I've had a busy October and November so far.
I've been working increased hours at my job. I just recently returned from Boulder, CO and the CU campus after being honored with keynote speaker duties for their recent TRANScending Gender conference that occurred November7-8. I've been writing a guest post or two for other blogs or have been invited to do so.
I've also been doing local political stuff as well during this just concluded election cycle vetting political candidates for my local GLBT organization's voter recommendation cards.
It's basically me doing my part to think globally and act locally.
Now that we are past a potentially history-changing election, it's time for us to consider what we're going to do to push a progressive political agenda. While it appears that our long conservative nightmare may be over, there are warning signs that there's much work to be done on our side of the political fence as well..
In October I took part in an all day summit of Kentucky GLBT leaders in Danville, KY to discuss that strategic question. It's also a question in the wake of the passage of California's Prop 8 and similar anti-marriage equality amendments that we need to seriously contemplate.
One of the failings of the GLBT movement as I see it is a lack of strategic vision. We sometimes fail to look 5, 10, 20, or 50 years into the future to visualize the world we want to live in and then formulate the plan with measured, attainable and visible goals to make it happen.
As much as I loathe the conservative movement and their Religious Reich friends, we can learn something from them. After they got their butts kicked in the 1964 presidential election, the various aspects of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy met, plotted and put together their spiderweb of organizations, think-tanks, networks and foundations. They are currently doing the same kind of noisy introspection over the 2008 election.
After the 1964 loss they came up with a plan that up until recently they've executed with Cylon-like precision and unwavering focus to the point that they've dominated the political narrative and the last 40 years of United States history.
So now that the political pendulum is thankfully swinging back to the left, we GLBT peeps have to seize the day and make sure we don't screw up our opportunity as badly as the conservative movement has.
The first order of business should be that if we're going to insist that others unconditionally accept us for who we are and respect our human rights, then we must do a better job of of not only communicating that and actually role modeling that behavior within our own ranks
You can't bitch and moan when a ballot initiative doesn't go your way, holler 'discrimination' and get huffy when it's pointed out by friends and foes that you've exhibited the same discriminatory behavior (Exhibit A - the ongoing ENDA debate) to peeps in your own ranks.
We must focus not only on getting GLBT politicians elected at all governmental levels, but progressive politicians of all stripes who support us as well. If the last eight years have proven anything beyond a shadow of a doubt, it's that if you want progressive policies, they won't come from conservative politicians.
We GLBT peeps have to do more coalition building inside and outside our community and do the hard work to ensure they stay viable. On the inside the community part, we not only have to have more than just white GLBT peeps heading up various organizations in the community, you must do more to ensure that people of color are engaged and involved from the beginning.
Required reading right now should be the 2002 Task Force report entitled 'Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud' if you wist to have a snapshot as to what some of the African-American GLBT community is thinking.
It was a study of black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people from nine cities (including Houston) done at several 2000 Black pride events.
It found that:
* Black LGBT people identified the most important issues facing their community as: o HIV/AIDS; o Hate crime violence; o Marriage and partner recognition.
* Half of the BPS 2000 respondents agreed that racism is a problem for black LGBT people in their relations with white LGBT people;
* Two-thirds of those surveyed agreed that homophobia is a problem within the black community.
Not only are the percentages of BPS 2000 transgender African-Americans who agreed with those statements even higher, they ranked employment at a priority equal to HIV/AIDS and marriage as lower priority issue.
There is a clear need for additional research and policy analysis by, for and about black LGBT people.
It's not just African-American communities that feel neglected, it's also the Latino/a, Asian-Pacific Islander and others as well. As much as some of you dislike identity politics, unless you want to keep losing elections, better learn how to play the game and master it.
We must do more to build alliances with other non GLBT organizations. I'm an African-American transgender woman, but my palette of issue concerns encompass more than just transgender or African-American ones. While those issues are important, they aren't and shouldn't be the only things I fight for as a concerned progressive citizen.
Americans are finally waking up to see what a mean-spirited disaster conservatism is, and liberal-progressives are being given an opportunity to prove we can do better. If we do it correctly, we can shift the political direction of this country for a generation or more.
We need to be disciplined and focused. We need to not only come up with common sense proposals that work, but also not be afraid to flex our intellectual muscles and use bold, out of the box thinking to solve problems.
It's time to seize the day and work to create the world that we wish to live in.