Read my latest Bilerico Project post: The time to demand unequivocal Progressive support
I think everyone's already put their two cents in on 'Maine'--including myself and Maggie Gallagher. Certainly we're not all on the same page on marriage, but what happened in Maine was a demoralizing defeat for a lot of people. The same-sex couples in Maine in desperate need of legal protections for their relationships, and the young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens who had to endure severe and dehumanizing scrutiny in the media are the folks I feel worst for. I feel sort of bad for our whole Progressive movement too.
Our movement is easily distracted. We are a broad and curious umbrella of causes. We are united by a common proclivity toward supporting society's greater good, equality and justice and building on rights, access and protections for people rather than limiting them. The form that this progress ought come in, however, seems to often be very different depending on who you ask. The Progressive "Movement" is almost a misnomer. We're not all on the same page.
If you're an active ally, I thank you for standing with me. So many Progressives, though, simply don't understand why they should focus on this issue. I need your help convincing them.
Truth be told, I'm more progressive than I let on, but far less passionate about non-LGBT Progressive issues than I'd like to be. I want freedom of choice for women, universal health care, equal pay for all, measures to stop Climate Change, an end to the war--and all wars for that matter--Education Reform, Drug Policy reform, stronger anti-trust laws and enforcement against big business and a little less worship of the free market... but if its not news on ENDA/UAFA passage or DADT & DOMA repeals, it mostly flies below my radar.
Matter of fact, that's how many Progressives are with LGBT issues like ENDA. We're off their radar. So many of us in the LGBT community--myself included--have noted tons since Tuesday that we're shocked our Progressive friends didn't know about the vote in Maine. Shocked? At this point why should it be a surprise that non-LGBT people aren't focused on every little thing that happens to us queers? We don't invite our Progressive friends to care at all. We're afraid of coming on too strong, seeming self-centered.
I'm sick of tiptoeing around it. In my immediate situation, Question One was not going to disrupt the law, yet I was heavily invested in Maine--in time and finance--and was deeply effected emotionally by the loss there. Who in the LGBT community doesn't see every "Yes" vote as a subtle little vote against our very humanity and existence? I don't plan on getting married tomorrow, nor was I ever planning to do so in Maine, but I know what people were voting for was to shut me up and push me back into the closet.
Greater Movement, And How We Fit
Health Care reform is going to fundamentally reshape our nation, and effect all of us in many ways, but in reality, the group of folks that it will make the most immediate change for is probably a size of the population not too much larger than the LGBT population. There's about 30,000,000 of us. This will immediately provide coverage for about that many un- or under-insured. Why should we care about this? Because its the right thing to do.
I've been uninsured in the past, but I'm insured now. In fact I have very good insurance as a member of the graduate student union. This bill is not going to change my coverage. It may make it a little better, but I'm not going to notice much difference.
This is not in fact the case for many people, though. For many people their lives will be monumentally improved--if not saved--by this legislation. I'm just not one of them. However, I've been supporting, fighting for, and staying abreast on Health Care for years--I've written letters, talked to my Senators... I've been an advocate for a long time.
Same with anti-war actions, anti-racism efforts, environmental efforts, and anti-domestic violence efforts. I've been there; and I've been there, simply, because I've been called on to do so. The leaders in these movements have made it very clear that if you're really a progressive, you must show action on these issues.
LGBT leaders, on the other hand, have never been so bold.
In a way, we're still a little afraid to come out of the closet. We make apologies for our Progressive friends: "There are more important things." And, "there are bigger fish to fry."
We can't apologize anymore for Progressives who--while our rights are put up to popular vote--stay at home and wish us luck but don't lift a finger to write their lawmakers, or phone a friend on the fence and demand they become an LGBT ally. These allies are allies in name only, and very recent history has proven that's not enough. As other leaders in the Progressive movement have refused to accept complacency from Progressives, we too must push harder, be bolder, and demand more action from our allies.
A Call To Action: Allies and Potential Allies
I need you to come with me--or even go on your own power--to tell your lawmaker why they don't have your vote unless they become tough and aggressive allies of their LGBT constituents on ENDA, DOMA repeal, UAFA, and DADT repeal...
You HAVE to finish this one--there is a great call to action. Finish this post, The time to demand unequivocal Progressive support, at The Bilerico Project!