Guest Blogger

It is time for an Agenda to really exist

Filed By Guest Blogger | October 19, 2009 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: bisexual, homosexual agenda, HRC, lesbian, LGBT, lgbt rights movement, movement, trans, transgender

Editors' note: Antonia "Toni" D'orsay is an advocate and sociologist based out of Phoenix Arizona working for several organizations in an advisory capacity, where she works on issues of empowerment, education, and language within and without the LGBT community under the pen name of Dyssonance.

AED_5-2009.jpgIt is time for a convention, a convocation, a conference, a congregating the purpose of which is to create a contract, a collusive and collective covenant to which one can refer and relate and know that one's ideals and goals and efforts have purpose an meaning above and beyond the normative means and ways that one would expect.

We need a charter, a format, something which stands on its own outside the independence of the various organizations and groups, beyond the narrowish confines of the movement as something that is gay or bi or trans - a constitution, if you will, that outlines the ideals and objectives and that includes involvement above and beyond a statement of principles or missions.

We need to hold meetings, open meetings, without closed doors, without restrictions, and in those meetings we need to appoint teams from each town and dale, each city and space, and then they need to come together and represent their portions in a multiple day gathering that includes representatives from the major organizations at the national and state levels as well as the citizen groups.

A pipe dream, doubtless - the HRC still has not joined United ENDA, for example.

But that's what we need to do, for donation without representation is no better a means of advocacy.

Some call now for this to be seen not as a Civil Rights effort, but as a Human Rights effort, and the basis of their point is that this is not about one group getting equality in the law.

It is about all groups getting equality in the law. Not merely the gay and the lesbian and the bisexual and the trans.

And it is, in the end, about changing something few really want to admit, which is the nature of our social fabric.

We want people to have the freedom to be themselves. And that means fighting a power that underlies the very essence of a social structure, and that is commonality.

There was another time, of course, where such a thing was done, When people sought to change a cultural ideal that kings should reign, and nobles should govern, and they would leave us alone and do the right thing because, after all, they were Kings and Nobles, granted status and authority by divine writ if not will.

Three hundred years earlier, the world to most people was filled with creatures terrible and frightful - dark woods were sinister and violent, and to question the word of the Church, for there was only one, was to invite death and oblivion.

And in that time, men gathered. They were men chosen to represent those whom they shared many ideals with, and they came together, at their own expense, and they changed the way the world thought.

There were many who inspired them to do so, of course, but in the end, those men, sent as envoy's of independent powers aligned out of common struggle some dozen years earlier, came together and forged a new way of dealing with the challenges they sought.

So it's not quite as pie in the sky as it may sound. It just needs people willing to do so.

We have new tools now, new methods, and we have more than merely men of means to look to.

And we need to draft a document that serves to govern and order the process of representing not merely our desires, but the desires of everyone - for it is a lie that someone who is not something cannot know what it is to be such.

But it is not easy, and it is not common.

We need to come together and send teams that represent our various groups and those outside our own - gay men, straight men, lesbians, straight women, cisfolk, transfolk, bifolk, white, black, brown, yellow, blue, green, orange, rich, poor, schooled and unschooled. All with equal say, equal standing. And they should then come together, in some place organized within their state, each group from each town and city and place and group, and they should meet and choose from among them gay, lesbian, straight, cis, trans, bi, and so on.

And then those delegates, those representatives, should come together and craft a grand Agenda, with strategy and priority and tactics and methods, and a means to govern this great movement, this great effort.

And then let it be voted on by the public at large.

We have the internet, the greatest single tool for communication in the history of mankind, still in its very infancy, and we have with it the ability to do such things as the founders of this nation - as the founders of the parties which govern it, have never seen before.

It is time to use it in a way never seen before.

Let there be an Agenda. Something we can point at and say "yes, there is indeed one, and here it is!"

And, in so doing, we will do something not only to heal the rifts we are seeing in our internal discourse, but we will dispel much of the power of those arrayed against us, and we will see, in full, our power, our dedication, our movement, in a way that is amazing and incredible.

Call it whatever you will, but let us do this - let us gather in our communities and make this happen, let us become the very change we seek, and send those in whom we have faith to speak on our behalf, en masse, from all the many different viewpoints, from all the many different ways, and free ourselves.

Free ourselves from the ignominy of lies by creating a truth.

Free ourselves from the chains of inequity.

Free ourselves from the prison of narrowness.

Free ourselves from organizations we mistrust by letting them create it anew.

Free ourselves from parties which do not hold us of value.

Free ourselves that we might, at last, and finally, be our selves.

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I'm 54. During my lifetime I've seen the widespread destruction of a previously vibrant middle class in the USA. Job security is gone for most people. Real incomes have shrank since the mid 70s. Education is becoming increasingly unaffordable. A decent quality of life in retirement is only a pipe dream for most people working today. The expense of dealing with a single serious disease, even if one recovers, typically destroys a lifetime of effort.

I'd like to see the LGBT agenda include working to restore the middle class. With such an agenda non-LGBT people in the community would be welcome to attend LGBT agenda meetings. Sure they'd find out that we transsexuals prefer to be employed and respected vs. living in poverty and disrespect. They'd find out the LGBT community values public support of long-term relationships too. But they'd also find out we want everyone to have an opportunity for a decent life.

It is time to stop allowing the powers that be play the LGBT community against the non-LGBT community and for all decent people to work together for human rights and dignity.

Dys, I think you bring up an excellent point about our agenda. I believe that one of the main reasons why the Dallas Principles was noted in the media but never really made a serious impact within most of our community is because even though the principles themselves are positive and represent a positive and inclusive agenda, it's just yet another group of wealthy elite donors telling the rest of the community what our agenda is and what we should be fighting for.

Note that that's not a condemnation of the writers or of the intent of the DP's, but it is nonetheless the truth. This community is fed up with agendas dictated from on high, and there's a real backlash against that kind of politics, regardless of the source.

To underscore another great point you made, this is why HRC's refusal to join United ENDA or really to seriously participate in any LGBT activism as a partner instead of a dictator is held up as an example of how HRC has gone completely into its own orbit, speaking really only to and with themselves as the rest of the community organizes and builds real coalitions like United ENDA and Equality Across America.

It's my belief that as time goes on, particularly as the 2010 election approaches, Congress and the President will come to understand that when they speak to the Human Rights Campaign they are speaking solely to the wealthiest and most politically connected in the LGBT community. If they want to speak to the real community, those of us in the middle and lower classes, those of us for whom issues like discrimination in the workplace, in housing, and in access to public accommodations are very real and directly affect the quality of our daily lives, they have no choice but to speak directly to us. Going through HRC just doesn't cut it these days because they're just not considered to be an honest or credible LGBT activist organization by the bulk of this community anymore.

It's finally starting to become clear enough that even the politicians can understand it: The Human Rights Campaign represents the interests of the wealthiest 1% of our community. United ENDA, Equality Across America, and the rest of our community represent the interests of the other 99%.

So simple even a member of Congress can get it.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | October 20, 2009 9:11 AM


Zanadu is located just beyond the Magic Mountain and south of Shangra la.

"Just another group of wealthy intellectuals" Rebecca? Who crafted our Declaration of Independence, led the Revolution, and created the Constitution itself?

Much as I would love to find absolute egalitarianism there have always been leaders and followers (regardless of income and education) and there always will be.

Had there been this much "participation" in the founding of the country it would not have been founded at all. This is a recipe for utter disaster because Americans do not participate this much in governing the country. Does anyone think that they can have an open vote across the whole of the country and achieve anything good for our cause?

Here is where the pressure should be applied. It should be applied to all Gay orgs by their membership to form a united message and merge into cohesive larger units representing all our interests with strength and a measure of "clout" that is harder to ignore. As long as we fracture ourselves into bits is as long as the oppression will remain.

Now, see, according to my map from 1635, Xanadu is northeast of Shangri-la.

And Mohammed moved the magic mountain so he didn't have to go to it, so it's somewhere in the middle east these days.

Fictional and mythopoetic as those places may be, they have little to do with what I'm saying here.

And it *was* done, more than once before. With a lot greater participation than you apparently realize -- more, in fact, in terms of percentage of the population, than I'm actually asking us to do.

There are, of course, a lot more of us, these days, which is why the suggestion starts at the local level, then moves to state, and finally to to federal, each body electing reps to to send up to the next level.

Will the big orgs turn to it and say "oh, yeah, we love that idea, let's do it!"

Probably not -- unless they have people in them who go there.

Who is the closest member of the HRC's Board of directors to you, Robert? Have you spoken with them? Do they seem tractable to you?

They are all still people, and all of them have goals, and if we *can* get them to the table -- a the local and at the national levels -- then through this we *can* apply pressure.

Pressure not otherwise reachable for someone of them.

And, in turn, they can apply pressure of their own -- as an equal voice in the whole of it.

Don't forget, as well, that this example I gave -- a dozen years *after the nation was established -- involved a series of pleas and arguments held very publicly for several months.

In an age where the time difference between your post and mine would have been at least 7 days, not the potential for 7 seconds left.

Because I'm talking about the constitution -- something not forged until after the country already had a massive crises, and rested a point of crises, with the people having lost no small measure of faith in the leadership.

So if what I hear from you is accurate, then the very nation we are telling we need to make true it's promises of freedoms wouldn't be possible today.

And if that's not the case -- if we are, indeed, that fractious and divisive -- then why are we even bothering trying?

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | October 20, 2009 6:51 PM

The only things that the LGBT Orgs you reference will respond to is a lowering of contributions until they grow up and play nice.

I do not know a soul at the HRC, have visited their website once, but never contributed to them. I believe what you are proposing presupposes a structure which is not in place. We do not have a LGBT community in any way equally distributed around the country you know. We have assorted groups who frequently migrate to population centers because of discrimination in the most backward parts of our country.

Also it is understandable that our government wants to make dealing with our issues as simple for them as possible. While it is not in our interest to make our issues simple for them it is in our interest to make our issues clear and cohesive and possible. The Dallas Principles are a good place to start a rallying point toward that goal. I think they were beyond a well intentioned "gift" from elites. They were a recommended starting point.

I know many of those orgs would actually make an effort here. Because I've made it a point to try and get to know them.

Would all of them? No.

Would all of the LGBT folk in the nation leap to this idea?

No. The idea that anyone would expect such is somewhat ill-conceived as well -- and underestimates the individual making such a suggrestion. That's like saying the Eqality March organizers wanted everyone to join in on the march -- they never had that kind of expectations, though. THey just wanted as many as they could get to show up.

All of which I recognized in the post.

The point being, get together. Hammer this stuff out, and figure out what the localities want. IT works -- to greater or lesser degree -- for this nation, and for many others. Itwould allow us to pt into practice and use things like the stuff people here -- you, me, Bil, Alex, Fr. Tony, etc -- talk about.

And it doesn't matter if there is no one from a particular community. Transfolks tend to congregate to an even greter degree, lol.

The very first comment I got on this post was from a local activist here, a gal who is trying to make a Mormon controlled city create a DP registry. She didn't even bother to read it (so, to you for having done so, I thank you), and has issues with me, personally.

She said, outright, that such a concept would never work, and I don't need to be creating more groups.

I have others saying it sounds like a dream -- an impossible dream.

I agree they are a starting point -- a starting point, though, is all it is. But it is not an Agenda.

And, in the end, what we all need is one of those, right now. A platform, if you will -- and by stepping out of the narrow self interest aspects, we can make something far greater than merely a collection.

We can make a change.

I a lot of folks are going to see this and say "what a stupid idea".

What I'm gambling on, right here, is that a lot more will say "hey, that's a damn good idea."

And then do it.

Wolfgang E. B. Wolfgang E. B. | January 12, 2010 1:08 PM

I think there are a lot more GLBT people in small town "flyover" country than you realize. I'm a transman, living right in the heart of middle America, in a small town, and I know 3 lesbians, 2 bisexuals and 2 gay men and that's just my little circle of friends, which is rather small because I'm not much of a social bug. There's also a transsexual alderwoman of an even smaller town about an hour's drive from me.

People out here are less open about being GLBT, but we aren't entirely closeted either. Most of the townsfolk know who's gay and who isn't. It's like a well-known secret. We don't have Pride parades and we rarely make the news, but I wouldn't be surprised if we made up the same percentage of the population here as in most large cities.

battybattybats battybattybats | October 20, 2009 9:39 AM

I think it's time we reclaim truth from the liars.

The liars claim we are recruiting children when we are not while they are actually recruiting children as mentioned at Pams.

The liars claim we are threatening the military when their policies are losing vital skilled staff.

They claim themselves patriots when they threaten the nations security with biased policies. they undermine the function of democracy with theocracy and with majoritanism which never was suppossed to be allowed to overcome individual rights. Meanwhile Transgender people especially seem to serve secretly in the military far far far beyond their proportion of the population.

They have turned calling up 'down' into a fine art. It's time to strike back hard right at the core of their false identities. And I don't mean we have to all be conformist pro-military etc to do so.

It's time to call them Un-American (un-australian in my home turf), anti-patriots, against religious liberty for religions other than their own loudly and clearly.

It's not enough to use that science we've often clung to to give us some legitimacy as the same as others cause we are born that way, our human rights never depended on that as plenty of choices are protected. No lets use it on the offence like this and make ENDA and hate-crimes protection a vital neccessity for international competition and national economic security!

Our enemy has thrived on pretending it's weaknesses are strengths. That needs to be undone and the hypocracy exposed. We need pro-LGBT religions and churches given more exposure, fight their narrow theology with broad-church theology and show their arguments about religious liberty are in fact their attempts to rob everyone else of their religious liberty.

We need to turn their big-guns back onto them! We need not just reason but good rhetoric too, as we already have won most of the reasoning people but the most rhetoric susceptible they have solidly in their power, and typically they claim the opposite.

Above all we need to shatter the myths as often the majority of people are on our side not theirs but most people think its the other way round cause thats the myth they have so efficiently spun. In Austraia we have 60% in favour of same-sex marriage and 85% in favour of federal anti-discrimination laws thats Gender-Identity inclusive! Yet the government is still pandering to the tiny bigoted minorities!

We need to play the geographical game. In Australia Hillsong Church encouraged some of it's members to go to rrual areas in order to swing elections. Whereas we build large safe-space ghettos in big cities. Well those well-to-do gay retirees should get the sea-change and tree-change bug and head to marginal seats with their long-term partners. Instead of gentrifying the safe spaces they should spread out and be like other retirees and help swing votes in our favour.

Attack the money! Demand religious tax exemption apply only to buildings for strictly religious purposes and charity. No more tax-exempt businesses funelling money into hate-coffers under the pretext of religion. Besides.. the Terrorists could use the tax exemption to fund terror couldn't they! ;)

And we need to aim our message not just to our own sophisticated community, but to the lowest common denominator of the general populace. We need to find ways of framing arguments, keeping our claims simple and true so the less educated and less aware can still say 'oh yeah that is unfair to them' while the more sophisticated just nod sagely and exclaim they always knew that.

Equality, truth, anti-corruption, pride, inclusivity, diversity, anti-hypocracy... basic universal human rights.


You know how strongly I advocate for trans inclusion -- but part of this suggestion I have, this observation that we really and truly do need an agenda right now, is that it needs to be something we agree to -- at least in the basics.

And that means compromise, and that means that if such a thing can happen, that *we* need to make sure trans voices are heard and understood, and that there *are* trans folk to attend such things.

Not easy challenges to overcome -- and, truly, a bit moreso on your side of things than mine, lol