DC's MetroWeekly Magazine came out today with an analysis of the LGBT movement based on conversations with 15 LGBT leaders.
The analysis, entitled "State of Play," and written by MetroWeekly's Senior Political Writer, Chris Geidner, concludes that the LGBT movement is not properly characterized by the word "schism," which some have used, but by the term "evolution."
That's an interesting analysis, given that "evolution," in its scientific meaning, occurs slowly over many generations as a result of variant forms contending with a changing environment and poorly-adapted species failing to reproduce. Evolution is a pretty harsh mistress, and that failure means the end of your existence.
Geidner's article is also notable for beginning with a "characteristically blunt" statement on the topic of failure by Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. After saying "I failed," she noted that her failure was not a singular one.
''The community failed. The movement failed. The organizations failed. Congress failed. The president failed,'' she says. ''Government failed..."
What will all of this failure mean? Is our movement evolving, and if so, what new species will take over after the dinosaurs sink into the tar pits?
These conversations, all conducted during the week of Sept. 27, show unexpected agreements and similarities between organizations with significantly different missions. More fundamentally - and despite differences of opinion and of strategy - the interviews make clear that the relationships between LGBT organizations are not easily defined in terms of a "schism" or even a divide.
The article outlines the disagreements among various organizations and on four key topics that the community has prioritized. It concludes by suggesting that disagreement is healthy, so long as it helps move the ball forward.
The question of whether the ball is moving forward is not something the article addresses. Given the expected Democratic rout in the upcoming elections, I can't imagine the answer is a positive one.
But the article is interesting nonetheless on the question of "what is the LGBT movement now?" Clearly, it's not one thing, or one direction, or one emphasis. And that, I believe, is positive. Freedom can't be achieved by one organization or group. It's got to be thousands and millions working on it. Each group has its own followers, and the more groups, the more people get involved. Some have said that groups should consolidate to more effectively create the change we seek.
I disagree strongly.
The more groups we have working on this, the more people we will attract to the cause, and the more effectiveness we will have. That we are all working on the same issue in the same way with the same people is not what we should be looking for. In fact, it doesn't matter how we are working on this: with lobbying, or street theater, or writing in magazines or blogs, or skywriting over Omaha. It's a numbers game. We're not there yet, but we're getting there.
Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend.
Don't turn your nose up at this quote. They own most of our debt.
Here's the article. What do you think?