One of the defining characteristics of the LGBT community is our resilience and refusal to accept oppression. We're also known for our capacity, as a community, to put on a grand party when the situation demands it.
We enter social justice work as survivors. As black gay men particularly, but by no means exclusively, we learn to endure and inevitably resist racism and homophobia. What's less clear is how we survive each other.
I stopped being an LGBT activist not because my beliefs changed, but for the same reason that someone who's worked at an ice cream parlor for years eventually can't stomach another scoop. So it was with some surprise that I found myself on the board of the Don Thompson Film Festival.
Like many LGBT Americans, longtime activist Urvashi Vaid woke up on Nov. 7 with a smile on her face. Vaid, the former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, spoke with me about the class and race-based issues that get left out of mainstream conversations.
In the four years since Prop 8, I have shown all the signs of a sort of election-induced "PTSD." I don't want to hear the rhetoric. I don't want to see the debates. I don't want to follow the polls. I don't even want to watch The Daily Show. It's that bad.
I have to admit, it's been a long time since I've felt the need to be politically active. But When Mike Huckabee spoke out in favor of Chick-fil-A's anti-gay stance and called for a "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," and thousands upon thousands of like-minded people showed up, it woke me up.
Vito spotlights the passionate, dedicated and fierce-yet-gentle activist who help found organizations such as ACT UP, exposed negative stereotypes of homosexuals in mass-market films in his legendary book The Celluloid Closet and fought for government action during the AIDS crisis.
We are helping to move rural and suburban Americans from just theoretically supporting same-sex marriage -- based on their sense of fairness, justice and goodness -- to actually liking, maybe even loving, us.
Not everyone can be an "activist" -- that's what I told myself for a long time. But as I continued living my quaint collegiate life, I found it harder and harder to ignore the fact that kids who looked like me and walked and talked like me were killing themselves after being called "faggot."
While Karger looks every bit the presidential candidate, with horn-rimmed glassesand that infectious smile, he's not exactly Mitt Romney. For starters, he's never held public office. He's also an out gay man.
Recently I was reading about Lady Gaga and her impactful meeting with President Obama. I met not one but two sitting presidents, and not once did it cross my mind to use those unique occasions to influence a cause or change the world.
Our world's worst social ills require all of our attention, and there never will be a unified Earth if we prioritize ourselves over another. At the end of the day, all of this is what we fight for: a more open society, a more free and equal culture.
"Professional gay" is in some ways just as restricting as the overarching "gay." Still, I'm not stupid enough to refer to myself as "post-gay." The label comes off ungrateful, at best, and plain ignorant, at worst.