Gay Rights Movement? What Gay Rights Movement?

13 September 2010
If there is a gay movement going across the nation right now, will someone please educate me? I don't see a movement pushing forward and changing the nation and society's beliefs.

This is my opinion of the whole "Gay Rights Movement." There isn't one. I know that people will say, "What about HRC or No Hate?" I say those aren't movements at all. They are very localized with no thrust behind them. In my opinion, these groups are not large or unified enough AND their supporters are a bunch of floozies that do not participate in their planned activities. In order for a gay civil rights movement to occur, the leaders of the groups must unite and learn from the examples of the original Civil Rights Movement and Feminist Movement. The leaders and members of these movement knew how to change the nation and the world. We must draw upon their examples (I'm not going to go in-depth on what they did, but I'll talk about the generalized basics).

In my Sociology of Gender course, I learned that in order to have a successful social movement the following three aspects are needed: leaders must draw upon frustration and discontent, the leaders must build upon existing social networks and organizations with social power, and favorable political opportunities. Then in order to form a social movement the following three conditions must be present: a precipitating event that creates a new consciousness among a group of people, that core of people organize and attempt to mobilize others, and that the people in the group have the same consciousness and desires. If we look at this criteria, we have already started a social movement. A lot of the movement started with Harvey Milk. First, he created a new consciousness among many LGBT people by showing them that they are equal members of society. Second, he ran for office, brought others together, and mobilized them. Finally, the people under his leadership had the same goals, equality. He started the movement, but with his death, it disappeared quickly.

Where does that put us now? We have part of what we need to start a movement, the collective consciousness. After Milk's death, the collective consciousness that he started has stuck around throughout the decades; however, the organization and the mobilization of others is severely lacking. This stems from the various organizations trying to get the movement going. Are the leaders drawing upon frustrations? Yes, but they are not using the frustrations of the people to progress the movement. I think they are using it as a publicity stunt to become social lights and nothing more. Are the leaders building upon existing social networks? Yes, but these networks have no power. These leaders have no social capital or power. Is the political environment favorable? Yes and no, because there are still some problems all over the nation with politics.

What are the problems with the movement? The gay rights organizations are not using their social power (well, the little power they have) effectively. Also, they are not mobilizing the people and the people will not mobilize themselves. After Prop. 8 was overturned, the west went crazy, but the east didn't even care or hear about it. There was relatively nothing in the news back here. I'll attribute that to the lack of power or the lack of using power from the gay rights organizations. In addition, I heard of no protests or strikes that went on the east coast after the overturning of it. Again, that is the fault of gay rights organizations.

Would you agree with me that the movement is not unified and mobilizing? Answer the four following questions and see if you agree with me.

Do you know where your local gay rights movement organization headquarters is?

How many of you would be willing to get up away from the computer and the comforts of your home to go on strike at your state capital or nation capital for weeks, months or years?

How many of you participate in publicized boycotts?

How many of you are willing to be completely open honest about your orientation (i.e. holding hands in public, kissing in public, having people at work know about your orientation, not acting differently around people who don't know about your sexuality, etc.)?

These are four simple questions I would like you to consider. I bet very few of you would do one or two of these, let alone any. I will admit that I would not participate in strikes and boycotts. That is me and my personality, but I know where my local office is and am open and honest about my orientation. I do not hide anything. If people ask me if I am gay, I will tell them. I act the same no matter where I am at in society. I am always myself.

Some of you are probably wondering why I am writing a semi-political blog then if I'm not willing to get involved in politics. The reason is because I am sick and tired of hearing people proclaiming equality and freedom when something like Prop. 8 was overturned. That does not make you equal. You must change society's perception in order to become equal, otherwise we'll be like the African-Americans after the Civil War and until after the Civil Rights Movement. Also, I do not participate in politics because I have yet to see a good organization develop with the necessary tools to cause social change. When one eventually rises from the dust, I may get involved (and maybe you feel like me so the movement will never go anywhere, but I am fine with my situation and my life the way it is).

Anyways, these are my musings. Take them for what they are worth to you or demolish me and my thought processes. I don't care, but this is the way I see the Gay Rights Movement, and I see it going nowhere.


boskers said...

I would answer 'no' to all four questions. One fear I have is of the violence. I know it doesn't happen a lot, but there are still hate crimes, even in Salt Lake City. I heard that a gay couple was murdered not too long ago for no apparent reason besides that they were gay. Even at the SLC pride festival, I felt very uncomfortable when I walked by the anti-gay protesters. Taunting and confrontation intimidates me.

At the same time, I've never been into the political aspect and never claimed to have a firm stance concerning gay rights, so I don't think you're directing your argument at me.

Eventually, when all my family knows I'm gay and I'm more comfortable with myself, I'll try to do my part in the gay-rights movement, but for now, I'm taking it at a healthy pace.

Jack said...

Before we ever change the public's attitude toward gays, we have to look inside and develop better attitudes towards ourselves. I realize my own feelings of self-hatred and shame hold me back, but each morning I try to face them and deal. That's the state a vast number of gays find themselves in, and until we can be proud of who we are, the Gay Movement will roll forward with a flat tire.

Christopher said...

Making me proud, Sean. And I agree.