Friday, July 10, 2009

LEADESHIP: WHERE IS IT? WHO IS IT?



We've got trouble right here in LGBT City.

We are adrift. We are a skiff without even the smallest rudder. We bounce from issue to issue all under the umbrella of "wanting our equal rights".

Now.

We don't understand why we dont't have them yet. We voted overwhelmingly for Obama.

He was our saviour, no?

No.

We did everything we were supposed to do. We bought McMansions in Summerlin. We got a table at the big HRC Gala.

And rented a tux too.

We even adopted perfectly lovely mixed race children whom we will screw up over time just like straight people.

What more could they want from us?

How about a leader?

It aint Obama.

It never was.

We put a cloak of Gay Divinty on him that he never said he would wear. When Prop 8 passed, we turned our vitriol on the Black community and said it was their fault and how dare they betray us?

After all, we voted for "him".

Turns out it wasn't the Black folks fault. It was the power sucking vacuum at the top of the "leadership" ladder of the LGBT "community" who screwed up by doing what they had always done.

Our so called "leadership" is moribund and molding like that cake of Miss Havishams sitting in a musty corner of a Victorian sitting room.

Like members of some Republican country club, they sit with stogies and Mojitos in hand pondering whether or not to get off of their asses and actually go down to the fields and pull a weed or just stay in air conditioned comfort and chortle about how the field workers get all sweaty and while that may be "hot", it won't happen "in my Guccis".

Har.

Har.

These self appointed Nabobs of LGBTwood so thoroughly screwed up the battle for Prop 8 that it spawned a new community of grassroots activists across the country. After all, "I can" is the American way of life. Gay or Straight.

That is a welcome development. However, now, like a dead mother spider( how apt an analogy for the Gay "leadership" if I do say so myself. And I do.)with dozens of babies running all over the kitchen floor scattering hither and yon, the LGBT movement has become some scatter shot approach to achieving equality. At best.

While not denigrating the amazing efforts of groups like MEET IN THE MIDDLE and STAND OUT FOR EQUALITY, we will never have anything except pieces of equality here and there until we find our Leader.

Thing is, we may just have to grow him or her.

We have a long and hard slog ahead of us. Are we prepared for that? Are we willing to drive through the dark in hateful places that don't want us or to board buses and go and demand our rights? If the water cannons are turned on us, will we cry and run away?

Or will we stand our ground and finally learn the words to "We shall overcome"?

A lot of colored Gays, myself included, take great umbrage whenever a White male compares the Gay struggle to the struggle for Civil Rights by the (my) Black community.

It is NOT the same and please don't try to co-opt it.

A Gay person can "Butch up" and fly under the radar. A Black person seldom can "White up" and do the same.

It's especially irritating to hear such arguments coming from White males. I don't know how many White males understand that Gay or Straight, you truly are at the top of the food chain and your sufferings, however egregious they may be, are not ever going to equal the suffering and inequities of life doled out by other White males on Women and minorities. Sorry, that's the way it is.

I do understand why White Gays identify with the Civil Rights movement.

THIS IS AMERICA AND OUR CONSTITUTION CLEARLY STATES THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.

But. It is not the same.

Now, may I suggest that we look at the tactics of the Civil Rights movement and study the work of Bayard Rustin (please Google him if you have ANY desire to make change) and take away from these elements the framework of what OUR movement can be.

We must have civil disobedience on a scale that this country hasn't seen since 1964 in the deepest parts of Alabama. We must withhold our dollar contributions to national organizations that say we are all on the same boat as they drive off in a bus with us underneath it.

We MUST paper over our divisions within our own LGBT community in order to move ahead.

Guess what? A lesbian is every bit as good as a Gay guy is as good as a Transgender is a good as an HIV poz person is as good as a Black, Latino, Asian, Native American, Disabled person in the LGBT "rainbow" of things.

We use that rainbow symbol, not because it's so pretty and "gay". We use it because, much like the wonderful awfulness (awful because of why it even needed to be done.) of those giant AIDS quilts of the not too far past, the rainbow reflects the amazing diversity of the LGBT community.

In order to move ahead and attain what truly does belong to us, we must embrace that rainbow. We must understand that no one group can or ever will speak for the LGBT community.

We must set a place at the table for everyone.

We need Leadership that looks like us.

That looks like America.

Which brings me back to "Leadership".

Who are our leaders? Where are they? Are they there and the current leechist system at the top squashing them as they arise (talk to the MEET IN THE MIDDLE folks about that)?

Are you a leader?

Am I?

Maybe.

More to come.

2 comments:

C said...

Thanks for this posting, and I couldn't agree more. I have a question: What do you think about the folks organizing this march in October? I'm hopeful, and also naive! :)

I guess my disappointment with much movement-building work lately has been the gap between agreed-upon ideals (ie we should strive to be inclusive) and reality (there are some crabby and burnt-out organizers, who, because of their exclusivity and rigidity, are turning away folks from the movement everyday). Sometimes I just want to shake them and say, "Stop being a classist snob! Stop being a critical theory perfectionist! Um, we need everybody..."

THE VEGAS STYLE GUY said...

We actually just interviewed Cleve Jones on our show IN THE LV this week and he is organizing the National March On Washington in October.

I admit, I had my doubts, but, in order to get what is our as our birthright, we MUST show up and "give 'em hell".

I don't mean violence. I mean we must show our numbers and demand to be treated as equal citizens of the greatest country on earth, the USA.

I am invested in making the March a success and will be updating this blog more frequently to keep people apprised of what's going on.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Derek