Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Moving Angles and Frames

The heat is on and the week is off to a rip roaring start. So we don't have to start our engines because the 24/7 news cycle keeps this forum in full throttle mode and then some. Why wait, let's go for it.

Marriage Equality and Shape Shifting Cultural Wars

New York done done it. They went and passed a Marriage Equality measure that sent GLBTQ New Yorkers into a rainbow frenzy on to the streets during their Gay Pride celebrations. Since that action last week, it's been Topic A on cable talk shows and radio airwaves. It seems that everybody got something to say about it and this forum need to have our say as well.  One of my contacts in the city was literally sitting on the edge of his seat as they awaited the final outcome. He actually works in state government and was hoping for a win.  As this continues to be analyze, what worked for this measure was leadership, focus, scripted messaging, commitment and ultimate an infusion of Big Gay Dollars from Wall Street to help not only change minds but shore up those who felt they would need some political "cover" in case they faced future challengers. Detractors have already come to the forefront such as prop 8 supporter Dr. Jim Garlow on last evening's In the Arena with Eliot Spitzer program. He all but decried that the Albany legislators sold out their political souls for "30 pieces of silver." He was alluding to the Million Dollar cash stash that was raised to sweeten and seal the deed. It's no secret that money can make a difference and even the Supreme Court has weighed in on political contributions and from all indications I think they are not done with the issue. Meanwhile as the glitter dust settles, some state Senators described the situation as the "perfect gay storm" that allowed them to pass the bill. Also many of those business minded types were salivating at the fact that passage of this bill could be a "marriage tourism bonanza."  But ultimately what really went down was a crafty campaign from savvy and some well connected gays who worked their networks incessantly plus a energized community mobilized in the effort.  Ladies and Gents, this is American politics 101 and some times you come up a winner or a loser.  This time, it was win for that community and another testament to having a bonafide working apparatus that can be a force to be reckoned with while having assets to utilize. On the flip side, there are still 31 states that ain't having no part of this even if polls show that times may be a changing. Congrats to all who made it happen and let's see where we go from here.

Obituary Omission 2.0

Since this matter sort of had legs, that's a story that continues to evolve over a period of days, this situation kept drawing me in further to try to get a better picture of what's really going on. From all appearances there seems to be many moving parts that are just interesting to say the least. First up I was updated and clarified on the position of the Center for Artistic Revolution from it's ED, R. Romo. She commented that Terence James approached the organization with this dilemma and they (she) set forth to assist him with what she framed as a homophobic episode and a lack of respect from the Batesville Daily Guard. Got that. Meanwhile, I wanted to read the alleged fire bomb lobbed in an Editorial that added more fuel to this flame in order to get the newspaper's prospective. I read the Editorial twice including a copy version forwarded in CAR's alert e-mail just to make sure that each was in sync. Got that, too.  Now, this is where things get a bit more interesting because the paper outlined every detail complete with their specifics about what James was told, when he was told and what was formally communicated during the entire transaction. I have no doubt that Mr. James was distressed at the lost of his love one. I too have had to bury a partner and your emotions are on a roller coaster. But if their account is correct and we all know that there's two sides to every story, in my opinion if Mr. James was emphatic that "he didn't want to be out of the expense of the obituary," and the policy of the free ad were fully explained, didn't he need to come to the conclusion that he may would have to pay to solve the problem. So, if I'm getting this and surely I have, he was not going to be listed in the free ad due to the "unmarried" internal policy but had an option to pay $85 bucks to be listed but opted to not do so. Therefore if he insisted on the "free" ad, he wasn't  actually "erased" from the ad because he was never listed from the jump because the "ad" wasn't marked "paid" which had purportedly been explained by the funeral home. Would paying have solve the problem? Or is the Batesville Guard out of the cultural competency loop with the inferred "agenda" swipe? Why did the newspaper give that two faced reply if they felt that the policy was sound? Is this a big misunderstanding? Could there have been of over reaction when the story went "viral" and took on a life of it's own as GLADD chimed in, HRC bought ad space, The Huffington Report got in on it and KARK was johnny on the spot with yet another "breaking news story." What no Maddow or Andy Coop? Where's Don Lemon when you need him! All of this seems so unfortunate, especially now that it's reported that Mr.James has been hospitalized during this ordeal suffering from the same ailment as his partner. Our prayers go out to him and his family. The paper is not and most likely will not change its position due it'self appointed mindset. I would suggest to them to consider some diveristy and cultural sensitivity training similar to the efforts being made by UAMS. I recently sat in as an observer of the training and was pleased to know that there was top down leadership supporting such modules for their employees. As for the big organizations, well since they want to be of assistance, GLAAD or HRC could always send this forum a grant check anytime since we are "media" reaching out to the GLBTQ community including Batesville. So what's next? Probably some more contact campaign and maybe even a visit to the city may come about. Yet what we have learned is the fact that we face an ongoing dilemma that more understanding, compassion, humanity and cultural competency platforms are the order of the day. Not to mention as much clarity and reasonable assessment that can be mustered when dealing with the next blip on the social justice radar. Note to community: there's still work to be done in the GLBTQ house and it requires a little bit from us all. If there's more developments, we'll bring it...

Dont Forget that Gov. BeBe will be in the house 6pm,  July 28, 800 Scott Street inside First Presbyterian church. Should be interesting. Come on out to see what the good Gov has to say to the rainbow crowd.

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