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Scorpio rising

Maybe I’m Scorpio rising and thus, outwardly careless and insensitive. Maybe I’m just a douche bag. I’d like to think I’m somewhere in the middle. At different times in my life, I have certainly found myself at both ends of the spectrum. But lately I have been called “caustic,” “vitriolic,” and have been compared to Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

And that’s just what my friends said about me. (Hey, with friends like these, who needs enemies?)

So let me take this opportunity to own what there is for me to own.

First, I regret disempowering the work of grassroots activists, in particular the ones working to secure the right to marry. I respect and honor the hard work, passion, and dedication that can only be found in a grassroots movement. After all, I am a grassroots activist myself, and know what it takes to shape change. My views, even when they are poorly stated, always come from an underlying commitment to make a difference, and a ferocious desire to see our grassroots organizations win.

Second, I am sorry I used the phrase “penny-pinching lesbians” in my article a few weeks ago. You should know that there were some actual penny-pinching lesbians that I was referring to – the ones who called in to Out-Q radio complaining the day after Obama addressed the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner back in October.

During the call, several women voiced complaints over the President having spoken at the HRC National Dinner, further stating they were insulted the President spoke the day before the national march on Washington at a “dinner for rich people”, and if he really wanted to make a difference, he should have spoken at the march.

I didn’t make that obvious and apparently offended some of the more frivolous lesbians in our community. (By the way, if you were one of those lesbians who called in, I actually don’t apologize to you, just so we are clear.)

Finally, I apologize to all the men out there who are brave enough to wear feather boas, Speedos, and high heels, all while marching in the gay pride parade. While I personally question your choice of self-expression during a time when the world is watching the LGBT community more than ever, you should march away!

Kudos to you for teaching us all how to exercise our rights (and our calves) at the same time.

Not everyone is going to like what I have to say, and many will dislike the way I say it. But I’d rather speak up and risk making an ass out of myself rather than be silent when I have something that I think could make a difference.

Underneath it all, I imagine I am as afraid as anyone else who gives a damn; afraid that there are teenage boys in Florence, Alabama (the town where I grew up) who continue to live confused, alone, and without hope – and who may be contemplating something drastic at this very moment, just as I did so many times as an adolescent. I am afraid that their situation won’t allow them to break free from the society that suppresses them.

So, when I see something missing from our strategy or our work together, I am going to speak up, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Because I don’t care how you feel, however, I do care how you lead and what you stand for. I am unwilling to sit idly by and watch thoughtless patterns of behavior – even well-intentioned ones – distract us from what’s important and what really matters to us.

But as unwilling as I am to sit idly by – that’s also how willing I am to admit my mistakes, to apologize for a poor choice of words, and to welcome a learning opportunity.

Scorpio rising? Yep. Douche bag? I can own that too. Committed to participate in this conversation called “Democracy” in a way that has people react, be inspired, and maybe participate, too? You can count on it.