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"We DEMAND Change" Pride Parade contingent pics & analysis

This year's Chicago Pride Parade gave the Gay Liberation Network an opportunity to not only send a civil rights message to the hundreds of thousands in attendance, but to send a civil rights message with an edge.

For today's civil rights activists it isn't enough to simply articulate the rights we want. We must also look frankly at the state of our movement and ask, "What is holding us back?"

Sure, we have enemies -- there's the right wing, and the anti-gay opposition is well-funded and strongly supported by many religious leaders. But what is it about our own movement that is making us less effective than we could be?

Based upon our recent record, there should be plenty of problems to find, if we're being honest. In 1978, the movement personified by Harvey Milk was in many ways much weaker, lacking funds and political connections, and yet it successfully defeated the anti-gay Briggs Amendment ballot initiative in California.

Today, gay rights in the U.S. looks like the Chicago Cubs of social movements, losing dozens of ballot initiatives in a row, never analyzing why, and always saying "wait 'til next year" while President Obama and the Democratic Party keep putting off implementation of the many promises they made to us in 2008.

But it is not enough to bemoan the failures and weaknesses of our movement. We need to analyze how we can improve.

Beneath the pictures below, check out the text of the flyer we handed out at Pride; it identifies what we see as the fundamental weakness of our movement -- reliance on others to secure our rights -- and states the direction we must move if we are to win.

Congress is F**king Us & Not In the Fun Way. Stop Them.

Gay Liberation Network contingent

Still No ENDA? It's Time To Put An End To The Democrats! Boycott in Nov.

Politicians who block our rights perpetuate the violence committed against us.

No Child is born a Homophobe.

Smiles and Peace!

Now is the Time to Fight for Full Federal Equality

Pride marcher

Obama, you taught Constitutional law. Why are you so clueless about equality?

Thomas & the Gay Liberation Network Pride Pickup Truck

Ronnie with Pride Flags


Pride marcher

Gay Liberation Network Pride Parade Pickup Truck

LGBTQ's Declaring Independence from the Democrats (& Republicans)

At the end of the Parade on Diversey Avenue, we protested, as we have done in several previous years, against a viciously anti-gay organization called the "Street Preachers." But shortly after we arrived there, Chicago police officers on the scene insisted that we leave.

Police Protection for the Bigots at Chicago Pride Parade

This was in direct contravention of an agreement that GLN had reached two days previously with Commander Frank Gross, head of the Special Events Division of the Chicago Police, and that had been made at his request.

Police protect the Bigots at Chicago Gay Pride Parade.

While GLN kept to its side of the bargain, Gross apparently did not communicate the agreement to his own subordinates. So now GLN member Andy Thayer is facing a potential $1000 fine for failure to obey a "lawful [sic] order or direction of a police officer." The court date is on Monday, August 2nd at 1:30 PM at 400 W. Superior Street, Room 101.

Cops write ticket.

Text of flyer handed out by the "We DEMAND Change" contingent at this year's Pride Parade:

LGBTs: It's time to dump our allegiance to the Democrats (& Republicans)

After 8 long years of Republican rule, most Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people (LGBT) hoped that a Democratic White House and Congress would herald a wave of pro-gay civil rights legislation. The results so far?

· No repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
· Possible Pentagon veto of Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) repeal in December
· No end to military discharges
· Trans-inclusive ENDA is dead in the Democratic-dominated Senate once again
· No reform of immigration / asylum procedures for LGBT people, or anyone else
· Continued "faith-based" misuse of federal dollars and no significant improvements for LGBT youth in the nation's public schools.
· A freeze on domestic spending (aside from bank bailouts!), yet record military spending

Democratic Party leaders are telling social justice activists that our issues will have to wait until after the 2010 bi-elections. Then, after the Democrats lose more seats in November, we will be told that as much as they like us, the party doesn't have the votes for us - a virtual replay of the Clinton administration after 1994.

And we'll be strung along for another two to six years.

As we seek a 21st Century wave of civil rights legislation, we should look at how the mid-1960s wave of such legislative victories was won. In compar ison to the civil rights movement then, our current LGBT movement is sadly lacking. "Street heat" - sit-ins, marches and rallies - while essential, is not by itself enough. The true power behind the historic 1963 March on Washington was not its flowing rhetoric but its independence from both political parties, its willingness to cause both parties immense pain when they didn't fulfill African-American demands.

We can win a wave of pro-LGBT rights legislation, but only with a truly independent movement, one which puts our civil rights first, demands action, and isn't seduced by White House rhetoric at black-tie receptions. In response to the failure of the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress to fulfill their many promises, we must inflict pain. If the Democrats do not fulfill their promises, we need to withhold our votes in the fall elections, refuse to give money to them, and make a full-time commitment to direct action rather than wasting our efforts supporting do-nothing politicians.

With the insults of the Rick Warren invocation and the Justice Department's bigoted defense of DOMA, the Obama administration has, in effect, said to hell with its loyal LGBT base - "we've got you in our back pocket and you've got nowhere else to go."

Well, we do have someplace else to go - out of the embrace of the Democratic Party and into a movement free from subservience to either political party.

We've heard enough empty promises from "pro-gay" politicians. If we are going to win our rights, it will be despite the opposition of those who forthrightly oppose us, and despite the foot-dragging and covert opposition of those who claim to support us. We will have to win our rights ourselves, in the streets, the same way that all great civil rights struggles before us have made progress.

If you agree with the views expressed in this leaflet, we invite you get involved with us. Please email the Gay Liberation Network at LGBTliberation@aol.com or write us at GLN, 4404 N Magnolia, Ste 420, Chicago, IL 60640


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