Queer Forward: Resisting Bigotry and Struggling for Social Change

I am here to say that you are a special person.

Despite what the bigots, hatemongers, and hypocritical religious fundamentalists may say, you, as a gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgendered, pansexual, asexual or questioning teen have an intrinsic value which only you understand (this is to say that the world would not be the same without you). You were birthed to live a happy life and enjoy yourself as you were born. In a perfect world this would be automatic.

However, we do not live within a perfect world. In this life you have undoubtedly already met the ones which have caused you to suffer. These people shouted hurtful slurs at you, defamed your reputation, destroyed your property, spread rumors amongst your peers and even went so far as to imply violence towards you. Awful individuals these people are, though for the sake of convenience I shall,within this article, refer to these troublemakers as ‘pigs;’ because much like the animal these people take while never giving back; they feast your happiness and devour it without regard.

You may have wondered: how do I live the life I want to live? Currently it is impossible if you reside within an area dominated by anti-queer elements. The only path to joy under such circumstances is to fight for it, tooth and nail you must struggle for the change you wish to see in the world.

Before you go off and battle the forces of hatred though, I have some advice for you: keep it non-violent! Why, you ask? Because non-violent struggle has always produced greater results within a quicker time frame than those of violent struggle have. Those who have taken up arms to force the change they wish to see historically have initiated a process which often takes decades before any progress is seen; this progress is also highly contingent on bloodshed and unnecessary carnage. In short: do not grab a rifle and start shooting the nearest Pig you see! Wait, and read the rest of my article!

I propose Nonviolence; I will educate you as why I do and while doing so provide you with historically examples, tips, and advice on how to sweep aside your local Pig influence and battle for a queer friendly world.

A quick Q&A to get you acquainted.

Q: What is non-violence?

A: There are many definitions of non-violence but the key concept to remember when attempting to understand this idea is taken from the very title namesake: non-violence.

Non-violence is the rejection of violent action and the embracement of Positive Action which, as defined by the Resources for Organizing Social Change (ROSC), means “…courageous and persistent struggle—to create social justice or resolve conflicts while abstaining from violence…[as] whether physical or structural, causes harm when used; nonviolent action tries to avoid such harm while opposing injury or injustice.[1]

Q: Is non-violence passive?

Q: No, more often than not non-violence is the most demanding form of political activism because this path forces you to confront opponents who are often armed with nothing but your voice. Non-violence is the most active form of social change there is so it is impossible for it to be “passive.” To succeed in non-violence one must organize strikes, marches, rallies, walk-outs and more; it is far more potent than violence in its intensity.

Now that you understand what non-violence is and how it is a vigorous method to attain end goals I can move onto explaining how you are a Queer will be able to partake in liberation struggles.

All successful struggles have a single point in common: they were not undertaken alone. One cannot change the local, let alone national, political atmosphere is you have no base of support. So, naturally, your first objective will be to locate or establish an organization which battles alongside you.

As a queer this can be done in one of several ways.

The first is political groups which fight for marriage equality.

Within these organizations there are always individuals looking to further the shared goal; attempt to recruit these people to your own group. The second method is establishing your own group via a Gay-Straight Alliance (G.S.A). Legally, all schools which possess extra-curricular clubs must allow you to begin a G.S.A if other non-essential student groups preexist. If establishing your own group is not an option then consider joining a preexisting group. For the purpose of this article, however, I will be describing your options with a group which you have established yourself.

Q: How Do I Establish A Gay-Straight Alliance?

A: Founding a G.S.A is easier than you might think. All’s you need is a sympathetic teacher, or other authority figure, which relates to Queer issues. Approach this teacher, consular, nurse, librarian, and inform them of your desire to educate the school about Queer issues. Ask them if they would like to serve as your group’s advisor. If they say “yes” than you may move onto your next task of finding a meeting area.

Locating a meeting area on campus is a vital part of building your GSA for the sole reason that without a location to continuously meet your group will quickly falter. Finding an area will probably be easy since the instructor which serves as your group’s advisor will undoubtedly have a room to offer for your cause. If by some chance your advisor does not have a room for your club to meet then consider asking the principal, vise-principal, or responsible club management if there are any free areas available for your club to meet. If you discover that there are no such areas free then begin looking into whether or not it is possible to host your club at a nearby house, or community center (talk with the community center leaders about your intentions and hopefully they will offer a room for your club free of charge).

When choosing a meeting place it is best to choose a location which offers some level of privacy and is out of the way[2]. Without this condition you might find unwanted disruptions from loud students.

Once this has been done begin advertising via flyers and word of mouth immediately. Place the flyers in high profile areas throughout your school so many people will read it. If hoodlums destroy or tear down your flyers continue putting them back up; eventually the ones who are tearing them down will become bored and move on. Other than this secure snacks and food items for when your group first meets so that everyone will feel at home. Being able to relax after a hard day of school is important and food often helps this along.

When meeting for the first time discuss issues which are of concern for you. Talk about ground rules which the group will follow (codes of conduct, verbal language, proper nouns of choice when introducing ones self- male, female, non-gendered, etc). These basic rules will determine what the direction in which your group goes in terms of how everyone relates to one another.

For group tasks consider using the consensus style of decision making. Under consensus the entire group must reach the same conclusion before a decision is carried through. This is done by everyone talking about every facet of the topic. Those who disagree on a course of action say what their concerns are and from there the group can compromise and deliberate until a final conclusion has been reached. This style of decision making, while needing a base, or points of unity, for it to be truly successful, is superior because, “Voting is a win or lose model, in which people are more often concerned with the numbers it takes to “win” than with the issue itself. Voting does not take into account individual feelings or needs. In essence, it is a quantitative, rather than qualitative, method of decision-making[3] (For more information on consensus decision making see the hyperlink in the footnote).”

After your first meeting pick a date to meet again. Repeat until you are familiar with the regulars. Once comfortable you may start a vigorous propaganda campaign to garner more focus towards your club[4] (See footnote #4).

Q: Now That I Have My Group Established What Do I Do?

A: You begin the fight for the change you wish to see in society. This can be done in many ways through many different incarnations of non-violent struggle. First though, plan the logistics of your event.

Q: Should I Obtain a Permit?

A: According to ACT UP’s Demonstrators Manual[5], you should file for a permit if you intend to have blow horns or other such electrical devices, more than a hundred people present at your event. Obtaining a permit guarantees your presence there as well as restricts, to a degree, the police’s abilities to harass you. Without a permit the police may erect barriers to prevent marches and other activities.

Q: What Should I Bring to a Demonstration?

A: You should bring identification for the purpose that if you are arrested they (the police) will need a method of identification in case you do not show up for your court date. Unless you are engaging in militant action usually you do not need to concern yourself with proof of I.D. Remember that nothing illicit (such as drugs and weapons) should be brought to any political activity.

Q: Should Everyone Engage in Civil Disobedience?

A: Unless the individual has an outstanding criminal record with unpaid felonies than everyone should participate in civil disobedience.

Q: What Should I Expect If I Am Arrested?

A: The most common charges for arrestees are disorderly conduct and trespass (neither of which are serious ‘offenses.’). The next most common is resisting arrest (be aware that shouting, “I am not resisting arrest” will help you if you choose to engage in Dead Weight tactics; an instance of where you have your body go limp when the police ‘escort you’ to their transportation vehicle ) which is classified as a misdemeanor (chances are you will still be released from prison with this charge but the chance is higher that they will keep you when compared to the above charge). The only charge in which you will not be released from jail is Rioting. As described in the ACT UP manual hwere they describe rioting as, “…which relates to urging 4 or more persons to to cause property damage or personal injury, or participating in the damage or injury. If there are more than 10 persons involved and there is an injury (including injury to the a police person) or damage, the charge will be a felony – Riot in the first degree – and the arrestee will not be released from the precinct.” Those are the key points to remember.

For the sake of the readers more interested in the arresting process I will go over some of the basics of what to expect going through the ‘system’ when being processed after being arrested and taken to a jail. For those who do not wish to read/intend to be arrested skip ahead to the next section.

Once you are in clear violation of the law, or you have committed an ‘offense’ which the police deem arrest worthy, the police will move in and place you under arrest. When they place you under arrest they do not need to say those classic words, “You are under arrest;” they can arrest you at any time without warning if they suspect something is amiss. Likewise they do not have to read you your Miranda rights (contrary to popular belief).

Once they have the cuffs on your hands you will be taken to a transport. As always it is best to refrain from talking about your supposed crime: avoid anything about the subject, in fact, it is best to enact your constitutional right and remain silent (remember that classic phrase, “Anything can, and will, be used against you in a court of law”).

Again, to describe the booking process, I will harckon back to ACT UP with “You are Under Arrest” by Ronald Kuby and William Kunstler. Assuming you are charged with a “… E felony or lower (including misdemeanors) the police [will] decide whether they will issue you a Summons / Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) and release you, or whether to put you through the system, forcing you to spend at least 24 and perhaps as many as 72 hours in various…[holding cells].”

The chances of you receiving a summons/ DAT increase if you do the following actions: cooperate with the police and do not attempt to give them false identification; trying to interrupt the process by giving them fake I.D will only result in you receiving a much higher infraction than the one you are trying to avoid as an activist. Also, your chances increase if your original infraction, the one you are there for as an activist, was minor (such as blocking a public area) and if you have no outstanding warrants (warrants for your arrest, which as a new activist you probably won’t).

Now assuming that the police are employing the Summons procedure”.. you will be taken to a precinct house…” where a police officer will ask you background questions. “…[Y]ou will then be issued a pink slip of paper with a court date, usually a month from the arrest date, and place[.]” If more than a single person is arrested you will be issued, in most cases, different court dates (this is done in hopes of preventing mass demonstrations at jails).

The DAT procedure is very similar, only “…you are often fingerprinted at the station and the prints are faxed off for a warrant check. This usually takes about 3 hours. You are given an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper with a court date and a room number… Unlike the summons, if you do not show up on the date given, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.”

If the police decide to force you through the system than you will go through the precinct and be photographed and finger printed. These are mandatory procedures as they will not release you until you have completed them. Following this you will be administered an interview, the objective of which will be used by the judge in determining whether or not you are trusted to appear in court of your own accord. After this you will have to give the police the name of a trusted individual so they can cross check the information. This alone can take hours. Then, depending on your state and its laws, you will be taken to another precinct where you will be held in a cell for as long as 48 hours (prior to this they will take away almost all of your belongings)[6].

Sometimes, during mass demonstrations when many people from the same group are arrested, they will decide beforehand to engage in what is called “Jail Solidarity.” Put simply, jail solidarity is when people intentionally refuse to give the officers information, not abiding by prison regulations, and being disruptive when being arrested. The goal of many people doing this simultaneously is to attain equal treatment of prisoners. Those engaging in this tactic are likely to face increased agitation from the guards and prison staff[7].

Q: What Are My Rights When Demonstrating?

A: You and the police both have certain rights which can be exorcised during a political event. Under the first amendment you have the right to free speech no matter how controversial the content (this also includes mask wearing and flag burning). The police cannot prevent you from speaking and exciting a crowd, however, they can prevent dialogue if it appears you have incited a riot. If there is any time during a demonstration where you suspect that the police overstepped their bounds than consort a lawyer for legal briefing; guild lawyers are especially sympathetic to progressive activism, so be sure to inform such individuals that you are a queer activist fighting, for example, gay marriage.

Below I will chronicle events which would be of value to you while also proving historical and modern day examples.

Example 1: Public Speeches

Since the beginning of the gay liberation movement, public speeches have been effectively utilized to spread a single message towards a crowd (large or small). While most often held at Gay Pride events all you need are a permit and a public space to host any sort of speech. Fail this one can always speak at proper events where a speech about Queer life is welcomed; any location which gives you a platform to speak is an able opportunity to give listeners a piece of your mind.

Notice how the speaker, Mr. Norris, gave a fiery tirade about gay equality and, near the end, incorporated world politics. With effective public speaking you too can mesmerize masses and further your agenda.

 

Example 2: Letters of Support and Opposition

While on the surface it may seem that writing letters of support and opposition wouldn’t convince many people of much, this is actually a solid tactic to use when looking to garner support from influential figures. You never know when a powerful figurehead will send your organization support; this can be made more likely to occur if you go to them!

A great example how writing letters (and in our modern age, emails) can change the world can be found within the U.S holiday of Thanksgiving; decades before it was made an official national holiday this celebration was but a minor occurrence; a piece of history remembered but not spoken widely about. However, this changed when a lady by the name of Mrs. Sarah Joseph Hale began lobbying presidents. She wanted Thanksgiving to be made a holiday in remembrance of when Native Americans and settlers first shared a meal together.

At first Sarah failed: no matter how many letters she wrote all her efforts were in vain. However, she did not quit. She continued writing presidents, she continued to gather public support, and eventually, when Abraham Lincoln was elected, he bowed to public demand and pass a bill which finally made Thanksgiving a national holiday recognized by all.

As you can see, when used in conjunction with other efforts, and sometimes by itself if you are keen enough to write to a major supporter of your cause, something as simply as writing messages can reward you greatly.

Example 3: Mass Petition

A mass petition is a document which states that all of the signers wish for a certain amendment to happen. Often times when scouring the liberal and leftist political scene you will see individuals with various equality campaign asking people to sign a large sheet of paper. While only those registered to vote can sign the paper, this is a vital tool in beginning any major activist offensive against pig bigots. For without petitions many queer equality bills would never see the light of day within senate walls. Petitions are also a great method for informing the ruling powers that your goal is of importance to society.

As an activist group, your GSA, or whatever group you end up founding, can assist these campaigners in gathering signatures; going door to door, talking with demonstrators at protests, and so forth will reward a dedicated activist with a whole bounty of signatures. Mass petitions are often the first step in a prolonged equality campaign.

Example 4: Dissemination of Propaganda

Whoa, that was a mouthful, eh? You might be asking yourself: what is Dissemination of Propaganda? Simply put it means that you are spreading, giving out, and distributing reading materials which advocate your cause.

One does not need to own publishing companies to gain access to literature that speaks for your cause nor do you have to spend a fortune in purchasing pre-made pamphlets. All you need is access to a computer and a printer and viola, you have the means to print off dozens of flyers, pamphlets, and small booklets as you need for your demonstration!

Handing out flyers and pamphlets is a good way to raise awareness about your political objective. Such a tactic is a true and tested way to spread information and educate people on issues which they did not previously know about. While usually when dealing with handing out pamphlets and the like the goal is to completely rid yourself of all your material, never turn your back on a person who wishes to talk with you about what you just handed them; sometimes a respectful discussion about Queer equality can open the way for more support as the person you convert could have access towards more resources to help you.

Handing out flyers, pamphlets, newspapers, booklets and other reading material has been used for hundreds of years in European and American civilization. Many groups on the left, such as the socialist propaganda League, owed much of their recruitment success to handing out literature. During a large rally it is possible to attract dozens, if not hundreds, of interested recruits to your organization; assuming you are willing to hand out the material.

However, spreading your propaganda (i.e. point of view) is not confined towards simply handing out homemade pamphlets and the like; no, it can also include starting your own independent newspaper or magazine! If you choose to start a GSA than your school probably has means of printing papers en mass. Ask to use whatever device for your own group’s benefit or ask if there is room within your school’s paper for an annual, if not daily, section that focuses on Queer Issues (both local and national). While this is harder to accomplish the payoff is quite significant as it informs the public that your group means business and wants to get things done.

If you find that you are unable to start your own newspaper or magazine you should also consider the alternative-starting a blog or website! Starting a blog or website (why not both?!) is a great, and free, way to show the world your intent. Since websites are able to hold large amounts of information and exist in a temporal realm (cyberspace) you do not need to worry about content length or location; it always is there at its address, you simply need to include the address in your literature and boom, instant visits to your website.

It is common practice for those who are proficient in keeping up and advertising their blogs to become mini-celebrities. This is the case of Hollywood blogger Perez Hilton who after years of updating and propagating his blog he became a celebrity within the gay community. He was invited to speak at national marriage equality rallies and even have guest roles in movies!

What you feature in your new outlet is up to you, but keep in mind that cartoons, political caricatures and slogans always capture the imagination of the ignorant.

When you have dedication there is nothing you can’t do!
By having a website not only do you look professional but you also possess a tool that can almost never be defaced, or changed by those who oppose you. A website is a convenient place to update the world on your organization’s progress, while a blog is a fantastic way to update on a daily basis. I would highly suggest using both to the best of your capabilities.

Example 5: Picketing

Ah, the classic activist activity-picketing! Picketing is when you, or your group, makes signs and takes to the streets to voice your message. Usually picketing is done in front of buildings or offices which oppose your politics; this way you directly confront those who disagree with your opinion.

Picketing is easy and fun to do. All’s you need to get started is a wooden spike, a piece of cardboard, and some tape and you will have yourself a homemade sign. If you lack a wooden spike you can always simply hold your sign with your hands.

The effects of Picketing are to advertise and make your presence known in the community. It is more about letting the public know you are there than a means of social change (this is to say that unless it is on a mass scale you shouldn’t expect much in the way of recognition). However, as any political activist will tell you, never shriek away from activity: every bit is important, and sometimes you must slog through obscurity before you reach fame.

Example 6: Symbolic Public Acts

There are many public acts which if done correctly can connect with the audience on a very symbolic level. Sometimes this is necessary; sometimes o e must go beyond mere picketing and add a flare of the dramatic. While there are many potential symbolic displays I will lay out for you some of the more popular.

A: Deployment of Flags and Colors

This is quite simple really: find a location and set up your flags; there is nothing more inspiring than seeing the rainbow flag waving high in the middle of a park or heavily populated residential district.

B: Wearing Symbols

Another simple act-wear symbols which communicate a message! Symbols like the pink triangle connate a powerful yearning for freedom. Try and find T-shirts with this symbol or make your own with a pink marker and a white tee. Wearing powerful symbols happen every day and are a good way to strike up conversation about a topic. Case in point: you may have seen young people wearing Che Guevara T-shirts. If one were to follow this person around all day long and judge the responses the wearer gets from others than one can inevitably conclude that people do notice what you wear. This tactic becomes even more effective in large groups, so buy in bulk and outfit everyone with the Lambda, pink triangle or any symbol you associate with your group.

C: Prayer and Worship

Often to the outside world the Queer community might seem like a godless community because the anti-queer extreme right have, throughout the centuries, shouted how we are ‘abomination.’ Obviously this is a outrageous lie, one which has been countered very effectively by the left and gay Christians, yet there are still many who, for reasons multitude, believe the slander by sheer virtue of their ignorance.

So, how to counter such disgraceful lies? Well, fight religion with religion! Gather up a prayer group and go and pray outside of anti-queer institutions; for added effect bring in queer friendly religious officials[8] and shove the truth in the world’s face; nothing says, “You are dead wrong” than having a priest speak in favor of gay rights.

 

D: Symbolic Reclamations

By reclamation I of course mean reclaiming what was lost. Reclaiming can be a wide variety of events: it most often means finding a monument, or other important structure, and draping it with your group’s flags and symbols. While this happens usually others stand nearby and try and solicit passerbyers with flyers and other such propaganda.

Often time’s reclamation only ends when police or security forces remove your occupation and force you from the grounds. During such high profile moments it is best to wear vibrant clothing and paint in order to catch the eye of the populace. Reclaiming can be difficult yet of all the events here listed it is often among the most likely to attract media attention, so if you plan on reclaiming a structure be prepared and ready for a potential storm.

E: Marches and Parades

Marching and parades are a great way to put pressure on local authoritative bodies and show them you have the support of the public. While these events can only happen when you have a great amount of supporters, the reward is widespread media coverage and increased agitation, which increases the likelihood of attracting new members.

The differences between a march and a parade are superficial at best but are much needed when things get technical. A parade is a very formal event. You would be required by law to gain a permit and the actual structure of the parade includes divided sections for each faction within the marchers; so in this manner things are micromanaged and the masses know their place. With a March, however, planning is far less formal and the march itself often happens spontaneously. Usually Marches are smaller in scale when compared to parades so often, depending on your state; you will not need a permit. Marches are fluid in their bodily organization with no factions existing.

F: Pilgrimages

Pilgrimages are not often done for sheer complexity that it requires. However, when executed correctly, they can be a powerful outreach tool.

Pilgrimages involve a number of people (even a handful would suffice) traveling from one location to another (often moderate to long distance) over the course of several days for a specific event which they wish to raise awareness about. While traveling each participant hands out any flyers, pamphlets and such they might have as the purpose is to raise awareness.

Having a large support network in each location you pass is vital as you never know when a medical emergency might happen or when you need supplies. Places to stay at night is also a concern so ensure that accommodations are all provided for when your reach each locale.

Pilgrimages have been successfully used to promote many issues such as the AIDS epidemic, anti-war movements, and gay marriage.

G: Political Mourning

Public displays of mourning when a respected individual who fought for your cause dies can be another effective tool. Large scale mourning, such as vigils, can give onlookers and emotional charge. Use such unfortunate events to foster a shred of light in the darkness; candle holdings, mass prayers, and public grieving is most likely to attract others to your cause for the singular reason that publicly showing the world your grief and sadness over the death emotionally connects with the apolitical.

Public grieving has been used effectively after the suicides of several teenagers. These young people were perceived to be gay and after years of bullying decided to take their own lives. The emotional outrage over such a tragedy prompted activists to start and contribute to the ‘It Gets Better Project;[9]” an international virtual archive of people giving queer youth a message that someday their current despair will dissipate and ‘get better.’ Many famous people have contributed to this, including: heads of state, sports teams, politicians, religious figures, and your everyday people.

H: Mock Funerals

Speaking of death, Mock Funerals are an elaborate method to raise public awareness. A mock funeral consist of several protesters going through the motions of a ‘normal’ funeral only instead of honoring a loved one, the target is often an opponent such a hated demagogue, a corporation, or head of state that betrayed your movement. Mock funerals go hand in hand with other humorous skits and pranks (such as dancing, plays, and musical displays).

I: Walk-outs

Walk outs are often used during meetings, councils, and other bodies of decision making when one group feels that they have been so wronged by another that the only level headed response is to ‘walk out’ all at once. The psychological effect of a walk-out is to show that the decision reached was not in the best interest of the group because as a result a number of the people present, whether they were from the audience or actual members making the decision, left as a direct result. Seeing a good portion of the room empty can have a profound impact on how future decisions can be made. If you have a large group is sure to fill the chamber with your members and try and rig the percent so when you stage your walk-out it will result in leaving most of the room empty; this will give any reporters present a great PR (Public Relations) angle and it could work in your favor.

J: Silence

Silence is a classic tool. Not only are you promised the ‘right to remain silent’ but this is something no one can force you to do. Remaining vocally passive is often used when one must answer questions or give a speech or response to a pressing matter. Silence is very symbolic because it demonstrates that you staunchly oppose ‘X’ initiative to such a degree that you will not even comment on it. If you have a high standing in a community silence can be a powerful message to show where your allegiances lie. Silence can attract attention to your cause.

K: Renouncing Honors

Pretend that you were just awarded a prestigious community award in recognition of your selfless devotion to bettering the less fortunate. The award room is filled and all of your closet friends, family, and peers are there eagerly waiting the big moment where the mayor bestows you with your medal. It is a night long awaited by many who closely associate with you. Then it finally happens-the mayor walks up on stage and, after giving a brief speech about your accomplishments, dons your neck with your prize. Cheers erupt in the audience and many start shouting, “speech, speech!” However, in a dramatic move you do not give a speech. In fact, not only do you refuse to give a speech but you remove your medal and place it on the podium in front of you. Instead of speaking about why you dedicated time to bettering the community you decide to speak on how you cannot possibly accept this prize because it would be immoral of you to do so; it would be immoral to accept prizes while your queer brothers and sisters are unable to marry.

This is an example of dramatic protest, one which is sure to turn heads. It certainly takes guts to do so but the feeling of pride within you is unequal.

L: Social and Consumer’s Boycott

Consumer boycotts are when an organization stops buying products from a seller and attempts to convince others to halt buying their products as well. A social boycott is when the same event happens only instead of products the intended goal is to boycott social constructs; constructs such as, cultural institutions (i.e. marriage, and reenactments), upcoming events, and other events which require social participation.

The end goal is to force the entity which you are boycotting to stop a certain practice which you are at odds with (an example of this would be them donating money to anti-gay organizations). Boycotts are easy to start but hard to enforce as it depends on everyone remaining steadfast and refraining from purchasing, or attending, the opposition’s directive. Such an action can often only be undertaken by a mature organization, pending on your target’s size, but is a powerful tool that can stop your enemies in their tracks. Beginning a boycott is as easy as spreading the word through your propaganda and picketing in front of your political counterpart’s place of operation.

An example of boycotting working for the benefit of the gay and lesbian world would be when individuals boycotted “Dr. Luara’s (A renowned anti-gay talk show).[10]” Such an action raised awareness about anti-gay pundits and brought more sympathy towards the fight for gay marriage after the wider public heard such virulent hate speech on the part of ‘Dr.Luara.”

M: Militant Action

Militant Actions are not to be undertaken lightly. These actions are often going to end with the participants being arrested. Militant actions are used by radicals and revolutionaries when they believe that normal direct actions are not achieving the desired results.

Examples of militant action can range anything from mass vandalism to destruction of property (I, e buildings).

Modern day examples of militant actions can be found in the actions of Queer Nation and other militant queer groups:

· April 26, 1990
Responding to the 120% increase in violence against queers, Queer Nationals climb the billboard on the roof of Badlands, a Greenwich Village bar and hangs a 40-foot banner that reads: “Dykes and Fags Bash Back![11]
· In November 2008, to coincide with transgender day of remembrance, Bash Back! groups began staging actions in memory of Duanna Johnson, a transwoman who was brutally beaten by Memphis police officers and murdered while in the process of suing the police department. Many within the Memphis queer community are convinced that the police had a hand in her murder. Bash Back! Philly shut down downtown Philadelphia in a reclaim-the-streets style action,[24] Bash Back! Milwaukee dropped a banner on the UW-M campus reading “R.I.P. Duanna”, and Bash Back! Memphis had a hearse and casket delivered to the house of Bridges McRae, one of Duanna’s assailants.[12][25]
· “…[a] contingent from Bash Back!’s Lansing chapter picketed outside Mount Hope Church on November 9, 2008, several Bash Back! members entered the building disguised in plain-clothes and interrupted a worship service at the megachurch in Lansing, MI. During the late morning service the group dropped a rainbow banner bearing the slogan “It’s Okay to Be Gay! Bash Back!” from the sanctuary balcony and showered a thousand fliers exhorting sexually confused teenagers who might be in the congregation to “embrace and explore” their new feelings and assuring them there are many organizations supportive of gays that “enable you to be who you truly are.”
· “In 1987 ACT-UP had one of its most successful demonstrations (both in terms of size and in terms of national media coverage) when it successfully shut down the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for a day. Media reported that it was the largest such demonstration since demonstrations against the Vietnam War.[13]

There are many more examples of militant actions done by queer liberation groups, it can be anything relating to radical militancy; replacing flags, vandalism, and sabotage are all possible examples of action.

Example 7: Disruption of Public Events

When I speak of disrupting public events I mean the disruption of public events where there is something to be gained from the actual disruption; meaning, choose wisely as the outcome-positive or negative-will likely hinge on how you act.

A historical example of gay liberation activist groups disrupting public events can be found in the early seventies at the start of the gay liberation movement.Author David Carter does a splendid job in chronicling such an event in his book Stonewall: The riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution. During the morning of April 13, 1970 members of the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) disrupted New York Mayor John Lindsy’s speech at the Musuan of Art via a member sneaking up onto stage and shouting into the microphone, “When are you going to speak about homosexual rights Mr. Mayor? (243-244)” At the same time GAA members in the audience distributed flyers. When it came time to shake hands with the mayor GAA members would hold onto his hand for so long that police would have to forcefully remove them.

This is an example of productive disruption: attention is garnered but it is not negative attention as no one is hurt or the fact that the sensitivities of the event weren’t destroyed.

However, there is another disruption where the focus is on private events.

Six days after the event at the museum the GAA stroke again, this time at the mayor weekly television program. Buying tickets for the show ahead of time the GAA filled the audience with their members and as the mayor continuously answered questions members of the GAA would stand up and shout sarcastic remarks. While many of them were removed from the audience they made a point and eventually achieved their goal of acquiring a meeting with the mayor and an end to raids on gay bars.

Example 8: Cyber Activism

Sometimes it is necessary to go online and agitate. Online forums, debate sites, and news sources which allow user comments to appear are all great areas to argue for your point of view and desire. However, sometimes going above and beyond the call can yield tremendous results, as was the case of 14 year old Jonah Mowry who after uploading a emotionally charged video to youtube found himself the star of many gay focused communities. In his video Jonah intended to show the strength and struggle that it takes to be a queer teen. Millions of views tll us that Jonah’s effort to shed some light on bullying worked fabulously.

A rich history of direct action to be sure for the rich community of queers.

There you have it! Your very own blueprint for social change; I hope I did not make it seem too easy, for struggle never is, but with hard work and dedication to your activism you can make a differences whether it is by yourself or with a group. Remember, the activists of the past sacrificed so much just for you to be able to be as you are now-continue their legacy and rise and battle the pigs for freedom!
________________
[1] http://resourcesfororganizing.org/
[2] https://www.gsanetwork.org/resources…s-starting-gsa
[3] http://www.actupny.org/documents/CDd…Consensus.html
[4] http://www.gsanetwork.org/resources/…ers-and-allies
[5] http://www.actupny.org/documents/dem…nningdemo.html (Much of the following sections answers have been paraphrased from the text in the linked manual; be sure to visit the webpage for full details in regards to Civil Disobedience)
[6] http://www.actupny.org/documents/dem…derarrest.html
[7] http://www.actupny.org/documents/CDd…Jailsolid.html
[8] Both the Universalist and Methodist churches (U.S) have strong pro-Queer sympathies. Outside of those two there are numerous factions within other denominations which are comprised of queers; organizations such as: “Affirmation, (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints-Mormon)” “Affirmation, (United Methodist),” “American Baptists Concerned,” “”Dignity (Catholic),” “Evangelicals Concerned,” “Integrity (Episcopalians),” “Integrity (Lutherans),” and finally, “Unitarians for Gay and Lesbian Concerns.” –Source: Out in All Directions: The Almanac of Gay and Lesbian America (1995)
[9] http://www.itgetsbetter.org/
[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boycott…ation_and_uses
[11] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queer_N…Early_timeline
[12] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bash_Back!#2009_Vandalism_of_Human_Rights_Campaign _headquarters
[13] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACT_UP
[14] The Albert Einstein Institute was vital in the writing of this article, feel free to visit their website any time you wish to look more into activism and direct action.

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