Bil Browning

IAN leafletting results and thoughts

Filed By Bil Browning | March 31, 2005 6:12 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics

This morning was rather cold and windy, but Jerame, Paige and I, as well as several other IAN activists, braved the gusts to hand out over 1500 fliers to Indiana Collegiate Jobfair attendees and exhibitors! This step of our campaign to tell the truth about how SJR-7 will affect us as a people went over extremely well.

There was a minor scuffle in the beginning of the action - some convention center security guards tried to push one of our group around, saying he couldn't be on the sidewalk passing out leaflets. The Marion County Sheriff's Department soon arrived and settled the question. We were allowed to pass out fliers on the sidewalks - as long as we weren't under the convention center overhang.

I had extreme luck in passing out about 500 of the fliers inside the convention center by the Sagamore Ballroom. I dressed in my conservative Christian drag and hauled my butt on up there to greet incoming job seekers with "Good morning! Welcome to the IU Job Fair!" as I handed them our "This is your brain on Indiana" flier featuring a nice picture of a sink drain. (Jeff's flier is truly inspired - if you haven't seen it, check it out.) Almost every applicant from 10:30am to 1:30pm got a flier - until the convention center got wise and gave me the ole boot. Other IAN members papered the Circle Center parking garage on each level with other members braving the wind and clouds to stand on the street corners passing out still more fliers.

The reaction from recipients was amazing. I didn't get one cross word! Several people came back to thank me for passing out the fliers. One young, black (and obviously gay) gentleman was approaching the job fair when I gave him a flier. He read the flier, and asked me a lot of questions about SJR-7 and what had already happened. He told me he was from Illinois and related how they had sexual orientation as a protected class in IL. I told him that we didn't have a non-discrimination policy in Indiana to cover GLBT people. What did he do? He left. Said he'd rather stay in IL where he felt safe.

THIS IS THE MESSAGE WE NEED TO BE GETTING OUT THERE!!! We need to tell people how we have no protection here. Most assume we do! We need to let people know that we see SJR-7 as a frontal assault on our families - and bring the story personally to them. We need to show them how it makes us feel unsafe in our jobs, our homes, even our families. As I spoke to the public today about this while I was handing out fliers, my #1 feedback from what I'd term the "ignorant-s" was (and I got this several times!) "Well, you're protected from discrimination. Just use that to overturn the amendment." NOT "Go to hell." NOT "This amendment is good." NOT "I want this amendment." It was more like a general malaise - it didn't affect them and they thought we'd legally weasel our way out. They could put their heads back in the sand.

When most people find out that the only two "gay" laws in Indiana say #1: You can't get married and #2: If there's you're a victim of a hate crime, the local police should report it to the State Police as a statistic. If they want to... (And most don't do it.) When they find out that law #3 isn't going to be positive - but instead rather punitive, they usually react with "Why do you stay?"

Brain drain. Jeff really hit home with a good topic - this is a message that combined with the safety message packs one hell of a wallop with voters. After all, they can't counter it - it was what they came up with themselves! They'd leave! "Why do you stay?" I'd humbly suggest it as one heck of an "on-message" topic.

Thanks again to all who came out with me and Jerame (& Paige!). It was a heck of a lot fun. I didn't know I'd actually enjoy myself so much. (And I know Paige had one heck-of-a-time!)

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AUTHOR: Anonymous

DATE: 4/01/2005 02:58:38 AM

Outstanding!I hope someone got the name of the offending security officer and makes a complaint, with witness statements attached. It probably won't result in his immediate dismissal but, if he's an unprofessional hothead not worthy of his job instead of a guy who just had an aberrant and uncharacteristic bad reaction, the complaints will add up and, sooner or later (hopefully sooner before he either hurts someone, escalates a situation so that someone gets hurt as a result, or does some other intemperate thing that puts his employer in peril of losing a lawsuit) he will either get employer-mandated psychological assistance or get canned.-- Marla Stevens