crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters
By now you have heard about how the group GetEqual heckled President Obama during his speech praising Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer.
And to tell the truth, I'm feeling a bit reticent about the entire thing because I question the credibility behind it.
Oh sure, everyone is full of revolutionary fire and anger and those who were involved in the legendary stances of Act-Up and Queer Nation are channeling memories, but is this anger genuine and sustaining and will it bleed over to other fights regarding lgbt equality?
Or can we can count on this fire to catch on for a brief second with so many of us evoking a catchy slogan (i.e. "No More Mr. Nice Gay," or "the Gay T.M. is closed")to conceptualize our anger and then whither and die.
Granted, I'm a pragmatic individual but I see the sense in direct action tactics, unless those tactics are the ends and not a means to an end.
So I can't help wondering just where will this lead? A mention on tv shows? An annoyingly self-satisfied rant of "we showed him" by various activists? Ignorant rants calling Obama a homophobe by folks who let their vitriol take over their common sense?
Meanwhile, religious right groups are covertly doing the things they do to make our lives hell, such as holding conferences, forming phony medical groups, and getting cozy with like-minded Congressional leaders.
Whether we like it or not, religious right groups are our real enemy. They have been that way before Obama came to office and they will continue to be that way after he leaves.
In the argument over lgbt equality, they are the proverbial elephant in the room, so why is it that we don't attack them with as much fervor as we go after Obama?
Where are the protests at the headquarters of the Family Research Council or Concerned Women for America? Where are the slogans aimed at them such as "Stop lying about our lives," or "Jesus never lied"?
Why aren't we disrupting them?
So while I'm intrigued by the recent of heckling of President Obama, I've seen it all before.
And I'm not impressed.
UPDATE - There have been some who have not appreciated my sentiments and have asked what have I done other than blog. It is a fair question. Allow me to convey an answer.
For over five years, I have been a Board member of the SC Pride Movement. I helped to found Palmetto Umoja, the first South Carolina organization that dealt solely with the issue of lgbts of color. I also help to found SC Black Pride and have been an important facet in conducting our prides (we are in our fifth year – June 24-27 – everyone is invited!) In addition, last year, I was the first lgbt of color to address black gay issues in the State newspaper, South Carolina's largest newspaper.
Lastly, I have been involved in countless lobbying efforts at the SC State House against anti-gay bills (I've written blog posts on these efforts), as well as on more than one occasion attended meetings with the SC Black Legislative Caucus.
I don't say these things to brag. I am just answering the question. I do understand the anger posed at me but I think I pose very viable questions. We all want the same thing (fairness and equality) but we have different concepts as to achieve these things. I may not disagree with some other person's concepts but I do respect them. All I ask is respect for mine.
NOTE FROM PAM: Just wanted to post GetEqual's official press release from last night.
Moments Ago GetEQUAL Activists Interrupt Pres. Obama During Fundraising Reception Speech Los Angeles, CA – Moments ago, several GetEQUAL activists interrupted President Obama during his speech at a fundraising reception for Senator Barbara Boxer in Los Angeles, expressing anger over the slow progress on repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ this year and demanding that he repeal it.
April 19, 2010
To schedule participant interviews
Contact: Robert Polzoni, 415.806.3898 or firstname.lastname@example.org
They demand he repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ this year
GetEQUAL activists shouted, “what about ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’” and “it’s time for equality for all Americans.” The President, at one point bringing his remarks to a halt, said, “Barbara and I are supportive of repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’.”
Activists David John Fleck, Dan Fotou, Laura Kanter, Zoe Nicholson, and Michelle Wright were then escorted out of the reception by security officers.
“President Obama has been AWOL on DADT,” Fotou. “We had to reminded him of the promises he made to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community during his campaign and several times during his Presidency – that DADT will be repealed because, as he's stated, ‘it's the right thing to do.’”
“We made it clear our community will hold accountable our President for unkept promises,” said Wright. “Denying LGBT service members and personnel the ability to serve their country is unfair.”
Today’s action took place nearly one year after a similar protest outside an Obama appearance in Los Angeles, when Lt. Dan Choi asked the President for a response to a letter signed by 136,000 people to repeal DADT.
“These empowering and brave activists feel so strongly about our rights they were willing to confront the President of the United States on his lack of leadership on DADT and to hold him accountable for the promises he has made to our community,” said Kip Williams, co-founder of GetEQUAL.
Those involved in the action
David John Fleck resides in Long Beach, CA. He is a former Grassroots Outreach Organizing Director for the Courage Campaign and Steering Committee member for the National Equality March. He was involved in today’s action because he believes that this year, this Congress offers the only realistic prospect to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and that the President must take a leadership role in accomplishing what he promised in his State of the Union Address.
Dan Fotou lives in Los Angeles, CA. He took part in today’s action because he has a dream to have access to the same rights, freedoms, privileges and protections as every other American citizen. He believes federal law must be enacted to protect the LGBTQ community agains
t all forms of discrimination.
Laura Kanter resides in Irvine, CA with her wife. She was one of 18,000 couples able to get married. A good friend of Dan Choi, she is participating in today’s action because it is wrong to deny Dan Choi and every other LGBT American who is willing to risk their life for this country, the opportunity to serve. Laura will continue to fight out loud as long as LGBT people are denied equal rights and will challenge Democrats and other progressive thinkers who allow this injustice to continue.
Laura McFerrin from Dallas, TX. She organized a protest at First Baptist Church in Dallas, TX after the minister preached a sermon, "Why Gay is Not Okay". Laura is the director of March On, a documentary following the lives of several LGBT families on their journey to the National Equality March in Washington last October. She believes that this direct action will serve as a wake up call to Obama and remind him of his promises
Zoe Nicholson lives in Newport Beach, CA. A feminist and fighter for civil rights, she is the founder of ERA Once and For All, a life long member of NOW, NWPC, Veteran Feminists of America and outspoken voice for LGBTQAI rights. She has been on the front lines of activism since the 1960s.
Michelle Wright resides in Fresno, CA. Through years of participation in sports she understands competition and passion. Both are key components in the life of a military service member and have the ability to weave there way into one's internal framework. To deny LGBT the right to pursue their dreams is unjust and she took part in the action because she stands in solidarity with uniform wearing LGBT members who look forward to serving their country with pride and honor.
You can view photos of the action at http://www.flickr.com/photos/getequal/
Moments Ago GetEQUAL Activists Interrupt Pres. Obama During Fundraising Reception Speech
Los Angeles, CA – Moments ago, several GetEQUAL activists interrupted President Obama during his speech at a fundraising reception for Senator Barbara Boxer in Los Angeles, expressing anger over the slow progress on repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ this year and demanding that he repeal it.
You can view videos of the action at http://www.youtube.com/getequal