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Underdoggery: can we get over it?

Don’t get me started on the ‘organized’ response to Prop 8. Or Carrie Prejean. Or Amazonfail. But all of these kerfuffles taken together seem to be the start of a dangerous, if annoying, phenomenon. It’s that LGBT folks are squandering the media attention, social space, and otherwise opportunity to be proactive in our post-Bush happyfuntimes.

I keep hearing grumblings and whinings that President Obama isn’t doing enough to push LGBT agenda items. But, wait, hold on guys– that’s not his job! His job is to execute policy and law. It’s still up to us to raise awareness of our issues among our friends, family, and other communities, and it’s still our responsibility to educate our congresspeople, senators, city alderpeople, etc.

But still, I have to wonder at the underwhelming/underwhelmed “grassroots” of our movements. What’s going on here? Are people just too tuckered out from getting Obama elected? Too confused about the shifting balance of power among movement leadership? Getting all of their queer news from John Aravosis? Distracted by the promise of 2.0 technologies?

Or is it more existential: Do we tie the strain of low resources too strongly to the importance of our work? I mean,  now that we have social capital out the wazoo (positive polling on (at least) marriage equality, rolling momentum in heartland states), it should be so much easier to get things done. And yet, we seem to have lost the wind in our sails on legislation that’s been in the works for 10, 15, 20 years on discrimination, HIV/AIDS, bullying, immigration, and on and on. Is it only compelling when we’re underdogs?

I’m certainly not suggesting that moving on any queer issue is outright easy, but it’s got to be easier to drum up support on the interpersonal, cultural, and institutional levels than it was 10, 4, 1 year(s) ago.  And if we don’t act quickly to take advantage of the attention we’re getting on marriage to highlight OTHER issues, we’ll be screwed. Again. The far Right is already starting to regroup– but maybe that’s just the fire-under-our-asses we need.

What do you think? And how’s my tone– sanctimoniously prickish? I hope not. It’s late.


artist (music/poetry/film) with a day job (non-profit finance/operations) in the bay area.

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