Labeling everyone as bigots because they arent on the LGBT's side of gay marriage isnt the right way to fight for equality
This, exactly. "If you're not with us, you're against us" is a poor mentality to take (and I do believe a certain former president many of us dislike used a similar wording...), it alienates anyone in the middle who you might have been able to persuade and judging the entire group by the extreme is never a productive thing -- anything from extremism in religion to extremism in politics such as this, it's always a bad thing.
I also believe I addressed the subject of those who oppose gay marriage but aren't necessarily bigots and homophobes, but either that got skipped over or it apparently wasn't a relevant answer?
A really good point - my contention is that there is a difference between initiating dialogue with the other side and initiating it with hate. Jude said that the only real hope is to make peace with the people who hate gays. I disagree with that.
I also think that reliance on dialogue only is not the way to go - definitely it is a necessary element but progression cannot be limited to a singular path forward. Being yourself, being proud of who you are and disproving the stereotypes, labels and assumptions is important. Visibility - either in the small scale within your own workplace, circle of friends, family, etc. or in the larger scale through media, movies, social events (such as pride parades, film festivals), etc - allows people to understand that gays and lesbians are as diverse a community as anyone else. Legal challenges where appropriate, such as this one, advance things in a difference fashion.
I agree with you here. I think living your life productively and positively is the best revenge you could possibly get on naysayers and I would encourage more people to aspire to make themselves living examples of how to peacefully show that they can still succeed in spite of what they're given. There's just part of your post here that I have to contend...
Visibility is important, yes, but you have to consider what you're making visible. To me, comparing something like a pride parade to the actions during the civil rights movement is laughable -- in fact, coming from, for all intents and purposes, a bisexual woman, even my own support for the gay community begins to falter because I think pride parades are making an absolute mockery of it all. It takes a group of people who are fighting equality and turns them into a spectacle; how do you think the average, moderately uninformed American reacts when they see a bunch of dudes in rainbow thongs making out in the street? How do you think that affects how seriously they take the community and the message they're trying to promote? It's not to say you need to be hit with water cannons and tear gas in order to be taken seriously, but I think it's an interesting contrast to make in terms of just how serious people were taking one issue compared to the other. It's to a point where I don't even want to be associated with it -- any publicity is not
good publicity, especially when you're fighting for something as serious as rights and trying to gain acceptance in the country at the same time. Regardless of whether the community thinks what they're doing is harmless or not, you can't ignore what everybody around you is thinking, because those are the people you're trying to convince. Preaching to the choir is easy -- preaching to the jury is not.
I also agree with you that the GLBT community needs to take steps that may be uncomfortable for other people, but they also need to tread carefully and evaluate what kind of messages their actions are sending. Using a gay judge to pass legislation that benefits gay people is dubious, to say the very least. Making out at protests to send a point proves nothing -- in fact, I'd venture to say the shock factor is likely to drive even more away. When you try and introduce someone to something new, you typically ease them in somehow, dipping a toe in the water, if you will. It's not to say that gay people should sit and suffer for a few more decades, but there also has to be a level of understanding that change doesn't happen overnight and that you don't change hearts or minds when you don't treat them like individual people.
Truthfully, if I had to recommend one thing to the gay community, it's to cut the theatrics and show that they are
as diverse as they say -- that is to say that sexual orientation is not
a defining trait of who they are and it's not
the only thing about them. That they are doctors and mothers and teachers, etc., so they do
have something in common with "the ordinary man". The average heterosexual person cannot sympathize or relate to someone who says "I'm just like you," and then dresses and acts outlandishly at a parade devoted to pride for something they were genetically born with and had no say in acquiring. Yes, visibility is key. I'd argue visibility is extremely
important in order to make the gay community's presence felt and to say, "Hey, I could be your neighbor, your friend, your boss," but there also needs to be outreach instead of perpetuating the same stereotypes that the GLBT community abhors. Yes, I agree that things like legal challenges can be a good way of making your voice heard on a governmental scale, but again, that legal challenge needs to be justice that was fairly served in order to make it more binding, and there needs to be understanding that a legal ruling does not make the other half of the country magically like you. Patience, careful exposure, and a serious attitude are so important.
I should also point out that the 'well, just let gay folks get civil unions, they're the same thing right?' argument doesn't really fly because a civil union isn't a marriage. It's entirely possible to get screwed out of being on your partner's health plan (among other things) if you aren't actual-factual married. See this New York Times article for more.
So, when you hear Republicans touting civil unions they're not being anywhere near as charitable as you might think.
No, but when you're trying to win people over, you take small steps. The fact that they'd be willing to let homosexual couples legally join in another fashion is beginning to push in the right direction, but from the attitudes I get on this issue, nobody seems to really care about the moderate people who are so vital to winning more support unless they get it their way right now
Actually I know quite a bit, but I hardly see how that means a thing. That was when they STOPPED being all modest and polite about it. The Stonewall Riots pretty much sparked the gay rights movement as we know it today.
Except there really were no significant gay rights movement before then, to my knowledge. It existed somewhat, but was not active, which doesn't automatically mean "polite" and "modest", it means they were inactive and did not protest. The gay rights movement is not that old, especially not the most prominent portions.
Also, I suppose this is only semi-related, but I honestly don't understand how people can get squicked out by seeing people be affectionate.
Because not everyone is you.
Even if it was, and I know someone tried suggesting this wasn't a valid argument a while back, but I didn't see any real basis for saying that, since it seems to me to be a VERY valid point, but separate but equal is NOT equal. "We'll keep 'marriage' and you guys can have 'parriage'" isn't exactly fair, as it inherently implies that same-sex couples are not worthy of being "married".
Ironically, it also implies that people, heterosexual or no, who choose not to marry are not worthy of the same benefits of married people. That's not exactly fair, either, but nobody's really fighting for that. The law isn't fair towards a lot of people, not just homosexuals.
Besides, if you ask me, we should just let the religious nuts take 'marriage' and strip it of its legal benefits (a la separation of church/state) and elevate civil unions to where marriages used to be. I'd prefer a civil union to a marriage anyway, given I'm not religious and don't really want to be affiliated as such. If religion wants 'marriage' to be their definition, then by all means give it to them and they can be as exclusive a club as they'd like to be, but as for the rest of us, I think civil unions would be the better option for hetero and homosexuals alike.