AI: What Now? What Next?


Recently I’ve been thinking about how I could help further the cause of LGBTQIA/queer rights and equality, spurred mostly by the state of those rights in my home state, Montana, and some disappointing developments on the non-discrimination ordinance front.

Montana is not one of the 19 states in which same-sex marriage is legal, but there is a suit underway challenging Montana’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.   However, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman recently upheld Louisiana’s same-sex marriage ban. The heady momentum of the past year, as marriage equality swept across the country, is over. Victory no longer seems as certain. History is on our side, but from here on out, the battles are likely to get harder, not easier.  Additionally, last month the city council of Billings, the largest city in Montana, voted 6-5 against passing a non-discrimination ordinance, the city of Bozeman was sued over its newly adopted non-discrimination ordinance with the intent of getting the NDO declared invalid, and early this month the city council of Dillon voted 6-2 against even considering a non-discrimination ordinance. In Montana at least, progress seems to be stalling. Furthermore, as Jac pointed out in last Monday’s Quickies, LGBTQ homelessness is on the rise. One of the articles they linked to questions the focus on marriage equality in the face of the prevalence of the life and death issue of homelessness.  We live in a time of unprecedented rights and awareness, but it doesn’t always seem to be enough.

Since the defeat of the NDO, my friends in Billings have been asking themselves and each other “What now? What next?” I think these are questions we should all be asking ourselves and each other.

So, reader, these are my questions for you:

What are the issues facing LGBTQIA/queer people today?

Which issues are the most pressing or important?

Given that we have limited resources, including time and humanpower, where should we be directing our efforts for change?

What types of efforts/advocacy produce the most change and which have the biggest bang for their buck?

How do we ensure our movement is inclusive and produces change that improves the lives of the most vulnerable and least recognized among us?

How do we balance ‘the greatest good for the greatest number’ with not letting anyone fall through the cracks?

How do those of us who have achieved marriage equality or live in places that have passed non-discrimination ordinances support those who are still fighting for those protections?

How do we stay motivated to keep struggling in the face of both victories and losses?

I hope these are questions you are all already thinking, talking, and writing about, but either way, I would like to hear whatever answers you come up with.  Please post your thoughts below so we can discuss these issues!

The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear Sundays at 3pm ET.

Featured image from Huffington Post.

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  1. From my post on LGBTQ youth homelessness, I think you can guess my top priority. They are our most vulnerable members. Religiously fueled homophobia and transphobia are a big factor in family rejection. We need to reach out to local churches and educate them about the damage that’s being done to our children. We need to educate the public and raise funds for queer youth shelters.

    With so much needing to be done, I think it’s good that people focus on whichever issue most motivates them. Hopefully they’ll educate themselves on the issues so they’ll have some idea which will do the most good, but ultimately, we need that motivation to drive their efforts. If a local NDO’s is your passion, go for it. If nothing motivates you like getting a lesbian night at a local bar, then do it.

    P.S. I’m genderqueer. I use gender neutral pronouns: they/their/them. Please fix it in the post.

  2. My apologies, Jac. I have noticed in myself a tendency to want other people to think of me as outside the gender binary (without even being out about it), but simultaneously mucking up everyone else’s preferred gender pronouns. It is definitely something I need to work on and pay more attention to.

  3. The fact that I, someone who should perhaps know better, am able to repeatedly make that mistake reinforces my sense that one of the most important issues to address is raising general awareness about less recognized identities/orientations/sexualities/genders/sexes like genderqueer and other trans* identities, asexuality, intersex conditions and identities, and more that I am less familiar with.

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