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Hate Crimes Bill A Victory?

Submitted by Andrew

The “Hate Crimes” bill is an aspirin to the LGBT Equality headache. A little something for the symptom, but nothing for the problem.  It does not create or contribute to our equality.

HRC and other professional LGBT advocacy groups operate with a mindset that seeks to delay equality for as long as possible. They have no incentive to do anything quickly. Because of this – most of our donations are wasted on salaries, not strategies.

Equality is something we – as a movement – will have to do. We are not much closer to equality than we were 40 years ago and WE DO NOT HAVE A MOVEMENT.  If we did,  more than 10% of our Community would actually be involved.

The Hate Crimes Bill may have a placebo effect and lessen our pain and frustration for a moment – but, it should not be celebrated as a “victory.” It does not contribute to our equality – it only punishes bad behavior.

Our equality relies on changing minds (like these young men were doing in Maine, door-to-door: http://www.queerty.com/2-minutes-of-your-time-a-maine-marriage-equality-canvassing-diary-20091030/) and not on changing laws. Laws do not create equality – people do.

Collectively we seem to keep obscuring the real goal – equality.  “Equal Rights” are not equality.  Making us a “special class,” “protected class” or a “minority” only perpetuate our differences – instead of confirming our “sameness.”  As a gay white man I do not want to be “tolerated” or “protected.” I would rather not gain “minority” or “victim” status, either.  I think it is counterproductive.  We will be equal when people believe we are.  Unfortunately, the scattered efforts within the LGBT Community seem completely fixated on “equal rights” and not equality.  They are very different.

I am not dismissing any efforts or their sincerity, but I am asking that we reconsider our goal.  If we truly want equality we must have conversations with our fellow citizens – friends, family, neighbors and even strangers.  Two thirds of our fellow citizens will support us, but we are not having those conversations.  We need to.  We need to ask for their help.

Perhaps, instead of spending all our resources on political and judicial solutions, we should focus on creating a viable strategy and plan for our equality.  One that will unite our community and ignite a real, sustainable “movement.”

I have organized a series of meetings in Dallas and other cities to give full consideration to ideas, tactics and strategies that lead to LGBT Equality.  These are very honest, objective discussions that have delivered many attractive proposals.

I have done this with an open invitation to everyone in our community – nobody needs permission or endorsement.  This has lead to some very encouraging possibility and promise.

Please join us for these important meetings Thursday evenings at 7pm at the iLume Complex, 4123 Cedar Springs Rd. Dallas, TX (Enter on Knight Street). Or email me for Updates: [email protected]

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4 comments to Hate Crimes Bill A Victory?

  • Arthur Corbin

    Oh, Andrew, there you go again. You get yourself confused, upset, and off the rails. We had this discussion in the Dallas Voice some time ago.

    1)”The “Hate Crimes” bill is an aspirin to the LGBT Equality headache. A little something for the symptom, but nothing for the problem. It does not create or contribute to our equality.”

    This legislation does contribute to our equality. One key thing it requires is tracking and reporting LGBT hate crimes. Hearts and minds change when people see the number of hate crimes directed at LGBT people. Crime prevention and training dollars are allocated where statistics show a need.
    LGBT people are more likely to participate in the political process when they feel safe in their communities.

    Laws do contribute to equality. Just laws that punish hate crimes deter criminal behavior. Again, when LGBT people feel safer in their communities they will participate in local government.

    We are a minority. We did not make ourselves a minority. This concept seems to elude you. We comprise 5% to 10% of the population and that is a minority.
    Are you saying we should assimilate? Are you saying we should closet ourselves? I am a unique individual and the idea of adhering to some fiction of sameness is repugnant.

    Movements of all types rarely get everyone on board. The civil rights movement did not have all minorities on board or in agreement. 10% participation is good for a movement, 20% is exceptional. Are you aware of the 80/20 rule? We are too diverse a people to have one cause or one organizing principle.

    How do you arrive at equal rights do not equal equality? Equal rights enables the work that is needed to reach equality. Moving people from tolerating LGBT people to appreciating LGBT people has been the constant work of the movement to date. The process of enabling and creating change requires many methods and many voices.

    40 years of activism has created significant and lasting change. Belittling your elders, minimizing the successes of the LGBT movement, and being dismissive in tone and language is not acceptable behavior by you or anyone.

    Here are some questions for you
    1) What do you mean by equality?
    2) What should our goal be?
    3) What do you mean by sameness?
    4) Who are you? What is you last name?
    5) What work do you do? What is your biography?
    6) Why are these meetings important?

    Please keep writing. Diverse opinions are valuable and appreciated.

  • Andrew


    I’m not confused or upset. I do not believe we have ever had a conversation, but I appreciate the opportunity.

    First, I did not suggest that any current efforts for “laws” was a bad idea – I said “equal rights” is the “default” goal of all LGBT persons. Clearly, equality would be a much better result than laws that can only punish and do not actually “protect” anyone. Without an accompanying “security force” the Hate Crimes Bill doesn’t protect us, it simply makes the punishment more severe. Plus, this law does nothing to “change any minds.” That is the bigger problem.

    I also think it is counterproductive to seek “minority status,” and I don’t not mean statistical, as you have suggested, but in the legal sense, as a “protected class.” This willingly makes us a subordinate group whose members have significantly less control or power over their lives than members of a dominant or majority group – everyone else. I think we have plenty of control over our lives – IF we chose to use it. We are suffering from the “beliefs” of others, not because we have something wrong with us or from anything physically or mentally challenged. We shouldn’t promote anything that even suggests there is something “wrong” with us. That just defeats the idea that we are equal.

    I think you would agree that if we were “equal” we wouldn’t be having this conversation. There would be no need for laws or protected status, because we wouldn’t be hated or discriminated against. That’s the problem with the LGBT Equal Rights effort – it isn’t really about our “equality.” It does not seek to end the beliefs about us, but instead it unwittingly amplifies those beliefs with the need for protection.

    Our problem, as homosexuals, is that people believe we are wrong, defective or dangerous. That is a false belief, but it has defined us for 2,000 years. We do NOTHING to change or modify that belief. Laws do not change those beliefs. Conversation does. Sharing does. Enlightenment does. I do not mean asking (begging) for acceptance or “tolerance,” either – there is nothing wrong with us and therefore no need for tolerance. Laws punishing intolerance only promote the idea we need to be tolerated.

    While I am not suggesting that we abandon our legal and legislative efforts, but I am suggesting that we create a strategy that is focused on our equality and not the lesser goal of equal rights. Equality is far more important than equal rights. To that end I have invested in a significant amount of research to determine who and how many of our fellow citizens believe we are “less-than-equal” and why they believe that. I have also explored how “certain” they are in those beliefs AND what it would take to get them on the side of equality – our side.

    I have held a series of off-the-record, informal meetings in Dallas and other cities to explore – honestly and objectively – the current status of the LGBT “movement.” I invited ANYONE that cares about our equality. I did this in a manner that would not publicly challenge (or criticize) ideas until they are fully vetted. It has intentionally been semi-anonymous and I did this to remove the idea that only certain groups (LGBT Establishment) could express ideas or develop strategies. We have also provided an environment for individuals to be very open and expressive about current efforts – without the risk of retaliation or ridicule. One of the well-funded LGBT organizations has already demanded that their Board Members NOT attend these meetings. No big surprise there, but the willful failure to even listen to sincere criticism is very telling. Beyond arrogance, I suppose.

    Our meetings been very helpful, very honest and they have produced some very innovative ideas. That, in my opinion, makes them very important. My background is not the non-profit sector or LGBT activism. I have spent my life working with entrepreneurs that seek solutions to problems and develop new ideas in the face of opposition and disbelief. Part of that experience is present in these meetings, tempered by my hopeful belief that we CAN actually create our own equality.

    These meetings have also created possibility and promise – a few things that are painfully absent in the LGBT community (and movement). “One of these days” isn’t good enough. “Maybe in my lifetime” is not inspiring or comforting. HOW and WHEN would be nice. That’s our goal.

    In that regard, we have some very good news: We CAN create our equality and we can create a real, sustainable “movement.” I differ with your assessment that 10-20% is “good” or “exceptional.” I think it’s pathetic and very telling. Perhaps, in this regard, we may differ greatly. I think the lack of a “winnable” strategy and a unified movement is the real reason participation is so low. Instead of viewing very weak participation as some sort of victory, I think it tells all of us THAT WE ARE FAILING. It tells us that we absolutely MUST figure out HOW and WHEN we can achieve our equality and do it in a manner that will inspire the majority of our community. I do not think we, as a community, actually apathetic – we just haven’t been given anything meaningful to do (for our equality) and we haven’t been asked to participate in something that WE BELIEVE could actually create that equality.

    If you need some evidence, consider this: as many as half of us are not even “out” yet. Many don’t feel safe enough taking that next step because as a community we haven’t supported that enough. We haven’t sought to re-brand the whole idea of being homosexual or done anything proactive to remove the lingering stigma of “gay.” Calling people out for homophobia or bigotry is reactionary. Perhaps, with all the millions we spend, we might focus on redefining who we really are. We might have media campaigns that actually present us positively – instead of just the defensive, reactionary posturing in referendums.

    I would ask you to, at the least, suspend your belief that anything we are doing is “belittling your elders, minimizing the successes of the LGBT movement, and being dismissive in tone and language.” (Your words). Instead, I ask you to consider the possibility that our community needs more accountabilty, more imagination and more participation.

    More than 100 people have participated in this effort and the group is age-blind, color-blind, status-blind and LGBT organization-blind. In most cases, I don’t know their full names or their backgrounds. I care much less where someone has come from, than where they wish to get. We want equality – full equality. That’s what we’re trying to figure out and then develop a comprehensive strategy. Our so-called movement DOES NOT have a strategy. In fact, there have been NO suggestions to the contrary.

    Please, consider the difference in achieving equality – the voluntary belief by a majority of our fellow citizens that we are “equal” – to the continued effort to gain a special or protected status, which only serves to perpetuate our differences, instead of celebrating our sameness. To do so, imagine life if homosexuals were never “made wrong” in the first place – THAT is the goal and it IS achievable.

    It would be great if you would participate in this very positive conversation – here online or in person. Our equality is our responsibility. Everyone’s opinions and ideas are valuable.

    We will be equal, when people believe we are.

    Thank-you for your comment.

    - Andrew

  • N02157053

    David Zornetsky:

    Homophobia should be classified as a mental illness.

  • N02157053

    David Zornetsky:

    People who fear everything that is different should be classified as mentally ill.

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