Monday, December 8, 2008

A Day The Gay Way

As I was searching for candidates to compete for my made up award for Most Inane Method of Protest for 2008 (the MIMP), the "event" scheduled to take place on Wednesday, December 10, is definitely in the running and is a serious contender to take the title. You don't know which event I'm talking about? Man, where do you hang out and how do I get there? You lucky dog, you. I wish I didn't have to hear about these things. But I digress. No, it's not International Human Rights Day that I'm referring to (because that also takes place on Dec. 10, but it isn't a protest, so it won't be competing for the coveted MIMP award.). No, that event would be the Day Without a Gay. Wait. What?

That's correct. A Day Without a Gay seems to be named in a similar fashion to that of the Day Without Immigrants event that took place a few years ago. (Now that event I was looking forward to, as I figured that for at least 24 hours, everyone would speak English. But it didn't really happen like that. It ended up being more like A Day Without Leaf Blowers. I was pretty disappointed, I'll admit. And it's that very disappointment that's caused me to not set similar high hopes for this event. Because at first, I was pretty stoked at the thought of 24 hours without a mullet anywhere.) The premise of both is basically to make others aware of your presence by being gone. Ah, yes, the ironic protest premise. A classic. What?

You know, sort of like the saying "You don't know what you've got until it's gone". If you're not at work, people are going to miss you being there and doing the work that you do. That's because this premise makes the assumption that everyone is so valuable to their company that the place will just crumble if a day is allowed to go on without their presence. (And I'm going to just guess that that isn't always the case.)

According to the Day Without A Gay website (which is very colorfully themed, as I'm sure you can imagine), "We've reacted to anti-gay ballot initiatives in California, Arizona Florida, and Arkansas with anger, with resolve, and with courage. NOW, it's time to show America and the world how we love." I see.

While that's probably true, where were you folks when the "anti-gay ballot initiatives" were being passed in other states in previous years?! Because according to the New York Times (printing all the news that's fit), "More than 40 states now have constitutional bans or laws against same-sex marriages." Forty?!?! Folks, in 2004, "...voters in 11 states approved constitutional amendments codifying marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution", so sayeth Stateline.org. Where was everyone in 2004? Of 2005, 2006 and 2007 for that matter? What has y'all so riled up this time? Why is this different?

"Gay people and our allies are compassionate, sensitive, caring, mobilized, and programmed for success. A day without gays would be tragic because it would be a day without love."

Right. Because gay people (oh, and their allies! Can't forget the allies! Who are the allies again? France? Spain? America's Hat?) are the only ones who can "love"? (Frankly, love's a little overrated. Now, tolerance? There's one to think about. But I digress.) I was going to take issue with the 'mobilized' characterization, but I suppose it can be accurate. They might be 'mobilized', but they're certainly not very good at it. They didn't 'mobilize' until after Prop 8 was defeated. They didn't 'mobilize' back in 2004 when twenty two percent of the states passed anti-gay legislation. I can give them 'mobility', but I can't give them 'effective' or 'timely' 'mobility'.

"On December 10, 2008 the gay community will take a historic stance against hatred by donating love to a variety of different causes."

Is it a historic stance because of the gay thing? I'm just wondering, because stancYep, took it right from your MySpace! Thanks!es against 'hatred' have happened before. And as long as I'm on the topic, I don't like it when the word 'hatred' is thrown out there as the reason that anti-gay legislation is passing all over the place. It's not all about 'hatred'. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and say that a very small fraction of it is about 'hatred'. And here's another news flash on this same topic: Those who are against gay marriage but do not 'hate' people who are gay? Those people get angry when they are told that they 'hate'. That really turns some people off to ever listening to what you have to say. As someone with sage wisdom once explained to me, it's about people being afraid to redefine what a marriage is. That's not hate. That's fear. Please make a note.

"On December 10, you are encouraged not to call in sick to work. You are encouraged to call in "gay"--and donate your time to service!"
Oh, for cryin' out loud. What? Call in "gay"? Like, "Hi, this is Bob. I'm gay today and I won't be able to come into the office. Please see that Johnson gets the Penske account up to date and I'll take it from there when I return." Like that? Actually, the idea is to not go to work (again, because you're gay) and during the time that you would have been at work you're supposed to be volunteering somewhere. Businesses or organizations that are participating in this "event" can post their information at the Day Without A Gay website so folks will know what they're in for. From what I can tell, a lot of the 'opportunities' are not things that seem like they would take up your entire day as much as going to your job would.

I'm not so sure that leaving your employer short handed is all that great of a way to do....something. This isn't like A Day Without Immigrants, where the jobs that they weren't going to were jobs that Americans allegedly won't do. It's not like there are a bunch of jobs out there that straight people won't do. (OK, there aren't a lot of jobs straight people won't do.) But aside from that, if you'll recall, the "immigrants" (Translation: People who are in this country illegally) held massive, and I mean massive rallies and marches across the country, all the while leaves and grass clippings went unblown for 24 hours. You couldn't help but notice all of the "immigrants" on a day that was, as the name of the day implied, supposed to have no "immigrants". The No Gay thing isn't like that. It's....um....something different.

But it's unclear to me what that 'something' is. So since this thing is on the same day as International Human Rights Day, I figured I'd check them out and see what they're doing. Turns out, they've been doing this for 60 years, so they're old pros. They seem to spend the day with art exhibits, speeches, demonstrations and things of that nature to bring people's attention and awareness to the subject of Human Rights for all. There wasn't anything in there about volunteering. Not that volunteering isn't a grand thing to do on any day not just Human Rights Day! I'm not saying that. I'm just saying that for a group that's been promoting their gig and sending their message for 60 years, you'd think that perhaps those looking to attach themselves and their own movement/cause to that of the International Human Rights folks, might take a gander at how they have done things for sixty years and do something along the same lines. Well, I'd think that. But I'm not in charge of A Day Without A Gay (thank God).

You know, this is one of those things where the saying "Any publicity is good publicity" isn't necessarily the case. If a large number of people "call in gay" and then there is not a large presence of extra volunteers throughout various communities, it won't look good. And if this is about changing people's perceptions so that they'll vote differently, you might want to make sure that you're going to make a positive, or at least not a negative, impression. So far, this whole "movement" to have equal rights for those who are gay has been a little bit like herding cats. I mean, come on, there are over forty states with anti-gay marriage laws/legislation and now it's time to do something? Herding cats. And lesbians have a lot of cats, so as you can imagine, it's quite the chore.


So remember, if one of your co-workers can't make it to work on Wednesday, don't be alarmed. They're just gay.

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1 comment:

Alice Amplified said...

Aww, hell. I forgot to call in GAY yesterday. And I forgot to not buy anything like toilet paper and stuff also, because maybe "one of us" may stock the shelves.

Bad gay! I'm quite sure they will be coming to revolk my laminated card soon.

Come on guys.....having a GAY-OUT makes us so common, I liked it when we were all street-cred and shit.

Word.