In opposition to Proposition 8 and to show how much the country is dependent on gays and lesbians, LGBT supporters urged “Day Without A Gay” on Dec. 10, where people “called in gay” to work and instead volunteered their time at their local LGBT or human rights organizations. While the sentiment is admirable, the idea is slightly flawed.
Scores of people were behind the idea, but I, like others, questioned whether it was wise to encourage skipping work for one day of volunteering. I agree the idea is noble, but wouldn’t it be more appropriate to support gay-friendly businesses and organizations all the time?
“There is a larger, more complex, picture here that includes a multitude of circumstances and situations that takes more than a day to unravel,” an article on About.com stated, which I agree with. “Spending our lavender bills at businesses that support LGBT people should be an every day habit. Speaking out against businesses that support anti-causes should be a regular activity. Volunteering at a local LGBT organization or support service should be a regular part of our lives, not just a hallow gesture on a day to prove to others that we are worthwhile.”
Too many LGBT people live in poverty, and the saddest thing about the entire situation is that something can be done about it. We need to be out there each day of the year, and not just in an effort to ask others for acceptance. Most LGBT people are normal people who can use all the help that everyone else needs.
“Compromising job stability is not something everyone can do, nor is it in everyone’s best interest—especially in our current economic climate,” the article stated. “Keep in mind, in 30 states it is still legal for LGBT people to be fired just for being queer.”
Bob Witeck, chief executive officer of Witeck-Combs Communications, a public relations firm in Washington that specializes in the gay and lesbian market, said gay rights supporters would have a bigger impact if they devoted their dollars to gay-friendly businesses year-round.
“Our community leaders who are running book stores, newspapers, flower shops, coffee houses, bars and many, many other things are hurting right now, so paying attention to their needs during this hard time is an effective form of activism,” he said.
In a Dec. 10 New York Times article, Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, a gay rights group in New York, said he applauded the sudden involvement of people who were either complacent or not reached during the campaign against Proposition 8. But he cautioned that the advances and methods of older groups should not be discounted.
“Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater,” Wolfson said. “It’s not so much a failure of leadership; it’s an opportunity to bring more people in.”
To me, this seems like the more logical idea. Why support something for just one day when you should support that particular thing all the time?
I don’t just donate to the Human Rights Campaign every once in a blue moon, I donate every month. You can’t expect to change a whole lot when you only change for one day.