Over the past few weeks, there have been some comments to my blog that I want to address. Not so much, the actual content of the comments, but what I see as a general tone and purpose. Of course, purpose may only be interpreted unless someone is explicit about their intention, so please, let me know if you think I have it wrong. Don’t misinterpret this post. I love comments and comment makers, and the very act of commenting can be an act of participating in an open dialogue. But it may not be at the same time, and I’ll say a bit about that later on.

So, I’m operating on a premise, that one way people see the battle for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transexual rights is as a win or lose between two sides. Even that language- the battle for- sets the paradigm up as being an us vs them mentality. In that paradigm, dialogue is diminished and deprioritized, while the focus is upon the goal of winning. What dialogue that exists is generally of the propaganda type, and has the purpose of invigorating the base or self justification. I’m not sure I see that as a useful paradigm generally speaking. An easy one to adopt to be sure, but not an effective one in either the short or long term.

I operate under the premise that real equality will be achieved as more and more people come to understand how the denying of it, is incongruous the very notion of society as we hold it today. And the only way to bring that about is through the process of dialogue where people with different ideas can talk to each other, and hear each other. While hearing each other is no guarantee that either will come to agree, without it, it is certain that no agreement can come into being. Here is an example.

It is my opinion that these see nothing, hear nothing, do nothing activist groups are a cancer to equality; they’re just a bunch of swindlers. The LGBT community needs to grow a pair and tell NOM (and their apologists) they’re not tolerating any more of their shenanigans..

I want to know what it really means, and/or how does that play out in practical terms? I mean it sure sounds tough and “no nonsense,” but really past sounding tough, is there anything to it? I tend to think it is an illustration of a problem and not a road map to a solution. So, what I’d like is to hear those who see things this way to offer up some further explanation of how this works and what it will accomplish so that I better understand.

I really struggle with the “grow a pair” remark. Not only is it utterly sexist, but I think it misses the mark at why the LGBT community isn’t more active or vocal, or whatever some feel it needs to be. I find the National Organization for Marriage pretty close to evil, but I have no delusions that telling them to “stop their shenanigans” will have much impact upon how they go about trying to accomplish their purpose.

An alternative approach is illustrated by Judge Walker’s recent decision, where each side had ample opportunity to lay out the facts of their case, and in the end, truth prevailed. It became clear that there was no substantive basis upon which to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. Not only do, we- those who seek full equality- see this, but many see this, and we get a step closer to achieving full equality. A single step is far from enough, but the end goal will never be accomplished without an ongoing stream of steps toward it.

Here’s another example:

Gay marriage is coming to Pa. whether they like it or not. It’s just a matter of time. The candidates may as well jump on board now. We will not give in ! It is a civil right ! How dare they deny me my right to love and enjoy my relationship. I work and pay taxes also. Taxes to self righteous breeders and all of their causes, and what about separation of church and state ??????? Pa. better wake up now. I know of two people who are employed by Google who will never relocate to Pittsburgh, since we do not have civil unions or gay marriage here. I will not give up the fight !!!!

West Virginia. They have much more class than this hhillbilly excuse of a state.

I read this, and while I was happy to see another comment on my blog, I really wondered what this poster had hoped to accomplish by posting it. What was his/her interpretation of the blog post such that this seemed like a meaningful reply? The post was about Joe Hoeffel, and Dan Onorato.

So, I’d like to encourage you to participate in real dialogue as opposed to placing yourself in situations where all you may do is talk at others. Where can these dialogues happen? Everywhere! For example, at work, I talk to my co-workers about my weekend, just as they do. I talk about what my partner and I did, and I learn about what they did with their husbands or wives. This places my equality in open dialogue.

But there are two other important spaces within which to create open dialogue and I want to suggest you consider both. The first is the editorial page of your newspaper. When was the last time you sent off a letter to the editor, to voice your opinion on an issue impacting the LGBT community? Much like my “water cooler” discussions at work, the editorial page is a great space for making your thoughts, feelings and ideas known in a way that can generate thoughtful exchange. The other space is the office of your elected officials such as your state representatives and senators, or whatever of level of government closest to you where there is a need for greater LGBT equality. Does your city have a meaningful non-discrimination ordinance? Start there perhaps. I suggest the state level, because your state officials are generally easy to access, and in every state across the country, there are LGBT related issues being discussed or considered. I firmly believe that we may never get those on the far right to support full LGBT Equality. They may always be actively working against our rights. But the folks we need to reach, are our co-workers, our neighbors, and those who fall more towards the middle of the scale when it comes to acceptance. These are the folks who can come to understand the importance of LGBT Equality, and become our allies, and open dialogue can help make that happen. The commenter, who thinks politicians should just “jump on board,” can help make that happen, but sitting down and having a dialogue.

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