Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Will Day W/O A Gay Be a Boom or a Bust?


Day Without A Gay

Today is the official "Gay" Strike civic protest for those fighting the passage of Prop 8. Day Without A Gay is the call for action for LGBTs and activists to call in "gay" instead of sick ostensibly to impact the workplace and show how vital a certain population is. The question is, will people use their stored time off or go without pay to do so under such uncertain economic times? 

December 10th is also International Human Rights Day so anyone can participate by volunteering as well. I still think this effort misses the mark and avoids getting to the crux of a problem that is multi-layered. Here in San Francisco businesses in the Castro District are not closing though individuals are free to participate as they wish.

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9 comments:

Brother OMi said...

another example that LGBT community just DOESN'T get it.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Some of them will do anything to avoid the pain of full examination and the discomfort of building alliances.

Michelle said...

I am so glad to see that you wrote about this.

I was fuming all day yesterday about this idiocy, "Day Without a Gay."

First, just for the record, I did not participate.

Second, had I participated, I would have lost my wages for that day, which I can't afford and am not willing to sacrifice for such stupidity.

Third, I read somewhere that this concept came from the film Day Without a Mexican. Which I didn't see.

But the underlying concept that I understood was related to the fact that anti-immigrant labor is a central issue in migrant rights struggles, where this country on one hand demonizes undocumented people yet lives off of their labor in specific ways.

So the fact that the (yes, white-dominated) GLB maybe-T movement would see fit to co-opt this with no perceivable analysis of WTF the relationship is between the -- whatever, the action if you can call it that -- and the actual dynamics of heterosexism/homophobia, and whatever the goal of the movement is, just had me fuming.

I agree with both Brother OMi and you on the situation.

Ugh.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Hi Michelle: Thanks for the analysis. It really seems like some people have tunnel vision and completely miss the mark.

Brother OMi said...

The movie "A Day Without A Mexican" was great. Again, the GLBT community missed the train.

the movie is a fictional story where Mexicans disappear mysteriously from California and California is somehow separated physically, electronically, and in so many other ways from the rest of the world.

the economy tanks and there are no regular services.

i don't know how they put those two together.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Now I have to rent this movie. That's why I love our little (big) online community!

Michelle said...

That this movement has any credibility AT ALL is due to privilege.

Oppressed people seeking to organize for change have to deal with certain realities of what it means to be oppressed. There are systems that operate to create barriers to organizing and credibility.

In contrast, this movement consistently acts in ways that are sloppy, thoughtless, lazy and/or otherwise unintelligent. And then when they fail (as in Prop 8) they whine that it was someone else's fault (It's Black people's fault!).

In any other than very privileged hands, this movement would have zero -- or less than zero -- credibility. This Day Without A Gay would not have been covered in the media, for example. And basically the movement would be a national in-joke. But the privilege protects this movement.

Just yesterday I had a discussion on daily kos in which I identified myself as gay through the use of "we gay people" and objected to the use of a separate but equal/water fountain analogy a commenter used (here).

I said that s/he should ground whatever s/he was saying in the actual realities of heterosexism/homophobia (here). This person responded in part with this:

"I could list you all sorts of specifics pertaining to my situation that would highlight the daily discrimination I face in not being allowed to marry my partner. But why should I have to?" (here) [emphasis mine].

And I responded that if we are going to be assessing proposed solutions (that's what the diary was about, a federal-level non-marriage civil union approach) to what we face in our actual lives, we should put out there our actual experiences so as to assess how a proposed solution might address or not address them. I asked the person to please list how s/he and partner experienced discrimination because they can't marry, and then evaluate the proposed solution in the diary against that. (here)

As of this writing they have not answered. They have been rec-ing since then but no answer to my call.

I have been mulling this person's comment over since then, the part about "But why should I have to?" I kind of can't get over it. I mean ... what kind of privilege leads someone to believe that they have no obligation to ground their call for liberation in their own and others actual experiences of the oppression they claim to be fighting?

In my estimation, there is a sort of dirty little secret that the "marriage equality" movement is trying to keep. It is this: if you actually look at the actual lives and experiences of an actual spectrum of actual gay people -- if you actually try to ground a movement and a strategy in THAT -- their cause would likely not be the one at the center.

So I think they don't want too much of the specifics to drive their "narrative" or their movement. Because specifics would threaten their claims.

So they hide behind other actually grounded and credible movements and other actually grounded and real experiences and dynamics of oppression .... and demand that everyone just accept their claim that we gay people are soooo oppressed by not being allowed access to marriage and that this is the center of a movement for our liberation.

And what kind of people act as if they are entitled to have their ungrounded claims accepted? Privileged people, that's who.

I am of course not saying the privilege is because they're gay. But -- and I hate to say this, but you know, I will -- but, if I was not gay myself and was watching from outside what it means to be gay and looking specifically at this "marriage equality" movement, I would strongly question not only the movement's claim abot the importance of marriage equality, but I would actually also be questioning whether gay people are actually oppressed because we (I mean "they" in this hypothetical) are gay.

Because this movement and its adherents don't ACT like oppressed people seeking liberation. They act like privileged people acting incompetent but expecting to be treated as if they're not, blaming other people for their own failures, and pushing their ungrounded claims about reality as if they are naturally entitled to be believed just cuz they say so.

And in the meantime, the actual lived reality is that LGBT people do face actual and varied dynamics of oppression in our actual lives because we are gay, across a spectrum that depends on all sorts of factors. But this movement is undermining those approaches throgh their actions. It's ugly to me. Just so ugly.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

So Michelle: Do you think your efforts at giving others a real critical evaluation are beneficial to you? Or are you expending time and energy? It's a question I ask myself as well. Are we helping others and what's the pay-off, or could we best use it for ourselves?

Michelle said...

Faith, I suspect that my own personal answer to your questions has no relevance to anyone but me. But I'll answer it.

I am built to detect dissonance so that it can be willingly corrected. That is what I am made to do. But in this society, I can't function correctly because what I describe requires willingness and cooperation and here that is not available. I have tried various ways to make this work, over and over, but have concluded from experience at this time that this society simply does not permit it (a much harder process of conclusion than my words here suggest).

But -- I am still built as I am built. So like anything built to do something, as long as I am animate I will try to do what I am made for. It's like turning on a machine in some ways: turn it on and it starts to run as it is made to run. I have more flexibility than that, but it has some accuracy to say it that way.

I don't think I can or do help others or the larger movements. My experience of these kinds of critical evaluations, as you call them, is that there is backlash of defensiveness from the movements and people in them when they encounter critique like this.

Sometimes, in some cases, they will play along and pretend they will change, have shallow discussions, and/or "anti-racism trainings" or whatever ... learn the language and make a show of it. But in my observation in my own life, those efforts have not been for real.

I don't think this use of my time is good or effective. But this is how I am made. So I do it because of that. I choose where and how to some extent, and my understanding of such things is always evolving. If me doing this here is in any way obstructive at any point for any reason, please tell me.

I am expending time and energy in ways that hurt me when I do this. Because I cannot do what I am made to do even when I do my part, and that is very painful as an experience in itself. And also because what I call "backlash" actually physically and spiritually hurts me as well.

I don't know how I could use this time and energy for "myself." For me I don't even understand what that means. Myself is built for the process of detecting dissonance for its correction. I can't do that here.

If I was not made to do this, I would probably assess it as not worth doing in this context (this society, this culture).

I think how I experience it is pretty different from others who might be doing the same kinds of things I do.