Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

With friends like these...

Disagreements and misunderstanding among allies are far harder and more painful than the arguments we have with our sworn opponents. That's certainly true in the movement for GLBT rights. I had two experiences this month that just made me question briefly what the point of activism is if you're going to get second-guessed by your allies at key moments. These allies happen to be straight, so that adds another layer to the mix.

I'll relay one of the incidents. An official with a candidate called me and said, "I hear you're not on board yet." And, of course, these words were said in the strangest combination of forced sweetness and aggression you've ever heard. So I'm shouting inside my skull: "Who do you think you are? The great straight hope?" but I calmed down, silenced the inner drama, and said, "I don't recall being invited on board." That seemed to make the point without cutting off the conversation. It's not our obligation to get on board anyone's ship without asking a few questions.

I think it's hard for progressives who happen to be members of majority groups to deal with it when minorities decide to make up their own minds about which candidates to back, choose their own methods of advancement, or, God forbid, run for office themselves instead of rely on some pre-approved progressive stand-in. I think it's the type of difficult conversation we're going to have more and more in Tennessee.

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