But since the turmoil of the late 60s, the movement has been one of patience and politics. Unfortunately, the results have been slow and small but the game, of late, is changing. The strategy of sitting back and letting things work themselves out has given way to direct action. Where there once was a calm call for empathy, there is now an aggressive hand of manipulation. An example could be seen at the GLAAD Media Awards in New York, when the previous and present GLAAD presidents made proud proclamations of not only increased visibility but also took credit for attacks on enemies of equality. Without mincing words they made bold admissions of both media manipulation and of smear tactics. But even this seems not to go far enough to ease the disquieted masses or to push forward policy. We waver at a point of tipping. As each day brings a new proposal to ban, restrict, remove, or delay legal protections to the LGBT community, so too each day does the fury of that minority rise by a degree. The latest arrests are then only a piece of the new, more proactive gay rights struggle.
It can easily be observed that the current slow action of policy has offended our sensibility, enflamed our patience, and enraged our trust. But, how do we react with displays of civil disobedience without creating a pattern of escalating behavior from the opposition?
The reality is that the escalation of the opposition has already happened. In the struggle for our own equality, we are the reactionaries. The “Party of No” has mobilized an opposition of obstinate fear-mongers. The endorsement of certain individuals has given heroes to the Tea Party movement, a movement which has recently exposed its homophobic and racist underbelly. We should ask these “leaders” what outcome they expect from promoting a movement to bring firearms to protests, to shout hate speech, to act selfishly, and to remain ignorant and without empathy. Make no mistake: the champions of this movement are calling for our deaths at their hands. These “leaders” need to be held accountable for building a misinformed electorate that is becoming both vile and violent. Hostility is rising and the time has come to shout from both pulpits and bullhorns that justice and equality will not continue to be trampled by majority bigotry.
There are those who ask, “Won’t this make us look crazy?” I respond: does it matter? We face now a change in policy momentum, not to satisfy an oppressed minority but to calm an angry mob. As the enemies of equality move to dismantle unbiased education, condemn miscarriage as murder, and define prom as a date between one man and one woman, so we too must mobilize to survive. Gandhi stated: “Freedom received through the efforts of others, however benevolent, cannot be retained when such effort is withdrawn.” Perhaps it is time for an uprising. Perhaps it is time to get noticed and get real. Perhaps it is time to remind the system that neglect and inaction induce impatience and anger. And perhaps it is in our best interests to show just how far we are willing to go to achieve the freedoms we’ve been denied, as long as that pursuit remains non-violent. It’s time to end the assumption that Justice was born blind and question if she was deliberately blinded. If we do not act, if we are not willing to put ourselves on the line, who do we expect will do it for us?