domingo, 4 de enero de 2009

Nationwide Defense of Marriage Act Protest

Nationwide Defense of Marriage Act Protest

Saturday, January 10 at 11:30 am
Historical Plaza behind Records Building
509 Main St. in downtown Dallas

Just ten days before Barack Obama is sworn in as the next president of the United States, Queer people across the country will be protesting against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Let's send a message to the future president that the Queer community is resolutely opposed to this discriminatory piece of federal legislation. We will also demand that the purportedly most GLBT friendly president-elect in history use his new political weight to repeal DOMA along with taking other pro-Gay action.

The Federal Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1996, takes away Queer people's civil rights in two ways. First, it defines marriage on a federal level as between a man and a woman. Because of this, even those same-sex couples that are married in Massachusetts or Connecticut, do not have access to federal benefits such as immigration and tax breaks. DOMA also exempts same-sex marriages from the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the US Constitution. This means that a marriage performed between two people of the same sex in a state that recognizes marriage equality does not have to be recognized in a state where Gay and Lesbian's civil marriage rights are denied.

By choosing Rick Warren to preside over the invocation at the presidential inauguration, Obama has made himself clear that Queer equality does not factor very highly into his list of priorities. He seems more eager to placate religious extremists than to stand up for an oppressed minority group. To remedy this, GLBT people have to keep the heat in the streets and on Obama to not only repeal DOMA but to support marriage equality and a whole host of other pro-Gay initiatives. Civil rights have never been won by taking a polite backseat approach. Like all other civil rights movements, our rights will be won, not bestowed upon us by our benevolent leaders.

While the president-elect is on record as being on our side on the DOMA issue, he still asserts his opposition to marriage equality by saying, "I do not support gay marriage. Marriage has religious and social connotations, and I consider marriage to be between a man and a woman". We can do better. From day 1 of his presidency we will be demanding that Obama stand up for full marriage equality.

Queer Liberaction is an organization dedicated to struggling for the civil rights of GLBT people. We use direct action activism to directly, visibly and publicly confront homophobia along with organizations, institutions, groups or individuals who support or promote discrimination toward the Queer community.

Check out the Dallas Voice's article on this demonstration here.

martes, 30 de diciembre de 2008

Below is Queer Liberaction's response to Etta Zamboni's resignation-cum-diatribe rant. You can find it here.

Queer Liberaction Calls for Unity

Last week's letter to the editor of the Dallas voice by Etta Zamboni is a testament to how incredibly difficult it is to work with this individual if there is a difference of opinion. Instead of bowing out gracefully, in her resignation letter, Zamboni dedicates three quarters of it to accuse Gabe and myself of being mean-spirited.

The real issue is that Zamboni confuses questioning and criticism of political strategies as "full scale attacks". This was the first time Zamboni organized political events such as these, so to a certain degree we understand her sentiments. Unfortunately, the former Join the Impact Dallas representative has gotten so personally offended by this debate that it seems to have prevented her from having a respectful discussion as to the validity of one political tactic over another.

The bottom line is that there was no dialog between the previous leadership of Queer Liberaction and Join the Impact. Those organizing with Queer Liberaction are aware that our direct action, unapologetic and visible style of activism is a bit different than what some in Dallas are used to.

For example, Queer Liberaction is organizing the Dallas demonstration on the National Day of Protest Against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) set for Saturday, January 10. We will meet at 11:30 am at the Dallas Historical Plaza by the records building to unapologetically demand that the new administration repeals DOMA.

On Saturday, February 7 at 12:00 pm Queer Liberaction is staging a Queer Kiss-In at Ross and Harwood. We will be keeping true to our message that visibility is a very effective way to combat homophobia with boys kissing boys, girls kissing girls, other Queer public displays of affection and giving away "free Queer hugs".

QL is currently organizing a demonstration on the National Freedom to Marry Day, February 12 at 11:30 am, complete with a wedding ceremony and all! Same-sex couples will apply for marriage licenses at the Records Building and if denied, a Queer sit-in will follow. Direct action can't be more direct than going to the marriage license department and demanding for our rights ourselves.

There will always be differences of opinion especially when dealing with a subject so powerful and able to evoke so much passion as our civil rights. QL believes that being out in the streets demanding our rights is what we so desperately need right now in the Queer community.

In the spirit of unity and to help rectify the lack of dialog we at QL would like to extend an invitation to any representative from any group to sit down and have a public conversation. We would like to talk to organizations like the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas or the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance who take a different approach to winning our equality. This invitation is open to all; churches, social organizations, political organizations that represent the gamut of political opinions, merchants associations, etc... To be apart of this or other Queer Liberaction events please contact us at

Blake Wilkinson and Gabe Coppinger
Queer Liberaction

martes, 23 de diciembre de 2008

The Queer Elite

The Dallas Voice's blog has a post with with a video where Kristin Chenoweth states her support for marriage equality. On the same day there is another post about Melissa Etheridge’s wife, Tammy Lynn Michaels, who is advocating civil unions instead of full marriage equality. What's more, Melissa Etheridge has recently had a very lovey-dovey meeting with Obama's anti-Gay pick for pastor of the presidential inauguration Rick Warren. Here is my short response.

How interesting. Apparently Queers can convince an Oklahoma Southern Baptist, Kristin Chenoweth, that we deserve the same treatment under the law as everyone else but we’re still having problems with elite Queers.

At least as far as I know Elton John, who also advocates civil unions, has never made such slimey comments such as those made by Etheridge when talking about how lovely Warren is. Through their support of back-of-the-bus civil unions it looks as though this bunch of homos is more eager to placate their friends in powerful positions rather than demand first class citizenship.

These people’s positions and statements remind me of Booker T Washington’s advocation of separate but “equal”. While we can look back upon history now and realize that this sort of treatment with minority groups is failed, Washington was too busy rubbing elbows with the Carnegies and Rockefellers to understand the importance of such issues. Your everyday African American or Gay feels the sting of inequality so much more than those that supposedly represent us in public.

In the end, sure, civil unions would be a huge step forward in getting our civil rights, but it would only be that, a step. The Gay and Lesbian civil rights movement has got to demand full equality and protection under the law, name included. Anything else would be selling ourselves short.

miércoles, 17 de diciembre de 2008

On The Dallas Voice's Blog, Instant Tea, there is a picture of an American flag with only two stars.  The two stars represent the two states where we have marriage equality, Connecticut and Massachusetts.  The question was posed, "How long do you think it will take for the flag to have all 50 stars or how long do you think it will take Texas to get its star".  My response was as follows.  

Contrary to the popular notion that Queer people are on some kind of one way road to equality and that it is only a matter of time isn’t correct. History is marked with ups and downs regarding our and other’s civil rights.

Throughout McCarthy’s 1950’s a witch-hunt was carried out against Lesbian and Gays not only in the public, but the private sector as well. LGBT people were constantly being imprisoned and harassed by the police. The 1950’s were not happy times for the LGBT people.

With the end of McCarthyism in the 1960s things got a bit better for LGBTs. Although there had been Gay and Lesbian homophile activism during the 1950s and 60s, the Stonewall RIOTS gave birth to a more “radical” style activism which has waxed and waned during the past 40 years.

The point is that for the first time Gay Liberation thrust our plight into the public consciousness. In 1973 Gay Liberation did virtually overnight what the homophile movement had been trying to accomplish for nearly 2 decades; to remove homosexuality for the American Psychological Association’s list of mental disorders. Gays and Lesbians of the 1970s also enjoyed some of the first pro-Gay legislation to ever exist in the US. Sexuality was added to local human rights ordinances in various cities across the country.

The Weimar Republic that existed in Germany between the two world wars was one of the most pro-homosexual governments ever to exist until that time. Homosexuals enjoyed liberties during that time that don’t exist almost one hundred years on in many parts of the world today. I don’t have to remind you how that all changed in 1933. The same was true, but obviously to a much lesser extent, when Anita Bryant went around spewing her hate and lies and overturning prior gains the LGBT civil right’s movement had made. A very similar situation has and is happening with the issue of marriage equality in California with Prop 8 being the most recent development.

So a lot can happen in a very short amount of time either in the advancement or removal of civil rights. The opposite is true as well. Decade can pass without the slightest amount of change.

The key though is that when a group starts to make a bunch of noise, kick up some dust, and get their message out in a very visible and clever way change happens. It doesn’t matter if those that are being visible and clever are Nazis, Anita Bryant, members of the Gay Liberation Front, or Queers today. The same rule applies. It’s a battle of ideas. So if we hope to make any progress in terms of our civil rights sooner rather than later, if we want to see all 50 stars on that marriage equality flag, then we have got to get out and make some noise and kick up some dust.

jueves, 11 de diciembre de 2008


Last night on a cold December night, Queer Liberaction staged it's first demonstration as a newly formed group.  The event was true to the group's position supporting visible direct action style activism.

As rush hour traffic went by, about 25 of us had the opportunity to show thousands of people our signs with our message of "Gay Rights Are Human Rights".   We were also able to speak to the Dallas Morning News and Univision.  The Dallas Voice didn't send anyone but I talked to them over the phone and sent them a photo so I'm expecting a story in tomorrow's edition.  

Univision was at the Mormon bookstore demonstration and I'm happy that they were at our event last night.  A little birdy told me that Jesse Garcia, former president of the Dallas Stonewall Democrats, was concerned that demonstrating a church with a large Latino congregation would pit Gays against Latinos.  This response from Garcia seems to typify statements from the HRC, Stonewall Dem types.  These messages might at first sound rational but if you scratch the surface they are baseless and without merit.  

Many Latinos in the US know very well what it is like to live without the rights that everyone else has and because of this our pro-equality message should be an easy sell.  However, 53% of Latinos voted in favor of Prop 8.  This would suggest that it is very important to have conversations with this disenfranchised group of people.  

One very effective and powerful way to do this is by doing what we did last night at the Cathedral of Guadalupe.  All of our signs and literature were in English and Spanish.  Univision covered the event and for those that understand Spanish you can see their report here.   Gliff Garinn from Dignity Dallas made the connection on Univision that Human Rights are not just for Gays and Lesbians but for everyone, Latinos included.  

As was with the Mormon Bookstore our aim was not to attack customers or people going to the church, but the Church's leadership.  It was the head honchos sitting on their gilded thrones in the Vatican who propagated the most recent attack against Gays and Lesbians.  By having Dignity Dallas present and through our literature we were encouraging everyone to question the homophobic positions of the Church.  It seems a monumental task but this is ultimately what will secure our liberation from homophobia.  Our goal is to make homophobia so rancid and unpopular that even the Pope himself wouldn't dare to oppose decriminalization of LGBT people for fear of losing his flock.

lunes, 8 de diciembre de 2008

Careers Before Queers

The Collin County Gay and Lesbian Alliance has taken the position that it is not going to endorse the Cinemark demonstration that is set for this coming weekend.  It is unfortunate that the leading Queer organization in Collin County is not supporting the effort to inform the public regarding the contribution made by the CEO of the Plano based movie chain.  Instead, they prefer to have a private sit down meeting with Cinemark executives regarding the bad behavior of their boss.  

In a recent Instant Tea posting Dallas Voice's John Write accurately notes the split that is widening ever so quickly within the LGBT community in the wake of Prop 8.  CCGLA appears to be in line with other LGBT organizations that prefer taking the discussion of our civil rights out of the public arena.  It seems as though some in the leadership of CCGLA also have important positions within the Cinemark corporation.  Protecting their company and bigoted boss from public criticism really embodies the careers before Queers mindset.  

Our goal for the event is to let as many people know about the $9,999 contribution that was made by Cinemark's CEO Alan Stock.  Our message will be that if you support equality and justice then you might not want to help line the pockets of a bigot such as Stock.  

This is how progress is made.  Maybe Cinemark's position on LGBT rights won't change.  Maybe Stock will make another donation to another hateful campaign, but I think that is highly unlikely given the hell he has caught from this issue.  But even if Cinemark doesn't adopt domestic partner benefits, for example, as a direct result of these demonstrations they will be far more likely to in the future when the issue resurfaces.  Other corporations and CEOs are paying very close attention to these goings on and any top executive would have to be pretty hell bent on gay oppression to fund something like Prop 8 in the future.  

So yes, the goal is to get Stock and Cinemark to change their ways but much more so is to subtly convince others to not go down that long and windy road of gay hate because your going to find a bunch of angry queers outside your business talking to the media about how Hate-mongers & Company Inc. oppresses gays.  But some in established gay organizations that have been built up over the past 15 years or so want to have conversations with CEOs and bookstore owners to tell them what they already know.  They read the paper.  They know our opinions, stances and demands.  I think Stock is pretty resolute in his contempt for Gay people given that he dontated $10 k to Prop 8.  Why then do some LGBT folks insist on sitting down and having tea with those that funded our oppression?

My guess would be that like most CEOs money figures pretty high on Stock's priority list.  I would even venture to guess that it takes a higher priority to Gay oppression.  If this is the case, talk to Stock's customers not to the man himself.   

domingo, 7 de diciembre de 2008

Queer Rights Are Human Rights


For the first time in history a resolution calling for civil rights for GLBT people is being proposed for the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The resolution will be presented on December 10, International Human Rights Day.  France which holds the rotating European Union presidency will present this historic resolution with the backing of all 27 member EU countries on the 60th anniversary of the adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Catholic Church recently has come out in opposition to this resolution.  The intent of the resolution is to assert the right of LGB people to live freely in a society without being criminalized due to their sexuality.  In over 80 countries worldwide same-sex relations are illegal with sentences ranging from imprisonment to execution.

The leadership of the Catholic Church has chosen to maintain bigoted positions regarding civil rights that were relegated to the dust bin of history generations ago.  Through opposition to this resolution the Catholic hierarchy is essentially giving the green light to the imprisonment and execution of Lesbian and Gay people.

It was not but 5 short years ago when same-sex sex was illegal in Texas.  Let's stand with out LGBT brothers and sisters across the world in affirming that our sexuality does not make us criminals.

International Human Rights Day
Wednesday, December 10 at 5:30 PM
Cathedral of Guadalupe
2215 Ross Ave. Dallas