my response to Larry Lessig and proposal to all re prop 8

I posted a slimmer version of this response to Lessig’s blog tonight.

I would gladly do a show or series of shows similar to the structure of the Corruption show I did with you (mashup up of diverse viewpoints around universal question with a lot of audience involvement if some of this goodwill and concern about the issue now could fund them.

As you know I was very involved in trying to stop prop 8 and put out a call to geeks, sadly too late. The Net involvement really picked up a great deal in the last couple of weeks due to a totally volunteer group of mostly queer geeks who just showed up at the campaign and made it better. In the last few weeks No showed much greater momentum than the Yes side. The Log Cabin Republican leader who took the helm and the many volunteers did an amazing job of finding discipline and energy. But the bottom up / grassroots approach came too late for the official campaign which unfortunately chose not to focus on this approach from the beginning and so the energy spread too late. As far as I know there were no dollars dedicated to the Net as recently as a month ago. The campaigns focus was really targeted on the swing people in the middle and the messages that tested well. It is no clear that wasn’t enough.

I and many other gay people have our own need for honest, to love and desire that drives us to come out. Our families have their love for us and, our leadership (it took me 10 years with my family) in our case, our wedding(s) provided an amazing moment for that. But many Californians may not have these drivers.

I agree that we need to engage people more deeply and we need to reach farther to connect with the support that is already there to make our case. I also agree that the Courts, while we may have good legal arguments, aren’t going to give us the feeling of safety and understanding that comes from the hard work of actually meeting each other and reaching out to each other. If Barack Obama’s campaign taught me anything, it was that.

My hunch is that there are many religious people who feel that they want to “come out” about who they are in terms of their faith and they feel harmed somehow, by my being gay and married. They probably want affirmation and acknowledgment too. I’ve yet to meet a human being who doesn’t. And so many of my queer brothers and sisters aren’t as fortunate as I am to have family support. Every College I perform at has some kids who have been disowned for being who they are. So many queer folks fear for their physical safety, job and housing security because they’re not gender conforming or because of who they love. For those Christians who profess to “love the sin but not the sinner” this seems to be a good place for them to begin taking action on that love if it is real.

There were almost no gay faces in the No on 8 Campaign. Young folks support gay marriage likely because they know and care about gay people. We need to at least meet each other in a space in which we do not have to be afraid of being physically harmed for existing.

The City of San Francisco has already filed a suit and the official No on 8 Campaign is awaiting absentee ballots. My geeky desire is to just do this. I see that same desire in your post and in others. What can we actually do? We know that over time, the older folks who supported Yes on 8 will die and that younger people strongly favour inclusion in gay marriage. We can wait or we can engage.

The thing I know how to contribute is to host a live conversation that will let us dig into he kinds of things the campaigns didn’t. Did everyone feel they were voting on the right of gay people to be married. Did they feel they were voting against discrimination/ for gay equality? for their faith? How do we know? Even if we appeal up the US Supreme Court and win, is that enough?

From the stuff many Yes on 8 people are writing on my postings, they are sometimes convinced they platonically love me while opposing my marriage or they are plain terrified and angry that I exist. Blame is just purely unproductive. It is up to us to grieve our genuine pain and make a better case. I believe that includes sharing the reality of our lives. We are facing very difficult times. Do people who voted yes on 8 really think all the gay Californians aren’t needed to make things better and vice versa? Neither of us is going to disappear. So please let me know if you’d be game to try one. If we think it works, and people are behind it, we can do more. Others on this site please let me know if you’d be able to fund this shows/forums/webcasts/space where people can engage. If you’d be game to contribute time or money or have other ideas, add them to this wiki. Last night was first so joyful and then so very painful. I am feeling the first moment of peace since Yes on 8 became. Thanks for your offer to do something Larry. I was feeling like straight Californians didn’t really care about my life a few weeks ago. The response to yesterdays loss has shown me that’s just not the case.

We’ve made amazing progress in a little more than 40 years. We have to keep coming out: not just to ourselves and our families, but as married couples and families. We need more support for queer African -American folks to come out. We need to deal with racism within the queer community. There are a lot of us. Our lives and our children are not going to disappear. And someday pretty soon it’s going to seem ridiculous that this was a struggle once. But what seems obvious still needs work to prove it.