None of us like to have our comfort zones disturbed, nor do we like to speak truth to power that can easily alienate us from those whom we have considered "friends." Many people seem to be afraid to become truly active in insisting on being treated as any other citizen, including the right to marry. This phenomenon is seen in both secular society and in most churches as well.
Most people want to be liked, and that is the Achilles Heel that prevents so many LGBT people and allies from actively confronting the subtle and not so subtle discrimination that Gay people face each and every day, in virtually every institution in society. Moreover, the desire to be liked, to "get along," is seen in the settling for incrementalism in the seeming quest for civil rights, even to the point where those who were hitherto considered part of the community can and will be thrown under the bus for the sake of political expediency and/or selfishness, as was most recently seen in the House's passage of the non-inclusive ENDA.
Tragically, what makes this betrayal of our Transgender brothers and sisters even more pathetic and alarming is the fact that ENDA is sure to be vetoed, and I wonder to what further egregious lengths some would go in selling out others if the passage of ENDA was considered to be a viable outcome.
I've noticed that even when the issue of meaningful activism has been broached, that issue is usually met with silence, or is sidestepped, or is trivialized by comments that usually devolve into castigating homophobes and very little else. It seems to me that the LGBT rights movement has devolved as a movement from the meaningful activism in the 1950's, 60's, 70's and 80's that had a tremendous impact in gaining some civil rights, to an amorphous, anemic, self-indulgent "movement" that seems to feel that by marching in Pride parades and referring to other LGBT people in the "community" by derogatory, defamatory names is somehow equivalent to "activism," or "progressive politics."
I've previously discussed (See, for example, "Why The Lack of Expressed Outrage?") some of what I feel are the psychological and social dynamics behind this evasion of meaningful, coordinated activism, and even its discussion, but there is no substitute for such discussion and activism if the cause of LGBT civil rights is to be moved forward in the foreseeable future. (In this connection, please see Don Charles' five part post, "Some of Them Want to Be Abused.")
And relying on political apathy; political expediency; betrayal; bureaucracy's "business as usual," as seen with the non-inclusive ENDA; venting as being seen as a replacement for meaningful activism, is certain to only garner further disrespect, and even contempt, from those who already have the civil rights that must also be won for LGBT people.
As I wrote in last Saturday's, November 10th, post, POGO: "WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS US" :
"As long as all too many Gay people, assorted politicians, and assorted Gay Rights organizations can be seen to be willing to settle for incrementalism, such as Domestic Partnerships, Civil Unions, and a non-inclusive ENDA, it is to that degree that the bullies will become emboldened to up the ante and fight that much more ferociously to preserve their stake in the status quo that promises to further retard the acquisition of full and equal civil rights!
"If we don't stand up to the bullies and demand full and equal civil rights for everyone, the bullies not only win, but LGBT people will lose, and lose by their own willingness to settle for what crumbs are offered them to keep them quiet and keep them in their place!
"Self-respect demands that all LGBT people and people of good will never settle for the crumbs of incrementalism; never settle for being viewed and treated as second-class citizens; never sell out the principles of fairness and "equal justice for all"; never sell out our Transgender brothers and sisters or anyone else, as by such actions full and equal civil rights and respect will never be obtained, and further contempt will be heaped upon LGBT people.
"And no one with an ounce of self-respect can stand for such treatment!"
And self-respect demands that one not be content with venting one's rage from the safe vantage point of an anonymous comment on a blog, or by referring to oneself or others in his/her community by derogatory names, but by not supporting politicians who are not fully in favor of equal rights for Gay people; by not settling for, or being content with, incrementalism in the form of such constructions as Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions; by not settling for being treated with anything but the utmost respect and dignity befitting a person of worth.
And it is only by grassroots activism, such as boycotting and picketing homophobic churches; speaking out against politicians and organizations who in any way seek to limit access to civil rights; writing letters to the editor of one's local newspaper; speaking out about the need to treat all people with dignity, and the commensurate demand for full equality, to one's neighbors and coworkers; working with others to coordinate such activities, that the realization of full and equal civil and sacramental rights will become a reality in the foreseeable future!