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Here at Queertoday.com, we often complain about the commercialization and apolitical nature of Pride celebrations around the country. But the travesty going on in San Diego is beyond the pale of anything I ever thought I would see in the LGBT movement in the United States.
First, charging admission to a Pride celebration is contemptible (yes, I know L.A. does it too). We should condemn any Pride celebration anywhere in the world that charges admission. If someone wants to charge for specific parts of the celebration (block parties, special concerts, etc.), that's one thing. But the main event should be open to all. I don't care how much it cost to put the fucking thing on. Yes, it's great to get Cindi Lauper and other big-name celebrities to perform. But Queer Pride is not about celebrity guests. The fact that San Diego Pride established an admission price in the first place, shows that they don't get what Pride is really about.
Pride is about queer people of all shapes, sizes, sex and gender expressions, races, religions, classes, and sexual fetishes claiming public space as their own space for expression, personal and peer-to-peer affirmation, visibility and, yes, pride. As an editorial for San Diego's Gay and Lesbian Times notes, "Pride is more than a parade or a festival. It’s an idea – a movement. It’s about hope and community building, and affirming our right to exist equally and openly in a world not so accepting."  But these ideas are not compatible with a Pride committee procuring public space, calling it private property, and then charging people to be in that space.
Second, banning youth from the festival is beyond contemptible. The fact that San Diego Pride charges an admission fee is a major reason for the decision to ban youth (or at least that's their story). Because San Diego Pride charges admission, they, apparently assume legal liability for anything that happens on "their" private property. In other words, they're scared of a lawsuit. 
And what, precisely, does the Pride committee fear could happen to youth? Most observers think the Pride committee is scared because right-wingers made a big deal out of the fact that three registered sex-offenders were festival volunteers at last year's Pride celebration (Note: I do not know the nature of those crimes--for all I know, it could have been statutory "rape"). Yet, the San Diego Pride committee swears up and down that the sex-offender issue has nothing to do with their decision . Whether or not this particular sex-offender issue was the reason for the decision or not, it shows that the committee has internalized the homophobic characterization of queer people as child predators and dangerous to youth and acted on this internalization to the detriment of queer youth and the queer community at large.
To get an idea of just how bad this decision is, consider this: Not even the Catholic Church, which everyone knows has child predators in it, prevents young people from doing altar service (a common place of clergy sexual abuse), being sacristans, or having interactions with priests without parental supervision! If they feel as though they don't need to ban youth from these things, what the hell would possess a pride committee to ban youth from a pride festival? As Charles Sharples, who wrote a letter to the editor in the Gay and Lesbian Times rightly put it, "a child is much more likely to be molested at a church social or family reunion that at a gay pride festival."  We have nothing to apologize for whatsoever when we welcome youth to queer pride.
Worst of all, it sends the poisonous message to youth that they are not welcome, and says, as Margot Kelley puts it, "Sorry, but you are too much a liability for us so we will have to turn you away." A lot of organizations and people are upset about the fact that this message is being sent by San Diego Pride, when in reality, this idea is expressed loud and clear by mainstream LGBT politics in America. Queer youth, in general, are ignored and cast aside for the sake of "grown-up" issues like same-sex marriage.
Thankfully, San Diego Pride's decision to ban youth from their festival has seemingly unleashed the Furies in the larger queer community and many appear to be considering political action. But I am hoping that this incident, which is an extreme expression of the political ideas of the mainstream, assimilationist, gay rights movement, provokes a larger conversation and debate about the nature of Queer Pride--and the politics of queer liberation. The fact that a ban on youth even crossed the San Diego Pride committee's mind in the first place, and the fact that they thought they could get away with it, should cause grave concern in our community. We should seriously ask ourselves how we got to this point in the first place.
To let the San Diego Pride Committee know how you feel, email email@example.com 0r call 619-297-7683. A couple of activists working against the policy set up a petition you can sign at http://www.petitiononline.com/sd06prd/petition.html.
1. "Pride's Minor Problem" Editorial. Gay and Lesbian Times. See: http://pridefight.blogspot.com/2006/06/glt-weighs-in.html
2. Margot Kelley, "Thursday Meeting Results." 30 May, 2006. See: http://pridefight.blogspot.com/2006/05/thurday-meeting-results.html
3. GLT Editorial.
4. The first paragraph of Mr. Sharples' letter has interesting info about the hysteria that consumed the Pride committee. See: http://www.gaylesbiantimes.com/?id=7343
Television: Jesse completed a live television show for SpeakOut TV where he discussed Article Hate Alliance/MassResistance. The show will replay. Click here for a schedule to watch.
Our Macy's Protest was featured on Chanel 5 and Channel 7 on June 16 and on NECN on June 11/12th.
Person: Brian will speak on behalf of QueerToday at the Uniting Our Struggles Political Forum on Saturday June 17 at 6:30PM at 284 Amory Street in Jamaica Plain.
Protest: QueerToday endorses the protests against the Nazis to be held this Sunday at Copley Square at 9AM.
In this new apology Macy's met three of QueerToday's four demands. They apologized, admitted they were wrong, and renewed their support of our community.
The mannequins should have been returned immediately, but I consider this apology to our community a victory over the efforts of Amy Contrada, Brian Camenker, and their little group of hateful friends. Clearly the power of boycott and protest continues to be an effective tool that the LGBT community should embrace.
Thank you to InNewsWeekly for your EXCELLENT coverage of this story!
Some Corrections to the InNews Weekly Story:
1. We had 13 protestors and some were older than their "20's"
2. We were not "subdued" at all times. In fact we chanted with a megaphone, entered Macy's to deliver our signs and chanted on the way out through the store as the salespeople clapped and security followed us to the door.
I really think that delivering the signs to the executive offices and having the bravery to enter the store while chanting loudly had a huge impact.
"Let's be honest," said Kevin Clark, who runs a bed and breakfast in Savannah which caters to gay tourists. "Gay marriage is not going to happen in Georgia anytime soon. We need to look at what we can get done. But instead ALL we hear about is gay marriage. It stops anything else from happening."
In Europe the government is taking notice. (Brussels) Members of the European Parliament will vote Thursday on a motion condemning rising incidents of homophobia and racism in member states - 365gay.com
(Philipsburg, St. Maarten) The man described as the ringleader in the attack on two gay tourists from New York has surrendered to authorities in St. Maarten. - 365gay.com
(Montrose, Colorado) The second of two men charged in the strangling death of a gay Montrose man last year pleaded not guilty Tuesday. - 365gay.com
Mario Rodas was born in Guatemala but moved to Chelsea, MA with his parents when he was twelve years old. There he became an honor student, graduating last year from Chelsea High at the top of his class. Although he had no criminal record, Mario was detained by immigration and is currently facing deportation.
In Mario's own words, "I did not make the choice to come to this country; however, over time this country has become my home. My time in the U.S. has consisted of nothing but hard work and positive service to the community and all I want is for that to continue. I see this country as my home, and I have always striven to do the right thing. This is where I want my dreams of education to come true. I know that I have a lot to offer this country if I am only given the chance to do so."
Mario's hearing at immigration court is on June 27th. We need to gather as much support as possible before then.
Call In Day Thursday June 15th
Ask Senators Kerry and Kennedy and Congressman Capuano to help Mario
Senator Kennedy (617) 565-3170 firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Kerry (617) 565-8519 email@example.com
Rep. Capuano (617) 621-6208 http://www.house.gov/capuano/contact/email.shtm
"I'm calling on behalf of Mario Rodas, a great student and important member of the Chelsea community. As a constituent, I'm asking Congressman/Senator ________ to do everything in his power to stop Mario's deportation and to KEEP MARIO HOME. Please:
Introduce a private bill for Mario
Contact the Department of Homeland Security, and/or
Make a speech on the Senate/House Floor about Mario's case
Save the Date:
Attend the support rally for Mario on June 26th at noon at Government Center
You might want to take a picture because I can usually be found protesting outside of the church.
The theme of today’s service is “lessons and carols for the struggle.” Earlier the activist organization I founded, QueerToday.com, participated in a coalition pride parade contingent we called “uniting our struggles.” The coalition included Women’s fightback network, Black Unity Pride, Somos Latinos, and Stonewall Warriors and the Boston Rosa Parks Coalition.
At QueerToday.com we believe it is important to both recognize the uniqueness of all our struggles as oppressed people and also to recognize their interconnectedness.
We believe in the power of protest as exhibited recently by the marchers for immigrant rights. And we believe in the power of solidarity.
While the right-wing enjoys calling the activists of QueerToday.com depraved, deranged and disgusting, the mainstream gay rights leaders enjoy calling us “divisive.” I believe that assimilation and shame are the catalysts of divisiveness. I believe that single issue focused organizations that fail to recognize the interconnectedness of our struggles are divisive.
Some members of the gay community believe that non-violent direct action in the spirit of Gandhi and countless other luminaries will jeopardize the mainstream image that they have so tirelessly worked to achieve.
Honey, the interracial gay sex I have with my boyfriend will never be considered mainstream! And thank god because being different is a beautiful and beneficial thing.
Gay pride can’t exist if it is overcome with shame. When Hillary Clinton panders to the political center, it is about shame. When the Human Rights Campaign endorses pro-war republicans over progressive politicians, it is about shame. When writers for the Advocate magazine call on pride parade participants to tone it down, cover up, and shut up – it is about shame. When Macy’s removes mannequins that look gay from their store displays, it is about shame. And when gay men whine about the prevalence of promiscuity and non-monogamy in our community, it is about shame.
Shame is homophobia is shame – and both are deadly. Sexual shame makes it more difficult to discuss HIV/AIDS and STD risk reduction and prevention. Shame makes it harder for transgendered folks to feel accepted and celebrated. Gay shame and assimilation make it harder for queers to come out about being in domestically violent situations. Shame is a bottomless Petri-dish in which homophobia, racism, and sexism can grow and flourish.
A polished red white and blue image has brought us some victories. Gay marriage is a victory for some and should be celebrated, but it cannot be viewed as the ultimate form of equality nor can the issue be allowed to usurp the importance of supporting the most marginalized folks in our community: those who are transgendered or genderqueer. Marriage must be seen as a transitional demand on the path to full queer liberation.
In the past few years the attempted suicide rates of LGBT youth have skyrocketed to 5 times that of their straight peers and queer youth non-profits continue to struggle to meet their financial goals. Yet the incredible resiliency and shameless pride that young queer people portray has never been more apparent than when many queer youth marched in the pouring rain during this year’s youth pride celebration.
On this pride day I call on you follow the example set by the LGBT youth of
"Uniting Our Struggles, Pride 2006 and Beyond"
Saturday, June 17
More than ever LGBTQA Communities are playing a leadership role in fighting back against all forms of oppression. A unified movement is necessary to consolidate our power in the most effective way to fight back against queer oppression, racism, war, sexism,immigrant bashing, transphobia and cutbacks in AIDS funding and queer youth programs.
We can unite our struggles and the aspirations of all suffering from dead end jobs, joblessness and exploitation. We can do it!
LeiLani Dowell, Workers World PartyLeilani Dowell is a managing editor of Workers World Party newspaper and a leading lesbian activist in WWP. She is also a founder of F.I.S.T (Fight Imperialism Stand Together). She recently returned from Louisiana and has written extensively on the racist aftermath of Katrina, LGBT oppression and police brutality.
Joshua Gambrell, New England Black Gay Pride
Brian Rainey, Queertoday.com
Representative, Somoslatin@s, LGBT Coalition
Joblin Younger, a hard-working volunteer for the LGBT community, admitted to being the one who asked Hedda to tone it down, but later praised Hedda for her fun performance and joked about how she "ripped him a new one." I doubt censorship was solely Joblin's decision.
Read BayWindow's Report Here
Read Hedda Lettuce's Account Here (she makes a good point but throws all the anger and insults at Joblin- who is good hearted and works really hard - rather than the real enemy: gay shame and reactionary politics that are so prevalent in our community)
Friday Night Dyke March: The Dyke march was fabulous. Our "Liberation Not Assimilation" QueerToday.com stickers were a huge hit! We handed out several hundred. The non-corporate tone of the Dyke march is always refreshing. There were many anti-war signs and buttons to be found.
Saturday Pride Parade: We got up early to help put the coalition truck together. Our contingent was one of the biggest and loudest. The crowds went wild for our anti-war, pro-immigrant, queer signage. We had an amazingly beautiful diverse group of people involved, and I cannot wait until we make our voice even louder next year.
Later in the day I spoke at St. Paul’s Cathedral. My speech was about the importance of letting go of shame, and building coalitions with other groups. The audience loved the thought provoking messages I had to say. I was honored to be able to meet Reverend Irene Monroe, who writes "The Religion Thang" in InNewsWeekly. Her words are always so beautiful and true. I typically am not one for church, but the service was very uplifting.
Sunday June 11: MACY's PROTEST: Thirteen people attended our protest in front of Macy's on Sunday. We had a variety of clever signage and chants. Macy's employees stood silently watching us from across the street for the entire span of the protest. I went over to kindly chat with them, but all they would say to me was "it was nice meeting you." Over and Over and Over. So I let them know I appreciated Macy's past support of the LGBT community and then I told them the three demands we had for them. Their response was again, "It was nice meeting you."
Most of the passers-by were very supportive. Some clapped and cheered at our protest. There were a few anti-gay situations. One man went past us yelling things about God and going to hell, while a girl who was also passing by yelled at him. I won't forget her. She realized that she was in a better position to stand up to him and tell him to stop than myself. That's a true ally.
Earlier in the day when we first arrived, a man kept asking me "what is good? What is bad?" I did not know how to answer his strange questioning. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a stone with a cross engraved into it. He proceeded to rub the cross on my arms while saying "God is stepping on you, Jesus is stepping on you. " These are the types of crazy people Macy's pandered too.
At 1pm when the protest ended we decided to hand deliver our used signs to the Executive offices on the Lower Level of Macy's. The office door shut as we were approaching and they would not answer the door so we slid our signs underneath. To leave the store we formed a line and marched to the exit. We chanted "Macys took the anti-gay bait, how do you know your mannequin's straight? " The shoppers were caught by surprise but seemed mostly supportive. Some sales people were shocked and called security. Others, particularly the make-up counter sales people clapped and smiled at us as we left.
QueerToday's Demands for Macy's (still not met)
1. Admit wrongdoing
2. Apologize directly to the LGBT community
3. Return the mannequins
4. Renew your historic support of LGBT Community
View More Photos & Commentary at View From the Bridge Blog
The Sunday Stuart Street block party was a blast. DJ Tracy Young was on deck to spin her own remixes of popular gay anthems from Madonna, Mariah, and the likes. The crowd was predominately gay men, but they busted my internal stereotype. I assumed the crowd woudl be all gym bunnies with their shirts off. Instead it was a nice variety of people who were all very friendly to each other. The party was extended until 9pm. Unfortunately I missed the trans pride event that was to be held from 5-7pm.
Gay Window Display
SUNDAY JUNE 11
10AM - 1PM
This Sunday bring your rainbows and anti-massresistance signs to rally, and then head to the block parties! Purchase rainbow flags at your local gay bookstore: Calamus Books.
We are calling on Macy's to admit they were wrong and apologize directly to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community for their offensive removal of the queer pride Mannequins and life-saving web addresses. We do not want watered down apologetic public relations sound bites. We want a real apology and an admission of wrongdoing. While the removal of the mannequins was severely offensive, the removal and return of the AIDS Action Committee web url was a direct slap in the face to our community during the 25th anniversary of the discovery of AIDS. Images of LGBT people will always offend the radical right so Macy's "striking a balance" excuse reeks of homophobia. Standing up for LGBT people is no balancing act. In the words of our illegitimate president George W. Bush, "you are either with us or against us."
When the mannequins are returned and a REAL apology is issued we will claim victory over MassResistance and bigotry.
This protest is as much about confronting and shutting down the voice of MassResistance and protesting Macy's irresponsible and silly decision.
To endorse this protest or if you have questions contact Mark Snyder @ firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.416.0552
Protest Endorsements/Coalition:Hate Resistance, GenderCrash, Left In Lowell, MassResistanceWatch, KnowThyNeighbor.org , StoneWall Warriors, International Action Center, View From The Bridge
Please share your letters to Macy's in the comments section of this blog post for everyone to see!
Macy's Downtown Crossing
450 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
Mr. Terry Lundgren, President if Macy's
Manager, Boston Macy's
New phone number: 617-357-3063
President, Macy's East Coast Operations
Executive Offices, 151 W. 34th St.
New York, NY 10001
Macy's Presidential Complaints
PO Box 8215
Mason, OH 45040
Customer Service Office:
Hours: Monday - Saturday 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Sunday 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM
that's a good thing.
however, with all the political hub-bub leading up to it, i realized how ambivalent i am about marriage. while i do believe it would be wrong to pass a constitutional amendment to prevent same-sex people from getting married... i don't think that same-sex couples should get married anyway (or any couple, for that matter, but that's a different post...).
some people say that AIDS destroyed the queer community. it ravaged our bodies and left straight america staring in disgust at our revolting, incomprehensible, dirty, diseased sex acts. in an effort to prove the world that we are "just like everybody else," the LGBT (not queer) community took up the issue of marriage. we have been asked to prove our ability to be "normal" and be in "healthy, committed" relationships.
i believe that the gay marriage movement, rather than healing the wounds left by AIDS, infects these wounds and continues to fester in our communities. this politics of assimilation asks queers to forget ourselves, our past, and our present. it asks us to look past the heteronormative patriarchy of marriage while simultaneously buying into it, in order to prove our (hetero)normativity.
the gay marriage movement is homophobic and heterosexist. there. i said it. i'm sure this will baffle/infuriate most people. i mean, how could a movement that strives for the equal rights of LGBT people be homophobic? well, it's homophobic because the movement rejects queerness and substitutes a complacent, assimilated, gayness of passivity. this erasue of queerness is dangerous for many reasons.
for one, this politic of heteronormative sexuality severely limits the queer community's to engage in radical sexual politics of liberation. public sex, group sex, even private gay sex in a bedroom without gay shame creeping in. by reinforcing marriage as the normative institution to regulate the politics of sex and love, all sex and love that falls outside of this institution becomes further marginalized. the psychic violence of the marriage movement is fierce and damaging.
additionally, the marriage movement has totally co-opted LGBT politics. how does one build a movement and maintain a voice for any other need of the queer community when marriage is all we can hear and see? having previously worked for Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project, i saw firsthand the damaging effects the marriage movement has had not only on our organization, but on the movement in general. funding, for example was extremely difficult to come by. the community, not having embraced the issue, does not look to us when they want to pour millions of dollars into LGBT rights. they look to the Human Rights Campaign or MassEquality. our marriage-centrism needs to end. it is ruining our politics and silences many queer communities.
marriage is particularly harmful when it comes to domestic violence. as we try to prove the "normalcy" of our relationships for the sake of marriage rights, how do we come out as survivors of domestic violence? how do we come forward and say, "my partner is abusing me. my relationship is unhealthy," despite all the community pressure that has been telling us otherwise? why must we add shame to those who most need our support? marriage is only another obstacle to survivors of domestic violence. feminists have known this for years, and since domestic violence is just as prevalent and just as lethal in the queer community as it is in the straight community, i think we should take a cue from our feminist sisters on this one. marriage does literal, and lethal violence to our communities.
and yet, despite all this,, i was sincerely relieved to hear that the FMA didn't pass. not just because it would have been wrong, but als because if it did pass, there would be a terrible backlash from the LGBT marriage activists that would further galvinize the LGBT community to fight against themselves (i.e. for marriage), while believing that they are fighting for themselves. for this reason, i am relieved. the backlash would have hurt us more than helped us.
and still, i am stuck with the question, why are we so hell-bent on killing ourselves?
I encourage everyone to join MassResistance Watch's call to not to shop at Macy's until the mannequins and web addresses are returned and an apology is made directly to the LGBT community of Boston. To me the most offensive part about the Macy's storefront fiasco is the fact that they took down vital life saving information: the web address of the Aids Action Committee (AAC). AAC saves lives and Macy's should be ashamed for silencing their important work in the fight against HIV/AIDS. What could have been a small blip on the radar for Macy's has turned into a public relations nightmare because they are unwilling to apologize and return the mannequins in a timely manor. Most people with a background in public relations would know better than to bow to a radical right wing group and then waffle around in the media with ridiculous and offensive excuses. Readers of the huffingtonpost are reportedly calling Macy's and cancelling their Macy's credit cards, and I encourage others to do the same.
UPDATE 11AM June 8: According to MassResistanceWatch the web addresses have been returned! This is so insane, Macy's needs some public relations 101 training, but I am glad they returned the life saving information.
Macy's Department store in Downtown Crossing of Boston has removed the two Mannequins that accompanied the gay pride calendar in their store window display after three days of complaints from the radical group Article HATE Alliance. Article HATE has spread news of the Macy's windows nation-wide on right-wing web sites, and now Macy's is being flooded with crazy calls.
Macy's claims that they are trying to strike balance. Yet they cannot explain why the mannequins are offensive or what they mean by balance. A little anti-gay and a little pro-gay? LGBT rights are not a balancing act. There is no balance. Either you support LGBT people or you do not.
Tuesday June 6: Earlier I visited the Executive Offices located on the Lower Level of the Boston Macy's where the person in charge said that Robin Reibel of the Public Relations Department for all of the New England Stores could answer my questions further. He assured me that if it were up to him this would not have happened, and that they are waiting for a call back from corporate offices with an official statement. He could not give me a clear answer as to why the mannequins were taken down or why they would be deemed offensive. Robin has not returned my calls.
If you do wish to call Macy's please be kind and respectful. Let them know why it is offensive that they caved in to an organization like Article Hate. Customer Service: 800-526-1202
Public Relations: 212-494-3893
Updated! News Coverage Links:Channel 7 Video Coverage, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Yahoo News, Article HATE Alliance, Huffington Post
RAIN OR SHINE! March with QueerToday.com and the "Power In Solidarity" Pride '06 Coalition!
Our float will include messages from all of our struggles including the fight against homophobia, war, women's rights, immigrant rights, and more.
POWER IN SOLIDARITY!
Saturday June 10th
March kicks off at noon..
Look for our big truck, banners, and signs. Call Mark @ 617.416.0552
Chris Gabrieli, who entered the race late and spent lots of money on television ads, made it onto the ballot with just over 15% of the vote after making a deal with Speaker DiMasi to give him a bloc of 75 or so votes. Chris will not be taking public fanancing for his campaign so he is free to spend his personal fortune on the campaign.
CLICK HERE FOR THE .PDF LETTER
Activism & Purpose
QueerToday plans direct action protests, letter writing campaigns, and other forms of dissent in an effort to counteract the cultural virus of shame that infects the LGBT community, and to speak out against all forms of injustice including racism, sexism, classism, transphobia, queerphobia, homophobia, war and occupation, and environmental justice issues.
Sometimes QueerToday.com confuses people because we do not always have a unified voice. Sometimes we even disagree amongst ourselves publicly on our own blog. Our posts range from angry rants and queer nightlife news to academic essays and discussions on theory. In the comments section we hash our issues about things like language and identity. Our protests, like our blog posts, have also vary: from a few of us getting together to form an artistic costumed dissent at Pro-life Sunday to an organized mass coalition of social justice groups fighting against the war and James Dobson.
Meetings & Decisions:
Because most of our members (we do not have an official membership, it is rolling) work full time, are activists with other organizations, and have other time constraints, we use the internet to organize and plan our live meetings around certain events or issues we feel compelled to protest. In the future, we may decide to have regular meetings. For now, while we are small, our major decisions (planning protests, meetings and actions) are made by consensus. Relying on trust, smaller decisions (like writing a letter to the editor on behalf of QueerToday) are often made by our individual members. We try our best to be non-hierarchal but because some of us will always put in more time and energy than others there will always be ebbs and flows.
Our blog consists of a team of queer identified people who write about whatever is on their mind politically, artistically, or otherwise. We bring a queer perspective to the issues facing the world today.
1. Check the blog often & join our mailing list
2. Send us an e-mail if you are queer and would like to write for our blog
3. Attend our meetings when we call them
4. Attend our protests and rallies, or the ones we support on our blog
QueerToday History: Under Construction
QueerToday.com was formed in 2000 as a resource for LGBT Youth, but quickly transformed into an activist group when the issue of same-sex marriage came to a head in Massachusetts. QueerToday was likely the first group in Boston to take any direct action to counteract the homophobic messages dominating the media in the summer of 2002. A group of 12 QueerToday members attended a Mass at Boston's Arch Diocese and while the Priest read an anti-gay political statement, we stood up, turned our backs, hugged, kissed, and walked out.
Representative Carl Sciortino was also in attendance with his partner, and the two of them walked out just after our group. For the next two weeks QueerToday.com was splashed across the pages of the Boston Globe, Herald, countless web sites and blogs, and we were featured on many radio shows including the conservative Laura Ingraham show where we debated Catholic Action League founder C.J. Doyle. It was possibly one of the first times the word Queer was seen on so many media outlets in a way that showed our community reclaiming the word. Conservative groups were threatening to charge us with hate-crimes. We were receiving telephone calls from citizens and radio shows from around the world at all hours of the night. We did not give up. We camped in front of the state house at a constitutional convention a few weeks later in an effort to beat the right-wing to the news cameras, and we succeeded.
As time passed QueerToday continued our coalition building, actions, and campaigns. We made headlines for co-sponsoring with NGTLF the celebration after Sodomy was legalized.
We joined with Rosa Parks committee in creating queer contingent in their march to resist racism and war. It was a historic march from Dorchester through the streets of Boston.
On October 2, 2005 QueerToday made headlines in the Boston Herald & Globe for dressing as grim reapers and holding signs that said "homophobia + sexism= death" on a day when the Catholic Church was organizing anti-gay sermans, and pro-life demonstrations in Boston.
" ``Shame on you, Sean O'Malley!'' a man in a black hood, holding a scythe, bellowed at the Boston archbishop, who joined the largely peaceful afternoon procession. - Boston Herald Hmm... wonder who that was!? Two activists were dressed as the grim reaper with black hoods, scythes, and placards that read, ''Homophobia + Sexism = Death." - Boston Globe
On October 29th, 2005 QueerToday called on our community to protest Focus On the Family's Love Won Out Conference. Although our strategy met some resistance within the LGBT "establishment," who feared a roudy protest would jeapordize their mainstream public relations strategy to win the right to marry, we pushed forward. We teamed up with local anti-war groups, and immigrants rights groups, and created the largest protest the Love Won Out conference had ever seen. Over 1000 people filled the street in front of the conference, chanting shut it down! Attendees had to have their lunches delivered because they were caught off-guard by our huge presence. Our statements of solidarity with the anti-war movement were highly publicized. Worldwide, the radical right posted photos our protest on their blogs and websites. Focus On The Family had a photograph of the protest on the cover of their 2007 financial report.
In the summer of 2006 QueerToday launched a campaign against Macy's in reaction to the store's removal of gay pride themed mannequins from their Boston storefront. The group protested in front of the store, and then marched through the interior of the store shouting slogans through a megaphone, before sliding our signs under the locked doors of the executive offices. While store make-up staff cheered for us and gave us "thumbs up signs," store security escorted us out. Macy's eventually apologized for the removal of the Mannequins.
In the fall of 2006 QueerToday helped organize protests of Liberty Sunday. QueerToday blogger Brian Rainy spoke at a rally outside, organized by the religious coalition for the freedom to marry. Our opposition research was reported in all of the area LGBT papers, and in the Boston Herald. Brian and Carlo, of QueerToday exposed the racist past and connections of the speakers that day and released a detailed essay on the issue.
In 2007 QueerToday was a founding group involved in a coalition to speak out against the militaristic theme chosen for Boston Pride by the Boston Pride Committee. We raised a pink flag at the official pride flag raising, distrubted hot pink flyers that spoke of solidarity with those not able to "just tell," and solidarity with the anti-warmovement. The pride committee addressed our opposition from their podeum.
In addition to our protesting and organizing our blog has been exposing the radical-right and offering queer perspectives on everything from politics to pop-culture - often drawing the attention of local press, and community leaders. Our controversial opinions on the prioritizatino of same-sex marriage as a fight in oru community have sparked countless discussions and debates. Our revelations about Amy Contrada and other Boston-based haters has served as a resource for local activists.
In November of 2007, after we broke the story at she would be starring in the Laramie Project play that her mother was protesting, Claudia Contrada, the daughter of the local but nationally known anti-gay activist Amy Contrada chose to come out as a lesbian on QueerToday.com.
QueerToday In The News: ( A sampling)
QueerToday.com's campaigns have been featured in many media outlets. Our Cathedral protest created buzz, even outside of the United States. It was one of the first times the word queer was featured on the news in a self-proclaimed political way.
Dobson/Focus On The Family Protest
Laura Ingraham Show ( Nationally Syndicated) debate with Catholic Action League
Serius Radio (XM RADIO, OUTQ)
TV - BOSTON
Metro West DailyNews
Medford Daily News
Milford Daily News
Innewsweekly (3 articles)
Washington Blade (W.D.C.)
WEB (Not including online edition of newspapers)
365gay.com (2 articles)
UK.Gay.com (united kingdom)
StormFront.org (White Supremicists)v
I do not think anything could anger the right-wing more than my own sex life. Several times a week my boyfriend and I engage in genderqueer, interracial, Asian-immigrant, hardcore gay sex. Anal sex! And I pledge to you that from now on the more Amy Contrada and Brian Camenker talk about the sex lives of queer people, the more and the harder we will fuck. And the more gay assimiliationists try to deny the beauty of sexual liberation, the more and the harder we will fuck.
Now with all the gay-shame out there it might be difficult for us to achieve this task, so I am going to need your help. The more you see articles denouncing the depravity of gay pride, or the more you see the right wing freaking out about gay sex you too should fuck more. And explore more. Oh yeah, and get out there and talk about sex too.
September 12, 2006First Assembly of God Church - Worcester, MA More information: http://www.lovewonout.com
September 15-16, 2006
Tremont Temple Baptist Church - Boston, MA
More information: http://www.thetruthproject.org/
Thanks to Jesse for alerting us to this. Once again the Tremont Temple Baptist Church has ignored its social justice past and chose to spread discrimination and predjudice. Meanwhile Pastors in Worcester will learn how to prevent their church-going teens from becoming "homosexuals." Protest anyone? Let's discuss this after pride.