Tuesday, June 09, 2009

To March or Not to March

Last Sunday, Cleve Jones announced a march in Washington to demand that Congress establish LGBT equality and marriage rights. "We seek nothing more and nothing less than equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states," the activist demanded. He pegged the event on October 11, National Coming Out Day.

Indeed the LGBT community and its allies have been growing restless, frustrated and simmering at the inaction of the President and the Democratic-led Congress on LGBT issues. As Rachel Maddow asks, what happened to Candidate Obama who claimed to be a “fierce advocate” of the community?

However, there are those who question the wisdom and timing of Jones’ march. Bil Browning in The Bilerico Project lists 10 major reasons why he thinks it is a horrible idea. He asks how such an event can be staged in short order and still pack a punch. The Mall is already booked; Congress will be not be in session; and in these difficult times, many can not afford to take a few days off and fly to Washington. More importantly, the event has not been coordinated with other leaders and groups, and marriage is not the only LGBT issue.

Admittedly, I have already blocked off October 11 in my calendar. I also think that a march in Washington is a good idea. However, I agree with Browning’s concerns. Perhaps, the many and varied players in the community should gather and plan better. A march in June 2010 that highlights our many concerns and grievances, while Congress is in session and right before midterm elections, might be a better and more viable alternative.

But can (and how) grassroots activists, issue-based groups, bloggers, national organizations, and LGBT “leaders” and gadflies get together and come up with a better considered and concentrated effort?

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