Tuesday, January 1, 2008


In his excellent post on his blog, "Christ, The Gay Martyr," Stuffed Animal wrote a very trenchant, provocative two part essay that I strongly urge you to read entitled, "Shaming The Brotherhood." He also posted it on a Diary on the website, Pam's House Blend, and it was unfortunately not chosen to be posted as of yet on her actual blog.

However, his post generated some comments, most of which were either "off the wall" or which completely missed the point of his thesis. However, one commentator, Nancy P., did write a good comment and I responded to it.

I want to post my response to her here, as I think that the issue Stuffed Animal raises, and its relationship to the activism needed to acquire full and equal civil rights, is crucial in seeking to understand the seeming lack of desire for meaningful activism for the acquisition of those rights, and how that seeming contentment with the status quo, that lack of fire in the belly to acquire those rights, can be juxtaposed with the tenacious, willful, adherence to the use of pejorative self-identifiers on the part of many in the LGBT communities.

The following is my response to Nancy P.:

You write, "A lot of straight white folk don't participate [in the political process] either, and the reason is often that the consumer culture takes up their time and deadens their brains. If you look at the stats, self-identified LGBT have a higher voting rate than most other non-income-determined demographics. Voting is relatively easy. The activism, canvassing, letter writing, meeting with your representative, and so on, takes more time."

The difference is that "a lot of straight white folks" aren't part of a despised minority group that is denied full and equal civil rights. Also, close to about 25% of Gay people voted Republican in the last Presidential election, when part of the Republican platform was to have a Constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage.

Straight white people and LGBT people are not on a level playing field, and the "out-group" is the one that must be politically active to change the status quo, as the straight white people are frequently perceived beneficiaries of that status quo.

It does take time and energy to be politically active, but the motivation for grassroots activism should be there among those who are being denied basic civil rights, and there is very little such activism such as was seen in the 1950's, 60's, 70's, and early 80's. I'm not sure that the AIDS issue mainly accounts for that apolitical turn, as much as the likely internalization of the hateful messages from assorted clergy, their followers, and politicians by many Gay people who, deep down, may not feel that they are worthy of having full and equal civil rights because of basic self-loathing, recognized or not. I think this is the essence of Stuffed Animal's post regarding use of negative, pejorative, hateful self-identifiers by many LGBT people.

Blogs are excellent potential venues for discussion of tactics and strategies for coordinated activism to achieve those rights, but I see little desire to pursue such discussions, let alone engage in coordinated activism, such as continuous picketing of homophobic churches, picketing the offices of homophobic politicians, pursuing litigation against homophobes for slander and/or libel, advocating that criminal charges be brought against hate speech that results in assaults and murders of Gay people, etc. (Please see the latest post on my blog regarding these matters.)

Most of the time on assorted blogs there is mere venting which, in and of itself, may make the person feel good in the short run, but is no substitute for discussion of tactics and strategies concerning grassroots activism which, in my opinion, is the only way full and equal civil rights will be won. LGBT people and allies have no choice but to engage in coordinated grassroots activism, as civil rights are not willingly given by those in the power structure and who perceive that they are profiting from the status quo.

Civil rights must be fought for, and I don't see much desire for meaningful contention at the grassroots level in acquiring those rights, and it may well be that the frequent use of negative self-identifiers by many LGBT people to which Stuffed Animal is referring may be indicative of a degree of self-loathing that mitigates against such contention for the acquisition of those rights.
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