Alex Blaze

Well, we're always saying we should call in "gay" to work...

Filed By Alex Blaze | December 09, 2008 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: California, day without a gay, gay marriage, LGBT, marriage, marriage equality, Prop. 8

Tomorrow, December 10th, is Day Without a Gay, where several activists in California are asking people to call in "gay" to work, not to shop, and to do volunteer work instead.

It's complicated - yes, it's good that people are coming together and organizing something without the stamp of approval of a real org. And it'll definitely attract media attention if enough people participate. But... this isn't really a market where labor has much leverage (what with there being who knows how many people ready to take your job if you get fired because of this).

Here's their volunteer opportunities page.

I'll open this up to you all. Do you think this is a good idea? Are you participating?

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I'm not. First, because in most cases, you will get fired. Second, because you may be punishing employers that are already supportive through company policy.

I can't understand how something as well-crafted as the protest suddenly turned into less accessible, silly activities like these.

Nothing for me to call in gay from. As a semi-student, I'm not calling in gay from my final exams. My last position dealt with national and community service, and hopefully my next one on some level will too.

I do, however, like the notion of increased community service. The Corporation for National and Community Service (think AmeriCorps, SeniorCorps, etc) promotes service on the Martin Luther King holiday though its "make it a day on... not a day off" promotions. I'd be more likely to participate in a service day during the annual pride celebrations than to attend yet another tired parade.

I agree with Lucrece, those whose participation is most likely to be noticed are those least likely to be able to afford to.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 9, 2008 8:00 PM

I currently work in a very pro-LGBT environment, so it doesn't make sense for me to call in "gay." I the only one put off by the fact that a general strike was not called for nor done in the LGBT community for: America's illegal invasion of Iraq; Guantanamo, legalization of torture, and the elimination of due process in this country; illegal spying on American phone calls and emails; President Bush's theft of the 2000 election; the award with no strings attached of between $350 and $700 billion of taxpayer money to US bankers, President Bush's frightening threat to use nuclear weapons in a pre-emptive strike against Iran, and so forth.

These issues seem more critical to me, more demanding of a general strike.

Here’s my take: show up for work. If you wanna fight H8, that’s all well and good, but no need to piss off your straight allies by not showing up for work. Even worse, If you live in one of 30 states that you can be fired for your sexual preference (or gender identity), this isn’t the best solution.

The site suggests that you spend your time helping out with some LGBT or other civil rights organization. What good is that going to do? Spending your time around people of like minds isn’t going to change anything. One must reach out to our hetero allies, asking them for support for future change. I feel that a “rainbow strike” isn’t the best avenue.

(read the rest of my feelings on my post)

At first I thought it was a good idea if everyone took part. but after thinking about it for awhile, I began to get pretty skeptical about it. I think the idea of EVERY LGBTQ identified person and allies doing something on the same day is a great idea, but maybe not so much calling in to work. Some people just CAN'T afford to risk losing their job. Instead, if would be great if there was a different action we could do that would be more positive.

Here's an issue of unfortunate timing: there's been a queer boycott of my local paper for the past 2-3 years because they have refused to print birth announcements from same-sex parents. Yesterday they finally conceded and will now print them.

After taking today as an opportunity to get the word out, everyone is encouraged to re-subscribe (or just subscribe) at the same time: tomorrow. The same day we're also being asked not to buy anything.

But in general, yeah, this protest just doesn't feel all that accessible or effective. It's based on an interesting thought of, "What if all of us didn't go to work, wouldn't that have a big impact?" But it won't be all of us. It won't even be half of us. And the folks who's absence would be missed the most, are the folks who will have the most pressure not to take the day off. Myself, I could take the day off, but I doubt anyone would notice.

People can't do this in the current economy.

I can't do this because there's too much to do at work (health care), and patients come first.

Better would be some sort of advertising campaign running around the country on a particular day. "A lesbian helped get this part halfway across the country, overnight, and our manufacturing machine Y was up and running again." "A gay man dispensed your arthritis prescription" "A transgendered woman designed this business brochure" - you get the drift - ordinary jobs and services not traditionally associated (by the straight public) with LGBTs.

Volunteering is good anytime, but not as a one-off publicity stunt. Volunteering builds community connections if one is visibly out in a mixed group of volunteers, or if an LGBT organization takes a lead in a large project (eg, a city LGBT organization recruits / arranges to provide half or more of the volunteer workforce needed to build a Habitat for Humanity house).

I also work in a very LGBT-friendly environment, so I would be non-supportive by not going into work.

I have had a crazy idea, that would probably get some of us shot. Don't know if other states do this, but in Indiana, on every Friday, at 11:00 AM, all the civil defense sirens go off. What would it be like if all LGBT people stopped working, & went outside to stand in front of their place of business when the sirens go off, maybe standing there for 5 minutes? Rather than a "Day without Gays", this would be a "Day seeing Gays". I realize this amounts to outing yourself, but I'd do it.

Plus, there's a fire station across the street from where I work, & I'd love to see if any of the hunky fireman would step out too. I support gay activism, but hey, I'm a guy, & eye candy is always welcome.


Good post, Nate. I like your idea of "Day WITH a Gay."

What am I going to do if everyone calls in gay tomorrow? Should I? Who do I call in to? *sigh* This is impossible to figure out now!

I dunno, Bil. I'm pretty tempted to call in gay to my homophobic employer. I so need a day off, what with how hard I've been working the last 4 weeks.

Expect a call tomorrow... :)

My first reaction when I heard about "A Day Without A Gay" was that this was what our enemies want every day. They'll probably stand up and cheer.

I appreciate the good intentions and the energy that's going into this effort, but I think so much more is needed beyond this. I wrote about it on my own blog today: "Every Single Day Must Have A Gay"

That sounds fun and all but what if you are transgender or bisexual? Are we included to or just gays