Working together is more than just a good idea

BTL Staff
By | 2017-08-07T09:00:00-04:00 August 7th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Hamtramck has nothing to be worried about.
Yes, its ordinance protecting people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender expression or identity is being challenged, but it’s no big deal.
Why?
Because people are actually working together. Because the minute that City Councilman Scott Klein, Michigan Equality Executive Director Derek Smiertka and Triangle Foundation Director of Policy Sean Kosofsky heard that someone was collecting signatures that would likely put the ordinance on the ballot instead of into law, they rallied the troops.
Now, they have a Web site, press releases sent out, activists being trained and the backing of many Hamtramck residents. And come November, even if the measure does make it onto the ballot, not a one of them is worried about whether or not the ordinance will pass. They’re certain it will.
The whole scene is an exemplary microcosm that the rest of the state and country should look up to.
Anything that was worth saying once is worth repeating, so here goes: working together is the only way to get anything done. Even if you butt heads. Even if you disagree. The goals are the same, no matter how each individual or organization thinks we should get there.
Internal rivaling only makes the LGBT community weak, but working together makes it easy to accomplish goals – be it an anti-discrimination ordinance in a city of several thousand or marriage equality for several hundred million.
There are steps to take to achieving common endeavors for LGBT rights, and though the exact outline of them is different depending on the task, the broad idea remains similar.
Pool your resources. Financial, physical and mental. When it comes to fighting large battles, more is better. More money, more volunteers and more ideas for how to get things done.
Leave personal differences out. So-and-so fought with you over such-and-such an issue years ago, but does it really matter when you both want the same thing now? If television and history have taught us anything, its that working toward common goals is more important than working with people you have everything in common with.
Vote – but read up first. A promising candidate like Barack Obama may have the support of the youth, but it doesn’t mean much for a demographic that fails to make the trip to the polling station. Get informed about candidates, vote and encourage others to do the same.
Never underestimate your allies. Just because someone isn’t gay or lesbian doesn’t mean they’re not a valuable resource. Don’t exclude transgender, bisexual or straight people from the fight. In fact, don’t exclude anyone who is willing to help and don’t let their sexuality or orientation be an issue. Just because someone isn’t directly affected by something doesn’t mean they’ll care less or not work as hard.
In Hamtramck, all of these things are coming into play. Gay and straight people working together. City officials collaborating with non-profits. Non-profits working with every day citizens. Different LGBT organizations striving for the same goal: the end of discrimination in Hamtramck.
What a wonderful world it would be if we all took a page from their book.

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 25th anniversary.