As I go back and listen to my interview with Patrick, it is turning out to fit in nice small vignettes on different topics. Just as a reminder, this was the first installment.
And now here is Part Two, “The Three Phases”…(Interview took place on Friday, February 4).
GP: My experience as an ?out? gay man for upwards of ten years now is that the gay activists?
PG: You mean the gay bureaucracy?
GP: Yes, the gay bureaucracy?that they aren?t as concerned about having the behind-the-scenes discussions you spoke about and that I agree are important. Rather they are more interested in the flashy, in-your-face confrontational approach.
PG: I think you are partially right. I?ve said this on the road?I see this whole effort around fairness has been in three phases. The first phase, which was necessary, was this very angry, in-your-face?I?m thinking of the folks at Stonewall who had the guts to rise up against the police. Those folks ? for conservatives ? would not have been the most inviting people to be on the front lines.
So I look at that phase, basically from Stonewall through the Seventies, almost to the early Eighties and the first days of HIV/AIDS where it was life and death. For people in that period it was in-your-face, lie-in-the-streets, people are dying, this is unfair.
And it took courage from folks from the left that I probably disagree with 90 percent of the time. They had a bigger set of gonads than a whole lot of us.
The second phase from the mid-Eighties to, I think, probably the Year 2000 ? I?ll use that since it was an election year?.was this effort to show that there was a different face to the community. So that was when folks started their black tie dinners; Log Cabin Republicans comes to Washington and professionalizes itself. And you have organizations that took this kind of rabid, more left-leaning, aggressive, in-your-face type of tactics [phase] to a ?now we have to make ourselves feel good? [phase]. We have to show young people that when they walk into a dinner there are hundreds of us. We need to start to see some [gay] people on television.
So this was a ?let?s invest in making ourselves empowered to come out? [phase]?.as a lot of us did you know ten years ago, in that window. And so let?s build the energy for courage to do that. Well that worked for a while. But its effectiveness stopped because everyone who bought it at that point were left-leaning Democrats, automatics?
GayPatriot: ?the low hanging fruits. [Ed. Note –No pun was intended!!!]
PG: Yeah?. And then from 2000, and I?ll use that year loosely, the challenge which I don?t think any organization has quite figured out yet, is how you move to the third phase of this [gay rights movement]. How do you speak to the conservative grandmother in Toledo, Ohio, and the conservative Southerner who has only been yelled at about these issues ? and probably cast a bad vote at some point in his or her life. Or even said something that they would probably take back now.
And Log Cabin has struggled with how to mature and grow up in the midst of that. And more progressive organizations struggle with the same. And I think if there is a really healthy critique of the gay and lesbian movement ? and I say that broadly ? it is that it has yet to figure out ?this? ? what should be the final chapter.
And if it [gay and lesbian movement] doesn?t get out of the ?2000 mode??.you know, ?Is Bush really the President?? that period where we had to make ourselves feel good?. We will be stuck in this 25 years from now.
And so for us as an organization, our biggest focus is to prepare Log Cabin Republicans enough to grow up. And to be part of winning this thing [gay equality], so we can ?go out of business.? And I?m not sure other folks are quite there yet. And I admit, honestly, that we?re not 100-percent there strategically to know every detail of how we are going to get there.
But if we don?t, you and I will be here as really old men, and you?ll be really tough saying, ?What the hell happened?? ?What did you use all this money for?? And I think that?s why we?ve spent a lot of time in the last few months trying to figure out what?s the next phase and how do we rise to the occasion.