Friday, October 08, 2004

You know, I consider myself to be pretty damn gay. Totally homo-fied. But the Gay National Boycott for Equality largely flew under my radar. Therefore, I am at work.

You know what, though? Even if I had paid attention, I would have thought it was a stupid idea. Which is why I imagine 98% of us are sitting at our desks today, either oblivious of this boycott or just plain ignoring it.

From the organizers' web site:
This is a call for a nation-wide boycott in the traditions of Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King. We are asking all GLBT Americans and their Straight Allies to "drop out" of the United States economy for one day to demonstrate that we are vital and important members of our communities with significant economic presence. There are four elements to the boycott: withdraw from work, withdraw from your ATM, withdraw from commerce and withdraw from cell phone communication.

First of all, what is a one-day boycott going to accomplish? Targeted boycotts may be effective, but let's face it: everyone who denies themselves something on Friday is going to make up for it on Saturday, so Big Fucking Deal. Their statement "(i)f we make no purchases, we do not generate sales tax for government coffers or revenues for businesses" is therefore meaningless.

Then they ask us to "(w)ithdraw from work. Call in sick or use a personal/vacation day. You do not have to come out to anyone in doing so unless you choose to do so." Idiotic and counter-productive. Everyone knows that the most effective way to combat homophobia is to come out, but these people are telling you to fight anti-gay bigotry by faking a case of the sniffles. By these standards, cold-and-flu season should eliminate discrimination altogether.

"We are asking GLBT citizens to withdraw $80 from their bank accounts on that Friday and hold the cash in their pockets... On Saturday, October 9, either redeposit the money into your account, OR spend it at a local GLBT friendly business." Ooooh! For one day we withdraw the money we would have withdrawn anyway, and then the next day we'll re-deposit it! There's logic in action for you!

Do not use your cell phone for the entire day. We are planning on GLBT citizens to disappear for the day so that our fellow citizens feel the loss of our presence in their lives. Words fail me.

The people behind this boycott are no doubt well-meaning, but good intentions don't necessarily result in good ideas. And this idea is just plain dumb, especially because by actively encouraging people to hide from view and giving them pointers on how to boycott but stay in the closet, they reinforce the single biggest thing that allows homophobia to thrive: the invisibility of gay co-workers, relatives, and neighbors.

Instead of boycotting, here's what you should do: live every facet of your life outside the closet. That doesn't mean that you have to be in everyone's face every waking moment, but you should be visible.

And here's what I'm going to do: work, engage in commerce by purchasing an Amtrak ticket, visibly fill a seat on the train, and go to see my boyfriend, where I will then engage in homosexual acts. (Okay... that last part will be in compliance with the boycott, because it will be behind close doors without witnesses, but you'll just have to take my word for it.)