Wherever you find Gay Rights activism, you’ll also find varying degrees of reticence to combat homophobia and heterosexism in a meaningful way. All too often, that reticence will have a political/ideological justification: “That’s just not the way they do things on Capitol Hill. We can’t afford to anger our allies by pressing them on this issue. Democrats won’t get re-elected if it looks like they’re pandering to Gay interests.”
How long will Gay groups pursue political agendas to the detriment of moral considerations? How many times will they place Gay Rights far on a back burner in order to appease allies on the Left? Will they ever realize that we have just as many enemies in Liberal circles as in Conservative ones (the only difference being that our Conservative foes are more forthright)? When will they understand that equality is not a partisan concern and cannot be won with partisan tactics? Do they think early Gay Rights organizations like Mattachine Society, Daughters Of Bilitis and Gay Liberation Front were founded so that, in the next century, their goals could be cynically sacrificed on the altar of Left Wing solidarity?
So, for those concerned with LGBT rights, I offer The Eleven Commandments of Gay Rights Activism!
These directives aren’t official; I wrote them myself, and I’m certainly no law-giving authority. Originally, they were conceived as a tongue-in-cheek kind of thing, but once I read them over, I realized that they made sense! I had managed to come up with a good set of guidelines for a movement that’s sorely in need of same.
1. Thou shalt not address thyself or thy kind with inaccurate, disrespectful or dehumanizing labels, nor shalt thou do or say anything to marginalize thyself or enable thy own oppression.
Jesus Christ called God’s Commandment to “love others as yourself” the greatest of all, and the one upon which all the others were based. In my opinion, this is the Gay Rights equivalent.
2. Thou shalt not treat thy moral crusade like a political campaign. Thou shalt not value the welfare of political parties over the welfare of LGBT folk, nor shalt thou bind the equality movement to any political party.
Needless to say, this Commandment is relevant to the Oslo Freedom Forum incident.
3. Thou shalt not disrespect Transgender identity, and thou shalt not kick thy Transsexual brethren to the curb for political advantage.
If you think I’m only talking about Transsexual persons here, think again! Lesbians, Gay men and Bisexual folk are, in my judgment, every bit as gender-neutral as Transfolk. Essentially, all of us are Transsexual.
4. Thou shalt endeavor to rid thy movement of transphobia as well as bi-phobia, sexism, heterosexism, racism, sexual racism, ageism and class bias.
Being a microcosm of the larger society, the so-called LGBT community is crawling with these vices! This is undoubtedly the most difficult Commandment to abide by.
5. Thou shalt not defend, attend or fund any religious institution which preaches genocide against LGBT folk, and thou shalt pursue separation of Church and State with all thy mind, heart and soul. Thou shalt directly confront religious institutions that preach LGBT genocide, and thou shalt use authentic, inclusive theology as a weapon against hateful religious doctrine.
We gender-neutral folk are stubbornly resistant to confronting our religious Right Wing enemies, and even more resistant to purging ourselves of the same Bible bigotry they suffer from . . . but the more we resist, the more I will insist that we grapple with this central stumbling block to equality.
6. Thou shalt not use the equality movement as thy vehicle for exhibitionism, hedonism, political ambition or self-promotion.
Opportunism is another vice that runs rampant in Gay activist circles. Oh, the temptation to name names!
7. Thou shalt not excuse any form of inequality (such as exclusion from marriage or military service) on ideological grounds, and thou shalt not give LGBT equality less importance than other social issues.
This commandment is also relevant to the Oslo incident. Gay Leftists, especially the more radical ones, are notorious for trying to parse out which Civil Rights LGBT folk “don’t need”. Such behavior is asinine, counter-productive and infuriating!
8. Thou shalt vigilantly police media representations of LGBT folk for demeaning, ridiculous and vilifying portrayals, and thou shalt not fail to include Gay media in thy policings.
Beware of broad stereotypes and imposed outlaw status! They can seem like fun, until you realize how effectively they paint you into a corner. They have an insidious way of dehumanizing us and making the heterosexual majority perceive us as inferior.
9. Thou shalt preach the gospel of comprehensive sex education. Thou shalt promote intelligent conversation about human sexuality, express thy own sexuality without shame, be considerate of thy sexual partners, and shun sex practices that are unhealthy, irresponsible or illegal.
You’d think this commandment would be second nature to a Gay activist, wouldn’t you? Yet Gay people, especially those who call themselves “queers”, are guilty of some the stupidest talk and behavior imaginable when it comes to human sexuality!
10. Thou shalt access public and private educational institutions and use them as tools to diminish fear and ignorance about LGBT people. Thou shalt not be turned aside from this goal by scurrilous accusations of “recruitment”.
Far too many equality activists seem to think the school and the church are off-limit zones for reform efforts. If they really are off-limits, then the Gay Rights movement is an exercise in futility! Secular and religious misinformation is the primary weapon used to oppress us; we must disarm our enemies of it!
11. Thou shalt protect, nurture and serve as role models for LGBT youth, and thou shalt protect, honor and provide for LGBT elders.
Taping sugary “It Gets Better” clips to hang up on YouTube won’t even halfway fulfill this Commandment! We’ve got to directly engage with the forces in our society that target our children and elders. The intolerable conditions they suffer won’t get better until we make them so!
I can hear some of you saying: “Who the Hell does this dude think he is?” Who the Hell do I need to be? Think of me as your wake-up call! Obviously, I can neither impose nor enforce these standards on anyone; but if today’s Gay Rights movement wants to be an effective force for change, it had better adopt behavioral standards of some kind!
Boston cartoonist, composer, journalist, social commentator and graphic novel writer DC (Don Charles) Hampton Jacobs is the author of three graphic novels, two cartoon novelettes, a mock screenplay in graphic novel form, four cartoon short stories, an illustrated Great American Rock ‘n’ Roll Songbook and a stage musical treatment in cartoon form. He blogs at https://popculturecantina.blogspot.com.