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Civil disobedience Stonewall style

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Buzz Publications
July 28, 2006


I have been reflecting on the state of the GLBT community recently. Beyond pride, I've moved into the anger phase. You could say I'm pissed. Multiple readings of the US constitution, the California constitution, and the whole declaration of independence think about taxation without representation and second class status for people identifying as homosexual, bisexual, or transsexual, makes me mad.

Hateful and arbitrary, anti gay legislation contradicts the intent of the constitutional rights promised to citizens of the United States of America. That otherwise rational people can ignore the obvious discrimination and injustice perpetrated against gays and lesbians is reason enough to be angry. That State and Federal governments endorse this inequality with legislation is equally infuriating.

As the framers of the constitution and authors Bill of Rights did not single out gays and lesbians for discrimination, those two documents support the right to protest. Without full and equal rights, like those granted to those identifying as heterosexual, again very arbitrary, gays and lesbians are being taxed without full representation under the law.

Perhaps it is time for some Thoreau-style civil disobedience. Thoreau was jailed in 1846 after refusing to pay taxes for six years in protest of slavery and the Mexican American War. Calling for "passive resistance" to laws perceived to be unjust Thoreau believed individual protest could have lasting impact on government and significantly alter its policies.

To quote Henry David Thoreau " If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law."

Thoreau's words and action would later inspire the teachings of Mohandas K. Gandhi, the Rev. Martin Luther King, and Edward Abbey.

Earlier this year International Worker's day, the neopagan socialist holiday known as May 1st, became a day of focused protest against xenophobia. A Day without Latinos took people off the job and out of the classroom and into the street. Very cool. Although I must admit the Mexican flags were ill advised, if not down right clueless.

I think a day with out Homos is an idea whose time has come. And instead of just taking a day off, a suitable display of gays and lesbian protest would be to stop paying taxes, until the constitution the courts settle inequities. After all, why should gay and lesbian subsidize a government that does not protect their civil and civic rights, while denying them the same access and opportunities available to heterosexual Americans?

To start the national protest, a symbolic week without homos would be a great way to remind those running the economics generated by the GLBT communities. Imagine if every gay man and woman, their bi sympathizers, and transgendered brother and sisters closed down their businesses, refuse to go to work, vacationed abroad, or just sat home and hibernated for the week.

A week without homos would leave Hollywood and West Hollywood virtual ghost towns. San Francisco, Palm Springs, San Diego, New York City and Provincetown, Ma. stand to loose millions, if not billions, in lost wages and revenue, because heterosexual employees would be out of work for a week as well. The hair and beauty industries would grind to a halt, as would the fashion industry, interior design, landscaping, and a major portion on the florist trade.

Like the promised rapture, a week without homos would leave gaping holes in the American workforce. Waiters, teachers, firemen, police officers, doctors and nurses calling in gay could cause major unrest in the service sector.

In the spirit of International buy nothing day, Gays and lesbians protesting their forced disenfranchisement of their constitutional rights, should be prepared to buy nothing to make a point. Shopping spree would be a major betrayal to the cause, unless of course you happen to be in a country that see homosexuals as worthy of equals rights. The Netherlands come to mind, as does Canada.

As a California secessionist, I encourage civil disobedience as a matter of course, and as an environmental activist, as a matter of urgency. As a gay man I see civil disobedience as a way of letting the status quo see that as an economic force gays and lesbians should not be taken for granted. In capitalist America money talks, it's time gays and lesbians let their buying power be heard.

As long as one group of Americans is denied the basic rights enjoyed by most, the American Ideal is betrayed. And if the Federal government refuses to uphold and protect the rights of all citizens equally, that government is unjust, and it's corruption intolerable. And governments that prove corrupt should be toppled out of patriotic duty, as evidenced by the crafters of the US Constitution. It's the American way.

I say it's time for some civil disobedience Stonewall style.

Revolution anyone?

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