I was asked to contribute my thoughts for a Washington Blade story for Pride weekend. They asked several folks a simple question: "Have we reached a turning point in the LGBT rights movement and what does the end of the movement look like to you?"
The piece is an interesting mish-mash of opinons from some esteemed queers like Rep Mark Takano, White House advisor Gautam Raghavan, Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin, and football player Chris Kluwe. Also featured is former Bilerico editorial team member turned Director of Online Programs for Freedom To Marry, Michael Crawford.
How I answered the question is after the jump, but I'm more interested in how you would answer it. Have we reached a turning point in our civil rights struggles? What does the end of our movement look like to you?
Have we reached a turning point in the LGBT rights movement and what does the end of the movement look like to you?
The LGBT movement will never die. Instead it will slowly amorphize as the dollars dry up and interest wanes. As we've already seen after the repeal of DADT, success means downsizing is inevitable.
Once basic protections for employment, public accommodations and housing have been passed and same-sex marriages are recognized at a federal level, LGBT people will become complacent. The fight for LGBT rights will move to the states as each one separately fights for marriage equality.
Groups that work on other issues will consolidate with larger organizations as funding shrinks and our community is mainstreamed. As with African-American civil rights organizations currently, a couple of groups will dominate the landscape with smaller orgs buzzing around the periphery.
I see Freedom To Marry flourishing by investing in these local battles and wouldn't be surprised if it became deeply involved internationally. It would likely require a name change, but it could easily swallow other groups that work on family issues like Immigration Equality, Family Equality Council and PFLAG. Established and respected organizations like GLAAD, Trevor Project, Outserve/SLDN, and the Task Force all do valuable work, but in the end could comfortably be incorporated into a more broadly invested HRC, which already has more funding and name recognition.
Sadly, many of these third-tier groups are already struggling financially and will always remain in the "also ran" category because they're not as well known. The non-profit industry at its core is a business like any other. As in the corporate world, the LGBT movement will consolidate for ease of operation, a larger customer base and maximum profits.