An article over at KillCelebritarians.org caught my eye today, and in writing a comment to reply I realized I'd created a full-blown blog. It's rare my concentration levels sustain this type of focus, so I figured I better develop it for OutrightUSA.org while my caffeine buzz is peaking. Therefore I present to you, the unofficial thoughts of our Secretary on the debate currently raging in Libertarian circles.
I've been aware of the brutalist, thin/thick, etc... conversation and even podcasted on the subject before, but what I find interesting about the debate is not so much seeing one side or the other quote "win", but the opportunity for reaching a synthesis that incorporates the best of all viewpoints. Somewhere at the intersection of right- and left-libertarianism is a place we can find a resolution of the status quo left/right dichotomy both rhetorically and ideologically, and that's a position of strength in regards to winning converts from any quadrant of the Nolan Chart over to ours.
For me, "privilege checking" and more importantly, the concepts related to the way privilege impacts individuals, are one of those things I choose to internalize the useful parts of (i.e. awareness, NOT blame, shame or guilt) and then go on with my life. It is not the only weapon in my arsenal of self-empowerment, or even the most important one, but it IS a useful one. This awareness isn't just about how I behave, but how I react to the way others behave.
Like most individuals, the layers of privilege I navigate are complex and intersectional. I am a cis white kinky queer non-conformist male survivor of violence living with HIV who has experienced and recovered from homelessness, drug addiction, and mental illness. Recognizing unchecked privilege in others signals to me how I should move forward within each specific interaction, and it also provides me a more sophisticated framework for dealing with it rationally and either confronting it with compassion or ignoring it strategically.
In spring 2013, we began transitioning from regional Yahoo lists to state Facebook groups. If you don't see your state listed, we just need to hear from you!! We don't create them until we have a local "seed person", but some of the early chapters have already grown to nearly 40 members. It only takes one person to get the ball rolling, so email us to get started today. We hope to have all 50 states by the end of 2014.
We also have a stateless chapter:
And a few chapters using a page instead of, or in addition to a group:
A leader for one Texas Libertarian Party county affiliate comes out swinging against gays and lesbians.
Doc Greene, Sr., the newly-minted vice chair of the Harris County Libertarian Party and Internet radio talk show host, posted dramatic comments about the LGBT community Monday afternoon on Facebook.
After a libertarian activist applauded what is believed to be the first legal gay marriage in Texas, Greene fired back:
While Outright Libertarians certainly support Greene's First Amendment rights, there is no justification for the leader of any level of our Libertarian Party to utter such vitriol.
(A call to action related to the #StandWithMonica campaign)
"Project ROSE is put on through ASU School of Social Work, and it happens to be Social Work Month. The National Association of Social Workers has been pretty quiet about Project ROSE even though the UN is listening about the program's human rights abuses.
"It'd be pretty powerful if we could pressure the NASW to issue some kind of statement. If you're wondering what you can do until the trial, bug them on Facebook and Twitter (@NASW) and ask if they support the profession being used as a platform to exploit marginalized people."
I am writing on behalf of Outright Libertarians, the LGBT caucus in the Libertarian Party, at the request of those in Illinois who are concerned about a registration law that you have proposed. I wanted to make you aware that of the letters in our acronym, the transgender community in particular is vulnerable to hate violence at very high rates, and also come forward in greater proportion to demand their right to bear arms in self-defense.
But this desire is not limited to the trans* community, indeed it is almost universally shared by our entire membership. Our philosophy affirms the classical liberal principles of self-ownership and non-aggression, which includes the right of autonomy in defending oneself against the initiation of aggression by others as the ONLY justified use of force.
We urge you to withdraw the proposed legislation in the interest of solidarity with queer liberation activists who are uncomfortable with compromising their privacy by registering with the state. I would also add that as a person working to see a greater sense of unity in the community at large, divisive measures which pit the citizenry against one another are not just counter-productive, but ultimately destructive.
Thank you for your consideration,
"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any."
Our very own Outright DC Chair and Mayoral Candidate Bruce Majors, a long-time and well-respected Libertarian advocate in our nation's capitol recently completed a candidate questionnaire for GLAA, a local network of activists that publishes a scorecard based on results.
Despite his well-written and nuanced responses, many of which speak even more deeply to the heart of issues core to the queer liberation movement since its inception, their dismissal of his candidacy by way of a public slam is a shocking breach of queer solidarity.
We think Mr. Majors is worth at least the basic decency of being heard with dignity and respect, when gays judge other gays, one can at least presume that common courtesy would apply.
After all, while Outright was once listed in the Wikipedia as an "anti-gay rights organization", the days when people could responsibly claim ignorance of our political theory have long since passed. Our advances in recent years make it extremely disingenuous for our ideas to be characterized so falsely by people claiming to speak for the interests of LGBT-Americans.
The right-libertarian press has gleefully seized on the issue, and with bad publicity being better than none at all we are inclined to welcome them to our fight. Let the Twitter wars ensue!! When prompted for a public statement for this blog, Bruce provided the statement below with permission to publish. We wholeheartedly commend Bruce Majors for his past and current successes in Washington politics, and we invite locals to consider contacting his campaign to find out how you can help put a Libertarian mayor into office.
"In some ways I think the GLAA rating is hilarious and what GLAA has really done is rate itself into irrelevancy and give itself a failing grade.
"I actually belonged to GLAA briefly in the early 90s and participated in one candidate rating (where no Libertarian candidate was involved) and was upset to see that they automatically gave incumbents extra points over challengers, as long as the incumbent had done even a slight bit for gay gay rights. An incumbent for example who had slowly evolved to supporting civil unions would get more points than a challenger who campaigned for gay marriage.
"I think it's clear the surviving GLAA members (who are not very numerous - this is a rating put out largely by a few people - if you dig through their website you find only two names, Rick Rosendall and Bob Summersgill, their third active member, Barrett Brick, a Republican, passed away this year) are statists. (One of them actually tweeted two years ago when I ran for Congress as a Libertarian in 2012 that no one need pay any attention to me picking up petitions, since I was running as a Libertarian - and I then got a high enough vote, 16,700 votes, to get the Libertarian Party permanent ballot status in DC). They actually say in their press release on the scoring that they "interpreted" my (lengthy) answers as "negative or non responsive" because they don't like libertarians, because it is an "unusual" ideology that "mistrusts" government. Which this year of all years means the GLAA has shown themselves to be completely antiquated and out of touch with public sentiment.
"But beyond this there is a brown nosing/rent seeking element to GLAA's ratings. They actually rate the Green Party members almost as low as they do the Libertarians, and give their high rankings to, as the headline of their press release crows, incumbent Democrats. One suspects the Greens would fund all the programs GLAA likes to put gays on the dole and give them a government housed, state controlled gay community center at a much bigger budget than the Democrats. But since the Democrats are much more likely to be elected, GLAA members want to curry favor with them."