Thursday, January 28, 2010


There is a wave coming – no – if we want it – a new ocean in the progressive movement – an ocean of real change. Not change we are promised from afar – change that I viscerally cried out for and celebrated over in November 2008 that turned into the same old goddamn fucking NOTHING bullshit. But a real change made by real people with a real yearning, desire and need to be free. And this change challenges every fiber of our current culturally, economically and politically siloed existence.

As a middle class, white gay male shackled to this failed American Dream – drowning under hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt due to this lie I have been force fed since birth – I count myself lucky. I count myself thus because I am oppressed as a gay man only. And if I, the white gay man am in this vulnerable place – imagine what it is like for our sisters and brothers with multiple intersecting oppressive forces bearing down on their shoulders. It is time we break open the silos and let the grains of humanity pile up together and create a mountain that overshadows the system that built the silos in the first place.

As of today, no more do I feel any sense of comfort or security in the crippling invisibility cloak I can wear as a queer person to cover up my queerness. I no longer see my ability to ‘pass’ as anything but a massive hindrance to what needs to happen from here. Now, I only find safety in numbers – numbers on the right side of history who are going to stand with me in solidarity making the rainbow of us queer folk a constant image that our oppressors cannot ignore.

And finally – I am committed to do more than scratch the surface of various festering soars of segregation – FINALLY I am finding spaces where I am among others who feel just as I do. And to knock it in to where ‘it’s at’ – FINALLY this week I have intersected with the same patchwork of humanity that enveloped me at a rally a little over a year ago. At that rally I was promised by then candidate Obama that the plurality present that night was what was going to be the realized vision for America at all levels of government and industry. I was promised that he would bring the country together – that black and white, straight and bi, gay and lesbian, trans and two spirit, yellow and red and brown, female and male and every other intersection present in this ‘great’ land was going to FINALLY be afforded equal, high quality opportunities to press forward into this century.

But, ‘the change’ was a lie. The magical intersections that I crossed that night at that rally were not manifestations of real change – I was sold a big bag of false – hope.

So, what changed my thinking forever? This week I got together with a bunch of crazy mother fucking queers and allies in the hills of Tennessee - at an historic place that has been a major organizing hub since 1932 for people who want to come together from different viewpoints and different cultures – cultures that were legally not allowed to intersect in this sacred space just a half century ago – and change the world around them. I was lifted by the spirits of all those who have done critical work there – people who we all know by name, who have immensely shaped this nation and the world – people who have been part of movements of all sizes who were ready to clash and FORCE themselves to cut through the tension and get. shit. done.

So, we queers and allies got together to purposefully clash our various culture lines in the queer movement and try to get to a deeper place of connectedness and cultural competence to do something that, up until now en masse we have all failed to do - to understand the intricacies of our intersectional oppressions and USE THAT knowledge as the fuel to propel queer people forward towards liberation. To use our often polarizing differences to force a wedge into our own complex and exhausting culture to come out on the other side aligned through the power of combined cultural knowledge and DEMAND LIBERATING EQUALITY THROUGH DIRECT ACTION AND CIVIL DISOBEDEICE that is integrated into winnable local and national campaigns.

And we learned it’s going to be hard as fuck! And it’s going to take lots of patience and persistence. And it’s going to be sharply criticized from all sides – and that’s all in line with what must happen for this radical inclusivity to work.

The work to shift the queer movement into this direction did not start with this week – it’s been a long time coming. But this week potentially galvanized this new direction. And it allowed about forty people to come together to start knitting us all into a mass network of boots on the ground activists, an online army and a massive support team.

The room was filled with people from all over the country, representing a dynamic blend of ethnicities, races, socio-economic classes, political inclinations, experience levels and ages. The group did not by any stretch encompass all cultural intersections and multiple identities that exist in our queer community, because that would take getting us all in a room together – but know – the room was radically diverse.

We as queer and allied people have one of the most complicated charges in history. And in that charge, we have one of the most humbling opportunities the world has ever seen. Queer people have always been there at the forefront of social change – change that has brought cultures together for centuries. And now, at this moment it is our turn to be the center of this new spiraling movement. And here’s where it REALLY GETS EXCITING - by taking this radically inclusive approach to queer liberation we do something far greater than liberate queer people. We will press forward the unfinished work of the Civil Rights Movement. And that is fucking huge!

And we take on this seemingly impossible task no more through asking nicely, no more through disconnected means – but DIRECTLY AND UNIFIED. And in this new direction we set in motion a trajectory where we strategically look at the local and national level to find where our oppressions are most clearly manifesting themselves. Then, together we hammer more fucking wedges, this time into these oppressive systems and blast open impossible situations for our oppressors so that the wedges crack the systems of oppression so deep they blasts through our intersectional oppressions as well to create the world we not only want - but need for the human race to thrive.

And we will persist. For each target – we will not give in to failed back room negotiations. We will not start something we don’t plan on finishing. We will take the exhausting road to freedom and the whole while, with powerful pride we will sing the good ole chant…

The people united can never be defeated.

We must commit NOW to persist and build into one mass culturally combined movement until ALL segregation is obliterated for all people!

And while we do this work we will remember every step of the way to make this experience the biggest fucking ongoing party of our lives! This shit needs to be so damn exciting the clubs turn into strategizing spots. The bathhouses become recruitment stations. Every social group in town turns into a think tank. And the only way to see that world is to make sure our movement stops being so goddamn stuffy and realizes that queer and allied people are party people too!

When we gather – we MUST create space for us to get loose and sexy. We must make sure we don’t misstep trying to assimilate into an oppressive equal status with straights, but help transform equality into a new space where a stripper at a straight man’s bachelor party in Rick Warren’s church and an assless chap wearing leather daddy marching down the streets of Birmingham, Alabama are not shocks to anyone’s consciousness but potentialities in this newly invented world.

So, don’t think for a second if we ignore the sexiness of people we will be truly successful. At the same time we are fighting for our trans sisters and brothers to be safe in the world and the workplace we need to be doing lap dance parties in the streets. We need to be comfortable intersecting ALL of us – knowing that sex and sexuality is a huge part of every human being – and is a huge part of the foundation of the queer movement that has gotten us this far.

No matter where you live – you are now immediately patched into this network if so you choose. All you have to do is stand up and ask who in your area was part of this week’s gathering. I will immediately get you connected so locally you can start getting shit done – and together, along with all the other people out there already doing this work, we will start turning this country on it’s head.

Alan L. Bounville -