While I applaud those who are raising their voices against the Sultan of Brunei and his country's implementation of Sharia Law, I think there's an opportunity being missed. I'd love for those boycotting to be lions that roar at Brunei, not little mice that squeak at a hotel chain. I suggest they start using their voices to oppose America's involvement with Brunei. We have been negotiating the Trans-Paciﬁc Partnership with Brunei since 2010. It started with President Bush, and has continued under President Obama. The protesters are right, a country that treats gays and women abhorrently shouldn't be beneﬁtting from our dollars. But which dollars are bigger? If the TTP deal closes, the oil dollars from America will earn exponentially more for the Sultan, than the $27 tip I left for Ruth my server at his hotel.
I've been asked why I want to shine a light on the situation at the Beverly Hills Hotel. To that I would say why not? Someone has to make a move in this stalemate, it may as well be me. I see no positive outcome, not for the hotel which is part of Los Angeles' living history, and not for the workers who rely on tips. The great thing is that it's okay for me to dissent, it's okay for me to disagree and it is my right to have an opposing point of view.
There is a human face to this boycott, I wanted to remind people of that. I fear those living up high in the hills of Beverly may be forgetting that. I've lived on and off at the Beverly Hills Hotel for years, I've laughed with the servers in the diner for even longer. Growing up within an activist family taught me that ﬁghting for the underdog is in my blood, which is why my life has been informed by the LGBT community since before I can remember. As a 13-year-old homeless runaway, I was rescued by three trans women. I owe my life to them, and I've done my best to repay the debt. Whether it be marching, voting, volunteering, counseling, donating, screaming and sometimes crying, the LGBT community has never far from my mind or heart. They are my friends and I am theirs. However, I feel we should be focusing on the BIGGER, bigger picture, and that picture is our government doing deals with countries that ﬂagrantly violate human rights.
How brilliant would it be if the gay pride parade ended at the Beverly Hills Hotel? People celebrating our freedom to exist in a place that currently represents a denial of rights, would be an amazing thing indeed. I'd rather ﬂaunt our freedom, than have workers suffer. My mission is to ﬁll the Beverly Hills hotel with LOVE instead of keeping it empty with HATE. Let's ﬂaunt America's kind of love, one that accepts all and excludes none. Now that would be something to throw in the face of evil.
Thank you for considering my position.