2 min

No more goddamn speeches

Some things bring us together - and some don't

We don’t have many big homo demos anymore — one of the last was back in September. And I know why: When we got to police headquarters and the speeches started, I felt like gagging.

At first it was fun. Lovely, in fact: An angry group at a September community meeting furious about the police raid on the Pussy Palace, and just itching to do more than sit in a packed room at the 519 Church Street Community Centre and whine.

There was much hesitation from women’s bathhouse committee members, who wanted to talk to a lawyer before agreeing to hijack Church St.

The lawyer arrived and rubbed his hands in glee.

People started laughing and having fun. As some 200 marvelously cranky homos settled in to the courtyard at police HQ on College, two girls hopped atop the constable moose sculpture and kissed.

That said more than any orator could ever hope to convey. But of course, someone had to try.

Speeches can be a good thing, encouraging thought and action, and instilling righteous anger.

It’s the thoughtless me-too politics that too often go with them that’s the problem.

For years, we have repeated the mantra that we homosexualists must make alliances with other minority groups. The problem is that many don’t understand what that means.

It does not mean that someone gets up at a Pussy Palace demo and compares a stupid hour-long raid by five clothes male cops to police killing an alleged attacker. I’m sorry, a dead person and checking out naked chicks don’t compare.

And I don’t want to hear about the fisheries fight in Nova Scotia at a gay demo, either.

Yes, it’s important to understand that the individuals policing us are encouraged by systemic problems. But that doesn’t mean that your group can send a rep to my demo and bore me to tears with your rhetoric, then tell me that unless I attend your demo (on fill-in-the-blank) I’m a bad person.

I don’t support your cause just because you call yourself a leftie or anti-police. Nor just because you have the nerve to speak at a gay demo. There are a lot of loopy anti-police people out there. And I’m certainly not going to support you just ‘cuz you have a megaphone and won’t shut up.

It’s the mistaken belief that we need to bond with every other issue taken up by other every other lobby group that’s the problem. I have my politics – and I won’t be adopting yours on your say-so, thank you.

We don’t all agree on everything, nor should we. And to force everyone to agree on everything – subjecting us to tiresome tirades demanding forced patriation at every demo – destroys our own sense of mission. And our own ability to attact single-issue supporters and get things done.

You make alliances with other groups and work together along that small narrow space where everyone agrees. You don’t force all your issues onto me, and I don’t force all my issues onto you. But we work together.

That’s what making alliances is about. So please, no more wacky speeches.

I’ll show up – when I agree. And so will many more.

Eleanor Brown is Managing Editor for Xtra.