Friday, October 30, 2009

Fight The Good Fight With.....Talk?

The fight is full on people and we are in count down mode in three states over ballot initiatives that range from marriage equality to fair housing in Kalamazoo Michigan. Everyone is putting out the call to do what you can to contribute to these campaigns. I would like to add that what happens in these campaigns will likely effect California's rebid for gay marriage in 2010, hopefully before they modify our constitution....but that's another topic altogether.

Of all the things that we can do, the most effect thing is just simple conversation. You would think, that in this day and age, EVERYONE would know about the struggle for marriage equality...but sadly this is not true. Many people have no one to talk to about it so that leaves them at the mercy of their church or to conflicting t.v. ads.

There was a great post In Queerty yesterday about a young mans experience campaigning for marriage equality in Maine. In it, a particular incident caught my eye:

Daniel, a member of our canvassing troupe, knocked on the door of a woman who said she was going to vote "Yes." When Daniel asked why, she said, “Well, because I’m a Christian.” Daniel responded that he was too, and that he thought religion had nothing to do marriage.

After a brief conversation, the woman said she was so glad Daniel had come by, because her friends had influenced most of her opinions. She hadn’t really had the chance to talk about the issues with anyone else, she said. Daniel's two minutes with her might have just scored another "No" vote.

seriously...that was all it took. And in this campaign particularly, when both sides are poling so evenly tied, that one person could mean the difference between victory and defeat.

Alot of traditional forms of getting our message heard meet internal resistance by many of us. Going door to door is scary for alot of people and phone banking conjures up images of telemarketers. Standing on a corner and waving a sign means putting your self on the line in a REALLY personal way and is just too unsafe for some. BUT all these things are necessary and needed. If we don't do these one does it for us.

All of these actions carry out this most basic need to talk to the people who will be voting on our rights, many of whom have no one in their life who can give them a a different perspective than what they see on t.v. They need to know us beyond "Will and Grace'...beyond "Glee" or "Madmen"... or the "700 club". Don't let someone else tell our story...we need to tell it.

I HATE putting myself out there I fully sympathise with those who let out a big sigh with considering it. However, the main point I make here isn't that we all need to get over our fear and march to the nearest street corner....just TALK to people. You may be their only window into our lives. Whether its coming out to family and friends or just broaching the conversation in the break room at lunch for general discussion. Not every conversation need take place as a part of a political function. We need to take away the fear that we are a shadowy cabal bent on destroying the country...we need to show that we are regular people with lives just like theirs . This often happens more effectively through an informal, intimate conversation between two human beings than it does because of a march.

This is crunch time for Mainers, Washingtonians, and Michiganites...but also for the rest of too. What happens in these states will reverberate out to similar struggles to come in states like mine. Soon we will have to be out on those street corners again hoping that the citizens of California will have learned a lesson from Prop 8. There will be signs, marches, rallies, and phone banks galore. The sense of deja vu will be staggering but we can't get tired and we can't give up. Not only for ourselves but for, a those who will come after us and for countless other families also in need of the protections marriage offers.

Please...keep talking


  1. I do think it is sad that the lady needed to speak to someone gay to see that gay people are people.

    I suppose it speaks volumes about how effective the demonising is.

    I was going to write a whole thing about people should be ashamed for buying into such blatant bull crap but I just got home after a 6 hour drive, I seem to have the flu, Jake worked a 120 hour week, we just fell out because we are both tired and I don't have the energy.

    In fact to make myself feel better I am going to say FUCK YOU you stupid morons who believe the absolute cat shit vomited by the people in all these anti gay marriage adds. You need to get educated you sub normal, bronze age twat factories.

  2. Bryan feel free to delete that last post

  3. I couldn't have put it better myself Bryan. The idea of knocking on people's doors/ calling them up absolutely terrifies me, but I can see why it's the only thing that really registers. My biggest problem would be that I'm generally unable to stay calm and rational during this type of conversation - I get so frustrated when people can't see the obvious.

    I always wish there was more that I could do from this side of the pond, as the legislative battles in the UK are almost all won at this point. But this post has certainly prompted me to reach out to friends who just don't know better if and when marriage equality battles reach more of the midwest.

  4. @always-been

    I just said you had to talk...not actually convince anyone. Often these conversations can/do end up heated because its personal to us and the person we are talking to just cant see that. I went through that with my dad last year during prop 8. We dont have to actually win and argument but we do have to stand up and be counted. That alone plants a seed in those who hear us...even if they arent active participants in the conversation.


    Heya orange..I'm sorry you two are so worn out. I sympathize and hope you feel better soon.


  5. I love dialogue. And the recognition that complete conversion, and immediate conversion, isn't necessary. In fact, it is probably not all that desirable - many Christians who come from non-Christian backgrounds will admit that it is because they seriously wrestled with the idea of God (and Christ) that they have maintained any degree of faith. I hate the idea of planting a seed, because it sounds so much like Christian-talk, but it is the essence of what must be done in order to change hearts.

    And, as Bryan has said many times in this blog, the importance of understanding the difficulty of switching one's paradigm regarding marriage must be considered by those promoting marriage equality. It is impossible for many homosexuals (and heterosexuals) to understand how anybody could struggle with marriage equality. It is impossible for many to understand how anybody could support it. We need to recognize these barriers, and slowly dispose of them.

    Getting angry makes sense. I've managed to do it several times today with just a couple friends who kept on telling me to go find a girlfriend. This is personal business - intensely personal politics. But anger doesn't win you support when many don't think you should be angry.

    That being said, I don't know if I will ever be a flag waver, or a door knocker. I wish I had the confidence, but that terrifies me. I would much rather be the face my friends think about when they hear of the double standards experienced by homosexuals around the world.

  6. @canadianhumility

    The way that many don't see why you should be angry is what actually makes me angry. The sheer blinkered nature of it.

    But you are right, ranting and raving doesn't change anyone minds, it just entrenches already held positions. It is just hard when discussing just basic human rights and truths. How do you convince a Saudi Arabian that women are not property and should be treated equally without blowing your top?

    I just reread my rant above from last night and am quite proud of it. I think it shows how average gay people are. We all get overworked, fall out with our partners because we are ratty and then take it out on the internet. Nothing more normal than that.