Father Tony

LGBT rights protest lights up Times Square

Filed By Father Tony | December 22, 2008 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: gay marriage, gay protests, gay rights, New York City

On Saturday, December 20, 2008, I joined the roughly 300 frozen protesters who marched in Manhattan from Herald Square to Times Square. As was the case with the earlier Jointheimpact.com events, this one was unpolished, casual, ardent, sincere, and, more than anything else, hopeful. It was supposed to be a quiet, peaceful and candlelit procession, but out came the megaphones and the folks got loud.

The biggest impact was on the Christmas tourists who listened intently to the zealous speakers. This is where being "in your face" rather than invisible has huge value.

Where would we be without the young people who are making this happen? They are owed our gratitude and respect (even if I have to listen to those same chants for the next 20 years. "Hey hey, ho ho. Those tired cheers have got to go.")

I was a bit conflicted about the man whose sign read "Pray for Rick Warren. He's a filthy pig bottom."

Video after the jump.

There's another cute vid and some pics over on my own blog.

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No offense to anyone engaged in the candlelight-a-thon that occured in Times Square and elsewhere. But I'm a little disappointed in the vanilla and lackluster organizing the folks at JointheImpact have been mustering. First was that Day without a Gay which was just really ill-thought out (we ended up with a situation where queer workers who worked for homophobic companies or in states without sexual orientation protections were unable to participate for fear of job loss, and then we had queer workers who worked for queer-positive workplaces participate... so we ended up punishing people and organizations who are pro-queer with reduced productivity and without hurting homophobic bosses etc. at their purse strings...)

And now this candlelight vigil. I'm sorry Candlelight walks are the feel-good, kumbaya, most indirect "direct action" out there. They don't display civil unrest. They don't put pressure on authority figures or people in power. I understand why people like to do them. They're quasi-religious, pretty, and give you a sense of community. Sure, those are all good things. But those are not activism. These are not "impactful."

If we are to believe those in the gay political mainstream that spew "Gay is the New Black" (a profoundly simplistic and reductive statement), maybe we should take a page from the Black rights movement and understand that communal demonstrations of disappointment don't result in widespread political change. It's public and civil disobedience. By continuing to engage in non-confrontational and passive activism, we should not be surprised by how slowly our human rights are advanced in the halls of power.

I'm a little disappointed in the vanilla and lackluster organizing the folks at JointheImpact have been mustering.

Keep in mind, Jason, that there's no "folks." One woman started the site and it took off as only the web can do. Others stepped in to assist and if I remember correctly, one of them brought the Gay Without a Day idea.

As a seasoned grass roots organizer, I can say this: "If you don't like the way things are headed, grab the wheel!" *grins*

well, it is great that some non-org organizing is going on. I hope they continue!