Diane Silver

Why I'm So Damn Frightened of You

Filed By Diane Silver | November 11, 2009 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Andrew Sullivan, DOMA, Don't Ask Don't Tell, ENDA, gay marriage, National Equality March

YOU - that's the "you" that's generally young, gay, trans, queer, lesbian, etc., and so certain you're right - YOU scare the living heck out of me. I'm not exactly certain what it is that is so frightening. I do have the distinct feeling, however, that you've just wrenched the steering wheel of the LGBT movement out of my age-spotted hands and that you're driving us queer folk off a political cliff.

Let me count my fears.

One: You don't know diddly, but think you've invented LGBT activism.

I came of age as a dyke activist (and we used the word "dyke" a lot then) shortly after I came out in 1979. It was a mere 10 years after Stonewall, yet I had no idea the Stonewall Riots had occurred. I certainly knew nothing about the hard work of activists who risked their lives and livelihoods before Stonewall.

I and my comrades in arms thought we were inventing the wheel. Actually, we were re-inventing it. In the process, we wasted time and energy that could have gone to furthering the cause. I see the same thing happening today, only on a larger scale. As the long-term impact of The National Equality March becomes clearer, that weekend in October may one day exemplify this kind of snafu.

Two: For people who possess the most powerful organizing tool in history - the Internet - you spend an incredible amount of time running in circles, screaming and shouting and accomplishing nothing.

I love the Internet, I love blogging, I love debating, but there comes a time when the debate has to end and action has to be taken. Two things tick me off about all the blogerrhea, Twittermania and round-the-clock YouTubing: (a) It preaches to the choir; (b) it sucks up time and energy that could be used more productively.

The uncomfortable truth is that the most effective way to change the hearts, minds and votes of the masses is to take a series of sometimes terrifying actions. These include knocking on doors, staffing phone banks, and most of all, engaging in one-on-one conversations with friends, relatives and co-workers. Having the courage to have those conversations risks relationships and even jobs, but it also creates real change.

Three: If you're going to take the reigns of the movement, you need to buck up, suck in your metaphorical stomach, and gain a little emotional maturity. Dare I say it? Grow up.

Disagreements about the best way to win equality are not attempts by the old guard to overthrow the young. Differences of opinions about tactics and strategy are not signs of cowardice or selling out. Offering the benefit of experience to a less experienced organizer is not a personal attack.

All of these disagreements, differences and offerings are, in fact, nothing more than signs that those of us who've been battling for decades respect your efforts. We need your energy, passion, refusal to compromise and new ideas. But you also need us old folks, along with our knowledge, skills and our willingness to work. Perhaps what frightens me the most is that you seem to think you don't.

Age, by the way, is a slippery concept. If you're in your 20s or 30s and see yourself in my rant, then I am pointing my finger at you. But being chronologically young doesn't mean one's immature, and being in one's 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th decade doesn't mean one's wise. Yesterday, 46-year-old Andrew Sullivan fell into the immaturity trap, but I'll leave the discussion of that for another time. This post is already long enough.


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Nice lecture... why don't you go have tea with David Mixner...

Your old school ways have not accomplished anything measurable in the last decade.

We have wasted millions on Human Rights Campaign and Equality California and we didn't even get a t-shirt out of it. What we got was a group of mostly White "comfortable" LGBT elites running our movement and trying to use our time and energy after you set in place failed strategies.

This silly little lecture of yours accomplishes nothing but seems to practice many of the things you abhor.

But hey, i am just an uppity 37 yo Latino who doesn't know diddly because I don't have degrees on my wall or the professional resume you do.

Why don't we all step back and let your generation take us down the path to equality...

OH WAIT WE TRIED THAT ALREADY = FAIL

Um, David Mixner was the guy who had the hare-brained idea of doing an equality march for the young ones- not sure your comparison is apt.

As you get to know me on here (I used to post as Latinos4ME my Twitter name) you will find I tend to be very well read and versed on the issues and the players. FYI...

That said, yes there was a "pointed point to my post...

1) To be as dramatic and extreme as she was.

2) To pointed remind her that Mixner (her generation) came up with that idea for NEM then he came in here last week blaming people of color, and Obama too, IN ADVANCE, for the divined loss in Maine.

3) To have a bit of fun with it all and to throw in everything but the kitchen sink... =)) You see, there was not a lot of consistency in what she posted. (She is a blogger yet she attacks bloggers for example).

Don't get me wrong, I often post dramatic extreme opinions and comments on my Facebook page... but I would moderate on posting a blog here on Bilerico for the sake of reason, inclusion and intelligence... I guess I just love Bilerico and I appreciate reading many of the regular contributors

For example, I am not the biggest fan of EQCA and they know that, half of LA knows that but what I would post in a comment to them is not the same thing I would write in a blog. I think bloggers have the good old 1st Amendment rights, but responsible and effective bloggers on a site like Bilerico should be aware of their position of trust to the community...

Where do you stand on the 2010 / 2012 debate?

I used to think that EQCA was always on the wrong side of things, but to me, they make a lot of sense about not going back in 2010.

LOL you would do this to me... 10/12 is complicated.

I think I should submit a guest post on this, but a few words...

10 is winnable. With some IF's...

12 is winnable. With some IF's...

I think either will be dependent on the Courage Campaign being involved. I have more faith in them than anyone else. I may even help them by joining or forming a team for them if they and I decide it is a good fit...

EQCA: I like Amy Mello she seems cool. I think Marc Solomon is good people. I love Andrea Shorter but I think our community would have benefited from her being with Courage or another group... EQCA is so entrenched in old ways she can't effect that much change.

That said this whole idea of depending on canvassing will fail us. No one is addressing this obvious Bradley effect. There was this October canvass in East LA and they were amazed at the incredibly high conversion rates. I wasn't. I had already warned them that Latinos will tend to be polite, agree to get you out the door or off the porch and they will listen to other types of messaging more.

I think canvassing works more amongst undecided voters not voters who are against marriage equality. Those voters need much different levels of work.

Specifics later...

I say wait to 2012, for obvious reasons.

By November 2012, we'll all be dead as the planet will be off its axis as we stare at the black hole in our galactic center.

No one will care about no stinkin' gay marriage then.

Once again, the Mayans provide the answers to all of our problems.

Nothing wrong with the subject of 2010/2012, but it is off topic for this post please (and tends to draw lots of other vociferous commenters that aren't nearly as civil as the two of you!) Take it off the thread, please guys.

True, sorry, but I don't see a way to delete... ?

This is a response to Robert and partially a comment. First the general comment: In part, my goal for this post was to poke the hornet's nest and provoke conversation about what has looked increasingly like a generational battle within the movement. I certainly succeeded. Terrific discussion. Thank you all!

On to Robert's comment. Among many other things, he wrote: "Your old school ways have not accomplished anything measurable in the last decade."

I have two reactions to this.

First, you're making a lot of assumptions about who I am, what I've done and what I want to do. How do you know what my "old school ways" are? I'm not a particularly famous person in LGBTQ Land, so I'd be surprised if you know much about me. But then again -- and this isn't meant to be a dig at you, Robert -- a lot of us in the movement are making assumptions about each other. We ASSUME someone who disagrees with us over a tactic is a coward or doesn't want true equality. We ASSUME that all who are older than us think and do one thing. We ASSUME that all who are younger fit a certain mold.

I made a lot of assumptions in my post about younger activists. That wasn't fair. It wasn't any more fair than all the assumptions some young activists (notice I said "some") make about older activists.

Second, beware of the easy argument. Blaming failure on "old school ways" is comforting. It's great to take out our frustration and anger on each other by declaring that if "you" had only done something different, we would have won. The problem, though, is that this attitude could set us up for continued failure. It ignores the true difficulty of the task before us. It is possible that different tactics and even different leadership might have won the day, but it is also possible that the changes we seek were simply too great for us to win.

Society is changing, and it's doing so very quickly, in part, because of all the activism and coming out of the past. But civil rights movements are hard, long-term fights.

Thanks for your honesty, Robert. I wish you well, and I'm so glad you're part of the fight for equality!

"First, you're making a lot of assumptions about who I am, what I've done and what I want to do. How do you know what my "old school ways" are?"

...didn't you, you know, describe them in detail?

You know, "canvass the neighborhoods", "talk to people individually", "phone banks"?

I will not agree or disagree with anyone on whether the methods you described actually work (partly because I think ALL methods should be COMBINED - Twitter and Facebook and YouTube and talking to individuals and going to door to door ALL of it - and partly because different methods will get through to different folks).

BUT don't even try to claim you didn't describe any "old school ways". Because you spent a good deal of the post ranting about how supposedly youngsters don't do those things anymore (by definition casting them as an "old-school" way!) and how they favor new technology like Twitter and YouTube and Facebook that supposedly "preach the choir" (distinguishing New School things from the phone banking, door to door, etc., thus implying that they weren't new school and therefore further categorizing them as Old School).

Also, I must say I'm rolling my eyes at the whole "hehehe, I'm going to poke the hornet's nest, teehee, aren't I nawty, teehee..." approach.

You're trying to say now that it was merely to "get a reaction", i.e. grab attention, and that it was trying to make some sort of satirical point by using the same style of argument that youngsters supposedly use against Old School Ways.

What it actually READS as, is "weeeee I'm an attention whore! I'm acting like I'm 13! RANT RANT RANT Weeeeee look at me! Now I'm going to pretend it was all a clever game because surely that will make me look 'clever'! As opposed to manipulative, defensive or trollish!"

I believe those in glass houses should not even *pretend* to throw stones, thanks. A more moderate post that WASN'T trying to (in your own words!) "poke the hornet's nest", would actually have been FAR more effective at getting your own damn point across. Because new guard or old guard, I'm disinclined to listen to people who apparently feel they have to manipulate their own side's irritable side just to get their article more attention.

There is enough "poking the hornet's nest" in SERIOUSNESS on the internet as it is.

We do not need you doing it for attention on top of that, and then pretending it was all a complex mind game. Not least because it takes more than a badly-constructed bit of trolling to constitute a "complex mind game", and what power your point could have had is considerably reduced and potentially entirely obscured by the immature way in which you chose to make it.

One last point: Your satirical effort did not come across as satire; rather, this post of yours sounds like an attempt to save face.

Tip: Next time, don't troll. Yes, not even to "make a point". Because I for one do not feed trolls, and I respect them even less.

JW, thanks for your comment. I do mean that sincerely. I have to admit to smiling, though. I've been accused of many things -- being an abomination before God, being far too earnestly sincere -- but I've never, ever been accused of being an "attention whore." It's nice to see something new showing up now and then.

Just a few other things in reply...

My original post wasn't meant to be a satire. If I left that impression, I apologize. I've always thought satire should be funny, and there was nothing humorous about my original post. I mean nothing humorous now or in any reply I've made in this lengthy discussion. Although I've got a pretty fair wit in face-to-face conversation, I don't seem to have the knack for writing humor or satire, so I don't even try.

On the tone of this post...

Over many years I've worked enormously hard to write in such a way that people hear what I'm saying. I haven't attacked, I haven't ranted, I haven't gotten nasty or called names. In the clamor of the web, though, I've found lately that the reasonable tone has been ignored, and the gentle post is seldom read.

So what I did with this post was attempt an experiment. I engaged in a bit of ranting, yup, I'll admit it. I wanted to see if people would pay attention enough to engage in a conversation, and well, they did.

However, nothing I wrote was said merely for effect. I felt everything I wrote. Note that I said I "felt" everything. This was a post about my fears, and these are honestly some of my fears. Fear isn't logical. Emotion isn't logical.

Some of what I said is undoubtedly true, particularly for some younger folks, but some of it was unfair. I've learned a lot from this conversation, and I've appreciated that. I feel a lot more comfortable with younger activists now then I did before I made the original post.

I've appreciated every comment, even every name I've been called, although it's nice to see that there haven't been many.

Here are the two points I personally think are most important to take from this discussion.

(1) What I wrote originally is a listing of fears that are felt by some older activists. These are real feelings and pretending they don't exist is silly and, well, simply useless. There may be foolishness in some of these fears, but they may also point to some things younger activists need to understand about why older activists sometimes treat them poorly. Maybe these fears even point to some things that younger activists need to change.

(2) Anyone, including me, who engages in generalizations is being foolish and possibly destructive. We are all individuals and we need to be treated as such. This discussion has done a good job of reminding me of that fact.

Thanks for entering the conversation, JW. Take care.

Olivarez's comment simply illustrates PERFECTLY Silver's point. How he can say, "Your old school ways have not accomplished anything measurable in the last decade"? Has he been living under a rock? That there is now a Federal Hate Crimes law is due to the hard work of many over the past decade! That nondiscrimination coverages exist protecting GLBTQ's in housing, employment and public accommodations, is due to hard work by many over the decade, and that we have Civil Unions, Domestic Partnerships and Marriage in a number of states came about during this time frame that he claims nothing was accomplished.

Oh Thomas, "Olivarez" sounds so hostile like you are a drill sergeant or handing my termination papers...

I am sorry you posted a reply before you read the entirety of the discussions or you would have read that I posted in extreme in response to Diane's extreme blog... She has since made some mea culpas and I have since taken the time to explain that my personal issues with previous generations is not one of age but of a privileged class that assume that "Olivarez" is not as aware and does not comprehend the history of our movement as well as they do...

I am much too big to fit under a rock, but I'd accept that maybe I was in a cave... big ol bears like caves...

Many of the new activist generation were also kept away from the elite LGBT bastions of power and decision making. But we have internet and we were able to educate ourselves and post-prop 8 we were able to say ENOUGH!

If you are ever in LA feel free to arrange a visit for some cafe con leche y pan dulce ;-)

There are so many things here to address that I'm not sure where to start. I'll try to go in the same order as you.

First off, you're making a lot of unfounded generalizations of a whole generation. It used to be true that everyone was ignorant of LGBT issues and history until they came out, but while that might still be the case for plenty of folks today, there's plenty of people who are raised on LGBT issues and history. I was raised by parents who came out around the same time you did. I've been involved in ballot campaigns since I was 9 years old (and navigating homophobia since I was 3). So while I'm young, I too can claim decades of experience in this realm -- you've only got a few years on me there. Sure, it's not the same kind of experience you had, but it doesn't need to be in order to be valid. Most of my friends grew up with mentors, guidance, and resources to have a well grounded LGBT education. None but the foolish claim to have invented LGBT activism or act like it -- the history of what came before us and the advice from our mentors is part of what gives us the confidence to take leadership positions.

Second, when the choir is still committing suicide at such high rates, sometimes it needs a little preaching. I can say assuredly that my participation in "blogerrhea" has saved lives -- plural. Yeah, there are folks who run in circles trying to explain themselves to bigots, but they are certainly not preaching to the choir. Even when they might not be effective, they are cutting their teeth, learning the hard way about effective argumentation and self care.

Third, you say so yourself that there's immaturity among the older generations and maturity among the younger -- so why the across the board dig here? Do I even need to explain to you that many of us have grown up? That the folks you've complained about are not necessarily our leadership. In fact, the LGBT movement leadership remains solidly in the 30s and 40s crowd. And they aren't the folks I associate with running in circles on the internet.

Terrific comments, Tobi. Thanks for jumping into the discussion. Here are a couple of responses.

You write: "you're making a lot of unfounded generalizations of a whole generation."

Yup, I was making generalizations, and that wasn't fair in any way, just like it isn't fair to make generalizations about the "old guard," and my goodness, I've seen hundreds of those. From reading this comment and several others you posted, Tobi, I suspect that you're not one of those who have been slinging around unfounded generalizations about an entire, older generation, but too much of that has been done lately.

You write: "when the choir is still committing suicide at such high rates, sometimes it needs a little preaching."

I agree 1,000 percent with your statement. As I said in my original post, I love to blog. I even tweet. Standing alone, those activities are not only not harmful, they also save lives by providing information and community to isolated, frightened kids.

What worries me is the incredible amount of energy that can go into debating instead of acting. What worries me even more is that some folks may equate posting with activism. Heck, I make my living as a writer. I'm not bashing the act of writing or videoblogging or communicating in any way, but it isn't a substitute for actually doing the work.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to clarify that point. And thanks so much for your comments.

Every generation builds on the world handed to it by the generation before. Good or bad, that's where our work begins.

Your old school ways have not accomplished anything measurable in the last decade.

So you are claiming that the victories in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Washington state on Nov 4, or the signing of the federal hate crime extensions a few days later, had nothing to do with four decades of education work done by people like Diane and her (and my) generation.

But hey, i am just an uppity 37 yo Latino who doesn't know diddly because . . .

You forgot to mention how arrogant and over-confident you are, and how unappreciative you are of accomplishments you benefit from and now take for granted. Your sorry attitude shows that Diane is worried for all the right reasons.

BTW, Diane said nothing, good or bad, about Latinos --- you're the one who had to bring that up. So what's your point?

It really seems like replying to you is a waste of time...

Oh wait, it is... You wouldn't get it...

I have a town hall to get to... I leave you and Ms Silver here to your fire fest...

;-)

My, Robert ... what a tactful way to tell me to get lost, and you criticize David Mixner for being dismissive ... next time I read or hear something from you about "inclusion" I'll remember this response.

@AJ: Well, if you read your post it was a bit fiery...

And you focused on the word Latino when I used quite a few descriptive words... and Latino was relevant because I really don't think this "generation" gap is one of age, I frankly think it is of class.

And you will notice that yes, many blue collar; poor, people of color; transgendered; and the young tend to fall on the side of the new generation of activists. I think "generation" is more of a phrase in this case rather than age descriptive.

So yes, you suddenly see more people of color and diversity standing up and saying "hey we want a say and a part of this equality fight, and we are willing to work for it..." So that is why Latino was relevant. Not to be unkind but I feel if you were aware of the current dynamics of the newer generation of activists you would have gotten why race IS an issue.

In either case, I do not claim to be one of the most powerful gay men in America, so I am not sure the Mixner comparison is accurate... so how can I best serve your interest in dialogue tonight to make amends for not taking the time to explain more in depth before I ran out the door last night?

H. Wednesday | November 11, 2009 9:08 PM

Your blog post feels like an attack. However you meant it, just know that it's putting your target audience on the defensive.

I think younger people need to show appreciation and understand their context in LGBT history, but we're taking over the reigns *at some point* and at some point you're going to need to learn to trust us to drive. Even though we may be taking different directions.

And I don't see such a clear line drawn between generations. In the end it's just one stage after another and people of all ages need their own mistakes to learn from. Whether you like it or not, younger people are the fuel for this fire now. Please communicate your experiences in a way that we'll listen.

In appreciation,
Heather

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 11, 2009 9:55 PM

I do not see Diane's posting as any form of attack but as a moment to step back and reflect upon actions and priorities. You say "fuel for this fire" she says avoid "fuel for your pyre" in effect.

As to yourself, Tobi and Robert I would like to ask for your ten point fully inclusive action plan to move forward in an organized manner. Don't forget "flyover country" as well.

It is much easier to be critical of some one else than to formulate a strategy of your own. Even though Diane has generalized we all do both younger and older. Otherwise every conversation would start out with who it excludes so as not of offend anyone.

With perspective of where we have been and what we have accomplished we need a consistent positive message that builds natural alliances. We don't need our own martyrs as we have plenty. Re read her point three and understand that she acknowledges that change in leadership is natural.

Where is Diane's ten point plan, or yours for that matter? We didn't write the blog post attacking it was her mess she posted and there was nothing reasonable or purposed to be of positive counsel. It was a rant.

Robert,

Here's my 7 point plan. Granted, when I wrote it a couple years ago it was an exercise to prioritize trans issues, but I really think this outline would greatly benefit LGBT folks in general.

But for the most part, I'm not about having THE PLAN that will fix everything. It's about participating in a wide variety of tactics and strategies for our community's general benefit. That's why I get out there, canvas, phone bank, have one-on-one's everytime there's an LGBT issue is on the ballot -- even if it's an issue that I don't think should be a priority or that I think might cause some harm as well as good.

That's why I take offense at Diane coming in and claiming that "youth these days" don't understand phonebanking and canvasing. But like the other Robert says, I'm not claiming to be the big leader here. Criticizing is easy and Diane's the one doing the criticizing here. I'm responding to say that I think her criticism is unfounded, arrogant, and antagonistic, mainly for three reasons.

1 - The folks she is complaining about are not our movements leaders; the younger leaders who are taking leadership positions among the broader LGBT movement most certainly have experience (sometimes decades) and most certainly know the value of a phonebank.
2 - Leaders of older generations are just as likely to fall into the other traps mentioned here, not to mention all the folks who aren't leaders.
3 - There are ways to speak in general terms without making hurtful and/or discriminatory generalizations -- that's not what's happening here.

It's easy to take something as a call to calm self-reflection when it's not targeting you. But she's specifically saying that our generations most experienced leaders have all these flaws which I personally see as not present among myself and other younger leaders that I know.

As for multi-point plans... one can't fit everything into a post. However, you can read more about my thoughts on the movement by reading some of my other Bilerico posts, and by looking at my Political IQ columns.

Once again, thanks so much for joining into the discussion.

Robert,

Here's my 7 point plan. Granted, when I wrote it a couple years ago it was an exercise to prioritize trans issues, but I really think this outline would greatly benefit LGBT folks in general.

But for the most part, I'm not about having THE PLAN that will fix everything. It's about participating in a wide variety of tactics and strategies for our community's general benefit. That's why I get out there, canvas, phone bank, have one-on-one's everytime there's an LGBT issue is on the ballot -- even if it's an issue that I don't think should be a priority or that I think might cause some harm as well as good.

That's why I take offense at Diane coming in and claiming that "youth these days" don't understand phonebanking and canvasing. But like the other Robert says, I'm not claiming to be the big leader here. Criticizing is easy and Diane's the one doing the criticizing here. I'm responding to say that I think her criticism is unfounded, arrogant, and antagonistic, mainly for three reasons.

1 - The folks she is complaining about are not our movements leaders; the younger leaders who are taking leadership positions among the broader LGBT movement most certainly have experience (sometimes decades) and most certainly know the value of a phonebank.
2 - Leaders of older generations are just as likely to fall into the other traps mentioned here, not to mention all the folks who aren't leaders.
3 - There are ways to speak in general terms without making hurtful and/or discriminatory generalizations -- that's not what's happening here.

It's easy to take something as a call to calm self-reflection when it's not targeting you. But she's specifically saying that our generations most experienced leaders have all these flaws which I personally see as not present among myself and other younger leaders that I know.

H. Wednesday | November 12, 2009 4:42 AM

I don't have a 10 point plan because I don't have plans. I aim for theories to create newer and more inclusive frameworks.

I'm currently re-thinking activism. Activism, right now, is two groups of people on separate sides of an intersection trying to get people's attention to create change. The opposing groups are each unified and have their own plans.

There's this idea of Syncretism that I'm fascinated with. I'm trying to find ways to make syncretism work as an active process.

I think that the only change that ever happens is when I tear down the walls between myself and others so that there's no more bad guy to point to and fight against. There is no more "other" to struggle against.

Our experiences are our greatest asset and in the end are the basis for the 'change' we might want in the first place. Our allies are the ones who LGBT people have been able to communicate their experiences to thus far. And that was only possible because our allies were able to stop feeling threatened.

If I were to have any plan whatsoever it's that we start listening to those who may be hurting us. To become curious in them *without any motivation to change them*. Be tolerable, be kind, be helpful. Live with them, smile with them, laugh with them. Ask about their fears and sympathize with them. Question ourselves and our communication constantly.

I do understand that this might be much more difficult than standing on the street holding a sign. Or sending in money for TV ads. It's also less satisfying than chanting some slogan or arguing online.

But I wonder if it's the only way we ever move forward as a society. I admit that I was trying to change Diane in my previous post.. and for that I ask for forgiveness. I'm just now trying to tackle my communication problems as my main endeavor.

Heather

H, you wrote: "If I were to have any plan whatsoever it's that we start listening to those who may be hurting us. To become curious in them *without any motivation to change them*. Be tolerable, be kind, be helpful. Live with them, smile with them, laugh with them. Ask about their fears and sympathize with them. Question ourselves and our communication constantly."

I love this and absolutely agree. We have to start within our own movement, between generations and between various communities, and we have to do this (shudder), yes, even with fundamentalists.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | November 12, 2009 4:58 AM

Since so many have crowded in to the top of the post by elbowing their way in (and there is a double response beneath mine). I think "The Dallas Principles" are an excellent framework for the beginnings of a point plan. More important to me is that we determine the difference between organization and love of debate, or debating points.

When less than a half of 1% of GLBT persons were out to friends and family let alone the public there was a great sense of unity. Now with many more out and "quasi internet out" there is less unity than before but perhaps a truer representation of considered sentiments of the greater group.

Thus far I find Toby to have the most interesting points in this area. She is an extremely unique individual in the manner in which she was raised in that virtually all of us were raised by heterosexuals...at least on the surface. More like her will come and they will be excellent leaders.

I take Diane's posting to be less about whether to march or not, but how we comport ourselves for the consumption of the majority of Americans who are not our allies...yet. The backbiting nature of our way of referring to one another is also consumed by those who do not like us as an inspiration of how they can get to our weaknesses. Please think about that in context to the next elder or younger person you dismiss, race you denigrate, wealthier or poorer person you might distrust. None of us are perfect, but all of us deserve equal civil rights. Can't we build on that?

Agreed. I also 2nd the Dallas Principles.


Thanks for your comments. I was at a dinner party last weekend, and someone also was mentioning that "no one's a dyke any more."

However, you obviously benefited from some of the public aspects of your activism, in helping you understand who you are, and in seeing that there were many others like you. Don't you think that this is necessary for each generation? In this respect, the National Equality March was necessary. There had not been such a march in 9 years.

I'm a Dyke. Obviously you haven't seen me with my tool bag and clipboard on the job.

As someone who is your senior, I find that today's younger gays came out sooner, are more comfortable in their own skin and are far less neurotic than my generation. They possess a clarity of thought that may elude us.

Moreover, I wouldn't be so quick to judge bloggers. Blogs provide a means of sharing ideas - even among the members of the choir. Blogs often provide something else that is vital to our movement - ridicule. It does get read and it does drive people to distraction. I take great pride in knowing (from his email blasts) that I have ruined a day or two for Brian Brown.

One more thought. The well-heeled gay establishment is representing us with neither our consent nor input. Some seem to be primarily interested in getting photos with powerful politicians (while clad in a tuxedo of course). I would welcome some fresh minds to ask the questions that we think we already know the answers to. Maybe we don't. In fact, maybe we don't know all the questions. If you ask me, we could use a good shake-up.

Wow, that was unpleasant. Well let's see, I'm a 40 something long time activist. My uncles were partnered in the 60s and were together for over 30 years. So I had some LGBT role models around. I have 5 kids and they are aware of the LGBT community, my daughter has been an activist ally for us and one of my sons is one of us. I was starting to date 10 years after Stonewall and I didn't really need to come out since my grandfather just up and told me that he knew and not to worry it runs in the family.
I work with lots of kids and they do come out sooner, and they do learn earlier about our movement and history and I mentor a lot of them.
They have the best networking communication skills that the word has ever seen. (Maybe if we would have had this type of system not so many of my friends would have died way back when, just saying)They have superior research skills and know how to locate and compare information very effectively.
I myself as a long time activist find the new generation to be impressive and I hope to see what they bring to this movement because some of my generation embarrass me. I've never found the LGBT youth today to be dismissive of me, I work with them and I listen to them and they listen to me. They even come to me for advice.
But then again I don't think that I speak down to them, or accuse them of things and I don't start of by setting an antagonistic tone.
I hope that the 20 somethings and the teens and the tweens who are becoming so self aware and so well informed at such an early age will not hold this blog post against my generation in general, I'm sure that you know someone in your own age group who goes off and says thoughtless things and embarrasses you.

@ Rob: You are so on the money. One of my favorite friends was an "old-timer" in his 80's. He was a straight and straight talking Irish man and he loved me and always took the time to help me.

He never judged me and he never chastised me. He would counsel me and speak to me from his experiences. And sometimes he would let me experience what I needed to experience and then after he would tell me how it saw it coming but wanted me to see it for myself.

When I would see my friend Mac it would make me so happy. He was fun, kind and had a lot of experience including from the school of hard knocks. We lost him recently, but I will never forget this great man - he had a whole community of friends who loved and respected them, as he loved and respected them.

I'm really not sure what you are attempting to accomplish with this article. It seems that your criticizing the younger generation of gblt activists but to what point?

If your trying that we are all in this together and we need to work together to achieve our mutual goals. I question your format, it seems deeply counter productive to what you want. I see three section of critique before I ever even get the core of your argument or your goal. If you want your message to be heard it needs to be at the front then followed by more productively phrased criticism. As it is, it just reads like a curmudgeonly old person complaining about todays youth.

I would like to point out some other things as well. Your generation did reinvent gblt activism and perhaps you could have done it more efficiently but you had to make a kind of that activism fits your goals and your time period. The younger people are creating a new kind of activism which fits their goals and their time. Its a constant process of recreation their simply isn't one kind of trans-historic activism that works for all people forever.

The internet provides a whole host of possibilities. Some of them are something of an eco chamber but most people don't obsess about it like you seem to imagine. If they do obsess over it, its been my observation, that it has a purpose it allows young people to find their voice. It allows them to try out ideas and most importantly it gives them a since of community and identity.

Your right many of the young do view things posited as suggestions as attacks. Then again like your post why must so many of the old guard offer suggestions that read like attacks? How are people supposed to learn if they aren't given the chances to attempt it? There are so few spaces for young queer people in established lgbt movements, that in many cases young people feel that if they want a space to grow in they must make it themselves. I wonder why that is?

Sam

Of course I find a error as soon as I post. It should read...

If your trying say that we are all in this together and we need to work together to achieve our mutual goals.

Sam, thanks for the comment. You wrote: "like your post why must so many of the old guard offer suggestions that read like attacks?"

Here's the honest answer, Sam. I have written well reasoned, calm posts that are sweet and nice and don't hurt anyone's feelings, and they sink into the sea of Bilerico with only a few bubbles to mark their passing. I wrote this post -- letting my fears lead my writing -- so that people would see it. I also wanted to express my fears (and fears aren't logical). I wanted to spark discussion, help some younger folk feel what it's like to be painted with a broad stroke generalization by those within your own community, and make a few points that I think are true for some younger activists.

Sam, you also wrote: "How are people supposed to learn if they aren't given the chances to attempt it? There are so few spaces for young queer people in established lgbt movements, that in many cases young people feel that if they want a space to grow in they must make it themselves. I wonder why that is?"

I wonder if this is true. I know that this is the perception in some quarters. I know there's an idea that the movement is lead by a handful of powerful "old guard" who don't let others in. That hasn't been my personal experience, though. Most of my gay rights work has been in Kansas with a teeny bit of activity in Missouri. Perhaps what I've seen only applies to these flyover states. On the other hand, what I've seen is that the leaders are the folks who show up and do the work. Show up to a meeting and raise your hand. You might be surprised at what happens.

Once again, thanks for commenting Sam, and thanks for being part of the change.

I cant speak to your experiences Diane, but I can speak to my own.

Its been my experience in both North Carolina and South Carolina that largely young people are treated as a novelty act. We (I'm counting myself as a young person even though I likely shouldn't anymore) are allowed in to a point, we are given space to a point, and then when things get hard or we are no longer amusing we are pushed aside. The issues that affect young peoples lives are at best secondary and often seemed far lower on the list of priorities. Finally many young people weren't educated or mentored they were treated as arm candy, cute face to be put on magazines but heaven forbid they want to talk about issues.

That being said, I must point out two things. One is that some young people used their roles as novelty acts and cute faces to create a significant space for themselves. Secondly the exclusion of the issues of young people was often due to lack of resources not out of malice.

I think that my experience isn't as much of an aberration as you would like to think it is.

Sam

Sam, your experience in the Carolinas sounds awful. In particular, using people as "arm candy" is appalling.

I think this is a great, very honest post. Thanks Diane.

Diane - is this post following the new Bilerico strategy of increasing traffic by tweaking the collective noses of the readership?

Oh - BTW - I'm on your lawn.

Don't worry - not many contributors even have access to that data on the site. Bilerico's well-known because we're willing to engage in intra-community criticism, and it's going to stay that way. :)

As a member of the younger generation (which no one ever brings up to me unless they want to dismiss what I have to say... I never get the "Look at the future of the gay community!" comments boys several years older than me are still getting... I know I make some people afraid to think that I'm part the future of the gay community), I was going to come in here with guns blazing. But I see that most people (especially Tobi) have already said what I wanted to say.

Plus, this post has a lot of truth to it that some people here would be wise to listen to. So I'll take it as a criticism of the "new generation" of LGBT activists that appeared just after Prop 8 passed, which seems to be a demographic group that includes gays up to the age of 70 (andrew Sullivan loves to say that he's a part of it too).

Oh, I'll just throw in that, even as a blogger, I can see the point about preaching to the choir. I don't know how many times a discussion here on Bilerico has involved someone saying "Well, I don't care if you don't agree with me, but I'm going to continue to work on the issues that are important to me."

And "work" means "forward an email" or "post something to facebook." It's even better when it gets thrown at a contributor I know spends a lot of time on real-world activism.

Thanks for the post Diane. I don't think it is an either or equation.

In my life mentoring has been beyond important- but the best mentors are those who realize they have something to learn from the mentee as well. That is when real collaboration and movement-building can happen.

I find myself becoming more and more alienated from the leaders of our LGBT blogs- this recent salvo for a DNC boycott is beyond frustrating.

Movement is happening- is it as quick as I like, no. But fuck, Hate Crimes has finally passed, we are an enumerated category in federal law. We are in the House health care bill. Things are happening.

My experience has been I can voice my anger with someone maybe one / two times. If I'm NOT always angry and calling for blood, people will listen, maybe take it in and make changes. But when I'm always angry, always not satisfied, people begin to just stop listening to you- feeling, anything they do is not enough so why try?

I hope the Obama Administration does not begin to view our community with a similar lens.

Beyond that, I find the idea of a DNC boycott hilarious, when most of the people boycotting have probably never given over $200 in their lifetime, if anything at all.

I have nothing against older generations of LGBT activists. In fact, I'm interested in knowing more LGBT history and about how we got where we are today. However, I'm not a fan of critical rants that have nothing constructive to add, and only one link from one blogger (one that a lot of people don't agree with) to back up said rant.

I see what you're doing here, Diane, and really appreciate it, but the message is getting lost in the mess. In fact, this movement has ALWAYS been about the youth--to a fault at times--and the old guard has always eventually fallen into two camps: those who accept and embrace the youth and encourage their involvement in positive ways--growing new leaders--and those who get crotchety and pissed of because their ring isn't getting kissed.

A lot about the way you wrap this post up makes me feel you're actually in camp one, but you sound like you're in camp two.

It hurts my soul sometimes when working with newly out undergrads who think that all that happened in the Queer movement before 2008 was Harvey Milk and Stonewall, but at the same time, I pick my battles. They are bringing a lot of great things to the table. They're fired up like we haven't been since Act Up's heyday--and that's a long time. Join the Impact, EAA, Day of Decision protests, the Kiss In, the Meet in the Middle for Equality... these are all signs that we are seeing a new Renaissance of LGBT activism, and I want to encourage it, rather than discourage it.

They'll pick up the gay history from the rest of us as they go along, but we have to be there with them side-by-side. As equals. You may not agree with me, but they actually have more of what we need than we have of what they need. If anyone deserves to earn anyone's respect, us those of us who've been in this earning theirs, rather than the other way around.

It bruises the ego a little to admit this to oneself. Despite all of the work I've put into this movement, none of it matters. I'm irrelevant unless I can relate to these up-and-comers. But its not the first time. Act Up in the 80s and GLF in 1970 swooped in in the same way, and we respect them all the more for it. We can't expect the youth to pay their dues to us. I'm not Dr. King. I've organized protests and rallies and organizations. Whooptie fucking doo, I invented nothing new. I just filled the spot waiting for someone else to do the same thing. I don't deserve any awards for my ten years of cookie-cutter activism. Respect, sure. A statue and honorary degree? Get a life.

The movement will always be helmed by the youth, and I'm fine with that. And--though I appreciate David Mixner and John Aravosis gushing over my youth last week--the truth is I'm not in that group anymore, tough as it is for me to admit. I'm not a veteran either. I'm in some sort of gooey, amalgamous middle ground, waiting for the next ten years of invisibility to pass. What I'm NOT, however, is bitter. I'm going to work with these youth and get stuff done with their energy that I was unable to do when I was their age.

The more that the veterans quit the work just because their egos aren't being rubbed the right way, the longer this will take. Likewise, the more the veterans try to bridal and corral the youth, the longer it will take as well. Surprise, surprise, they're going to make a lot of damn mistakes. You did too--to the chagrin of the veterans of the movement when you came of age, and all in your youthful exuberance.

Let's hope they make mistakes. They'll learn from them. Maybe things we never got to learn. We have to let them, though, and encourage them.

Edison made a lot of mistakes on his way to the lightbulb, and even tungsten was an accident. Alexander Graham Bell's first telephone conversation was an accident. A lot of amazing, happy accidents have led to really great things.

let's work alongside them rather than demand unwavering fealty. The results will be so much better, and they'll be much more willing to get to know and honor you when they know you as a person, rather than a Professor. Your legacy will last much longer.

That's real leadership. Knowing when to back off and give someone else the chance to shine.

Yea, thanks Diane- your post is just reminding some of us *me* that we are no longer considered youth! off to therapy again!

Every newly out queer kid should be given a copy of eric marcus' "making gay history." We don't teach gay history like we should--we teach queer theory, which is silly and self-congratulatory.

While I agree we need to teach the history -- and with passion -- can we add a few more balancing narratives?

Erasure is one of the problems there.

The gang up reactionarism is exactly why no one who might agree w/you says anything in these types of posts.

I don't agree w/everything you have posted here Diane. I have five teen youths who grew up w/a femme dyke mom. They speak their mind and make themselves visible. They are aware of LGBT history because I made it visible to them. They participate in their LGBT youth groups. They are supportive, visible and active.

But they are so young... and I agree w/you. They don't know shit. They don't know anything. They are politically driving around w/out a permit.

Legally they would need a fully licensed lesbian, gay, bi or t to even be on the freaking political road w/a permit.

So I "get it".

But no one wants to hear how to drive.

We can flash our driving record and show them how to physically change a tire... and we will be told that driving records don't matter and that Triple A is just a text away for the tire change.

I love our youth. I'm invested in five. I really hope to think mine are pretty good... but still f**k up, cause - well they are young.

I'm a fudder. A mudder fudder.

The olders don't have to be the youngers "friends". Parenting is not about "freindship".

It's about being a mudder fudder.

Even the GREATER lgbtqrxy & z's need those.
Or is that outside the umberella??

And Diane?

Good :D

If I'm not scaring ya, I'm not doing my job right :D

I'm really offended by this article - I'm 23 and I've spent what I consider almost an unhealthy amount of time reading about queer history and queer activism through the decades. When's the last time you actually talked to a young queer person? You may have been ignorant about queer activism in the decades before you came out, but we live in a very different informational environment. If I want to read about the Mattachine society, or the Daughters of Bilitis, or old publications and events, everything's on Wikipedia, Google Books or in libraries and archives, or up on screen in queer film festivals. Or taught in Queer/Sexuality Studies college classes, where this history is considered precious and worth studying - my generation has fought hard in conjunction with professors and activists to get these programs established in schools.

I have so much respect for the people decades and even centuries ago, who, with their courage and actions, created a world where it's so much safer and normal to be gay, queer, bi, etc. Just like I respect the feminists of yesteryear, as well.

Please consider this: if we haven't or aren't accomplishing anything as youth, why is our generation the most gay-positive of all time? I see our progressive attitudes championed all over the place, but there is little to no recognition of how many gay kids come out way, way earlier than previous generations. Even before I had figured out I was queer, I knew tons of cool gay kids who were out, despite huge amounts of familial, religious and even school-administration pressure. It's my peers, far more than the media or older activists or Ellen or anyone else, who shaped the way I think about gay people. And I know I've shaped the way a lot of my hetero friends think about gay people as well.

Regarding how we communicate, Twitter and blogs are not a simple organizing tool, and may not even be supremely effective methods of organizing people. These online platforms function as a frustration valve, a way of expressing a point of view with people who share it, a community. I love reading people's image Tumblrs where they share pictures, fashion, pop culture, art with a queer sensibility. This certainly isn't found in the mainstream; I think it's wonderful. Is it an "echo chamber" because I can share with my peers the points of reference and images and people that we consider interesting? Is Twitter an "echo chamber" when I reach out and comfort an American cousin who I know is prone to depression, who has so much personally invested in fights like Maine? I'm telling her what she wants to hear, sure - because I fear for her well-being and safety. Who cares if these narratives and moments are constructive? They're our lives. Aren't we fighting for the right to live them as we choose?

"Please consider this: if we haven't or aren't accomplishing anything as youth, why is our generation the most gay-positive of all time?"

I would consider this: that the reason your / our generation is the most gay-positive of all time is because of the thousands, make that millions of LGBT people who have come out before us, facing a gauntlet of discrimination, harassment, and violence, that my / our generation can only imagine (thank god).

The reason we have it so good, is because of all the people who came before us that had it so damn bad.

The real question is not about age or experience. Young activists can become very experienced very fast using powerful new tools like the internet. We saw that in the spate of demos after Prop 8 was approved and especially in the outstanding work building the NEM which was a huge success despite the early opposition and carping of most Democrats and our very threatened self-appointed leadership.

We shouldn't worry overly much about young people screwing up. It'll happen. They're not the first and won't be the last.

In any case how do their mistakes compare to enlisting GLBT support for the war as SLDN does? Or to selling out and gutting ENDA as Barney Frank and most Democrats did? Or voting for DADT and DOMA as most Democrats did? Or voting for Obama after he bellowed out "gawd's in the mix” on the eve of the vote on Prop 8?

I have some truly terrifying news. Young people are confidently coming out in junior and senior high schools all over the country. Gay folks in unions are organizing as never before. Antiwar sentiment in the armed forces is creating a very tough new generation of GLBT vets whose attitude is "That's Ms Dyke (or Mister Faggot) to you. Is there a problem?" And the most oppressed layers of our communities, transfolks, are coalescing into a militant movement creates apoplexy in sellouts like Barney Frank.

We’re seeing the opening stages of a massive radicalization because of repeated economic failures, the betrayal of the fight for single payer/socialized medicine, mass unemployment and even mass homelessness. All of that is spurred on by the White House’s arrogant racist attacks from Palestine to Pakistan. Newer, younger and likely much more militant layers are going to be streaming into the LGBT movements from high schools, the military and unions and elsewhere.

We should welcome them, not nag them.

The fundamental question is not age or experience but loyalty and commitment. Is someone loyal to the causes of LGBT equality and liberation or are they loyal to the Party of DADT and DOMA, Obama and Frank or just as bad, are they loyal to the Republicans. Are they in it for the long haul or simply to advance their careers?

No other question is as important as that in judging the worth of activists and leaders.

Holy Crap, Diane!
You did it!

You created a fantastic resource just by being provocative- all of these comments alone could help redefine a movement, reshape it, refocus it, refine it, renew it....

Fanfreakintastic.
G

My only response to any of this is that I really do think that this community, which I love, needs to do its best to forget agism and close this ridiculously harmful generational gap.

We do ourselves a disservice by breaking down our minority LGBT community into even smaller groups that fight amongst eachother. It's not a question of "our generation" vs "your generation". It's a question of "who's fight is this?" The answer to that question is shockingly simple.

I am a bit older than Diane and I must say this column is off base. The drag queens to started Stonewall must have felt the same toward her - "damned young whippersnapper".

NO social movement has succeeded without power in the boardroom AND the streets, marches, sittins, and the overt physical actions. I am not endorsing violence, but I am endorsing new people, new energy and new ideas.

Its time. That Prop 8 and Question 1 passed shows lacking leadership and direction and I am ready for a change toward youger LGBT's with more energy and volume!

Diane, retire. Come sit by the fire like me and pass the torch to a new generation.

Interesting debate. As one of the older generation activists, I understand how some of us can feel sidelined by the young ones. They talk about things in ways we just don't get in to. But their lives have been very different than ours have.

I, for one think the young activists ROCK. I don't need them to pay homage to myself or those that came before me. I need their energy to continue the fight that I have had to put down due to health issues. They are not going to do it the way we have....they are going to do it in ways that work for them. Let us just be glad they are continuing the fight for our rights.

I was personally disgusted with Barney Frank's dismissive comments. As always, we pass judgement on anyone who does things differently than we think they should be done. Is that not what we are all fighting against!!

For those of you on either side of life (young/old; activist/closeted; fighter/talker) you need to spend less time judging the other side, and more time working towards the same end......the right to be who you are!

I'm really keen on inter-generational co-operation and the avoidance of re-inventing the wheel.

It's fantastic when people with knowledge and experience can sit down with newer and less experienced folk and brainstorm and support each other in coming up with practical solutions, visions for the future, and ways of creating sustainable activism.

To successfully transmit what we understand to one another means setting aside a lot of assumptions and actually listening to one another. It means caring more about the one another than about being right. It means taking a deep breath and setting aside our issues over self-esteem and actually having the maturity to work through this stuff together.

My experience as a therapist and a crisis line volunteer is that lecturing others turns them right off. It doesn't stir up reasoned debate, engage or inspire - it shuts down communication. Learning to speak hard truths in ways that will be heard and understood and accepted is tough because it requires setting aside the fears that make us want to look good, look clever, look tough, look impressive... look right. It means recognising our own defensiveness and having the faith in ourselves to remain centred and compassionate. I stumble very often with this, though it's easy in therapeutic situations and crisis line work, because it's all about concentrating on that one person in crisis; doing it in the rest of my life is the hard part.

Whether we're experienced activists or new to the scene, we need compassion for ourselves and each other. And we need to trust ourselves enough to be able to listen to one another.

Angela Brightfeather | November 12, 2009 2:00 PM

Hi ya'll, Old Guard here (really old guard).

I really value the younger people that I meet in the GLBT community and many of them actually do come up to me and thank me for my service and accomplishments of the past. I value and appreciate that greatly and that makes me really feel supportive of them also.

I don't understand why some of them continue to ignore advice, like, why do they have anythig to do with HRC? But I write that of as a learning experience they have to go though to understand, just like a lot of bad experiences. I said that same thng to Donna Rose two years before she resigned from HRC.

I do understand the way they feel and are excited about the GLBT community because in my heart, I am still their age and open to whatever they want to do. If I don't agree with it, I just step out of the way and let them prove to me that I may have been wrong, but at the same time I celebrate their successes with them.

I never felt very grateful about the older GLBT people that I met when I was 20 years old and first coming out, because they were mostly entertainers who had gotten paid for what they did as female impersonators and they weren't active as far as equal rights issues. So I don't expect any rush to thank me for what I have done, but I do expect to be thanked for what I do at this age. Besides, like many people of my age, I fully expect to slip into the role of "Consultant" as much in GLBT terms as in business terms.

The one thing that I do not like and abhor at present is young activists telling me that I am too radical. I still adhere to the fact that younger people need to be radical and if they can last in that postion, they will do the most good for the GLBT community. The only trick is not to burn out in the process. But I find it really wrong to tell a 64 year old activist that they are too radical after they have been in the movement for many years and are capable of still contributing. They should at least be paid some attention to the way they have made it to this point. For the most part, I find younger people in our movement doing that and giving credit.

But the young people of today inspire me greatly and I find so much energy and committment in them that it helps me to continue on fighting, writing, living and finding ways to contribute to our common fight against homophobia. They inspire me and I hope that I can do the same for them.

I have recently begun to think of myself as the Harvey Milk of the Trans Community, but still lucky enough to not be a martyr, because I was screaming about inclusion and equality, when most people in the GLBT community were saying "what the hell is she talking about?"

It's a lot like I tell my son. You may not like the music of Led Zeppelin or how loud I play it, but your going to hear it until the day that I die and don't even try to sit me in a chair in the corner with a pair of earphones on.

We can all get so much from each other if we bother to be appreciative, respectful and listen.

It seems every generation is a little scared of the next.A younger generation coming along talking and discussing issues and matters that the one before them wouldn't discuss openly.
Each generation has the one before it to thank for advancing issues and promoting knowledge and understanding.
Each generation has it's own way of dealing and discussing issues that are important to them,
history shows us that and with each generation advances come.
Even though the GLBT community still have aways to go to acheive equal equality in the country and worldwide,the GLBT community has come along way since the "60's.
Younger generations have to proceed in their own way and according to their times.Those of us from another generation have to do what we can to help promote knowledge and understanding but must allow the next to proceed the way they feel best.For they are the hands that hold the candle that will keep the flame burning til the next comes along.

Diane,

You sure do have a lot of folks on fire with this article. That can be a good thing.

I have to run out the door so I do not have time for specific replies, maybe later, but I will give you the strongest props for coming back to reply, communicate and even debate a bit.

I have sense a couple of mea cuplas... but I am not sure if I am reading into those...

This is much different than the Mixner guest post in which he came in and dropped off his divisive comments then never returned to discuss or maybe even acknowledge the wrong in some of them. Instead he replied via his personal blog... with dismissive comments.

Abrazos, and look forward to ongoing dialogues here on Bilerico...

Thank you, Robert, for your kind and sincere reply. If you read through my other replies, you'll see a few mea culpas, and some clearer discussion of my motives.

One thing that has continuously worried me about our movement is what looks like a lack of willingness to debate -- really debate -- our issues. That means talking openly about what scares and hurts us. In this case, I sincerely appreciate every person who commented about feeling hurt by my original post. I thought it was maybe a bit tough, and I did want to spark debate, but I honestly didn't think that my post was all that hurtful. (Silver smacks self upside the head and says, Doh!)

In some ways, being part of a political movement is a tad like being in a couple. You can't survive and thrive unless you can talk out your hurts. I hope we've done a bit of that today.

I, too, am heading out the door and won't be able to reply for a bit.

Hugs to you all.

Hi!Diane,
I didn't think your post was harsh.You were merely reminding others that the movement has been around for quite sometime now and that age has no bearing into ones intellect even if one has been around for awhile or not.