Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Day Without a Gay: I Think I'll Stay Gay Tomorrow, Thank You Very Much

I've spent quite a bit of time trying to decide what I think about Day Without a Gay. When I first heard of it about a month ago on Facebook, I didn't think much of it. There's a Facebook group for just about everything, so I wanted to wait and see if it actually caught on. Thing is, tomorrow is my birthday, so now that the big ol' gay protest is apparently going down, I figured I should at least develop an opinion on the subject.

The purpose of Day Without a Gay, according to its website, is that "On December 10, you are encouraged not to call in sick to work. You are encouraged to call in 'gay'--and donate your time to service!" This is all fine and dandy, I suppose, but it just sort of rubs me the wrong way.

I mean, I get it. We're trying to increase exposure of the gay community's importance by showing how many of us there are while at the same time providing service to the community and looking like super great human beings. Blah blah blah. These things I 100% support.

However, I just don't know if I'm behind the way it's being done. Why, exactly, must we take a day off work to provide this service? What's the point of all of us just not showing up for work? Couldn't the service occur on the weekend, or after work, or during my lunch break or something?

My understanding of the argument is that if we all don't show up, then society will be able to see what huge role we play in society. *Gasp* Who will cut our hair? Who will teach our gym classes and golf lessons? Will there be anyone to host the cable news?

Okay. I get that. But what's the point of not going to work? Proposition 8 didn't pass because people were unaware that homos decorate all the houses and produce all the theater, it passed because of ignorance and fear of gay people and the way that we love. We don't need to be staying home from work, we need to be talking to people about the similarities between us and how we can work together to accept and understand each other.

I remember when I was in college and the immigrant community organized a similar event. Throughout the country, immigrants banded together to show their impact on the economy by staying home from work for one day. THAT made sense. See, the whole argument they were trying to make was that their community plays an enormous role in the economy of the United States, and they were tired of being exploited for their contribution while at the same time being put down for their status as an immigrant.

The Gays are totally different. Labor and employment rights are not the reason for Day Without a Gay.[1] In fact, the stated reason for it is a reaction to referendums and legislation which have taken away or limited our right to marry and adopt children. Someone explain to me what this has to do with going to work, and how it will help things for me to just not show up?

It seems to me that the only people/companies/organizations that are going to be affected by this action are the ones who are already supportive of the gay rights movement. See, being able to just "call in gay" is a luxury of either people who have flex time off (read: rich folks with cushy jobs) or people who work in jobs who support this event and will look the other way and allow this to be counted as a sick day. I know for sure that if I had called into my retail job saying "I'm calling in gay" they would have said "yeah, okay, see you in 15 minutes." Working people don't just have the ability to skip a day, and the insinuation that they could is just plain elitist and annoying. People have to feed their families, pay their rent, buy new shoes, whatever. I'm not going to get into a "in these tough times" diatribe, but the idea that taking a day off is as simple as one phone call ignores the reality of most people in the United States.

I have to be honest. I'm not really one for a protest. A stern call to my Congress person? Sure thing. A letter in support of a cause? Yessiree. A door knock or fifty for the candidate of my choice? I'll be there for you, my friend. But a huddled group of people yelling "we're here, we're queer, get used to it" is just not really my style. I realize that's not really what we're doing here, but it seems analogous. This type of action is not what will convince people of acceptance and understanding. Acceptance and understanding has to come from, you know, FUCKING UNDERSTANDING. How does not going to work one day promote understanding? I imagine the conversation going like this:

  • "Hey boss, you know how my being a homo sort of freaks you out?"
  • "Why yes, good employee, it really does scare me a bit."
  • "Well, boss, I've decided that in order to help you understand my importance to the community around me, I'm not going to come to work tomorrow. Instead, I'm going to volunteer at the Red Cross."
  • "Wait. Hmmm. What? Couldn't you volunteer on the weekend? Wait. What does this have to do with you being a homo again?"
  • "You see boss, we homos care about the community. So I'm not coming to work. I'm doing community service."
  • "Community service is good, but tell me about the homo thing again? That part's still pretty scary. Why not come to work? I'm confused..."

    I'm not saying that a group reaction and effort is a bad thing; in fact, I believe it is necessary. Also, I sincerely believe that the people who planned this event did so because they wanted to do something big after Prop 8 passed to show how many people support LGBT equality. I just think that in the end, Day Without a Gay misses the point and ends up coming across sophomoric and out of touch.

    I'd love to know what you all think.

    [1] Please do not misconstrue my words to mean that no members of the LGBT community deals with labor or employment issues because of their gender identity or sexuality. I realize that this is a large problem, and I'm excited to talk about the ENDA in another post soon. All I'm saying is that those things are unrelated to this.
  • Sunday, November 23, 2008

    I Lost

    I made it so far, but alas I have failed.

    Damn you NaBloPoMo!

    Thursday, November 20, 2008

    I Will Survive

    Tonight I plan to watch Survivor and I am very excited about it.

    That is all.

    Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    Anxiety Really Wastes My Flavor

    I am an anxious person. This is not news to those who know me, but it has gotten really annoying lately and I'd like it to just go away, thank you very much.

    So I'm sitting in the law library, attempting to put together some semblance of an understanding of what might be on the family law exam. I have mediation team tonight at 8pm (WAYYYYYYYY past my bedtime, p.s.) so GF and I talked this morning and decided that she'd call me after work to decide if she would come get me before my team meeting or if I'd just stay here and study.

    GF usually gets off work at around 5 or so, and calls pretty quickly after that. I don't know where my head was at (actually I do, it was halfway between marital status and facebook status) but I forgot that my phone was off and lost track of time, thus missing GF's 5 phone calls. When I finally got around to calling her back, she was already home, and our chance at grabbing a drink before class or just talking or whatever was completely lost.

    Even as I write this, I realize that it's not really that big of a deal. I mean, I live with said GF and I'll get to hang out with her in like 4 hours. That, however, has not stopped me from obsessing over the incident and feeling overwhelmingly bad for missing her calls. Ridiculous? Yes. Inescapable? It sure seems that way.

    Now, before you all comment with tips about meds I should be taking, let me cut you off. I KNOW. Those types of remedies are helpful in making sure that I'm not full out, batshit crazy, but they do not solve the day to day annoyances of situational anxiety. I'm not really looking for remedies here so much as I just needed to write it down to realize that it's no biggie and I can go back to studying.

    So, you know, thanks for that.

    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    Ellen's Wedding is Still News to Me

    Okay, I know it's been a while since Ellen got married, but I haven't really had a chance to talk about the amazing singer that she had come perform, or what a grand romantic gesture it was. I am quite interested in grand romantic gestures, so obviously when combines with pretty lesbians and glorious music, it's got me.

    Okay, first, you must watch this:

    Yeah, I know. If you didn't cry just now, you have no soul.

    Also, though, I just want to point out the singer in the background. He's Joshua Radin, and he just fucking rules. Best part, though, is that he's Portia's favorite and Ellen brought him as a surprise. Yeah, how's that for grand gesture! I tried to find the video of him actually playing at the wedding, but didn't see it anywhere (although I know it exists because I've seen it before).

    Good times.

    Monday, November 17, 2008

    I Need to be a Clean Person

    I've been trying really hard to keep my apartment clean these days. I am not a necessarily a neat person, but I really want to be, so GF and I decided that we should just do it as opposed to always complaining that our house is messy. So while watching the most adorable niece ever today, I did some of our laundry and planned a delicious dinner of meat loaf, squash and fresh green beans to have tonight. I figure it will be pretty awesome, if only for the fact that it has little to compare itself to.

    I don't know why keeping my house neat is so difficult for me, considering my level of neuroses about other things. It's like, when it comes to the way I organize school stuff or outline or whatever, it has to be just so but when it comes to my apartment, it's totally fine to just have laundry all over the floor. Like I said, it's something that I'm changing because I'm annoying myself.

    Law school finals studying is starting for real now, which is one-half awesome, one-half panic inducing. Whatever, though, I know I just have to get it done. Plus, then I will be halfway done with my J.D., which is sort of totally awesome.

    Sunday, November 16, 2008

    Yeah, Sundays either.

    This weekend blogging is too hard for me, and I feel like I'm cheating because these aren't really blogs so much as placeholders so I don't get kicked out of NaBloPoMo.

    Finals season has begun, so I'm going to have even less time than usual to blog. I'll try, dammit.

    Saturday, November 15, 2008

    I'm no good on Saturdays

    Ug. For some reason I can't bring myself to blog on Saturdays. It's not that I'm busy so much as I always forget.

    Friday, November 14, 2008

    Debate Judging on a Friday Night

    So I'm judging debate this weekend with my sister, which is actually way more fun than it sounds because it involves mostly listening to hilarious ninth graders go back and forth about environmental policy and playing with Kiernan, my adorable and hilarious niece. It went kind of late last night, and I was crabby, but really I don't mind being here, especially considering I get paid for it.

    In other news, there's only about three weeks until finals and that means I better start getting on the ball if I think I'm going to have any semblance of success this time around. I'm so ready to be done with school that it clouds my judgment into being lazy and playing nintendo too much, but I'm confident I'll figure it out.

    Okay, yeah, this one has to be short because it's too late.

    Thursday, November 13, 2008

    Could the neighbors downstairs please shut up?

    So I live in an apartment building with 5 other units in it. Until recently, we have had lovely neighbors who are considerate of the community. We would open doors for each other, occasionally take out each other's trash if we encountered it waiting in the hall, and just generally treat each other with respect. However, one of our best neighbors recently moved out, and we got new people in the apartment directly below me.

    It has been more than a week now, and they have been pretty much yelling non-stop since they moved in. Maybe not yelling as much as just talking super loud ALL THE TIME and never going to sleep until at least midnight. Now, I know that I have a loud voice and I know that not everyone should have to conform their schedule to my grandma-esque 10 o'clock bedtime. However, this has gotten out of effing control. It's like, these kids NEVER SLEEP! They're constantly slamming doors and coming inside and outside and propping the door open. Not to mention the overwhelming smell that comes out of their apartment. Again, I'm not one to judge anyone else's behavior, but OH MY GOD it's like Cheech and Chong moved in downstairs. It's madness.

    I've already called the building manager once, but they're still totally intolerable. GF and I talk every night about how we should just hook up our ovaries and go downstairs and ask them nicely to shut the fuck up, but for some reason we can never bring ourselves to actually go. I mean, actual confrontation and resolution of the problem? Too much!

    What should I do? I mean, I can't just let this annoyingness continue for however long we continue to live at the apartment. I know I should just go down there and talk to them, but isn't there any other way?