by Leslie Robinson
My view of the Occupy Wall Street protest is that it’s an unfocused jumble, but at least somebody’s doing something. At last. What began with a few dozen demonstrators on Wall Street has grown into a national conniption over corporate greed and government collusion.
It’s easy for those in power to dismiss the protesters as young people devoid of both sense and hygiene. But all sorts of people are protesting.
That includes us; LGBT folks are demonstrating from New York to Seattle. I’m pleased about that. I can think of a lot of reasons we should be involved in this fight:
1. Gay men bring a certain verve to any gathering.
2. We are in the middle of our movement, still battling for our civil rights, so some of us are ready to demonstrate at the drop of a tweet.
3. Our experienced protesters can advise others on being arrested with maximum exposure and minimum pain.
4. LGBT anthems might be inspiring. I’m thinking of “I Will Survive,” not “It’s Raining Men.”
5. During the considerable down time–many of the protests involve camping out–we could introduce party games. Maybe plan a wedding for a laid-off steel worker and an underemployed librarian.
6. We have been the victims of Wall Street shenanigans, too, losing our homes, our jobs, our hope. Corporate greed is very equal opportunity, savaging straight and gay alike.
7. We have also been the victimizers. If you’ve abetted corporate criminality, it’s time to grow a conscience, sell one of your houses and post bail for protesters. Or see to it that the demonstration in your city becomes a catered affair.
8. Spiritual guidance. If demonstrators want a blessing or just clerical panache, our community can provide it in the form of lesbian rabbis, MCC ministers, gay priests, radical Faeries and lesbian Buddhist nuns.
9. The protests are irritating Glenn Beck, and that’s reason enough to participate.
10. Passion. Throngs of people. Close quarters. A sense of being real. Occupy Wall Street is Pride out of season.
11. As with Pride, the opportunities for meeting a soulmate or a bedmate are ripe.
12. LGBT persons soaking up the agitation over corporate power might be moved to examine how we produce our annual festivals. Should Pride be about gay freedom or grapefruit vodka?
13. For a few, these demonstrations would provide a professional challenge: the chance to give an anarchist a makeover.
14. LGBT leaders learned the importance of allies. We need to keep these ties strong. When gay people visibly participate in Occupy Wall Street, we stand with youth, liberals, unions, people of color, faith groups, veterans, professionals, anti-war activists and environmentalists. And confused tourists.
15. It would be best all around if these protests were nonviolent, and who better to diffuse tension between demonstrators and police than a quick-thinking drag queen? If well delivered, the line “Does this demonstration make me look fat?” should do the trick.
16. The struggle for gay rights is a lengthy undertaking, and the obstacles and backward steps are draining. Occupy Wall Street could rejuvenate our spirits. It might remind us what people can do when they’re angry, fighting for their lives and sort-of-kind-of-somewhat have a goal.