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.
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.