Launching the “Know Your Enemy” project
Kim Catullo, longtime partner of Christine Quinn, the openly lesbian speaker of the New York City Council, has said (in a May 22 CNN news story about same-sex marriage):
“It is really encouraging to see what’s happening around the country in places where you really wouldn’t expect it, like Iowa,” says Quinn’s longtime partner, Kim Catullo. “To be in a place like New York and not have it just doesn’t seem to make sense.”
What’s wrong with New York? Three things:
- Although enormous progress has been made in countering homophobia over the past several decades, New York still does have quite a few socially conservative neighborhoods upstate and even in the outer boroughs of New York City itself.
- Contrary to popular belief, New York and New Jersey do have an organized religious right wing, which is generating political pressure against the same-sex marriage bill.
- Too many GLBT people are not motivated enough to fight back against our local religious right wing, for three reasons: (a) Many New Yorkers are just too damned busy. (b) Too many GLBT people are not aware of the crucial historical role of the organized GLBT rights movement in vastly improving life for GLBT people around here these past several decades. Hence they simply do not appreciate the value of an organized political movement in the first place. (c) Many GLBT people, here in New York, are unaware that we do face organized opposition.
The GLBT rights movement needs:
- More of an effort to educate local GLBT people about the history of NYC’s GLBT rights movement – its struggles, its successes, and the challenges it still faces.
- More awareness of who and what our enemies are.
New Yorkers Against Religion-Based Bigotry is launching a “Know Your Enemy” Project devoted to the latter aim. Its first meeting in Queens (after the Queens Gay Pride parade) will be on Thursday, June 11, and its first meeting in Manhattan (after the big Manhattan Gay Pride parade) will be on Thursday, July 9.