Social change don’t come easy and we do it different

Most social change has begun with the act of a single person like Rosa Park’s refusal to sit in the back of the bus. From that act a movement develops and the movements are usually led by a man or men such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela. The experience in our community is different. Our drive to secure basic civil rights started at the grass roots but not at a single moment. It started in San Francisco when transvestites stood up the cops at the Compton Café. It started in LA when John Rechy published City of Night. It started in New York when drag queens took on the cops at the Stonewall Inn.
We saw it again during the AIDS crisis as individual efforts to provide support and funds for care and treatment for our drying friends and partners popped up overnight across the country. Perhaps because we as a community has never given much credence to leadership by the few we have relied on our creative talents and common sense to do what had to be done simply because it had to be done wherever it was needed.
As I watched Members of the House at their sit-in at the Capitol last night I had two thoughts. First it took the murder of forty-nine people at a gay nightclub to spur a stronger reaction to gun violance than the reaction to other mass murders. Not something we should pat our backs over but I suspect because we are still fresh in the minds of the public because of the rapidity of our drive to achieve equal rights it made it more real when we were murdered senselessly. Second, I thought if this had been strictly a LBGT issue that caused the sit-in at the Capitol members of our community across the country would spontaneously organize sit-ins in the offices of Members of the House who had voted against gun regulation. Who knows, that still might happen.


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