Nadine Smith

A Letter To Our Gay Friends

Filed By Nadine Smith | November 13, 2007 12:19 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: ENDA, LGBT community, satire, transgender

I thought I should forward this letter on. Many of you may have already received it. If not, perhaps it is on its way.

To: The Gay Community
From: The Coalition
Re: Your Status

It pains me to write this letter but now I know that to do otherwise would be a failure of leadership.
For years we have fought together in a coalition effort to end discrimination in its many and varied forms.

We have stood shoulder- to -shoulder, linking arms in dangerous times.

When funding for our vital programs was threatened by right-wing legislators you joined us in defeating those bad bills. When conservatives pulled us aside and suggested we dump you all from the safe schools bill, we said "NO GAY? NO WAY." Good times. Good times.

Today, however, is a new day. Today we realize that the association we hatched together in meeting after meeting about our shared history, common enemies and principled solidarity was in fact gross negligence on our part. Political naivete. We, the members of the formerly broad-based coalition of progressive organizations, having paid close attention to the ENDA debate, have come to understand finally that sometimes one must jettison the ballast to keep the boat afloat.

Sadly, you are the weakest link. While race, gender, religion enjoy strong support in the polls, public attitudes toward even the least threatening concept of homosexuality waxes and wanes depending on circumstance and geography.

Writing that brings me no joy.

I think back fondly on old times and past battles but I know I must resist this seductive form of weakness
and realize that sentimentality may have clouded my judgment. Were we really ever in this together? Was your presence a cold calculation about what our greater numbers could bring? We may never know.

Nonetheless I choose to look back with fondness and to look forward with steely-eyed clarity about what must happen next.

You must leave the coalition.

There. I said it. I know I speak for many who harbored this persistent thought but feared they might face ridicule and derision if they ever voiced it. But this is what political discipline requires of me.

My only hope is that you not make this very difficult but very necessary decision harder on us than it already is. You may ask: Who are we to decide who stays and who goes in this coalition? You may call us hypocrites, betrayers, even collaborators.

Call us what you will but please call from the other side of the dividing line. The cost of standing together is now too high.

I'm not trying to be rude and please understand that this need not be permanent. As soon as your numbers come up (and remain there consistently) and our marketing firm assures us that the "ick factor" (their words, not mine) that attends the public conception of two men together has dissipated, we will be back again, standing with you, ready to take that victory lap together.

Rest assured we still believe in full equality even for you and we will say so publicly. Your thanks is unnecessary. It is really the least we could do.

If asked we will tell any city councilmember, commissioner, senator or representative that we would prefer they give you protections--which we really really would.

But we are duty-bound to assure them through our words or winks, or subtle nods or other gestures that they can bank on our full support even if they explicitly remove you from the bill, law, policy, ordinance or executive directive.

Goodness this is a weight off my shoulders (and I suppose onto yours) but please, please understand how painful this decision is.

As a friend (and I do hope you know that I am and always will be) let me give you some friendly advice. Calm down. Public reactions of anger toward us only reinforce the wisdom of our decision and confirm the ugly stereotypes that abound about your kind -- selfish, highly emotional and viciously irrational.

If you knew the agony we have experienced weighing all these difficult choices, I don't think you would respond to this news so cruelly. Just count your blessings that we spared you the anguish of sitting in on that conversation as we decided your fate within this coalition.

This isn't simply my take on things. We've invested in some research to guide us. In fact, from now on we will poll the general public on all issues and follow the path that that democratic process dictates, which is why we won't be helping with any of those pesky marriage or adoption ballot measures anymore. Boy are they controversial.

We recently hired a firm to conducted research carefully structured to bolster and justify our position. The results are clear:

    • 85% of respondents said they would prefer to have an ice cold beverage in the summer rather than address issues that effect the gay community.
    • 72% said they would prefer a law that protected most students from discrimination rather than allow the bill to be held hostage by the radical homosexual lobby.
    • 75% of desperately unemployed people said they would suspend existing legal protections for gay people if it improved their chances of getting a job.
    The public has spoken and from here forward we are going to listen.

    So with a heavy but vindicated heart we must end our association.

    But comfort yourself as you leave with the knowledge that you have my pledge, my oath to you that as soon as you are politically viable, socially acceptable and financially useful (one out of three doesn't count) we will embrace you once again. Trust us.

    The Coalition*

    *Membership may vary. Loyalties may shift. Restrictions may apply.


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    Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | November 13, 2007 1:38 PM

    Nadine, brilliant!!!

    My name is Val, and I approve this message :-)

    Well it is witty despite the drama queen blather.

    This is somewhat like the issue I had with aligning gays with the pro-choice movement several years back when many pro-choice groups decided to back candidates who were far worse than their opponents on gay issues.

    Nothing wrong with one-issue advocacy groups as long as you realize that they are one-issue groups, so don't feel like you've been blindsided when your issues no longer align with theirs.

    Swift would be proud...truly "A Modest Proposal" for our times...

    Ahhh...savor the flavor. trans empowerment. And all's we have to do is wash the gay away.

    Nadine, did you write this yourself or did you seriously get it as an e-mail forward? If you wrote this, I'm soooo impressed. But if not, I'd like to track down the original author.

    And it's because of that odious philosophy that I support even the new disimproved 100% Trans-Free ENDA.

    Because we're better than that.

    Oh, I know it's not "pragmatic". I won't even say that it's sensible. Just right.

    Well, I always was a bit of a self-righteous prig, smug in my own moral superiority. Comes with being a RWDB I guess. And yet... it is still the right thing to do.

    The GLB(no T) sections have abandoned the only argument they ever had that would convince the straight majority: that they were in the right. Let's not do the same, huh? Because in the long-term, it would be stupid.

    Hey Bil,
    It is a satirical letter that I wrote to address the other harmful implications of failing to stand together on ENDA.

    Nadine

    Good salespeople get their foot in the door, sell one thing, make their customers commited and loyal and then sell them something else.

    Sell G&L now. They'll buy B&T later.

    Yes, Nadine, this is cute and witty. Of course it's also selective and out of context. When black men won the right to vote in the 19th century, they did not refuse it because black women (or any women) were still denied that right. When women won the right to vote in the early 20th century, they did not refuse it because it was denied to women who were 18-20 years old. When families across America won the right to take time off from work to care for a loved one, they did not refuse it until LGBT families were similarly covered.

    You get my drift. It is good and right to work towards employment protections for transgender persons. But it is stupid to suggest that millions of gay and lesbian Americans who need those same protections should refuse them until they come in a perfect civil rights bill that makes us all feel good about how noble we are.

    That's cold and harsh, but that's politics. Time to grow up.

    Absolutely love this, Nadine!

    I don't care if politics is politics -- people are people too, and no degree of procedure, protocol or pragmatism can justify 100% of what any combination of those three can do to human beings subject to them. No matter how obsolete we're rendered by science, technology and bureaucracy, I'm sorry, but we remain thinking and feeling people, and ought to be regarded as such until we receive the proper upgrades.

    (This is more or less how I feel about the whole thing -- I blogwhore because I love.)

    I understand it is a satirical letter. Dry but satirical. How is it that this form of writing actually helps us? What are we supposed to conclude? I already know the heaviness of the situation and i think most on this blog do too. Excuse me, I know you are on the side of ENDA inclusiveness but i just don't really understand putting ignorance down by pretending to be exactly that. It makes no sense to me. There is nothing anyone can do or should attempt to do to make light of this. If this is some sort of humor i am not laughing. I am trying but it just isn't for me. I thought you might want to know. "We have a nice cottonfield down south for you to go back to Nadine until i am ready to talk with you again." Isn't that the same sort of ignorance you are attempting to address here. Not very funny at all really. blunt yes but this audience already gets it.

    elaygee: i gotta laugh. you really are a quack. man what do you mean sell g & l now, they will buy b & t later? Exactly who is the customer. Guess what honey, i am not sellin myself to anyone or sellin out myself. I don't need to ask permission for equality and hope i get it from the majority. I demand equality and shove the hypocrisy in their faces preferably in a courtroom where it is documented. Get some self esteem. Jeepers you make me want to cry for you with that type of thinking. Where and when did you learn to sell yourself short? Where and when did you plant second class citizenship inside your mind? If you speak and confront ignorant people with those kinds of statements, many of them wake up and back off or at the very least stay silent. I have always said it is GLBTQ who are the ones who have to tolerate not the other way around. That mantra is the religious right propaganda.

    Yes, the incremental approach has worked in the past.
    Yes, that seems to be politics, flawed as it is.
    Yes, I believe we do what is right and set the example for the leaders.
    Yes, I believe you do what is right, simply because it is right.
    Yes, I believe we should raise the bar, not lower it.
    No, Rosa Parks didn't just happen with out planning and timing.
    And thanks Nadine for a near FN heart attack. lol
    Ok, now I think it's funny... in a bizzaro, creative kind of way. lol
    Kinda suits the author, eh?
    LOL
    p.s., Rand sends his love.