Saturday, October 10, 2009

NPR News on Obama at HRC Dinner and the March on Washington

"Despite Presidential Promises, Don't Ask Don't Tell Still Rules"

"Since Obama took office, more than 400 gay service members have been forced out of the military due to Don't Ask Don't Tell, but the president has yet to take action on his campaign promise to repeal the Pentagon policy. He'll address the annual dinner of the gay rights advocacy group Human Rights Campaign Saturday night, and he'll likely have some explaining to do."

Audio from this 10-10-09 NPR post available at:

Rep. Barney Frank (the first OUT member of Congress) says tomorrow's [5th] Queer march on Washington is a waste of time. If we want to get our reps on board, we really need to write them as constituents. That's what the top lobbies in the country (NRA and AARP) do and it obviously works for them.

However, I do think this march will be a great opportunity for visibility and "coming out." Hopefully, more people have come out since yesterday's National Coming Out Day. Family and friends of those previously closeted can no longer say "it doesn't affect anyone I care about," or, "I don't know any." When it becomes more personal, people think twice.

But it shouldn't have to be personal. I wish we could all learn to care about issues even when they don't affect us directly. Straight people should be fighting against homophobia. White people should be fighting racism. Men should be fighting sexism. "Able" people should be fighting ableism. Christians should be fighting religious oppression for other religions. Cisgender people should be fighting against "genderqueerphobia" and transphobia. Americans should fight for the oppressions against those of other nations. The list could go on. People of any privilege should be aware of the ways they direct privilege and how it affects others whose native identities deny them such privileges. We have to take care of each other because we can't all fight every social problem as individuals and small groups, though we can get some big things started.

So maybe this march will re-inspire activists, bring in new allies, and create visibility. It's unfortunate that many of the reps will be in their states for the "holiday" weekend comemorating the commencement of the genocide that founded this country.

The two NPR articles (links below) follow the story in more depth.

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