Since the founding of Outright Libertarians in 1998, our mission statement has included this line: “To monitor the Libertarian Party’s continuing support for equal rights for everyone including GLTBQ individuals”. The critical message that exists herein became my inspiration leading to the creation of a new subcommittee within our organization. We are the “Watchdog Committee”.
Members of Outright are already aware of the Libertarian Party’s long history supporting equal rights for LGBTQ individuals. Our commitment to the liberation of queer persons, as well as the abolition of all victimless crimes, has been reflected by The LP’s platform since the party’s inception. However, to say that our history is sufficient in attracting LGBTQ members to our party would be a falsehood.
My involvement in Outright Libertarians as National Vice Chair came from a growing concern about the LP’s friendliness toward LGBTQ issues. I knew that our platform and history spoke for themselves, but I also knew that the influence of a conservative faction within the party could change it. In 2008, The LP nominated Bob Barr, the principal architect of The Defense of Marriage Act, as the Libertarian Party candidate for President of the United States. Granted, Barr was required to denounce his own law and promise to repeal it should he become President. However, he eventually changed his tune following his nomination.
The few years since the Barr/Root campaign have seen a pendulum swing in a noticeably radical direction. The Libertarian National Committee has issued press releases supporting marriage equality and the repeal of DOMA, and has allowed Outright’s content to appear periodically on LP social media accounts. Other “small l” libertarian organizations, such as Student For Liberty, Cato Institute, Reason Magazine, and Libertarianism.org, have consistently produced pro-LGBTQ content, adding to the existing plethora of pro-LGBTQ libertarian perspectives.
Conservative members of The Libertarian Party tend to believe that individual rights pertaining to others but not themselves should be dismissed as unimportant. They also believe it is outside of the Libertarian Party’s purview to address matters beyond the scope of the state. This fundamentalist approach to liberty cannot work. The Libertarian Party’s support for individual rights and full equality under the law will never be taken seriously if the party fails to even mention these issues. Consider the words of the late Nathaniel Branden:
The Libertarian Party should no longer leave the initiative up to the leftists. Right now, the LP has an opportunity to take an unapologetic stand for LGBTQ people and against the state-sponsored forces that bring down our community. Issues like gender-specific licensing laws, treatment of LGBTQ prisoners, draconian HIV-diclosure laws, criminalization of sex-work, and a FULL lift of blood donor bans on gay men are a top priority for Outright Libertarians. But if the Libertarian Party is to follow our lead, we need to prepare for a pushback.
This is where the Watchdog committee finds its role in Outright Libertarians. We will monitor The Libertarian Party’s continuing friendliness toward LGBTQ people and our issues. We will screen LP candidates for anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and policy positions. We will present a positive image to our community, one that reflects our radical, humanitarian roots. Please join us by following our new Watchdog group page and attending Outright’s monthly hangouts.
Outright Libertarians is a very lean organization -- no paid staff, no office rental, and tiny communications overhead to give us a face to the world. But we do need paid memberships and donations to keep us out of the red.
To that end, the Executive Committee of Outright Libertarians has appointed a Fundraising Committee, temporarily chaired by the Treasurer.
If you have experience with fundraising for a very lean organization (we can't afford be one of those groups that spends $20k on a campaign to net $2k) and would like to help us with web, email, and small postal mail campaigns, please volunteer by contacting Outright Libertarians Treasurer Rob Power.
As elections around the country heat up; here is a partial list of specific and concise examples of how government initiates coercive force and fraud in ways that harm the LGBT community:
- Refusing to recognize our marriage contracts.
- Infringing the religious freedom of LGBT churches.
- Prohibiting same-sex families from adopting.
- Enforcing the gender binary with state ID's.
- Prohibiting gay men from donating blood.
- Using the FDA to limit access to life-saving HIV treatments.
- Regulating the medical marijuana industry to make treatment costly.
- Immigration quotas prevent LGBT individuals from fleeing persecution.
- "Obscenity" laws define certain activities as felonies.
- Zoning laws used to aggressively limit the types of LGBT businesses.
- 501c industrial complex has subverted our advocacy orgs.
- Prison industrial abuses legitimize rape and murder behind bars.
- Victimless crimes like sex work, homelessness and drug use disproportionately fall on our community.
So I was scrolling through the posts by Anonymous on Twitter related to #opFerguson and feeling like their direct action methods, though not quite in keeping with the principle of non-aggression, at the very least represented a form of pressure on the Police Chief of St. Louis County that resonated with my desire for justice.
Then I saw this:
And my heart sank. So Anonymous is fronting their "oh so enlightened" anti-racism, but sees no contradiction in using a homophobic slur. But worse is what this tells us about the opinions of whoever tweeted it: they believe "faggot" to be an even lower form of life than the bigots believe a "nigger". In the hierarchy of disgust, faggots are at the bottom.
You know, every time I feel like we make some progress at having the various factions of the liberation movement truly embrace us, this shit!! While I have had radical leftists openly call for having me dragged out in the street and shot as a "capitalist" (never mind that I don't identify as such), they usually realize that open homophobia is contradictory to their claim of standing for liberation.
Meanwhile, among conservatarians, we have the brutalists, who are no less careless in their language, but at least have the honesty to openly articulate why they do it. They don't pose as non-bigots so they can use minority movements to politicize their own points of view. But there's one thing they do have in common: they use vulgar language to evoke the violence and intimidation that is inherent in collectivist ideologies.
They appeal to mob mentalities and popular prejudices to stir emotional, sometimes violent reactions. And enough is enough!! I hereby call for queer liberation activists and our allies everywhere to participate in #opFaggot by tweeting the hashtag #opFaggot at @theAnonMessage and #Anonymous in all its various forms and demand a public apology.
That is all.
August 10 is International Prisoners Justice Day, and I wanted to take this moment to ask each one of you to pause in remembrance to reflect on the brutal injustices suffered by victims of the American police state.
Our LGBT family in particular suffers compound disproportionate harm:
- The dynamics of LGBT culture are such that we engage more frequently in victimless "criminal" behavior such as sex work, recreational drug use, and homelessness.
- Police frequently profile us specifically, sometimes as part of targeted sting operations (as happened to Monica Jones).
- Finding ourselves incarcerated - sometimes incorrectly by gender like Chelsea Manning - we are in danger of rape and physical abuse by guards and inmates alike.
These circumstances amount to an unjustifiable inequality in the way "justice" is served, and it too often means a death sentence for our siblings behind bars who have never harmed another.
Outright Libertarians is committed to the principle of equality under the law, and our concept of that includes a recognition of the proper role of a limited government.
The government should no more be in the business of placing harmless people in cages, than picking and choosing its victims based on the prejudices of the dominant culture.
On this day of solidarity, will you take a moment to visit our Facebook page and share this post? We believe that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and we need your help to raise awareness.
Here are a few other ways you can help:
- Become a Volunteer: Join our Facebook discussion group and keep an ear out for opportunities to get more involved.
- Join your State Chapter: Check the list at our website to see if one exists in your area, and join it.
- Make a Donation: Our all-volunteer organization keeps operating costs low, but we still need funds to meet our basic needs.
As always, a personal thank you for the opportunity to serve this cause, and I'll venture a mutual expression of gratitude on behalf of each member to the other for your personal efforts toward liberty. Yes, we are united in individuality, but that unity is meaningless without each other.
Thank you for all that you do.
Yours in Liberty,
Mike Shipley, Chair
Quick reminder before I head out for Columbus, please remember that we are holding our General Conference Meeting on Saturday, June 28, 2014 immediately following the close of business session at #LPCon2014. That's approximately 6pm Eastern time!!
This is a bylaws-required meeting, at which we will be having officer elections for the 2014-16 cycle. Please update your membership if you plan on attending either online or in person, you must be a current member to vote at this meeting.
It has been a pleasure serving this term.
Regarding the recent news of a pro-reparative therapy plank added to the Texas GOP platform, Outright USA stands with Outright Texas to welcome those fleeing persecution into our party, which has always upheld the cause of gay liberation, as inseperable from the greater cause of universal liberation for all. If you are looking for minimum government and maximum freedom, join us!!
We agree that government has no proper role interfering in professional standards. But many of the psychiatric care field believe reparative therapy is harmful and it is a decision people have to make in the market. Some people might send their kids to it, others might not, but the market must be free for the truth to come out. Stories of people harmed will turn people away.
And make no mistake, people ARE being harmed by this therapy. This is a special danger in Texas, where we learned earlier this year the schools are directed by law to treat same-sex attraction as a behavioral issue. The Texas GOP is on a slippery slope to where both children and parents' rights are violated through treatment mandates.
If Mr Schwab wants to advocate for reparative therapy he should go on a speaking tour or write a book - a political party platform is not the place to enforce some kind of industry standard in which he is not an expert. Politicians are not medical professionals and political force is not an appropriate vehicle for medical care.