August 26, 2009

Michelangelo Signorile: "Why I'm Marching" (October 10-11)

Michelangelo Signorile is a leading gay journalist and activist who hosts a show Monday-Friday on Sirius Satellite Radio's OutQ from 2-6 PM (eastern). It is the most consistently thoughtful and relevant LGBT oriented program broadcast nationally that we've heard.

That's why we believe you should care about the essay he wrote for The Advocate explaining why he will be participating in the upcoming National Equality March in Washington, DC on October 10-11. Here's an excerpt:

A lot of people are saying we need to think big -- real big -- and that we need to stop denigrating ourselves by settling for crumbs, which we never get anyway. Perhaps we need an omnibus LGBT rights bill that covers everything -- go for it all, and leave it at the feet of Congress. Maybe we should amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include us. What about going for the most urgent things rather than the easiest—like pushing hard for the president to issue a moratorium on “don’t ask, don’t tell” -- something he has disingenuously said he can’t do and that gay groups more or less have given him a pass on -- rather than sitting idly by and watching careers be destroyed while we continue to investigate options for overturning the policy?

It’s time for these new, even risky approaches, and it’s time to ask for it all -- now. That’s why I’m going to Washington for the National Equality March -- called for by legendary activists David Mixner and Cleve Jones -- even though, like others, I wasn’t initially down with the idea. It’s time the rest of us showed up on the National Mall and let Obama know that the cocktail party crowd -- the suck-ups, the sycophants, and the scaredy-cats -- doesn’t represent us. We want full equal rights (or at least see a substantial commitment to moving in that direction) -- not photo ops and wine spritzers.

It’s not that I was ever really opposed to the idea of a march. To the contrary, as listeners to my Sirius/XM radio show know, I’ve been talking about marching on Washington ever since the morning after Election Day. For me, it’s been a matter of historical precedent: The black civil rights movement wisely took advantage of a window of opportunity in 1963, when Democrats controlled both the White House and Congress. Republicans could no longer be blamed for the lack of civil rights protections, and marchers knew that media attention would put pressure on the Democrats and shame them into action.

We have that same window of opportunity today.

Click here to read the rest of Signorile's essay.

For what it's worth, we also plan to participate in this march. While we're not totally convinced that this is the right action at the right time, we are open to the possibility that it might be. Given that it's right in our back yard, we feel it would be disengenuous of us to promote LGBT equality while siting in the comfort of our homes yet be unwilling to literally take a step out and join those voices raised for equality.

We'll pray that the subway doesn't breakdown--that's been a major problem recently.

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