Tag Archives: Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center

Volunteering didn’t hurt; and let’s give ‘Day Without a Gay’ another try

So for “Day Without a Gay” today I volunteered at Sacramento’s local gay and lesbian community center.

Mostly I did data entry for the center, capturing the names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, etc. of people who had written their contact information on contact information sheets that the center had had people fill out at various events.

One of the center’s staff told me at the end of the day today that I and the others who did data entry completed in one day what otherwise would have taken three months. That was fairly gratifying. They fed me, too.

Anyway, I shouldn’t be shocked, but I am shocked at some of the negative response that I’ve heard to “Day Without a Gay.” The negative response demonstrates how much the almighty dollar is worshipped in the United States and how beholden the American sheeple feel to their employers. Why do we allow our employers to own us? Why don’t we own them? Oh, yeah: because under capitalism, we’re owned, we are the property of our employers. And they said that slavery was dead! Go capitalism!

Seriously, though, people act as though calling off from work were tantamount to murder, and very apparently the looming threat of being fired for calling off from work is enough to keep the sheeple in line.

While the gay and lesbian community center where I volunteered today had dozens of volunteers (I didn’t count, but I estimate that there were at least two or three dozen volunteers there throughout the entire day), apparently on the national level, “Day Without a Gay” was a bit of a dud.

The Associated Press reports today:

A daylong work stoppage during which employees were encouraged to “call in gay” to express support for same-sex marriage drew spotty participation nationwide [today], with some gay rights activists praising the concept but questioning its effect.

In San Francisco‘s gay Castro district, residents and merchants said they endorsed the message behind “Day Without a Gay” but didn’t think a work stoppage was practical given the poor economy and the strike’s organization.

“If we are going to make a huge impact and not be laughed at, then we have to take the time and make the time to communicate with all the parties. We could have shut down a lot of the hotels,” said David Lang, a San Francisco gymnastics coach. “In theory it’s a great idea, but it’s being done wrong and now that it’s been done wrong, I don’t think it will be done again.”

The protest, which a gay couple from West Hollywood organized through the Internet, was designed to demonstrate the economic clout of same-sex marriage supporters following the passage of voter-approved gay marriage bans in California, Arizona and Florida last month.

Participants were asked to refrain from spending money or at least to patronize gay-friendly businesses for the day….

Well, hell, my fellow fags and dykes, can’t we just chalk it up to it being the first waffle? There’s never been such a thing as a “Day Without a Gay”; let’s not panic if the very first one was a bit lackluster. I think it’s worth trying again — yes, next time with better organization and with better getting of the word out.

But there is the stumbling block that many people are too afraid to call off from work or even to ask for the day off (perhaps especially if they are in the closet). Face it: Employers have us whipped.

And let’s face this, too: The art of protest is on life support in the United States of Amnesia. No later than during the Clinton years, Americans became fat and lazy and complacent and fairly unmovable.

Our protest muscles didn’t become so flabby overnight; we won’t get them back into shape overnight, but if we keep it up we can make some progress.

However, we don’t have to rely on formal events to create change. More important than such single events as “Day Without a Gay,” we gay men and lesbians should be out of the closet as much as we can in our daily lives. It’s an every-day thing. People are less likely to be homophobic if they know that they know some gay men and lesbians.

Make every day your own little private protest.

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I’m a media whore.

I had a short telephone interview with a reporter from the Sacramento Bee today. She was doing a story on tomorrow’s “Day Without a Gay.”

Sacramento’s gay and lesbian community center, where I’m volunteering tomorrow (yes, I almost always end up caving in and doing the right thing…), was contacted by the reporter, and with my permission the center gave the reporter my contact info.

Her story, which captures our phone interview fairly well, is below; you will note that she saved her best material for last. (Hee hee hee…)

Dozens of Sacramentans plan to miss work, ‘call in gay’ Wednesday

By Jennifer Garza

Kris Applegate, who is gay, will not be at his job as a legislative analyst Wednesday. Instead, he will volunteer at the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center.

Applegate is joining dozens of others in the Sacramento region who are “calling in gay” to their place of employment as a way of highlighting the visibility of gays in the area.

“We’re everywhere — we work for the state, we’re accountants, we’re lawyers, nurses and doctors, we’re in the cubicle next to you,” said Applegate, 30. “Hopefully, this will show the role we play in the community.”

The national “Day Without A Gay” event was modeled after a similar effort by Latinos to recognize their value in American society. It was spurred by the passage of Proposition 8, the Nov. 4 ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage.

Participants will skip work to volunteer at nonprofits. A post-Prop 8 town hall meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Sierra II Center in Sacramento’s Curtis Park neighborhood.

The Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center in midtown expects about 30 volunteers will do everything from data entry to building maintenance.

“We had so many calls that we had to make sure there’s enough work for them to do,” said Bonnie Osborn, the center’s communications director. “A lot of the people we’re hearing from have never volunteered here before. But since Prop 8, they’re motivated.”

This is Applegate’s first time as a volunteer at the center. Applegate, who is taking a vacation day from work, told his boss in advance that he would not be in the office Wednesday.

“Out of respect for my employers, I didn’t want to blindside them,” said Applegate. “They were very supportive.”

Robert Crook also told his employer in advance that he is taking a vacation day in honor of “Day Without A Gay.”

“I’m doing it out of solidarity,” said Crook, who works for the state. “If there are a lot of empty chairs in the office — and I hope there are — then that will really make a statement.”

Critics have said that missing work is not a good idea, given the worsening economy.

Crook understands that some people will not be able to “call in gay” but says the economy should not be the reason.

“For some people, it’s tantamount to coming out and they might not be comfortable with that and I understand,” said Crook. “But this is a human and civil rights issue, and to me, it’s more important than the economy.”

A few comments on the news story: The headline says that “dozens” will “call in gay” tomorrow, but that’s just the number of people the reporter was made aware of through her contact at the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center. No one can really know how many gay men and lesbians in my city of Sacramento and the surrounding region actually will “call in gay” tomorrow; the reporter and I discussed that fact, in fact. My best guess is that it will be in the hundreds.

And speaking of “calling in gay,” note that both I and the other gay man interviewed for the news story requested the time off and are using vacation time that we earned. I surmise that few people are really going to “call in gay” (call in sick, that is) and that most of them responsibly have pre-arranged their absence, as I did.

Finally, if  you want to see what we gay men and lesbians are up against, read the vicious comments that visitors to sacbee.com have left on this news story by clicking here.*

Under the cover of complete anonymity (of course), these courageous haters spew forth venomous hatred that once was reserved for blacks.

It’s true: Gay is the new black!

*Sacbee.com has a system where you can report comments as hate speech or obscenity/vulgarity, and I’m reporting the hate speech as hate speech and the obscenity/vulgarity as obscenity/vulgarity, so by the time you click that link, a good number of the comments that I was talking about might since have disappeared…

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Gay and lesbian ‘leaders’ sell us out

I hate gay and lesbian business owners. They sell us gay men and lesbians out every time.

My favorite thing is to peruse a typical gay and lesbian publication and see all of the ads for alcohol and for gay and lesbian bars and clubs — and the rehab ads. They get us coming and going! Not to mention all of the images of Adonises that give average gay men a complex about their body image.

Let’s fucking face it: We gay men and lesbians have been reduced to a target audience.

Fight for equal human and civil rights? No, we are to be consumers! Good consumers!

Gay and lesbian “leaders,” especially gay and lesbian business “leaders,” sell us out every time.

I’ll use a local example. Not to (excessively) pick on this guy, but to use him as an example of the typical gay and lesbian business “leader” who puts his own pocketbook far above the Much Bigger Picture:

In the Sacramento Bee story titled “Gay Leaders Wary of Boycotting Prop. 8’s Supporters,” the publisher of one of the local gay and lesbian rags, Outword, Fred Palmer, is quoted as having said that he opposes boycotting a business because an individual from that business contributed to Proposition 8. (In most cases when a business has been boycotted, it’s because the owner or an owner of that business contributed to the pro-Prop 8 campaign. It would logically follow that if a business owner hates fags and dykes, fags and dykes might not want to give that business owner their money. Duh.)

The Bee story notes that Palmer is president of the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, the local gay and lesbian chamber of commerce.

Gee, do chambers of commerce tend to care about people and people’s rights — or do they tend to care about $$$?


The Bee also reports:

Lester Neblett, executive director of the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center, advocates spending with businesses that support gay rights, as opposed to the kind of protests that targeted the Music Circus and Leatherby’s ice cream.

“The gay community has a lot of discretionary money available to them. They can use this wisely,” he said. “We’re continuing to encourage people to support people who support us. That’s been the word that we’ve tried to get out to the community all the time.”

Gee, maybe Prop 8 wouldn’t have passed if our “leaders” could fucking lead, if they actually had our best interests at heart.

Palmer strikes me as being more concerned about losing advertising revenue more than he’s concerned about anything else, and Neblett just sounds like a coward who doesn’t want to — gasp!offend anyone.

Palmer should be careful, lest we boycott his rag that probably does us more harm than good anyway, by encouraging us to become self-loathing, alcoholic, sexaholic, consumeristic zombies for his own personal profit.

And Lester Neblett — with a milquetoast name like that maybe he couldn’t help but be a coward. He needs to grow a pair or step aside for someone else who already has a pair, maybe even a lesbian, maybe even preferably a lesbian.

Our “leaders” aren’t leading, and so we individual gay men and lesbians are taking things into our own hands, especially with the organizing power of the Internet — whether our self-serving, wussy “leaders” like it or not. They need to actually fucking lead, follow or at least get out of the fucking way.

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