Friday, November 21, 2008

Moving forward in a post-Prop 8 world

Longtime activist Torie Osborn has posted an indictment of the LGBT rights movement. Osborn writes:
Nobody has accepted responsibility for failure and stepped up to lead a coherent, community- wide discussion of where to from here. As a result there is too much finger pointing, and a startling loss of credibility for established LGBT organizations and leaders. Without a humble and truth-telling self-assessment, the energetic protest and proliferation of new young activists may well evaporate, or be too narrowly contained within one single – if exciting -- strand of the LGBT movement: web activism. Or, inaccurate analysis will become set in stone and lead toward division rather than powerful motion forward.

Let's also remember that no-one is a villain here. I'm pleased to see that Osborn, who has a great reputation, isn't suggesting tar and feathering LGBT leaders. Like her, I believe that we need honest discussion. Demonization of our leaders won't help. Driven by emotion, such attacks make it harder to understand what really happened, drive leaders from the movement and turn away emerging leaders who don't want to subject themselves to tongue lashings.

I doubt very much if the leaders of the No on Prop 8 campaign wanted to be defeated. They made mistakes. We all made mistakes, and there is much for all of us to learn.

The first step, as Osborn says, is admitting our goofs. Let the discussion begin!

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