We Need To Stop Going to Parties Just Because We’re Happy to be Invited

I recently wrote a post calling for the Lesbian and Gay Band Association to boycott Barack Obama’s inauguration because of his decision to have Rev. Rick Warren give the invocation.

One of my regular readers gave me a little heat about it, and you can read her comment at the bottom of my original post, “The ‘Boys in the Band’ Should Boycott the Inauguration”.

But hear my point:

I think that if the LGBT community wants to be taken seriously, we need to be selective about what invitations we accept. We need to get out of the mindset that says we should be happy and relieved to have received an invitation at all.

It’s like we’re The Outsider – the nerdy or disabled kid on campus. We’ve got our own group of misfit friends, but the cool kids on campus don’t hang with us.

All year long the biggest jock on campus has yelled names at us — names like “crip,” “retard,” “pervert,” and “faggot” simply because we’re different.

And now the popular kids are having a big party. Somehow they got hold of the idea that it will make them look better – maybe even improve their chance of getting into a good college – if they invite us.

And we’re supposed to be delighted and thrilled to be invited. We’re supposed to buy new clothes and do our hair and dream sappy dreams about a dance with the handsome new student body president..

We’re supposed to clap and smile politely while they make the name-calling jerk Homecoming King.

Now come on folks, work with me here.

We’ve all seen enough teen-angst movies to know that this isn’t where the screen fades to black. The movie ends when The Outsider stands up for himself and skips the party to hang with his own true friends. The happily-ever-after part comes when the dreamy student body president makes the effort to drop by The Outsider’s party to ask for a dance.

Building bridges isn’t just about extending invitations. The people with the power have an obligation to make the environment comfortable for their guests.

There are many ways the LGBT community could be represented at the inauguration. We have ministers, we have orators. Hell, we have a U.S. Poet Laureate who is a lesbian. Why isn’t Kay Ryan speaking?

If we’re going to stop playing the role of The Outsider, we have to stop showing up just because we’re happy to have been invited.

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