Fellow blogger Matt Algren, dissects part of the testimony from the Federal Prop 8 trial, and makes a very important statement, that I felt deserves repeating:

Notice that both times, William Tam answered a question of fact with a statement of faith. He knew that NARTH was an unreliable source, but he wasn’t looking for reliability. Science and truth were irrelevant; cast aside in favor of someone who would pat him on the back and tell him that pursuing his prejudices was good enough.

He’s not alone in this. By design, campaigns of prejudice are based on the gamble that most people will stop looking for facts if someone backs up their prejudice. That’s why anti-gay industry leaders like  NARTH (and in turn, William Tam) rely singularly on extreme statements of emotion and fear.

There are two groups of people out there, that those of us who seek equality for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders and queers need to be concerned about- There are those who oppose us, and then there are the politicians whose votes we need to pass legislation. Truly, sometimes an elected official falls into both categories, but the distinction is still meaningful.

We can talk till we are blue in the face at those voices who seek to  oppress us, but we are generally talking past them, and they are stuck in the “statements of faith.” arguments. On the other hand, elected officials, no matter if they are for us or against us or somewhere in between, by the nature of their job, need to be collecting facts and listening to all of their constituents.

One place we often fall short as activists, is getting enough people to speak up in support of LGBTQ causes. Out elected officials hear/ receive letters and phone calls from those who seek to oppress us, but we (those of us who seek full equality and our supporters- they don’t hear from us. We are often good at telling each other why we feel equality is important, but we fall short in redirecting that towards legislators who can make a difference.

The only way to fight prejudice is with facts and shine light on the reality of life for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queers. Taking 5 minutes to write a letter (that isn’t a form letter) that says, “this is how [name your legislation of choice] will impact me, and my life and my friends or the people I care about…” can have huge impact.

“This is how [name your legislation of choice] will impact me, and my life and my friends or the people I care about…” is a statement of fact, and not a statement of faith. When fear rules, we lose. When the only voices heard by elected officials are those spreading exaggerations, lies or statements of faith, we lose. But we win, when the statements of facts are heard. Add your voice to the growing sound of truth and real facts.

PS: Thanks to Matt for his continued great work as a blogger!

NARTH, William Tam, and the Key to Anti-Gay Hate | Asterisk.

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