Waymon Hudson

Waiting for Rights Never Works

Filed By Waymon Hudson | November 04, 2010 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Barack Obama, civil rights, Democrats, DOMA, Don't Ask Don't Tell, ENDA, gay rights, HRC, LGBT civil rights, LGBT rights, midterm elections, patience, politics, rights, voting

It's been a common mantra coming from the Democratic Party, the Obama Administration, large beltway equality groups like the Human Rights Campaign, and many others for years: just be patient and wait. waiting-list.jpgWe'll get to you and your basic civil rights eventually, but we're a little busy. Stop griping and hop on board or you'll be a wedge distraction that makes us lose elections.

So how has that plan worked out?

The LGBT community has been blamed, cajoled, insulted, courted, and ignored depending on whether our votes and dollars are needed, yet when it comes time for real leadership on issues that matter to basic, day-to-day rights, we are told to wait. Now, after the disastrous midterm elections, we've lost the chance of a generation to push forward on civil rights and equality for LGBT people.

We waited and once again got burned.

In the majority of states, we can still be fired, kicked out of homes, or denied services just for being gay. Want to talk about jobs, jobs, jobs? Make it so I don't lose mine for mentioning I went to the grocery store with my husband over the weekend. Want to talk wars, terrorism, and national defense? Stop kicking out qualified LGBT service members to coddle bigots in the military. Want to talk taxes and "small government"? Stop overtaxing my family because the federal government refuses to recognize my marriage and wants to tell me who I can love.

These are real issues that LGBT people face every day. These are things that impact the lives of those that can't afford to buy their way around discrimination with privilege and cold-hard cash that allows them to "vote with their wallet" over basic human rights. To tell us to wait is to tell us to not live our lives fully and with the confidence in basic things needed to survive.

We've seen the devastating effect that societal oppression of LGBT people has on younger generations as bullying and suicide stories hit the news everyday. Yet have we moved beyond simply lamenting these loses and worked to force change that would make their lives easier? Have we done all we can or are we simply waiting?

We've seen the popping up of groups that go around the "conventional wisdom" of the larger equality organizations, like the Prop 8, DOMA, and DADT court challenges that look to topple bigoted laws that congress, political leaders, and pet lobbyists refuse to tackle or show real leadership on. These very court cases have been mocked and looked at with disdain by politicos, even as they force the progress we need.

We're at a crossroads. We can continue to watch our rights traded away in the name of political "compromise" or we can refuse to wait. We can say that delay is simply being complicit to bigotry. We can demand action and leadership even as we take the fight to the courts and the American public ourselves.

If we don't learn the lessons of the past, history is doomed to repeat itself. We can no longer be patient. We can no longer wait. Equality can happen, but we have to carry the load- each and every one of us. Patience in politics is a fallacy and the death of progress. We have to be agitated and engaged. We have to apply pressure. Waiting is never an option and we must never accept it.

We have to make our issues a priority, because no one else will. Lesson learned.

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neonskeleton | November 4, 2010 6:29 PM

It seems that we as a nation elected a man who ran on the platform of "YES WE CAN!" But we as a nation have forgotten that -WE- was the key word in that campaign slogan. The mindset has become "Yes, you can." We have surrendered the ardent enthusiasm that swelled college campuses across the nation in 2008, and we have become lame duck constituents as a result. In 2008 we realized the power that we, mere children compared to the political machine, have power, but we only have power as long as we use it.

Sadly many Gays who have good jobs, comfortable homes, travel, and have a great circle of friends do not feel they could be subjected to discrimination.

It is next to impossible to attempt to have a meaning dialog with them. They either have "rose-color glasses" on or simply don't get it.

Sadly like the number of people who vote in elections ( roughly around 40% I believe ) so too seems to be the percentage of those in the LGBT community that show up when the question comes down to Equality. As you point out those who move in the social groups that do not seem to give them a problem see no reason to get involved, just like those who fall under the umbrella of being Transgendered often remain deeply hidden in the closet. I have run into many in my travels online who either remain in the closet about their being transgendered because they are part time, and otherwise support people who would deny rights to the Transgendered, or those who are so fortunate to be fully in "Stealth" and unwilling to stand up to be counted as Transgendered. I know personally argue in favor of removal of DOMA and DADT even those do not effect me personally. Why because I firmly believe we will not see Equity until and unless we all stand for it together.

"We have to be agitated and engaged. We have to apply pressure."

How will that get 60 LGBT-supportive US Senators?

We take them, neighborhood by neighborhood, letter by letter. Will you write a letter with me? Will you get five friends to do the same? Will you repeat with phone calls, emails? Can you get five friends to do the same?

You do not wait for power, you create it. Let me know if you are interested. Anyone else have five friends?

Great idea.

We have to educate, enlighten and enroll neighbors, friends, co-workers and even strangers.

I will shut up when I am offered and extended the same respect and liberties as the next. Eventually one day... gays will finally be given the same rights as others so why not today? I don't care if it's the Democrats, Republicans, Tea Party, Green Party, The Baptist Church or the Pope that helps us lead this movement I'm just tired of waiting and fighting for what is fair.

Waymon I have a really,really awesum idea but I need help from the right people to get it going.I need to start a political non profit and patent multiple versions of the name.I need people that are willing to work with me that have knowledge about these things and that are willing to sign non disclosure forms so that the idea doesn't get released before it's ready.I called One Iowa's political director today but he hasn't returned my call yet.My idea will work on the national level and it will take on the religious right in ways they never dreamed possible.Trust me you'll love it if you've got one radical American bone in your body.Somebody please hook me up with the right people!!!!

Who waited? I don't see people waiting. I see people who lack the political power to get things out of the political process. And yes that sucks, but I don't think the narrative is that we've been waiting.

I agree - nobody is "waiting."

Activists love to suggest that the opposite of "in the streets demanding our rights" is simply waiting. They don't credit anyone for actually thinking, planning and trying to build support - because they don't do that.

They think the solution to frustration is volume. No wonder they can't think.

Until the majority of society including Democrats view Gays in a civil rights struggle, no progress will be made.

There are individuals in both parties who do not support full equal for Gays.

In the future, Gay issues will simply take a backseat to the "important" issues.

My idea tackles both the left and the right but if none of the powers that be in the lgbt are willing to sign non disclosure statements and provide backing it will die and that would be a shame because this idea is our ticket to freedom.

We still need to continue the fight. It isn't going to be easy or pretty but perserverance is the key. I will work with those who have our interests at heart. I'm not supporting those who say incrememntal equality is better than nothing. I don't buy that logic at all.

Those who allege to be representative of us must be put to the test to see if they are waliking the walk. Too many are only interested in getting their mug on the camera or being next to some celebrity or politician. If this election says anything, the real work starts yesterday.

My idea is about equality now and involves reaching out to the American public and getting them to remember the big picture they've seen to have forgotten. It will work but I need help and I'm un-willing to disclose it in an open forum because it is far to valuable an idea.

If you're serious, email me.

I would be happy to email you but I need to know your address.I won't post mine in the open forum because the last time I did I got spammed pretty heavily.Also if you give me yours it will go no further than me and I would hope the same from you.Is there some way we can exchange emails without posting in the open forum?

I just sent you an email with my address hope to here from you soon.

Amy, I am also interested in your ideas. You can email me at my junk email z.ubique at gmail dot com. I understand spam is dreadfully annoying ;-)

Rather than send you an email I am going to put a very small part of my idea out here then you can see if it grabs your attention. On Thanksgiving Day I believe we should protest at every State Capitol and in Washington D.C our Religious Persecution.We should call for the removal of all religious talk from politics as any test of religion for public office is a violation of the Constitution.Laws based on and pushed by ministers are shameful and reek of religious persecution.If we want our rights we must render the religious tiger toothless.Lets honor the Pilgrims on Thanksgiving and start the process of ending religious persecution in America once and for all!!!!! Invite anyone you know gay or straight(Wiccan,Jewish,Muslim,Hindu,Buddhist etc) who is suffering the effects of the Salem Witch hunt mentality.

If you're referring to gays themselves, then I don't think anyone is waiting. Some are more patient than others with the pace of change, but no one's saying "DADT should really, really be repealed in 2014, and we have to wait until then."

If you're referring to Politicians, few of them are waiting either. Some are trying to do things now, others just plain don't care, and most are hostile to these laws. None are really just waiting.

But they do disingenuously say it's about waiting. We should be looking beyond that language. It was like the incrementalism debate over ENDA a few years back - no one who advocated incrementalism really had an incrementalist plan, they just didn't want to wait for an SO-specific ENDA (and some were hostile to the idea of trans protections specifically).

Joe Q Citizen | November 7, 2010 12:26 PM

Let's IMAGINE acting the same as heterosexuals--holding hands, kissing, and publicly displaying our affection for one another everywhere straight couples display affection. Then, let's ACT together to get equal.

Let's begin at midnight on December 31, 2010 in Times Square. Wouldn't we all love to see LGBT celebs hug and kiss? Can you imagine seeing hundreds of LGBT couples embracing at that moment in Times Square hoping together that in 2011 our love will be seen as equal?

We need a single idea that we can all act on together. We can no longer wait for our equality. We know that some of them fear our love, but we know our love for one another cannot really harm them.