Please join with the rest of the nation in engaging in peaceful protest on Nov. 15 to repeal prop 8 and support marriage equality for the queer community. You can find out where the march will be in your state by going here.
- Participating even if you feel you have been abandoned or targeted by the rhetoric of racism in the post-prop 8 aftermath – as you may know, there were several “n” word incidents at some of the rallies this past week as well as racialized if not racist comments on a few outspoken black lesbian blogs; some people who were the direct targets of this hate, who have friends who were targetted, or who are concerned about the general willingness to blame and generalize about the black community and its relationship to sexuality have said they will no longer participate in prop 8 protests and some have sworn off queer organizing all together. This is the divide and conquer tactic that mainstream conservative news media wanted when they decided to focus on race rather than the many other more salient factors in the passing of prop 8. And while it often, unfairly, falls to us to be strong in the face of bigotry on all sides, we have to do it in order to ensure equal rights. Our presence also ensures that arguments about our supposed inherent homophobia do not get bolstered by our visible absence and another round of recriminations in which we have to point out that organizing was inhospitable and shoved us out not that we had an “eww” moment and staid home. And finally, our presence stands against those people of color, who like their white counter parts, are homophobic and need to be told love between consenting adults is never evil or wrong or a threat to the love they have.
- If you witness homophobia, racism, or any other kind of oppression hold people accountable – the only way to ensure that we are ultimately stronger at the end of all of this is to heal the wounds torn open by CNN and Savage (who despite now blaming it on the elderly, who were apparently a significant factor, has yet to apologize for blaming it on black people and sparking the drama) as well as those torn open by multiple losses of gay rights (from adoption, to marriage, to basic affirmative action rights).
- If it is appropriate, use these gatherings to expand the platform and thinking about what gay rights mean. Not everyone wants to get married and not everyone will be protected by the right of marriage – it won’t extend health care to the unmarried, straight or gay, it won’t extend benefits of any kind beyond those who are married, it won’t confront the multiple arenas of homophobia that make schools less safe for GLBTQ youth, workplaces less safe for queer workers, or protect any of us, married or not, from hate crimes; it won’t change the racism, sexism, classism, regionalism, ablism, ageism, etc. within our groups or intersecting our queer oppression; it won’t protect immigrants crossing the border who are stopped and harassed for “crossing while queer,” etc. So if you can, use these rallies as an opportunity to reinsert the idea of marriage as one of many rights we are denied, as one face of needed equality, and make connections to all of the other needs that does not place marriage above them but in conversation with them.
- Avoid condescending outreach – nobody likes to be talked to or depicted like they are fools who need to be helped by the “over educated liberal 20 somethings” but especially not communities of color and rural counties. You will not win anyone by talking to them like they are children, backward, or just plain stupid, but you might lose a lot of people that way. So whether it is at the march, on your blog or in your column, or as part of an outreach effort of some other sort, check your stuff at the door and engage in decolonized social justice. Take a look at the Latin@ march this past week as an example, there were no “let me educate you backward brown people” slogans or chants, and in return they got thumbs up from residents and smiles and supportive waves from elders on busses traveling along the same route.
- Don’t let it end with a march. Let this be the continued or new galvanizing force in your activism and make a point of being a part of education, outreach, intervention, discussion, and celebration with communities that cross identities and goals.
And remember, vandalism and fake anthrax scares (someone sent white powder to two Mormon temples) do not help our cause. Not only do these behaviors get us nowhere, they also reinforce existing prejudice by making us appear lawless and “god less.” You may not care if that is how you are perceived on an individual level but on a larger societal one, that helps pass bills like prop 8.
Be safe and be strong. And I will see some of you there. To find the rally information in your area click here.
(all images came from the Latin@ rally againt the passing of prop 8 except the second image which comes from blk publishing)