Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fifty people a day

You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and they won't take him. And if two people, two people do it...in harmony...they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine three people walkin' in, singin' a bar of "Alice's Restaurant" and walking out? They may think it's an organization. And can you imagine, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walkin' in, singin' a bar of "Alice's Restaurant" and walkin' out? And friends, they may think it's a movement.

Friends, it's a movement. It's taken us forty years since Stonewall, and it probably took losing on Prop 8 to wake the beast, but we are fucking here.

Exhibit A: The federal government agrees to sign the U.N. declaration that our existence is not, in fact, a criminal act. Guess which administration refused to sign this last year?

Exhibit B: Gainesville fucking Florida solidly rejects the attempted repeal of equal protection for gay and trans people. This is, I hear, the first EVER vote on trans rights, and we took almost 60% of the vote!

Exhibit C: Vermont state senate legalizes gay marriage. The House and the governor are yet to come. The gubernatorial asshole is against the bill, but maybe not enough to veto. This would be our first victory on marriage that happens outside the courtroom.

These are all government things. Executive fiat, municipal vote, legislative action. That's not a movement. But who made this happen? WE DID. Directly (Gainesville), indirectly (Obama), and by a sort of political osmosis (Vermont). Bigots, back the fuck off. Next targets:

A) Defeat another anti-trans ballot measure in Kalamazoo, MI.
B) Win marriage by vote in Maine, Iowa, DC
C) Win marriage by legislature in Vermont, New York, New Jersey
D) Talk to every last goddamn voter in LA County about homophobia
E) Wipe a certain rural community in upstate New York off the map

That last one is not on the national gay agenda. I heard this weekend about a young boy there (let's call him Jasper) who once upon a time came out to his band teacher, a friend of mine through Rainbow Brite (I'll call her Strawberry Shortcake). Ms. Shortcake found him a foster placement, since his parents had kicked him out. Then she got a call late one night that Jasper'd accidentally come out to his new roommates--and they'd beaten him for it. He was homeless again.

His story isn't mine to share, even anonymously on the internet, so I'll leave the rest of it out. I don't know his real name. I've never met him, nor am I likely to. I don't know how he's doing now, though Strawberry Shortcake managed to get him through most of the immediate, emergency shit. But even not knowing any of that, I can promise him that this movement is for him.

If you are in any of the places I've listed as a target, please consider becoming one of those fifty people a day. We need you. Yes, you. Not just "you who are queer and therefore personally invested in these issues," but all of you. There is a center, somewhere, where you can volunteer. There is an organization that will take your money. There is a group of dedicated fighters waiting to help you discover just how dedicated you can be, even though you never had the chance before.

There is room for you in the movement, whether you're queer or a straight ally, of any race or many, flat-ass broke or rolling in it, devoutly religious or a godless atheist, old as the hills or not yet of voting age. If you want to help but don't know how, send me an email, or a facebook message, or give me a call. I will do the research for you and I will personally get you involved. If, somehow, you read this blog but don't know how to get in touch with me, leave a comment with your own contact info and I will find you.

The moment of the movement is now. Seize it before it passes you by and leaves you to regret having missed it all. Get out of your Monday-morning-armchair-quarterback stupor (yes, even the gays can use football metaphors), and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Leave West Hollywood, the Castro, Hillcrest, Key West, South Beach, Provincetown, Northampton, Chelsea, Park Slope, and the rest of the gay ghettos. Wave your civil rights in the face of someone who has never bothered to look at them.

This is it, folks. Start your engines. We're off.

(Yes, I understand the irony of beginning a post on the queer movement with a quote that includes the f-word. I'm not condoning it, just quoting accurately. I also ended it with a NASCAR metaphor. Ponder the irony while you're signing up to join the movement.)

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