Sunday, November 16, 2008

Our Second Stonewall: Join The Impact Protest in New York City

For me, the most important takeaway from this protest was seeing how it was all organized and run, not by the established gay rights organizations, but by outraged college students - people who were just teenagers when Matthew Shephard was killed, who haven't been to a March on Washington, who weren't even born when AIDS was first diagnosed and have no memory of era of ACT-UP and the AIDS-era battles simply to fight for our rights to stay alive. These people are the future of the gay movement, they're passionate about the issue of marriage equality, and they're active. They coalesced our straight friends, our religious allies. They worked across the aisle with Republicans supportive our our issues. They mobilized people using Obama's same grass-routes, Internet-age techniques and staged an amazing, coordinated, cross-country protest the likes of which we haven't seen in twenty years.

They're point: this is our second Stonewall, a second generation of gay rights awakening. It's no longer a movement that is simply about gay visibility or traditional left-leaning identity politics. It's now a movement that's about mobilizing support around this issue of basic fairness by bringing in our allies all across the political and religious spectrum for the next, great civil rights struggle of our time.

They are asking for full inclusion and support of families and children, families that are making a lifelong commitment to love, honor, cherish and support each other, children who want to grow up knowing that their parents are considered "married." A startlingly conservative issue to be having protests and rallies for, it seems to me. One that will spark support from all corners of the political spectrum, support that these new leaders will welcome.

These young people take being gay and take the acceptance of friends and family as a given. They're ready for full inclusion as American citizens. They're ready to fight for full marriage equality in all fifty states, no matter what it takes to get there. They're ready to learn the lessons of a new kind of technologically connected activism. And our leaders will scramble to support them.

It sure felt like the dawn of a new movement on Saturday.

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