As a Queer Man, activist, and participant (not actual occupier) in the OccupyLA movement, I’ve felt challenged by the lack of an active LGBTQ affinity group and an agenda for visible participation in the occupation. I feel a very welcoming space here and see this as a natural place for alliance building and also a space to articulate my/our issues. I’d like to see more alliance/participation(?) by/with some of our own organizations. As such, I’d like to start a dialogue around some of my ideas. I’ve tried to be visibly Queer in my own participation, and I know there are LGBTQ folk and vocal allies here!
So to get the ball rolling, I’ll take some initiative. I try to get to GA and the encampment when I can. I will be here on Wednesday (10/19) starting at 1:00pm (until 4:00ish) on the South side with a Rainbow Flag to designate a meeting spot. I would like to invite ANYONE interested in such an affinity group or issues I have articulated below to join me for conversation and brainstorming. I’ll get this posted on the Event Calendar as well. Things get started by someone taking the initiative, so that’s what I’m trying to do. I posted my thinking and rough idea for, of all things, a Proposal or Strategy (talking points) below.
I would hope there would be some interest, and I’d also like to do some outreach to our organizations out there. What do you think?
If you are able and interested in discussing this or have your own ideas, please join me.
MY OWN ideas for some talking points for framing the issue and discussion---
In my view, The Occupy Movement seeks to establish a new paradigm defining a ‘political system’ whose function is focused on human needs rather than corporate greed and the establishment of a new social contract placing people before profits. Our current system has placed the pursuit of profit above all other goals and needs to the detriment of the environment, peoples’ health, a fair standard of living for everyone, vibrant and healthy communities providing accessible childcare, education, green space, infrastructure, etc. and a society where all are treated equally in terms of civil rights and benefits, personal safety and freedom from discrimination.
One of the status quo’s favorite tactics is to create division and conflict amongst us by ‘minoritizing’ and ‘scapegoating’ certain groups and privileging others, so that some of us are ‘allowed’ to feel ‘more human’ or ‘more normal’ than others. The categories of such ‘scapegoated’ groups are numerous and media tools are used to ‘demonize’ the current threat to the well being of the ‘social fabric’. Some examples of this currency that immediately come to mind are the ‘terrorists’ (and by extension anyone of Islamic faith or Middle Eastern origin), the ‘gangbangers’ (primarily African American and Latino male youth), the ‘illegals’ (people of color, and other national origin, taking ‘our’ jobs and burdening the system), the ‘threats to family values’ (the feminists and LGBTQ people) and the plain old ‘abnormal and sinful’ (again LGBTQ people and most especially anyone who is gender variant) – I’ve listed the ones that immediately come to my mind, I’m sure the list can be grown!
A peoples movement must acknowledge that creation of these kinds of divisions seriously impact the quality of life of the individuals so being scapegoated as well as distracting us from the task at hand of creating a just and more humane society. Instead of seeing the 1% and the monetization of the political system as the problem, we get distracted in either fighting each other, or focusing on our particular ‘discrimination’ without building the kind of alliances necessary to address the systemic source of the overall problem. Each disenfranchised group develops its own political agenda and list of demands and progressives are often splintered into competing subgroups who also feel disenfranchised or sidelined by the larger progressive movement, and hence are reluctant to ally with (ie give time and most especially human resources to) a larger movement, since it will sap resources, strength and focus from their own primary issue(s). While we must not lose sight of the importance of each of our primary struggles, we become much more powerful in alliance with each other.
I wish to suggest that we unify under the demand:
Full Equality, Civil Rights and Economic Justice for ALL PEOPLE
Eliminate THEIR divisions that separate us via discrimination based on
- · Race
- · Gender or Gender Identification
- · Sexual orientation
- · National origin or immigration status
- · Religious or Non-religious belief
- · Physical or Mental Ableness
- · What am I missing or how am I not saying it right?
Of course, ordering such a list and developing the bullet point designations is a task in and of itself, but I offer this as a starting suggestion. I would like to see LGBTQ people maintain our unique and visible presence and advocacy, but also find a way to articulate our COMMON goals and alliance. While I do not wish to sublimate or minimize my own specific demands for FULL EQUALITY as a Queer man, and member of the LGBTQ community, I believe I become stronger and more powerful when my fight is aligned with a bigger fight for FULL human rights for ALL.
These are just my thinking points to get a discussion going – I’d like to see what comes out of it!
If this is of interest or passion to you and you can’t be around on Wednesday afternoon, please feel free to email me at email@example.com
In Queer Solidarity,