BTL EDITORIAL: Think globally, act locally

By |2018-01-16T01:09:15-05:00August 14th, 2008|Uncategorized|

When you ask someone what they would ask for if they could have one LGBT rights wish come true, they might say “To be able to marry” or “To be able to be out in the workplace without fear of harassment.” Chances are, running an engagement announcement in their local paper won’t top the list.
But the old adage “Think globally, act locally” applies to LGBT rights, too.
When people like Charles Meade of Jackson send in their announcement to their local paper, they are probably thinking more about their relationship and less about the political impact it will have. But the truth is, these little victories are where the fight for equal rights is won – or at least attempted.
There are many things we all consider to be important rights to get, important laws to pass and important strides to make. But as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation points out, getting a picture of you and your soon-to-be husband or wife on the pages of your local paper is just as important. It’s not thinking small – it’s thinking realistic – and as GLAAD knows all too well, having positive images of gays and lesbians in the media helps to push societal acceptance. Seeing Joe and Steve’s engagement photo next to Susan and Dave’s on the announcement pages is likely to make some people angry, sure, but it’s also likely to open some eyes.
And as for thinking that it can’t be done in your city in your paper? Why not try and find out. A small paper in Utah ran an announcement that caused them to lose subscribers – but they stuck by it. And they’re just one of over 900 daily papers across the U.S. who are doing the same thing. That’s over 12 times the number of papers who would run the announcements in 2002 – 69 papers.
The papers now include the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press and many other huge media outlets. Yeah, your announcement in, say, the Bay City Times (which doesn’t currently accept the announcements) wouldn’t make national news, but it would add one more paper to that list.
Sometimes, it’s the accidental activists who make the biggest strides in the movement. You can make a difference just by doing what you think is right and trying to live your life as though you have every right you deserve – be it kissing and holding hands while walking down the street, running an announcement in your local paper or mentioning your partner in your profile that runs in your company’s newsletter.
Are you and your partner planning to be married or having a commitment ceremony? Do what any other couple would and send in your photo and announcement to the paper. Don’t assume that you can’t have something just because you think it’s “reserved for straight people.” Nothing has ever been accomplished by not challenging the status quo. Assume that you can do it and you might be pleasantly surprised. You’ll have your picture in the paper and the global fight for equality will have one more local victory on its side.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.