Monday, January 16, 2012

It Gets Better....Sometimes

ALL YOU'LL EVER BE IS THE FADING MEMORY OF A BULLY...Shinedown - New Single "Bully" off their upcoming album

Two rants in one week.  Not normal for the Subculture but hey, sometimes things must be said.

Yesterday I read how another one of our Sacramento community's beautiful gay teenagers committed suicide over New Years.  He had been a victim of bullying during high school and apparently college was proving difficult as well. Today, I went downtown to have lunch with a colleague and discovered three things - 1) there was a huge MLK day rally downtown, 2) the police presence (in a state Capital where rallies are routine) was very unusual in terms of both size and show of force, and 3) ALL of the upscale restaurants were closed for lunch in honor of MLK day.

Notice, I said "lunch."  They all had signs in them reminding everyone they would be open for dinner. At 5:00.  Door after door. Same signs. Same message. No soup for you.

Coincidence?  Am I reading too much into this?

I am aware there is controversy between linking issues regarding gay rights to issues of race.  I have some African-American colleagues who tell me the struggle between civil rights based on race and civil rights based on sexual orientation are not the same thing at all. Fine. I don't have all the answers. I don't always get it right. I struggle just like everyone else to understand and try to get around my own biases.

But can we ask ourselves what kind of society still allows persecution based on who people are no matter what the reason?  And can we ask ourselves as association professionals what role our association is willing to play in legislative battles on behalf of marginalized populations?  How about the medical associations lobbying against bills to try to deny visitation rights?  How about teachers associations lobbying to increase penalties or their latitude to deal with bullies on campus? How about getting in the dirt with these "grown up" bullies with their smarmy smiles and parliamentary tricks?

How about making sure your association is highly attuned to issues within the membership? Zero tolerance for jokes around the bar at the reception? Stopping campaign contributions or PAC funds being used to support hateful people even if those people support your issues? Setting up LGBTQ councils or committees? Treating members with respect?

God bless Dan Savage and the It Gets Better campaign. But let's be clear. Young bullies operate with impunity as long as old bullies are still writing the rules and setting horrible examples. The bullying doesn't necessarily stop when you turn 18.  Not as long as adult candidates running for major office get to use stripping currently, legally married couples of their marital status as an applause line.  Not as long as adult presidential candidates are able to vote against the commemoration of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and still be taken seriously. Not as long as audiences of "grown ups" boo a gay soldier when he questions candidates about their position on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Not as long as adults in public and private institutions declare they should have a right to discriminate against whoever they choose and seek legal remedy to do so.  Not as long as a single hospital administrator denies visitation to a partner. Not as long as women are denied reproductive rights because someone else decides to be in charge of a woman's actual, physical body. Not as long as one child is tortured by their idiotic, putridly disgusting classmates for being gay, being of another culture or ethnicity, for being poor, for listening to the "wrong kind of music," for dressing "weird," going to the "wrong" church or whatever the hell else happens to be the reason a bully latches onto.

Not as long as upscale restaurants in a desperately bad recession close their doors to thousands of hungry citizens who may have wanted to stop and have a meal to ostensibly "honor MLK day"...and then turn around and open back up at 5:00 for dinner after downtown clears out.

Stand up. Enough is enough. Do more. Right the wrongs.

No one's gonna cry on the very day you're a bully!

If you like Shinedown here is the link to the video.


  1. Right on Shelly! This is the type of work our team does and why I love what I do.

  2. Thank you so much for the's wonderful to love what you do for a living....we are lucky to work in this field...


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