http://www.towleroad.com/2009/02/san-diego-theat.html (I picked this up off of the ever topical Towlerload)
Ion Theater, a small company in San Diego, has packed up and moved out of its space in protest of their landlord's hefty donations to Proposition 8:
” Last year, company Chairman Terrence R. Caster – whose company owns the A-1 Self Storage network as well as the Stadium Industrial Park where Ion was located – gave nearly $700,000 in support of Proposition 8. The initiative passed Nov. 4. 'We don't mean him any malice; we don't mean him any harm,' Ion executive artistic director Claudio Raygoza said of Caster. 'We understand he was expressing his rights as a citizen in a democracy.' But, Raygoza added, 'We couldn't sleep at night knowing we were funneling money to an organization that was seeking aggressively to prohibit people's rights.' The five-year-old Ion is known for its strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion in its programming; Paris and Raygoza, the company's founders, are also partners in life. Raygoza said the two didn't realize until late last year that the theater's landlord was one of Proposition 8's biggest financial backers. Caster became the target of a heated campaign by the gay community after his donations and those of family members were publicized.”
The company is now looking for a permanent home.
To which I say, right on. The reactions from the commenters from the originally sourced article further indicate the obliviousness and the general purpose apathy some (can we assume it to be the majority?) display. “Proposition 8 is over and you lost, deal with it.” This level of calousness should not be suprising, this eagerness to disconnect from the human comparibility of this situation same sex couples find themselves in should not be shocking. But it invariably is.
The supposition that “the People have spoken” and the inclination to hide behind religious doctrine does little to assauge the insufficient, unjust decision made to disrupt thousands of California couples is wrongheaded and frankly anti-democratic. As though the will of the people was somehow an ineffable, unbiased entity. I submit that its entirely possible the will of the people can be wrong and through that can infringe the rights of less empowered minority groups due to such essentialist biases.
In the case of the Ion Theatre group, this action, though subtle is a tremendous display. As American citizens and consumers, there are two distinct ways to make our voices heard; our dollar and our vote. Ion Theatre group's decision not to patronize an orginzation that as they put it was “funneling money to an orginization that was seeking agressivley to prohibit people's rights”, is entirely within their own rights as informed consumers. Boycotting is a very useful part of the civil rights process, and one that was put to impressive effect here. The fact that naysayers want us to “get over it” and “move on” is more evidence that the proverbial apple cart is still in need of more upset. What Proposition 8 has taught me is that the Religious right is not mutually exclusive with the moral high ground. In this instance, scriptural plattitudes aren't enough to justify the eagerness to limit the rights of others. We've got the moral high ground and the tactful actions of the Ion Theatre group in this case has further ensured we keep it.
Local same-sex couples will request marriage licenses at the County Clerk’s Office on National Freedom to Marry Day, as part of a planned action co-sponsored by Marriage Equality USA San Diego (MEUSASD) and the San Diego Equality Campaign (SDEC).
We’ll, not exactly.
Meet San Diego’s genderqueer couple who were the only San Diego couple to take vows in front of the San Diego County Administration Building complex this morning as part of the National Freedom to Marry Day — Missy Luber and Connor Green.
Missy identifies by male, female, and gender neutral pronouns. Ze and partner Connor Green (Connor identifying as male, and “somewhere between transgender and genderqueer”) recently moved from the Pacific Northwest down to San Diego, and decided to participate in San Diego’s National Freedom to Marry Day event by attempting to obtain a marriage license from the San Diego County Clerk. As expected, their licence request was turned down as a result of Proposition 8.
But, Missy and Connor decided to have a ceremony on the courthouse steps anyway. The ceremony officiant was Sara Beth Brooks, the Executive Chair of the San Diego Equality Campaign. Sara Beth publicly identifies as a bisexual.
Many of us tend to believe that same sex marriage is just an issue reserved for the lesbian and gay subcommunities of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. This really isn’t true. Not only do bisexual and transgender people work towards marriage equality for lesbian and gay people, but they work on marriage equality issues for themselves as well.
We need to remember that bisexual people often would like to marry their same sex partners, as well as that a significant portion of people who identify as transsexual, genderqueer, and/or transgender want to marry partners that their home state considers a same sex partner.
During this Marriage Equality Week, take a moment to consider — to remember — marriage equality is more than just a lesbian and gay issue. Marriage equality is an issue that applies to the entire, broad LGBT community, and sometimes the people who are in the front of the room fighting for marriage equality aren’t lesbian and gay people, but they are often still LGBT community people — such as was the case here in San Diego today.
* Blogswarm for Freedom to Marry Week
* A Look At The Grassroots: Interview Of San Diego Equality Campaign’s Sara Beth Brooks
* Another Look At The Grassroots: An Interview Of Danielle Askini
* Marriage Equality Beyond Just Gays And Lesbians
* Taking A Short Break To Think About Freedom To Marry
* Writing A Toast; Being A Maid Of Honor
* Coming out transgender in same-sex relationships
Racism is ingrained in the Midwest; we’ve normalized it. Take, for example, my earlier post on Tony Zirkle, the Hoosier Republican congressional candidate who spoke at a dinner honoring Hitler’s birthday. (He also publicly advocated for racial segregation.) Zirkle lost, of course, but the fact that he had no problem publicly stating his racism - without thinking that others would object - shows just how commonplace overt racism can be here.
One of the best examples is the “U-Washee” in Richmond, Indiana. The laundromat is, literally, built on racist stereotypes of Chinese people and no one gives it a passing glance. It’s 1940′s era cartoon stereotype mascot, what Margaret Cho calls “feng shui hong kong fooey font,” and the extra “ee”s at the end of words in the business’s name and posted notices all combine to form one hellish timewarp into a past America most areas have forgotten but we tend to accept as typical – and no one utters a peep.
…The reader who sent in these photos described his encounter at the laundromat. While he was taking the pictures, another customer walked up to him to ask, “You’re not from around here, are you?” It wasn’t meant in a threatening manner, but more of a bemused “Well, this is Indiana…” general excuse.
Of course we saw plenty of racist imagery during the last election cycle — apparently none of the people who came up with this garbage had a second thought about whether it was offensive:
The election exposed what a sad state of affairs and denial our country is in when it comes to race. Don’t get me wrong — I never thought I’d live to see a black man elected POTUS, but I don’t think this sort of progress has changed minds like those of the proprietor of the Indiana laundromat, who didn’t think anyone might be offended by the Asian stereotypes hanging on the wall. The fact is there are parts of the country — and it’s not restricted to the boonies — where people of different races (and classes, for that matter), mingle socially. Because of anti-discrimination laws, most people today encounter and work with POC, but socially, not so much. Clearly if the owner of the laundromat was close friends with someone Asian, those signs wouldn’t be up there.
Part of Bil’s reference to “normalized” racism in the Midwest is due to the social divide; how many of you have truly diverse social circles? It takes effort and desire to expand your life experience by being socially inclusive; quite frankly associating with people who are more like you than less like you is the default of the majority of us. Is it lazy? Yes, but obviously the path of least resistance is human nature. What disturbs me is the lack of curiosity I’ve seen in too many people; they don’t see learning about and learning from people from a different culture or race on a personal level has value for them. Staying in a comfort zone of homogeneity clearly has more value.
How do we own up to and fight our natural impulses in order to better ourselves — and our country? Can we rid society of the scourge of racism?