(OKLAHOMA CITY) The recent release of the bio-pic "Milk" about the life and death of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk revivified interest in Milk's most famous phrases such as "Come out, come out , wherever you are," and "Don't blend in."
Another openly gay activist to have his speeches and writings dusted off is Bayard Rustin, an openly gay African-American who was a colleague of Dr. M.L. King and who was given behind-the-scenes credit for organizing the March on Washington in August, 1963 where Dr. King made his iconic and forward looking "I Have a Dream" speech. Mr. Rustin was forced to take a back-seat due to fears that his orientation and arrest record would undoubtedly be used against the civil rights movement.
From the book Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin by Bayard Rustin (Cleis Press, Carbado and Weise, editors) we get the succinct gay agenda, if there ever was one, that I think most of us gay/lesbian activists can agree on--
"...the job of the gay community is not to deal with extremist(s) who would castrate us or put us on an island and drop an H-bomb on us.
The fact of the matter is that there is a small percentage of people in America who understand the true nature of the homosexual community. There is another small percentage who will never understand us. Our job is not to get those people who dislike us to love us. Nor was our aim in the civil rights movement to get prejudiced white people to love us. Our aim was to try to create the kind of America, legislatively, morally, and psychologically, such that even though some whites continued to hate us, they could not openly manifest that hate. That's our job today: to control the extent to which people can publicly manifest anti-gay sentiment."
What we should continue to be doing is proving our gay/lesbian equality of citizenship to the broad range of the valuable demographic known as the undecided, who politicians always court. For our purposes it's those people who all have gay and lesbian family members or friends, who wouldn't think of hurting them but somehow aren't connecting the dots that if some of us gays and lesbians are getting hurt, all of us get hurt.
Dr. King said it in a more engraved style: "It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important." ( http://tinyurl.com/6b6rbz )
Laws don't prevent crime or change the minds of the incorrigible, but laws do provide a way to legally make it uncomfortable for prejudice and violence to be acted out against minorities.
This is one reason our enemies are very anxious that hate crimes bills that include language for the protection of sexual orientation and gender presentation are not passed either at the Federal or state level. Our opponents claim such laws would limit speech and hamper the free exercise of religion. But as Rep Barney Frank (Mass.) said earlier in December, 2008 at a Victory Fund luncheon, these laws are directed at actions of violence not at words; expression is not the target of hate crimes laws, but physical behavior is. (http://tinyurl.com/5963au)
Yes, we truly live in the age of Orwell where words can be wolves in sheep's clothing. We read of Mormon and Catholic spokespeople offended by the peaceful protests of gay/lesbian supporters in reaction to loosing the November Prop. 8 vote in California.
It seems these two denominations that gave much of the money fueling the theft of a civil right in California were surprised by the backlash to the imposition of their religious dogma on the non-member citizens of California ( http://tinyurl.com/6qp2xz ), ( http://tinyurl.com/62l5gd).
To me, it looks as if the First Amendment establishment clause is being ignored because there are some denominations that will perform same-gender marriages yet their religious freedom is being abridged by the passage of Prop 8.
And just why does prejudice and discrimination seem to originate with bible-trumpeting homo-haters?
Could it be because they already live in a delusional world of superstition and make-believe, of fairy stories about sky-based good things, and dark-and-dirty ground-based bad things?
Could it be because they still live in the world of Bronze Age nomads who had no science and no concept of a world beyond the horizon they could walk toward in a day?