’re engaging readers about Prop 8 and DOMA cases and which soccer player or music artist just came out of the closet instead of discussing how over 1,000 LGBT kids end the night without a home but there’s only 200 beds on which to sleep in shelters, then there’s responsibility for driving discussion and interest, too. The same goes for commenters, in part. We all play a role in determining the hot issues on which to engage, fund, discuss, share, and so forth.

The second is that many organizations, including Courage Campaign, take their direction from their membership. You may recall I polled all of you here at P8TT in January and asked what you’d like to see covered. Overwhelmingly the response was Prop 8, which isn’t surprising. So, we write and organize a great deal around the Prop 8 trial. We regularly poll Courage Campaign membership as well to determine the direction of our resources and literally how I spend the time in my day as lead blogger here and Director of Online Programs. So, not surprisingly, I spend the majority of my working hours on organizing around the Prop 8 trial, in part because of that and in part because there is a lot going on right now. Member and reader opinion don’t drive 100% of our direction, but it plays a huge role, because we believe in people power and being accountable to activists who give us money and take action. If you want that to change, engage us. Engage us privately- our e-mail is always listed at the top right, and as your fellow readers and commenters will tell you, we do read and reply to what comes in- and engage your fellow community members publicly to get them to care more about a particular issue, be it national, state or local. That’s democracy and community engagement at its finest, really.

The last is that these conversations are very important. While I wrote a great deal on the intersections of immigration and LGBT people at OpenLeft, I stepped back and realized I’ve written very little on LGBT youth homelessness, for example. It’s an under-reported but heartbreaking issue, when you actually hear the stories of kids brutally attacked- literally, attacked- by their own parents, living on the street as sex workers, a huge percentage of which become HIV+, as well as addicted to crack, and then how they are attacked when they go to certain shelters like Covenant House, which in many areas- NYC in particular- is more dangerous than the streets because of anti-LGBT residents there. I learned a great deal about the issue and I’m glad for it. So we need to continually re-assess the direction and focus of our movement, and who is being ignored. And thanks to the Haas, Jr. Foundation for providing that space and colleagues for starting that conversation.

Entry filed under: Community/Meta.

NOM’s new MD: A second opinion Pushing back on DOMA

57 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dave in ME  |  March 15, 2011 at 5:07 am

    Doubleplusgood

    Reply
    • 2. Rhie  |  March 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm

      Doublemint Gum!

      :)

      Reply
  • 3. Sagesse  |  March 15, 2011 at 5:33 am

    This is the worst aspect of the equality fight. It’s everywhere… a myriad of laws, federal, state and local, all of which need to be dismantled, one at a time. I’m not at all trying to be discouraging, but there is a need to pick your battles and prioritize when and where to act, and where to give and spend money. The danger of spreading the community too thin is that less is accomplished.

    It is not wrong to focus on the big issues. Prop 8 is big. DADT repeal is big. DOMA repeal is big. Immigration equality, in my opinion, is big.

    The state legislative battles change hearts and minds. A win for marriage equality or DADT repeal helps move forward on other things.

    Reply
    • 4. grod  |  March 15, 2011 at 9:16 am

      @Sagesse
      The question that has been asked here over the last few days is how to diminish NOM’s perceived influence. In my view, there is wisdom in your words “there is a need to pick your battles and prioritize when and where to act, and where to give and spend money. The danger is spreading the community too thin”. As well, it’s easier to retain your donor and volunteer base than to build them, particularly when your mass media dubious claims of success go under-challenged.

      How well co-ordinated are the initiatives of the various LGBT advocacy organizations. Take RI, how effectively are all these resources being marshalled? Or are these organizations acting in silos? How can non state groups lend a hand without the locals being resentful?

      I agree that state legislative battles have the fruitful opportunity to influence if not change hearts and minds. Both NOM and Courage agree. In my view, personal vignettes and testimonials is a most effective way to communicate the ‘real’ impact, which NOM can’t claim. Their claims are distortions, fear-mongering.

      It goes without saying NOM donor base has deep pockets. By comparison the pockets of LGBT community are apparently shallow. Money talks. Just saying. G

      Reply
    • 5. adambink  |  March 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm

      The points about spreading thin and moving forward on other issues are good. Though some might say, if gay people can get married and serve in the military, it wouldn’t much help find a bed, a home and counseling for an HIV+, crack-addicted gay kid in NYC than if they couldn’t. Perhaps the counterargument to that is that achieving a victory on DADT repeal frees up resources to spend on non-profits helping those kids.

      Reply
      • 6. Richard A. Jernigan  |  March 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm

        At the same time, Adam, achieving marriage equality opens up more two-parent homes for those HIV+, crack-addicted LGBT kids! Yes, a kid like that would be a challenge for the parents, but I say it would still be worth it to have more two-parent households available to adopt them into!

        Reply
      • 7. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  March 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm

        And looking at the big picture…once society is forced to deal with us as equals, there may come a time when less kids are kicked to the curb.
        But I do agree that once repeal of DOMA and DADT are achieved we can turn focus and resources to other issues.

        Reply
      • 8. JonT  |  March 15, 2011 at 4:35 pm

        Perhaps the counterargument to that is that achieving a victory on DADT repeal frees up resources to spend on non-profits helping those kids.

        Yes, in addition, the more victories we win over time can only make it easier to win further as we become less and less “the other”.

        After all, the fewer parents there are out there who have a negative view of lgbt people, perhaps the fewer lgbt kids get kicked out of their homes.

        Reply
      • 9. Sagesse  |  March 15, 2011 at 5:20 pm

        Adam, the problem of homeless LGBT youth is very important. The solution is local, which is the hardest to mobilize and fund. The solution is also, it seems to me, private non-profit. The social service/foster care system is not particularly good with teenagers, who are a few years from aging out of the system. These kids need shelters.

        Anti-bullying efforts don’t help them, strengthening families won’t help them, It Gets Better won’t help them. What is needed is a free-standing support system.

        Sounds like a project people can join locally, especially in the parts of the country that are more hostile.

        Reply
  • 10. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  March 15, 2011 at 5:58 am

    When I today’s post I was thinking that, yes LGBT homeless youth are @ a crisis and we can always do more….but the thought also occurred to me that we here @ prop 8 are involved in MANY causes that aren’t necessarily covered here…but it doesn’t mean we are ignoring them or are not equally passionate about them. P8TT is where I come for news about Marriage,
    I visit other sites and have other associations that deal with homeless LGBT issues. For immigration issues and legal trends I primarily have other sources as well, though certainly there are some intersections. Example: DOMA, Prop8 are certainly related to international couples.

    Since today’s post is about homeless LGBT, in SLC I work with Katrina Oakesnon and Chloe Noble to help raise awareness and reach out to LGBT homeless. When I travel by car, I try to take a case or two of water to pass out to kids in the park as its been mentioned that a number 1 concern of homeless is where to get a drink as business often shun or are closed off to them.

    Here’s a story highlighting Katrina Oakason who lived 2 years on streets after being kicked out by her family for being queer:
    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/50443801-76/lgbt-parents-conference-family.html.csp

    …and my dear friend Chloe Noble, a champion for LGBT homeless kids. She lives and works primary with SLC youth and coordinates effort with Mormon church how to best help LGBT youth and families. Here she is speaking in Washington D.C.

    Reply
    • 11. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  March 15, 2011 at 6:38 am

      attn Michelle: following Chloe in this video is Transgender youth KIT YAM, self-named as a “Transgender SLAM poet”…and then Marsha Botzer : )

      Reply
      • 12. Michelle Evans  |  March 15, 2011 at 11:30 am

        Gregory, thanks for the post. Too bad Kit didn’t read a bit of his poetry. Marsha definitely shows she is passionate about her cause.

        Reply
  • 13. Richard A. Jernigan  |  March 15, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Yes, marriage equality is important, and so is making sure that DADT repeal is implemented. There are many issues that are important, but we really do need to increase the amount of coverage we give to the epidemic of bullicide and LGBT teens being thrown out of their homes, being attacked by their own families, and having no place else to go. We have got to bring this to the forefront and we have got to be stronger and more vigilant about holding the bullies of all ages responsible. And I am including in this those adults who encourage, ignore, brush off, enable, and otherwise empower the bullies. And yes, Brian, Louis, and Maggie, this includes you and all the rest of the NOMbies, as well as your partners in crime at FRC, Focus on the Family, the AFA, Exodus, NARTH, and all the other bigoted groups who are doing everything you can to bring Ugandan- style laws to this country that would result in our executions merely for being born gay. You people are the scum of the earth as far as I am concerned, and you need to be reined in!

    Reply
  • 14. Juli  |  March 15, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I understand there are many issues LGBT people face and that need our time, money, and efforts. Marriage, I feel, is a defining issue. As gays and lesbians (and bi people in same sex relationships) our core difference from straight people is the fact that we have intimate relationships with members of the same sex. This defines us to others even if we are single! If our relationships are legitimized under the law, I think this does more to make us equal than anything else. I think it will be the strongest argument to diminish other forms of discrimination.

    Reply
    • 15. Brandy  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:42 am

      I completely agree with what you said “If our relationships are legitimized under the law, I think this does more to make us equal than anything else. I think it will be the strongest argument to diminish other forms of discrimination.”

      I think that individuals should focus their attention where their heart lies (some areas will hit closer to home than other areas, depending on our particular situation). As for the activist community at large, I think that we should focus our attention on one or two issues at a time. In this way we won’t spread out ourselves out too thin, like Sagesee said.

      At this time, marriage equality and DADT are the current issues that have come to the forefront. We should focus on these (in my opinion) until all Americans, no matter what state they live in, can marry the person that they love. Hopefully over time discrimination against LGBT people will lessen. Then, we can focus our attention on another issue/issues that have come to the forefront.

      Reply
  • 16. Peterplumber  |  March 15, 2011 at 8:57 am

    New documents in the Prop 8 case for the Supreme Court of California. I am sure Kathleen will be around soon to post this, but several attornies have been approved as pro hac vice . Here is one…

    The application of James A. Campbell for admission pro hac vice to appear on
    behalf of Dennis Hollingworth, Gail J. Knight, Martin F. Guitierrez, Mark A. Jansson and
    ProtectMarriage.com is hereby granted. (See Cal. Rules of Court, rule 9.40

    For a definition of what that means, please read this:
    http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/rules/index.cfm?title=nine&linkid=rule9_40

    Reply
  • 18. AnonyGrl  |  March 15, 2011 at 8:58 am

    I wrote a long answer earlier, but deleted it before posting, because others here have said what I feel and I was unecessarily harsh and I didn’t mean to be.

    This post is a good one, because it reminds us that we should not lose track of these issues which are getting less press.

    Yes, all these issues are important. But so is global climate change, and civilian casualties in Iraq, and nuclear meltdown in Japan, and genocide in Darfur and illiteracy, and so MANY other things.

    But we can’t try to solve them all here, because that would water down our focus to a degree that would make it impossible to accomplish anything.

    LGBT bullying and homelessness are HUGE issues, and we do, to a degree, address them here. But the purpose of this place IS marriage equality, and DOMA, and DADT as it relates to marriage, and immigration issues that are related to marriage equality and the court cases and legislative issues that all of these things are affected by. Let’s be careful not to lose that focus, please. Otherwise we are not Prop 8 Trial Tracker (strong and clear), we are LGBT Issues In General (weaker and unfocused), and I think it is important that we stay committed to our original cause.

    Reply
    • 19. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  March 15, 2011 at 9:20 am

      Well Said. AGREE! Let’s be careful not to lose that focus, please.

      Reply
    • 20. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  March 15, 2011 at 9:51 am

      Could not agree more!!!

      Reply
    • 21. Rob in CA  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:54 am

      Not to mention that achieving marriage equality on state levels if not nationally will go a very long way toward reducing the stigma and discrimination which is largely resonsible for so much of the dispair in the gay community, especially of the youth as we’ve seen in some of the recent posts here. So, I urge the team here at P8TT and the many contributers to remain focused on marriage equality at both the state and national levels while not losing sight of the fact that other problems do exist. Our success here will spill over to success in other arenas as well.

      Reply
      • 22. JonT  |  March 15, 2011 at 4:40 pm

        +1

        Reply
  • 23. Kathleen  |  March 15, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Reply
  • 24. Bob  |  March 15, 2011 at 9:22 am

    I have asked this question a number of times,, without an answer so I’ll try againg here,,,,,

    Does Courage Campaign endorse the American Equality Bill,,,,

    and or other focus on Civil Rights,,, as a national goal,,, ie. the project of connecting Rainbows,,,

    please tell me why there is silence around this approach,,, even in terms of non support for the walk across America with the Rainbow Flag to focus attention on the American Equality Bill

    this is an open discussion board,,, very capable in past of handling dissenting ideas,,, with feedback,,,,

    Is there a national approach that is being considered, in any way,,,,,,

    just wondering,,,, the present aim at marriage equality is definelty the focus of this site,,, and it will continue to be,,, but when your’re asking about which battles we can work on along side that,,,, is it possible to join others in a central focus on one end goal……

    Reply
    • 25. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  March 15, 2011 at 9:50 am

      I personally don’t believe the AEB can get anywhere just yet……a few more roads need to be paved first.
      And that is what this and other sites like this one are trying to do.
      Just my opinion mind you :-)

      Reply
      • 26. Bob  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:09 am

        thanks Mark,,,, wonder if others feel the same,,,, (having no personal belief that the AEB can get anywhere just yet)

        The one then it has the potential for is raising awareness, across the board,,,, I mean when people consider what that AEB thing is ,,,,, they make connections to civil rights , equality,, and how that is non existant for some Americans,,,,

        It raises the issue in a different way,, and more encompassing way,,,,,

        do others agree that this is not the time to raise the issue of merican Equality,,,,, in that broad a way,,,,

        I think of the potential of following the walk across America,, on the ground from one small community to another,,, seeing how the Rainbow Flag is recieved,,, and each community can have their LGBT organizations welcome, host ,, and tell their stories about what issues they are grappling with,,,,locally,,, while raising awareness nationally,,,,,

        At team like CC, could track that journey,,, much like the NOM bus tour,,,, and interview local people across America,,,

        Reply
        • 27. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:30 am

          what’s an AEB? (I’ll research…but not familiar with)
          @ wonder if others feel the same,,,, (having no personal belief that the AEB can get anywhere just yet)

          Reply
    • 29. AnonyGrl  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:12 am

      On doing a quick scan, it seems like a very good idea.

      And while it is related, it seems like a whole different fight. It would not address the issue of marriage equality at all, it seems. Not that this makes AEB useless, certainly, but it is, as I say, a different fight.

      Reply
      • 30. Bob  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:36 am

        thanks AnnnyGrl,,,, I wonder if you could explaing for me why you see this as a different fight,,,,,, and one that wouldn’t affect marriage equality at all,,,, it seems that achieving equal civil rights,,, would enhance abilites for achieving marriage equality,,,,,,

        as some people have said before,,, being married still does not bring full equality,,,,, the long range goal is full equlity in all areas,,, including marrieage,,,,

        if CC was to put some energy into other things,,, or change focus, as they asked,,,,, I’m just sayin this could be interesting one,,,, eye on the prize,,, the local communites State by state will still be fighting,,,, on local levels,,,

        when is the rights time to ask for full inclusion and protection under the civil righs act,,,,, and how can working on that,, not have an impact on marriage equality??

        How long would it take ,, if a person was able and did complete a walk across America,,,,, we could follow it as a time line,,,, how long would he walk befoe DOMA was repealed,,,, what state would he get to, before the court rules on prop8,,,,,

        sometimes symbolism may add a dynamic to open awareness to an issue,, that logistics fails to… and, also this would place more focus on democracy, legislation,, and the pursuit of civil rights ,, as opposed to fighting the church……

        Reply
        • 31. AnonyGrl  |  March 15, 2011 at 11:43 am

          Legislatively, it appears to me that this bill addresses employment issues, housing issues, public accomodation and public facilities, access to credit, and discrimination in federally funded programs and against people with disabilities. It does not deal with marriage at all.

          As I said, it is a good thing, yes. It is important, yes. It is not, however, about marriage, in the sense of its legal scope. That is all I meant.

          The long range goals of CC may well be different than the “short range” goals of P8TT. I don’t say that CC should not throw some of its focus to other issues, but I will advocate for P8TT not being the forum to do it in. Here we need, I think, to stay on target so that we don’t lose track of that goal.

          That being said, the day that we have marriage equality in this country, I am ALL for this community here choosing a new focus.

          Reply
          • 32. Bob  |  March 15, 2011 at 11:59 am

            Thanks Annonygrl,, and Greg,,,,, and also Maggie down below,,,,, keep up the focus,,,,,, and thanks,, for giving my suggestion some feedback,,,,, It’s a very healthy feeling to be able to be out there on a limb with suggestions,,,,, and have them considered,,,,,,

        • 33. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  March 15, 2011 at 11:53 am

          I think maybe it works the other way around Bob….if we fight for, an achieve marriage equality we than open up doors for FULL equality. Not sure I see how asking for full equality while various laws and restrictions block the way would work.
          As I stated before I see the need for a few more things to happen first, and the main one being marriage equality.

          Reply
      • 34. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  March 15, 2011 at 11:27 am

        My 2 cents, agree with Annoy:
        It is CERTAINLY a related issue….like marriage…if allowed for all would solve many problems in my life. If denying SS marriage could become a CIVIL right …all the lawsuits would magically go away.

        Having watched the legal/political/moral/immoral shenanigans that go on trying to remove Prop8, I imagine there is a whole separate legal process to get included in 1964 civil rights act not withstanding it may not even be possible. Also, the AEB is not the path the prop8 attorneys are following, which could indicate not the path with best possible success.

        Reply
  • 35. Alan E.  |  March 15, 2011 at 9:39 am

    The place I work for also works with the Haas, Jr. fund and family. They do a lot of great things for the Bay Area (not sure about beyond).

    Reply
    • 36. adambink  |  March 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm

      They do.

      Reply
  • 37. Ed  |  March 15, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Credit goes to Ronnie for posting this on FB

    Awesome!!

    Reply
    • 38. 415kathleenk  |  March 15, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      i am very proud of these young people

      Reply
    • 39. Ronnie  |  March 16, 2011 at 9:20 am

      I heart shout outs… ; ) ….I meant to post this but I got bogged down with other things I needed to take care of…thanks for sharing Ed….No justice, No peace!!!!…put on the pressure….<3…Ronnie

      Reply
  • 40. Maggie4NoH8  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I look at this topic in this manner…

    My real job is to manage and analyze and disseminate a vast amount of data for a service related organization (that includes utilization, cost and the financial performance of those services). As a result, I am involved in many aspects of quality, operations and strategic planning as I sit on many committees, meetings, etc… A veritable “know-‘something’-about-it-all” and the key to success, is knowing how intertwined everything is, and being able to speak to that.

    This site is like a committee, and everyone participating here only participates with a FRACTION of their interests, and areas of expertise! I can’t mention how many times I’ve seen someone pipe up with how we (on this site) are intertwined with a myriad of other issues – that is EXACTLY how I believe things get done (particularly on a volunteer basis).

    In other words, we as a group, represent thousands of areas and backgrounds and each of us brings individual foci that, when germane, is brought to the table in this forum. So, while our community here concentrates on marriage equality with roots in California, our community brings in AND distributes throughout the spectrum of LGBT issues.

    Personally speaking, I would hate to see this site try to become all things. This is “the” gathering site for marriage equality and I believe this site would lose effectiveness if that focus was lost. The nature of everyone here organically ensures intertwined issues are addressed as need be…

    Just my 2 cents….

    Reply
    • 41. gaydadtobe  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:50 am

      Maggie,

      Your post actually gives me more hope on a personal level. I’ve always been a “jack-of-all-trades, master of none” kind of guy, and it’s bothered me trying to figure out how to apply it. This post shows me that there is a beneficial way to focus an expanded skill set professionally.

      Reply
    • 42. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  March 15, 2011 at 11:02 am

      !!!!!!!

      Reply
  • 43. Isa  |  March 15, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I think that there is some validity to focusing on marriage, repeal of DOMA and DADT, etc at this time. Fair and equal marriage laws would do a lot to ease immigration problems for couples (I don’t know enough about single individuals to make any comments, unfortunately). To my mind it makes sense to ‘put on your own air mask first’–get the mainstream GLBT community seeking marriage rights the security that we come this far towards achieving. And then put the full force of our political will and grassroots activism towards those less popular, equally important goals of ending transphobia, helping homeless queer youth, and generally setting about to see that all members of our community are taken care of.

    Reply
  • 44. New  |  March 15, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Marriage equality will create more stable homes wich may contribute to more homeless gay children to be legally adopted by SS parents as a consequance.
    IMO marriage equality is the big priority.

    Reply
  • 45. DaveP  |  March 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I agree with many of the posts on this subject. Of course, there are many issues that the LGBT community needs to put effort into, but it would be a mistake for places like this web site to try to tackle ALL of them. Focus is very important for entities such as P8TT. There is a long history of organizations faltering and failing when they lose focus.

    This doesn’t mean that nobody here cares about the other issues, not does it imply that we as individuals aren’t working on them. I do volunteer work on some of these issues but it is separate from what I do here and why I am here.

    Reply
  • 46. Kathleen  |  March 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    I was surprised there wasn’t a post yesterday on the Proponents’ filing of their opening brief in the Cali Supreme Court. I understand that P8TT has expended its focus, but I’m disappointed to see that we’re no longer getting news in the Prop 8 case to the extent we once did. I think that’s why many people come here – looking for the latest information – and it’s hard to find it buried in the comments.

    Reply
    • 47. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  March 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm

      !!

      Reply
    • 48. Peterplumber  |  March 15, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      Perhaps you expect too much from simple ordinary people.

      Reply
    • 49. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  March 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm

      Surpised me as well…..kept refreshing in hopes of a new post about P8 but one never came….and still hasn’t :-(

      Reply
    • 50. BostonianForEquality  |  March 15, 2011 at 8:08 pm

      Exactly. This website is primarily about Prop 8, and I think that focus needs to be refocused, and it should be at the forefront. Thanks for pointing this out. The writers spend soooo much time criticizing NOM on this site, like how they had a few websites or something for the same cause. It’s all so ancillary. Any news on Prop 8 is why I come to this site, rather than LGBT issues as a whole or opinions on them.

      Reply
      • 51. JonT  |  March 15, 2011 at 9:54 pm

        I agree with you for the most part.

        But NOM is the “premier” organization dedicated to preventing Marriage Equality, so I do not mind keeping an eye on them as well on this site.

        There is no doubt that they keep an eye on us. Know thy enemy.

        Reply
  • 52. the lone ranger  |  March 15, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Gay youth homelessness, gar-related immigration, and many of the other issues listed are ultimately symptoms, but the underlying condition is inequality. We can treat the symptoms, but the underlying disease doesn’t go away, and we eventually discover that all we’re doing is endlessly trying to keep up with mitigating the symptoms. I suppose marriage inequality and DADT-related issues are really just symptoms too, but they’re big, explicit, visible ones that really get close to the root of the disease. By treating these big visible ones, I think we’re speeding our overall recovery.

    As other posters have mentioned, there are a myriad of worthwhile causes (both GLBT-related and not), but unfortunately there never seem to be enough resources of time and money to do all of them justice. However, if we can identify a few of the deeper fundamental issues and focus on getting those on a positive path, then hopefully some of the ancillary issues that are symptomatic of the broader problem will improve as a consequence.

    Of course, as has also already been mentioned, everyone has their own priority list for what constitutes their most pressing issues, so I’m not worried that gay youth homelessness, gay-related immigration issues, or other perhaps less-focused-on symptoms of inequality will be forgotten or ignored in the short term.

    Reply
  • 53. Sagesse  |  March 15, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    The ABA is the legislative equivalent of SCOTUS declaring LGBT as suspect class. Both are the silver bullet, both are long shots at this point. Remember, politics is the art of the possible. Each positive step builds toward full equality.

    Reply
  • 54. BostonianForEquality  |  March 15, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    IMO, this is how I see the LGBT movement’s progress, similar to the Civil Rights Movement. I think marriage equality is paramount to all other causes, and that solving the problems of LGBT Youth and Discrimination as a whole will come as a result of illegalized governmental discrimination.

    Obviously, it would be best to have SCOTUS strike down all laws banning recognition of same-sex marriage (SSM), but that likelihood is not possible in the recent term. If we try to use cost-benefit analysis, less LGBT families would be affected if we provide some more strength into fighting DOMA.

    If the provisions in the Respect for Marriage Act are affirmed, judicially or legislatively in Congress (which I favour), then this will trickle down into legalizing SSM in the states.

    If Congress or SCOTUS illegalizes DOMA on the principle of State’s Rights, then we will begin to have public opinion shift more fervently in our favor. Removing DOMA helps protect SSMs in the states where they are legal. That is the cornerstone of marriage equality, defeating DOMA. That also defeats the need to pursue complicated LGBT immigration issues.

    I think in order to begin to frame this movement as a Civil Rights movement, we need to first try to pass legislation allowing MSMs to donate blood who haven’t had sex for a year with another man. That would remove the last vestige of discrimination against gays federally except DOMA.

    The younger people in this movement should really focus on gaining traction for SSM at their state level at the same time as DOMA. We need to prohibit constitutional amendments from passing in states like New Mexico, Indiana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Minnesota, Wyoming, and North Carolina, especially Iowa. Now, young people really have to focus on states like New York, Maine, New Jersey, Maryland, Rhode Island to legalize SSM there. Then, I feel as if referenda in states like California, Oregon, in states where majority support for SSM is very tangible and SSMs are banned by the Constitution can help speed up the rhetoric.

    I feel as if the reason why SSM isn’t getting as much recognition by the states as we think is because the youth are indifferent, rather than really active on the matter. If the youth at large were really active in supporting marriage equality, then politicians might change their minds. It’s all about activism.

    And I think what’s key when it comes to activism is a coordinated movement. Those on the opposite side have one, single, powerful body against SSM, NOM, and their state affiliates, on the issue of gay marriage specifically. We have so many, Courage Campaign, HRC, Empire Pride Agenda, Freedom4Marry, this, that, and the other, and I think because the movement developed amongst the youth in a time of isolating social media, disparate groups popped up. We have so many groups, we lose the cohesiveness of our struggle. Why can’t we just coalesce all our resources, and have a coordinated approach to all our issues on equality, framing it as a civil rights debate?

    If we combine all our resources and make our values INCREDIBLY CLEAR, and target the youth (ages 14-30), we can be more effective than ever. We need to dispel the myths and fears people have about gays and gay marriage, assuring that religious freedom is there, that gay marriage isn’t being taught in schools like the opposition says, that no free speech is inhibited, and that no freedoms of theirs are being trampled upon, just like the Civil Rights Movement. I think, that if we try to force ENDA or other things which prohibit discrimination in the private sector, it will backfire on us at this time, as those things are best left to the states at the moment. If we make this movement about Civil Rights and frame our arguments as clearly as we can, I think that we could be so much more effective. If we communicate this logic to benefactors with specialized interest in the LGBT movement, they would also fund this cause.

    In all, I think if we coordinated all our efforts, and paid most of our attention to marriage equality, and factoring in other causes as resources pile in for our efforts on the side, we can be most effective. I know I keep repeating this, but clarity and conciseness are KEY here. After we get marriage equality, we try to push for adoption, then non-discrimination, then etc.
    If all goes well, conservatively, 30+ states will have SSM in the next twenty years, and then probably SCOTUS will legalize SSM everywhere else in the U.S.

    Obviously, the movement has to play strategy and adjust for regional and circumstantial differences. But, if we have a long term goal and common movement in moving forward, we could really achieve our goals more expeditiously.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Reply
  • 55. paulo  |  March 16, 2011 at 7:01 am

    OK you lost me. I am here to discuss and keep track of marriage equality. I am not here to champion those PC folk over at Bilerico and their wierd social theories.

    Just like them to raise arguments with no meaning. I am all for doing what we can for gay kids and saving baby seals and harmony with the planet It is just like them though to slam those of us committed to marriage equality as “not paying enough attention to…..” and fill in the cause of your choice.

    I imagine one of them will read this comment and write a nasty blurb about transphobia. They rarely go a day without one of those gems.

    Reply
  • 56. Ronnie  |  March 16, 2011 at 7:32 am

    Good piece Adam….I know I posted this “We Give A Damn” PSA already but it goes with the topic……<3…Ronnie:

    Reply
  • 57. Diana Marie Davis  |  March 17, 2011 at 12:50 am

    I wrote a longer post about education, but at a page and a half, I think I should shorten it. I don’t see a goal of education of the masses as outside of the goal of CC and P8TT. I see it as a component of it, one that can educate those willing to listen as well as weigh the facts including the growing mass of data being gathered by scientists about our biology etc. My point is that if we can show the willing that science already backs us and shows similarities in the animal kingdom, we can both refute the lies of NOM and their allies and highlight their ludicrous arguments and the massive amount of cherry picking that they do to support those arguments. I think if we can somehow utilize P8TT or the other resources available to CC and our allies, we can bring to the public the reality of our lives that we already know.

    I hope that we can amass all the knowledge in one place and then bring it to others – along with stories of our own lives – and bring them to those who don’t want to be ignorant any longer. In short, I propose that we preach to their choir in order to bring equality to ours. We won’t convert the whole choir, but if we get one from every choir, it will be a good start.

    I also see this as a long term goal of CC and P8TT, as I don’t see our opponents giving up *when* the Supreme Court or our legislators reverse the inequalities of the past. For example, the fight for Roe is not over yet as attempts to overturn it or make it moot continue today. I do see us as an aggregate Galileo. In 400 years, the world of the LGBT will no longer be flat, and people will wonder why their ancestors thought it was. Inequality of the LGBT will be part of their equivalent of our Dark Ages as the facts of our humanness will be known and won’t need to be taught even in grade school.

    Even five year olds won’t need to be taught because a few of their friends will be gay, lesbian, transgender, queer, intersexed, etc. And the words that divide us will be gone too. We’ll just be another person and our friends won’t even have to say to their other friends something like “Oh, she likes girls.” Using today’s definitions, when a lesbian tells a straight that she has a crush on her, the answer will simply be, “I’m sorry, I don’t feel the same.” Orientation and gender identity etc won’t be mentioned because it will be simply a part of life. It will be as unimportant as blue or brown eyes, blond or black hair, black or white skin, male or female, (fill in the blank) should be today.

    Reply

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