President Obama may be speaking at the HRC gala in Washington DC this Saturday, October 10th, the night before the National Equality March, but it won’t be without protestors outside. Gay Liberation Network along with Queer Liberaction (Dallas) has announced a jointly organized picket of the event to take place at 6pm.
The Gay Liberation Network has issued a statement on their website, criticizing the organizers of the National March, saying "Their current focus on cajoling Congress and the President to do the right thing ignores a very basic fact – this approach has never won civil rights gains." They added something which I’ve been in support of, and promoting, for some time now, which is that we need more aggressive actions and less "respectful pandering". They added, "By contrast, uncompromising street protests led by ACT-UP and others gave us the Ryan White AIDS Care and the Americans With Disabilities Acts – despite a very reactionary political climate during the first Bush administration. An era of such protests – the 1960s – caused the radical change in consciousness among LGBT people which thereby gave birth to our modern LGBT movement."
Although the majority of our movement has morphed into a politically correct and far too controlled mindset, all evidence leads to a conclusion that this is not the way to go. I’ve been especially amazed at this continued path, given the unbelievable defeats we’ve recently endured, when logic, reason and the constitution of the country were completely on our side. For some reason, these blatant acts of anti-American discrimination and restrictions placed on us by even the very court systems which should be overturning our inequality, has not resonated with the majority of our movement. Instead, those who voice any opposition to the continued strategy of the recent past, which has failed, are denounced.
I have to say, reading about this protest and more importantly, the statements on the websites which urge a return to demands, rather than requests, are refreshing, even hopeful. I’ve been surprised that since the courts upheld Prop 8, and conservative and religious groups have now gone after all states which have approved same sex marriage, that not one radical action has taken place from our side. Don’t be influenced by the majority groups who categorize any suggestion of a radical act as a regular strategy which "sets us back" or "derails the movement". All civil rights movements have used occasional radical acts in order to move the battle forward.
Also don’t be influenced by the majority who characterize "radical" as "violent". It’s upsetting to see groups so quick to applaud their own efforts then use the political tactic of re-defining a word or words in order to deflect an opposing idea. Radical acts are unexpected, aggressive and often result in arrests. Radical acts are acts which refuse to, for that day, follow the rules. No one is suggesting setting anything on fire. Radical acts are singular, and used to punctuate the dialogue. No one is suggesting that we throw gas on the fire day after day after day. But without an occasional heating up of the issue, we may be doomed to forever be second class citizens.