I've written several times in the past about how I have some very strong ideas about the kinds of efforts that we, the LGBT community, should be engaging in for the purpose of making changes in laws and in society to gain greater equity and ensure our own equality in the US.
Chief among those ideas is that we need to be running for office ourselves. Any office, any time, every time an election comes up, and in every election.
If we are indeed one in ten in the US, then there should be ten Senators and around forty four Representatives who are LGBT in Congress. Then again, Congress should also 220 Representative women and 50 Senators, have about 26 persons of color as Senators and 113 Representatives of the same sort, and so forth and so on.
It's not. Nor is it likely to ever be those things. I'm very much aware of that (and also why, to a great extent), but that doesn't mean that it's not something that should be happening in any case.
That doesn't mean that people shouldn't at least try. Because without people trying, there will not be awareness, and there will not be change, except exceedingly slowly, and then, typically, only as a matter of retaining power.
Something people talk a lot about without realizing it - when we talk about how spineless Democrats are, we are talking about how it is they will retain power. Yet they aren't in a position to be willing to sacrifice that power. Nor can we provide them with the means to remain in power, so that we can hold their failures over their heads.
This is why a bit over a year ago I spoke about needing an Agenda, and I proposed a method of coming to that agenda, and, as I pretty much expected, some people got a bit negative about it as an Idea.
That the idea was the same thing done 221 years ago, and that its still done every four years by two separate groups was totally overlooked, because the idea struck many folks as just being outlandish - such stuff can't actually happen, they thought.
And yet, it's what gives us party platforms and its' what gave us the Constitution in 1789.
Pretty effective, I'd say, but I'm one of those idealists you read terrible things about in the paper.
I talk about how that changes the rules in that older article.
That's important, because it underlies some of my ideas, and one of those ideas is to put your money where your mouth is - to cash that check with your body.
I'm going to go ahead and do it.
I decided to do it in October of 2007. I become very firm in my commitment to do it in November of that year. It was then that I decided it would be the 2012 race.
I made that decision because of the Census in 2010 (this year). Arizona has grown a lot in the last 10 years, and as I really want to run for a Congressional seat, that makes the most sense. But there is reality involved, not merely idealism, and I am not going to do this for the purpose of losing.
I am running to win. First and foremost, there's an old saw from the long ago film "Power" about how once you get in, you can do damn near anything you want, but first you have to get in.
I am running to get in.
I am, already, a moderate. Indeed, I'm a left leaning moderate, but I know my state's politics rather well in terms of public opinion, and while I know I have an uphill battle, I'm not put off.
I have the benefit of not being the first. Amanda Simpson, the recent appointee we are hearing so much about, ran last election for a similar seat, iirc.
I'm a Blue Dog. Socially progressive, fiscally conservative, and balancing it all on a more case by case basis than a black and white policy. I'll be running as a Democrat because I doubt that running as a Republican is going to gain the backing of my party officials in my state. Think of it as a strong libertarian streak that fits the nature and character of my state, in terms of tradition.
Politically, I'm very centrist, and I'm huge on infrastructure - both physical and social. Arizona has a lot of budgetary concerns that aren't going to go away anytime soon, and there's a deep inequity in the state level government that people such as Kyrsten Sinema are fighting against, and I stand with her on that point. On many, in fact. She's a kick ass person and one of my personal inspirations.
If you don't know who she is, well, look her up. She's worth following.
I asked a lot of people why they didn't run for office in the lead up to my decision, and I've kept on doing that. Not because there's anything wrong with them not running, but because I'd like to know why, and it comes down to they all fear losing something.
Privacy, anonymity, security.
I have nothing to lose. Indeed, by the measure of many, and to the glee of some who like to say terrible things about me, I've pretty much lost everything that one can lose already.
So why not run, I ask myself. I have yet to come up with a good answer that meets the logical paradigm of someone should.
In other words, like I noted in my article about who's fight this is, I'm doing it because no one else is.
I'd like to see, in 2012, every single political race in America feature an LGBT person. Every single one. Doesn't matter if they are Republican or Democrat, left or right. Because that would be shocking.
So here it is, January of 2010. In a little under 3 years, I will be elected to an office and will have a job to do.
I can't run on an LGBT platform.
Simple truth, huge fact, whatever you want to call it - it's just not enough for me to run on. Not in a state that elects such luminaries as Jeff Flake and J.D. Hayworth and, well, ugh, John McCain.
It has to be broader, because I have to reach the other 9 in 10 people. Or at least 5 out of every ten out there, assuming I can generally pull in the LGBT vote (which, as a Trans person is not entirely assured).
This is one of the biggest deals of running for office, as well - you need to make a connection with people who are not LGBT, and that means you can't really be thinking bad stuff about them, because, in the end, they are not bad.
Yes, there are bad people out there. There are bad people everywhere - hell even some trans folk have recently been writing stuff like "Ron Gold was right", and that's a pretty strong indication of being a bad person.
But they are not everyone.
And so, given I plan to be elected, I have to make sure that I meet their desires as well.
That's the way it works. A lot of people have difficulty with that. It does not mean that I have to abandon my goals for LGBT folks - indeed, since I view LGBT folks as having pretty much the same needs as the wider population, it's rather favorable.
In thinking hard on this, as well, it's important that I keep in mind the needs of the people close to me. And in this case, I'm markedly unfair.
In November of 2007 I had the chance to go "stealth" - to woodwork, or blend, or what have you. Now, despite some people thinking so, I do not actually find that doing that is bad.
More accurately, stealth is good for the individual, and openness is good for the community (or the greater number of people). Conversely, its bad for the community, and openness is bad for the individual.
From that point, how one feels about stealth is a matter of one's personal interest in the wider community. In my case, it's on a case by case basis - sometimes it's a good thing, sometimes it's a bad thing. You have to give me a situation, as there's no blanket statement that's correct in all situations.
In trying to get social services or medical care for the larger population, it's a bad thing. In trying to have a life that's quiet, well, it's not that bad at all.
Those closest to me know this is my goal. They also know I am going to do this, and as once I've decided to do something I tend to do it, it's happening, and the chips and bits and pieces of battered and bloody bodies will fall where they will.
It may mean I lose my relationships. That's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. I won't be making a third career of this, after all, so anything that happens is going to be short term, and people have surprisingly short memories.
Going forward, I will talk about the process of actually starting this run, in both the greater details and the little personal things, so we can all see what goes into it.
As for me, I plan to look at it the way I look at everything: as an adventure.