Well, today is the "official" Day Without A Gay (for the record, I think that name is both hilarious and awful, but hell, it works). What's that, you ask? In response to the passage of Prop 8 in California, as well as all of the other anti-gay marriage acts in various states, some folks put together this day of action wherein LGBT citizens call in sick to work and instead spend the day helping out with some community organizin'. The idea was to show the country that gay people are everywhere, in every industry, right next door to you, and to continue discriminatory practices against them is not only morally wrong, but also economically stupid.
Several cities have also organized after work rallies so that those people who couldn't afford to take a day off from work could also show their support for the movement.
I would be one of those unfortunate souls. Sadly, I had to take several sick days recently for actual illness, so literally cannot afford to not work today. But there are many other things that all of us can do to make sure the tide, which is decidedly turned with us, continues to go in the right direction.
First, as the lovable Gandhi once said, we must "be the change we want to see in the world." That means standing up for ourselves, our friends and relatives, and even complete strangers in the face of injustice. That means simply living our lives openly and honestly, being kind and fair even to those people who might not return the same favor. That means getting into politics, journalism, community organizing, and other such lines of work where we can affect the kinds of changes that lead to wider equality and justice for everyone.
Specific to journalism--at the moment, while there are plenty of hard-working, hard-hitting journalists out there in the world, the mainstream, more visible press is far too full of fluff and softball pitching. We shouldn't have to rely so much on comedy fake news programs to give it to us straight, and to ask the tough questions. Even so, I'm glad they do.
John Stewart gave us a Day Without A Gay present in his interview with Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is not a fan of the gay marriage. Stewart grilled him good, making several excellent points and pretty soundly rhetorically thrashing the guy, all without being nasty. Check it out:
I want this to go viral, as the points raised by Stewart are so excellent and so salient.
But back to this day without gays thing. The event has garnered an impressive amount of media attention (as has the new wave of gay activism that's sprung up since Prop 8--hey, a silver lining!), and I'm hopeful that this surge will only continue to grow in scope and influence.
There was concern from some corners that such an aggressive push for gay marriage rights would result in a backlash more damaging than what had come before, and that's understandable. Ultimately, however, just causes were never won through passivity. Sometimes, a situation is so grievously wrong that the only option is to stand up and shout, to demand justice, and not to back down until it's had.
And the final tactic? As the old saying goes, "a life well-lived is the best revenge." It's also the best education, and that, in the end, is our best weapon.