Monday, November 24, 2008

The Upside of 8

Prop 8 (and the other antigay initiatives that passed in the election) were horrible, of course, but there are some good things that have come out of all the hullabaloo.

Wedding Rings

The first thing is that we actually had hullabaloo. We've had protests, locally and nationally. This surge of antigay legislation seems to have catalyzed some previously torpid activism.

We had several protests here in North Carolina, including ones in Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh, and Wilmington. The current LGBT movement hasn't been nearly as energized as it was earlier in the heyday of gay days (think Stonewall and ACT UP), and maybe, hopefully, we seeing a new generation of activism begin.

Now that the protesting has passed, though, it's important that we keep the momentum going. A rally shouldn't be the end. Instead, it should be the beginning. You don't take to the streets and then settle back down in your living room – you take that indignation and anger and energy and transform them into action. You activate. You bring it forward into ongoing action and lobbying and education.

The public response and outcry has brought a lot of attention to the inequities the LGBT community faces, as well as the discrimination. It easier to ignore unfairness when it's not being talked about by every major media outlook. The more marriage is talked about, the more obvious the disparities in rights become.

In addition to creating some positive conversations for the gay community, the publicity has also brought some negative attention to some of our opposition groups. When a church uses its money to fight gay marriage instead of feeding the hungry and clothing the poor, people begin to question how charitable and non-political it is. Casting a ballot takes on the appearance of casting a stone.

And finally, there were some great (tongue-in-cheek) protest slogans by gay protesters:

  • “Do you really want me to marry your daughter?”
  • “More gay marriage means less gay sex. Isn't that what you want?”
  • “My gay friends deserve to be unhappy too!”

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