Every Single Day Must Have A Gay

December 9, 2008

Tomorrow has been announced to be a “Day Without A Gay.” From their web site:

The worldwide media attention surrounding our massive grassweb efforts for gay rights has been tremendous. Join the Impact was a HUGE success and will continue to thrive because of our efforts.

We’ve reacted to anti-gay ballot initiatives in California, Arizona Florida, and Arkansas with anger, with resolve, and with courage. NOW, it’s time to show America and the world how we love.

Gay people and our allies are compassionate, sensitive, caring, mobilized, and programmed for success. A day without gays would be tragic because it would be a day without love.

On December 10, 2008 the gay community will take a historic stance against hatred by donating love to a variety of different causes.

On December 10, you are encouraged not to call in sick to work. You are encouraged to call in “gay”–and donate your time to service!

I understand that the organizers of the event were inspired in part by the “Day Without Immigrants” protest on May 1, 2006. Judging by the state of immigration reform efforts since then, I would say that the 2006 “Day Without,” while gaining attention, ultimately failed to accomplish meaningful change.

I know that many, many people are frustrated and angry about last month’s passage of California’s Proposition 8. The “Day Without” web site also mentions the ballot measures that passed in Arizona, Florida, and Arkansas, but clearly the focus of attention is California. No such movement arose after the 2004 ballot measures in Ohio, Texas, and numerous other states. Somehow, right now, the energy and anger are coming to a head because of California, and many people need for an outlet. They want to “do something” and “make a difference.”  People want to act.

I cannot believe these good intentions and this energy will go to waste. However, in the same manner as the 2006 “Day Without,” I expect that the “Day Without A Gay” will not ultimately effect change. So much more than this is required, every single day.

On this particular day, those who are not already out will probably not “call in gay.” Those who are “out” and who have gay-supportive workplaces may actually hurt their allies by doing this, unless they are encouraged to work with their employers in advance to use scheduled time off. And of course, those of of us who self-employed like me, or who work in gay-owned businesses, are simply shooting ourselves in the pocketbook.

What troubles me most, though, about the concept is the very title. I can almost hear the homophobes hearing about the slogan and cheering: “A Day Without A Gay” is what they want to have every single day.

We cannot give them that satisfaction.

Speaking for myself as a gay man who has been out of the closet for a quarter century, I would rather see gays every single day.

I would rather see gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered persons, and other members of sexual minorities claim their freedom to be honest about about their identities every single day.

I would rather see people perform acts of charity, mercy, and service every single day.

And I certainly do not wish to participate in a “tragedy.” Every day in my life is a day with love, and I try to bring that love in ways big and small to everyone I meet.

Every single day.

Do you want to help the effort in ways other than opting out or “calling in gay?” The “Day Without A Gay” web site has alternative suggestions.

I would add that the single most important thing is simply to be out.

Be yourself, with everyone.

Every single day.

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