Thursday, November 19, 2009

BAR: Gay Inc Needs
A New Marriage Strategy

Leland Traiman, head of the Gay Sperm Bank and a longtime gay advocate in the East Bay, has an a terrific column in today's Bay Area Reporter, summing up a desperate plea to Gay Marriage Inc leaders coming from many gay people: Give us a new strategy.

It's a story older than Adam and Steve in the Garden of Eden, the gulf between our self-anointed professional leaders and the large segment of average LGBT people, just struggling to get by and who want more tangible accomplishments from our orgs. Even when faced with setback after setback with a closeted strategy, and real push for change from the grassroots, our paternalistic leaders won't evolve in their stewardship of our orgs and the gay agenda.

But I remain optimistic fundamental evolution at the top echeleons of Gay Inc will one day get a Plan B, and I know it will be because of people like Leland and his public demand for new thinking. Be sure and check out Leland's blog, NationalMarriageEquality.

Here are excerpts from his BAR column:

Same-sex marriage has never won an election. Maine was our 33rd loss. On the other hand, domestic partnership has never, on its own, lost an election. [...]

The question I have for our community's leaders (you know to whom I refer, the alphabet soup of NCLR, HRC, NGLTF, GLAD, EQCA, Lambda, etc.): "Are we so used to losing that we now want to add domestic partnerships and civil unions to the list, or, are we going to wake up and realize we need a new strategy?"

The clarion call of "marriage, marriage, only marriage" has not worked and seems unlikely to in the near future. We need a new strategy (possibly, our old one) which, will, first, defend the rights we already have won and, second, create a strategy that expands our rights. A new strategy might also spare us from our new annual ritual of having a gut-wrenching cry when we have lost another election. [...]

Our losses will not stop if we keep repeating our failures without changing our strategy. Sadly, I see many in our community clinging to the marriage-only strategy with the same irrational religious zeal of a born-again Christian. I understand such zeal for our goal, which is equality. But I do not understand why so many in our community are wedded to a strategy that has repeatedly failed us.

We need a new strategy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The one flaw here is in the description of the failed strategy as "marriage only". The real failure lies in strategy "don't upset people".

Marriage is the goal, and DP/Civil unions are only a interim, partial solution.

What has killed us at the polls, over and over again, is the strategy of de-gaying, de-humanizing, our struggle.

The homophobes dehumanize us in their attempt to closet and repress our lives, and then our leadership refuses to show our lives, talk about our loss and pain, demonstrate our humanity.

Frankly, our leaders send the message that they too are ashamed of homosexualness, that it is something to be hidden, kept out of sight, that can't be witnessed.

At least it keeps them paid year after year.

But, if you want people to see your side of things, you have to get them to feel your point of view as if it were their own.