Adam Polaski

Gay Rights Protesters Make Pawlenty Dazzle

Filed By Adam Polaski | June 17, 2011 10:45 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: Code Pink, glitterbomb, Minnesota, protest, Tim Pawlenty

PawlentyGlitterBomb.jpgYesterday, two women from CODEPINK, a women's movement that looks to "wage peace," attended a book signing in San Francisco featuring Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota who's currently campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination. The women approached Pawlenty's table, where he was signing copies of his book Courage to Stand, opened two manila envelopes in front of him, and let out a stream of hot pink glitter.

"Where's your courage to stand for gay rights and women's reproductive rights?," one of the representatives asked several times before being escorted away from Pawlenty's table by security (Video below).

Pawlenty has a poor record on LGBT rights. In 2010, he vetoed a bill in Minnesota that would have afforded same-sex couples the rights to their deceased partners' remains. He explained his veto, saying, '"I oppose efforts to treat domestic relationships as the equivalent of traditional marriage."

CODEPINK's glitterbombing incident comes a month after a similar act of protest from Nick Espinosa, who dumped a box of silver glitter on GOP nominee hopeful Newt Gingrich in Minnesota. While he poured the glitter, Spinosa said, "Feel the rainbow, Newt. Stop the hate. Stop anti-gay politics. It's dividing our country and it's not fixing our economy."

Some critics have argued that the glitterbombing protest technique is an embarrassment to effective gay rights activism. But I'm inclined to agree with Andrew Belonsky of Death + Taxes, who wrote about the Newt Gingrich glitterbombing:

ACT-UP's members enacted the most sensational and compelling of all gay protests: in 1987, they sprawled out at the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway to demand more access to newly developed AIDS drugs, and that same year hung their famous "Silence Equals Death" banner in front of Ronald Reagan's White House. Seventeen years later, ten nude ACT-UP activists protested the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York.

Though some of the group's protests were grim, they all effectively employed a blithe spirit, catapulting them onto front pages around the nation, and the world. So too has Erickson's stunt, which will hopefully inspire more imaginative and playful protests that capture the nation's attention.

Pouring glitter on a politician doesn't hurt the politician (unless, I suppose, if it finds its way into the politician's eye, which would, admittedly, kind of suck). But it's an offbeat way to attract attention to a cause, expose someone for behavior or action you disagree with, and compel the media to cover your protest, which wins coverage for your cause or issue.

And besides .... Pawlenty looks great in pink.

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So is this like, a new thing now?

1. 'Republican with bad record on LGBT rights' can, especially if you mean LGBT and not just same-legal-sex marriage, usually be abbreviated to 'Republican.'

2. The glitter thing is stupid. You want a platform to call Tim Pawlenty a homophobe at every campaign stop? Buy a Greyhound pass and run for president.

3. Finally in a way that doesn't tear my hair out LGBT and Gay manage to make their way into an article at the same time where the author doesn't use the two interchangeably, but rather, reports the activist in question only mentioned (presumably cis) gay rights, and then mentions that the Governor has a poor record on LGBT rights... though he does not manage to cite evidence about the governor's stance on trans people, just same-legal-sex relationships, despite plenty being in evidence.

3 a) It's just a major peeve of mine... like someone writing a headline:

Huey Lewis Releases Song in Support of Quadrilateral Community

That I can be trans and lesbian at the same time does not make VRR, for example, supportive of me and my rights... if people can first understand that, while there should be very little daylight politically and culturally between the strands of colour in our rainbow, much does. I'd rather be included for real than for pretend.