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Gay History Month: Chicagoans Reflect

2006-10-18 - Windy City Times - LINK

In honor of Gay and Lesbian History Month, Windy City Times has asked various local individuals to reflect throughout the month on Chicago’s LGBT-related history.

Bob Schwartz, Gay Liberation Network: Despite appearances to the contrary, history is made by people taking action in our own interests, on our own behalf. This runs counter to the “great man” conception of history: that is, people—usually men—in high places taking heroic action on behalf of the multitude of drones who have neither intelligence nor any other capacity to improve things for themselves.

The reliance upon electoral campaigns is an integral part of the “great man” conception of history.

The frequently heard vote-for-the-Democrats mantra conveniently ignores the assaults upon our community committed by our supposed “friends,” atrocities such as Defense of Marriage Act and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Current “friends” who don’t back our equality include Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Rod Blagojevich.

As a leader of the Gay Liberation Network, I have advocated that gays ought to take action in our own behalf, beginning with putting our interests first. Our interests must not be subordinated to the electoral requirements of any politicians, including those who may be themselves LGBT. For example, gays ought not support any candidates who don’t back our full equality. This means equal access to the civil contract of marriage.

We need to stand publicly for full equality by rallying and marching for our rights. It means protesting at entertainment venues that book musicians who sing about killing LGBT people. It may mean boycotting places and products that refuse to stand with us against anti-gay hate and violence.

Since we are a small minority in society, we need allies if we are to prevail in our struggle for full equality. In order to get and keep allies, we need to stand with others who are oppressed in America, with African Americans, immigrants, workers, women and, particularly, with our transgender sisters and brothers. Basically, we need to advocate and practice solidarity.


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