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Brandon's Big Gay Blog

Open Letter to Eric Ethington

by Brandon Burt
- Posted // 2012-08-04 -

Dear Eric Ethington,

I remember you best as the man who organized one of the most successful pro-LGBT-equality demonstrations in Utah history.

It was in 2010 that thousands of equality supporters wore black and lay down on the sidewalk, forming a complete ring around the two blocks encompassing Temple Square and the Church Office Building. This happened in response to insensitive anti-gay remarks made during the LDS Church's October General Conference by Quorum of the Twelve President Boyd K. Packer, who seemed oblivious to the fact that a widely publicized epidemic of gay-teen suicides in the previous month had galvanized the LGBT community.

You, Eric, were credited in the press (and in my heart) as the man most responsible for organizing this remarkable event.

Two years earlier, in 2008, another Temple Square protest shocked and astounded us all when thousands of Utahns -- gay, straight and otherwise -- expressed a ferocious outpouring of indignation against the LDS Church's involvement in California's Prop. 8 tragedy.

Both the 2008 and 2010 events made a significant impact on Utah's political discourse. No, the diehard anti-gays were no more willing to treat us as equals than they ever had been, but the moderates finally started to open their ears, realizing that equality is not an issue that is going away. And, perhaps for the first time, the LGBT community saw just how many friends and supporters we have among fair-minded heterosexual citizens of Salt Lake City. Honestly, seeing all those cool straight people making an actual effort to join our movement out of the love and respect they have for their LGBT friends and loved ones -- well, it was genuinely enough to bring tears to my eyes.

This year has been a good one for the LGBT cause. A majority of Americans now oppose discrimination against gays in housing and employment, and support marriage equality. Not only did President Barack Obama come out publicly to support gay equality, but the National Democratic Party did, too.

Maybe that's why the protest against this whole stupid Chick-fil-A kerfuffle fizzled so badly. There's less outrage among the LGBT community and our supporters. Suddenly, equality supporters are in the majority.

So, maybe it's time equality supporters learned to act like a majority. It may not be an easy transition -- we’ve regarded ourselves for so long as a fringe minority, it's difficult to know what to do now that we're on the sunny side of the street.

But already the anti-gays have taken up a siege mentality, presenting themselves as victims of some kind of anti-religion, anti-free-speech movement. They have given up their moral-high-ground strategy, realizing that we now own that territory. Now, they are presenting themselves as the overwhelmed minority suffering at the hands of the cruel and dastardly LGBT machine.

Our positions have been reversed. That's the good news.

The bad news is that we're in danger of becoming complacent.

So now, I ask you, Eric: How can the LGBT movement now generate the same vibrant emotional energy we had when we were a minority?

Brandon's Big Gay Blog
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REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // August 7,2012 at 10:20

My response: http://bit. ly/Qc6YcU

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // August 6,2012 at 19:29

Hey Brandon, nice letter!

It deserves some real thought for a response, give me a day ok?

Eric

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // August 6,2012 at 18:55

Great post, but Eric shouldn't have to do EVERYTHING! ;)

 

Posted // August 6,2012 at 19:30 - Works for me, as long as I can get away with claiming sesquipedalian loquaciousness. Though in all seriousness, we don't want to make Eric's head TOO big, do we? ;)

 

Posted // August 6,2012 at 19:09 - Haha, Austin -- I guess you're right it's an awful lot of pressure to put on just one man! Can I get away with it by claiming metonymic synecdoche, where Ethington stands for everything good about the equality activist movement?

 

 
 
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