Can Straight People Really Be Our Fiercest Advocates?

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Can Straight People Really Be Our Fiercest Advocates?

Last Thursday Melody Barnes a Senior White House policy advisor held a last minute press briefing with leading LGBT bloggers and journalists. These are the folks who have done all the deep reporting on LGBT issues and have asked those inconvenient questions of the Obama administration as well as that of Gay Inc.

The invitees included: Lou Chibbaro, The Washington Blade; Jen Colletta, Philadelphia Gay News; Kerry Eleveld, The Advocate; Chris Geidner, Metro Weekly; Paul Schindler, Gay City News; Jillian Weiss, The Bilerico Project; Joe Sudbay; Americablog; Lisa Keen from Keen News Service and Pam Spaulding from Pams House Blend.

The reporters on hand were allowed to ask an initial question with some follow up. Its worth reading their blogs in full, but here is a brief summery below:

Pam Spaulding: If we were sitting at this table next year at this time, would the [DADT] discharges have stopped?
Barnes: The President wants the discharges stopped. President is pushing for this to happen soon, I don't have a crystal ball so I can't say at "x" date."

Spaulding's (short version) summary: Nothing new was learned, despite numerous attempts to get substantive answers about administration policy.

Joe Sudbay: Would the White House oppose any killer amendments that are offered on the DADT repeal legislation when it hits the Senate floor?
Barnes: What I can tell you is that when we see the amendments that are filed that we will continue to do what we did through the process in the House, which is work to make sure that this moves forward. Obviously, if there is an effort to undermine repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the President wouldn't be supportive of that. At the same time, I can't sit here and walk through hypotheticals for amendments that I haven't seen and haven't been filed.

Sudbay summery: I can't exactly say that I heard anything new today. But, after today, I'm still not sure who [the President] is "pushing hard." Because, moving ahead is squarely up to Capitol Hill, according to Barnes.

Jillian Weiss: I noted that Congressional leadership seems reluctant to drive ENDA. How will [Obama] push ENDA in the future, or will he leave it up to the reluctant leadership?
Barrnes: We are not a barrier, we look to the Senate leadership; they know what we support and if the President were to push issues it would be a long list. It's up to them.

Comments [10]

mickey06's picture


Im really going to have to take time to think about this question. Its both timely and of immense import. Off the top of my head, I'd say no. And that's because the question asks if they can be the "fiercest"--as in more fierce than any other advocate, queer included. I dont think that is possible. I'm not sure that a person can ever undertake to love, fight for, advocate,etc more so than a person for whom the fight at hand has material and tangible effects.

But this doenst mean that there arent people out there than can fight just as hard . Thats a little persnickety, but I think its a valid point.

I often times question this when it comes to race equality. I stop and wonder if my white allies and friends can truly go hard for the issues that, lets be honest, on any given day they can walk away from and not be the least bit affected.

I dont know the answer. I do know that when I think about it in terms of race, I sometimes get paranoid that my white friends will one day give up--and then I start to wonder what the point it and spiral into a separatist mind-frame. This helps nobody. So, I endeavor to take people at their face value and assume that they will stay by my side until they actually give up. If that ever even happends.

My straight allies and friends included.

patricia's picture

Straight shots?

As powerful allies, yes. In advocacy, no. 

We know cultural aspects from being immersed in a particular culture/lifestyle; and sometimes we don't even know why or how we know these certain things. Things that are nuanced, fertile and undefined—but powerfully relevant. 

People should speak for themselves; and groups present for themselves. Just as I don't want to see a white person represent the NAACP, I wouldn't want straight folk representing LGBT issues; regardless of how benign the intent. Just on matters of linguistic dominance alone...this scares me.

But perhaps I confuse advocacy with representation. Are these two words not synonymous in politics? 

rovermom's picture

Allies can do the fiercest of

Allies can do the fiercest of advocacy. They are the ones who will grassroot and weed & seed without being considered "threatening".


The door of equality not only needs to be pryed open, but also pushed open from the inside...we might not want to see a "white" person, or a "straight" person representing us...but in equality we see ourselves in other people without fear. Maybe we need to accept that we need each other in equality...even when reaching for it.

We can not do it alone.

rovermom's picture

delete me

delete me

rovermom's picture

The whole idea of becoming

The whole idea of becoming accepted as an equal, is winning advocacy within the heterosexual community. Point blank, they HAVE to be our fiercest advocate for acceptance. What is more fierce then advocating (standing up for) for the rights of others?

The minds of the heterosexual community must change in how they view us - even though there will always be people that feel uncomfortable, because of bad personal experience - but the overall mindset has to change and then they have to stand up.


Conlite's picture

I totally agree. However,

I totally agree.

However, right now there seems to be a distressingly long way to go.  This article seems to be pointing that out.  We do have some straight allies, but they are still a tiny minority in government.  On the whole, the "gay community" and the "heterosexual community" remain separated communities.

rovermom's picture

oh, I agree about how it's

oh, I agree about how it's feeling right now, and yeah, the way this article is pointing out, it feels like the valley of the shaddow of death - but I was answering the question : Can Straight People Really be our Fiercest Advocates?

They can, and will have to be, in order to be on equal ground.

Tex's picture

Hey, Rover!

Long time no see. Good to see you two handsome folks.

 "FIERCEST advocates"  We all know we have to have the hetero community to buy into true equality to get things done - we are the minority after all. That's a given.

Equality is the American ideal that held the place of utmost importance when our passions for freedom were worth fighting for. But once we gained our freedom, ideals for our humanity became less important than our laws. Until we have politicians that hold the ideals of the Declaration of Independence to be those that are the basis of our sovereignty, we will continue to be a nation of people ruled by its laws and not its passions. Until equality becomes truly tantamount, our rights will continue to be viewed as less important....."Oh sure, equality is important, but right now we're in the middle of two wars, the economy, health care, immigration...." 

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

It could and should be that simple.....our beginning and our successful conclusion....our American alpha and omega....declaring equality and establishing equality.

Twitter Time @kdhales

rovermom's picture

Hey Tex... If we feel that we

Hey Tex...

If we feel that we are the minority and the fiercest in advocation of equality, then we are not ready for equality. Equality isnt about this one group, or these two groups...

Equality is a simple word, a simple concept, but supporting it is a complex network.

(I decided it was time to upload a pic of myself and main man Smile

Tex's picture

From personal political experience......


Twitter Time @kdhales