Chris Kluwe became a hero to many with the LGBTQ community when the straight football star became a vocal proponent for marriage equality. Not only was it an important voice within the struggle for marriage equality, but because it came within the realm of American football, where little support for LGBTQ. Issues has been seen. But he has now made a big mistake:
Chris Kluwe, Minnesota Vikings punter and outspoken proponent of marriage equality, has resigned as a contributor to the St. Paul Pioneer Press in the wake of the paper’s editorial on the upcoming vote on Amendment 1, which, if passed, will embed inequality into the Minnesota state constitution
This may appear to the general LGBTQ reader as if it were a steadfast stand on principle, and for Kluwe, he may feel as if it were, but the truth is that he has now removed his pro- equality voice from a space where it is needed very much. Precisely because the paper is more conservative and anti-equality leaning, his outspoken support for equality is needed there, in the paper to balance the paper’s anti rhetoric.
So much progress has Been made when it comes to legalization of same-sex marriage, and if we se victories next Tuesday, we will have clearly turned a corner in the struggle towards full victory. However, now more than ever in this struggle, we must continue to inject our voices- voices of integrity and reason- by lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and supportive allies into the mainstream dialogue. It isn’t enough for us to “talk amongst ourselves” but we must raise our voices and our perspectives within those places where the dialogue is full of the negativity and lies against us and our rights.
The path to real victory includes many steps and different tasks by many different persons. Voices of support is one part of the whole, especially where one of the big tasks ahead is to educate those who don’t know LGBTQ persons or understand our issues. Voices like Kluwe’s in conservative papers helps us make great strides in that effort.
One of our greatest weapons in out struggle is free speech, and the ability for LGBTQ and supportive allies to express their ideas, and perspectives. The down-side of the free speech idea however, is that it allows our opponents to do the same. So often, their rhetoric is full of misinformation at best, and outright lies at the worst. We succeed however, not in taking away or stopping their right to free speech, but rather by countering theirs, and hateful misinformation with truth, reason and language that encourages fairness by promoting valid discourse over fear mongering. To lose his voice from that dialogue is a shame.