I don’t like to nag … ok, maybe I do get a bit of a thrill out of it … but this important.
Between my many antics that you’ve read about -- “Nairing” my armpits; hosting WET Underwear contests; Facebooking; and watching gays play flag football – I do like to keep involved in the community.
Actually, I am sort of addicted to being involved with the fight for LGBT rights in our community and can’t seem to get away from it. So sometimes my friends have to hear me go on and on about all the “amazing” organizations I am a part of and why they, too, should be involved.
So if my column seems a bit “naggy” today, stick with it … there will hopefully be a point to it.
In November 2008, Proposition 8 passed. Us gays were angry (rightfully so) and came together in masses we had never seen before to show our collective disappointment in the voters of California and demand restoration of our short-lived right to marry.
In fact, in San Diego alone, 8,000 of us marched through Hillcrest and North Park the weekend immediately following November 4; and then, the following weekend 25,000 of us strong marched from Balboa Park to Downtown San Diego. For someone like me, who has been working on LGBT activism work in San Diego since I turned 18 in 1998, this was exhilarating and amazing. I had been involved in the community about 10-years and was running on burnout mode. What a recharge!
Dozens of marriage equality and other similar organizations formed and people were motivated and participating. Over the next couple months, it felt like I was involved in more protests, rallies, meetings, and other types of actions than I had been in the previous 9 years of activism! It was a very exciting time.
As the months went on, organizations that were formed post-Prop 8 came and went, actions continued, but numbers slowly dwindled. In late May 2009, the first test of Proposition 8’s constitutionality came and on “Day of Decision,” about 4,000 marched into Downtown San Diego to protest the unfair proposition being upheld.
It is now one-year and seven-months after the passage of Proposition 8, and on Wednesday, Judge Vaughn Walker will hear closing arguments in the current case challenging the proposition. The “decision” is expected to come soon after.
I have heard little buzz about this. People are not talking about this as we were a year ago. I must say I am just as guilty, having just recently starting to get involved with the charge.
I know, I know: the issue is being fought in the courts and the decision is really up to the judge. I get it. But we should still be out there every day showing people that we are here and will not tolerate anything less than they have (or, of course if you have money, keep writing checks to your favorite LGBT equality organizations so those of us who don’t have as much to give, can keep doing what we are doing).
So get out there this week.
TODAY Wednesday, June 16, there will be a rally at 1 p.m. in front of the Federal Building at Front & F Street. You might just see someone like, well, me, speaking, alongside several prominent community activists like Stephen Whitburn, Pat Washington and Fernando Lopez.
Once the decision is released, the folks at www.DayofDecision2.com are planning actions across the country, no matter which way the decision goes. Check out the website and get involved.
There is no need to affix a picket sign to your hand. In fact, you don’t even have to attend all the rallies and other events, you would probably turn straight - from exhaustion - if you went to every single event that was planned. But it is important that you stay in tune with what going on year round and keep the buzz alive. We still have a fight ahead of us and need everyone to be out there every day talking to people and putting a face to “LGBT”.
Besides, the harder you help us fight, the sooner we’ll reach full equality, and us activists will have to find something else to do with our time. So if nothing else, fight for the day when the activists stop nagging you!
Ben Cartwright is SDGLN's Higher Education & Nonprofit Liaison and has been a campus and community activist in San Diego for over 10-years. His community involvement began as a student at SDSU and from there he launched into a number of other community activities. He has written for a number of local publications including Update, Hillquest, and GLT. Cartwright won the Lambda Archive's 2007 "Community Hero Award"; 2008 Nicky Award for "Outstanding Community Activist"; and a 2009 Nicky Award for "Outstanding Writer/Columnist".