By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Bill Lippert, the openly gay vice chairman of Vermont‘s House Judiciary Committee, told The Advocate, the national gay newsmagazine, that he believes the Vermont law will provide a renewed sense of hope to gays and lesbians nationally, especially in the wake of Proposition 22, the anti-gay-marriage ballot measure passed in a landslide by California voters last March. Others are more skeptical. “You think you will see the alliance between the judicial and legislative branches that you saw in Vermont in a country where the president, and maybe even the Congress, are Republican?” asks Liberty Hill’s Osborn.
Worries about a Bush victory are accomplishing more than just banding together the few grassroots activists who have survived AIDS and corporatization. Carol Anderson, the organizer behind the fledgling statewide grassroots organization CAPE, wants to do for young gays what No on Knight failed to do: Give the new generation of young gays and lesbians a “political meaning and purpose besides substance abuse and acting out as a way of holding themselves together.” Her group represents California‘s first effort to put together a statewide grassroots network that can mobilize gays at the drop of a hat when a Bush or a Rogan threatens gay civil life and make California the next state to pass a civil-union law like Vermont’s. More socially progressive than the Sacramento-based LIFE Lobby, which died a financial death two years ago, CAPE is poised to join with other socially progressive groups and bring gay liberation back to America as a force for civic involvement and social transformation.
Anderson isn‘t the only gay leader “sick and tired” of single-issue politics and the gay-community infighting and assimilation that accompanies the current breakdown of the gay-liberation vision. “I believe that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered folk are not just here on this Earth to get their equal rights,” comments the Task Force’s Vaid, “but to band together with others who care about fairness, economic equality and social justice so as to birth a more mature society. If people are naive enough to think that we can continue on this single-issue path for the next 30 years, not only will history pass us by, but we will have sacrificed what is most essential and contributive about our queerness just because we were so desperate to fit in.” Torie Osborn agrees: “It‘s up to us to see the hypocrisy of trying to put together a democracy based on the concept of equality while secretly getting off on an economy with ever greater degrees of economic inequality. But right now we’re in the dark as to how gay pride can unite us in a stronger sense of community and society.”
Perhaps that‘s because assimilation manages to kill the unique “gay spirit” that brought forward the gay-liberation movement in this country in the first place, in 1950 (Harry Hay’s Mattachine Society) and then in 1969 (the Stonewall Rebellion). In other words, gay people are not like other people; they are the only ones who hear a “call” to love differently and are forced to break from family values -- a difficult thing to do -- if they are to love with any dignity.
Denying the likelihood of a Bush presidency is the very problem that creates oppression: Gay people haven‘t a clue about their true power and potential. Come November, this could mean that the gay community as a whole will be asleep at the wheel while the Trojan horse of “compassionate conservatism” steamrolls its way into national power. It will take more than a few gays -- and not just the so-called leaders -- to wake up and stop it.#