The Dallas Principles

From Pam's House Blend comes interesting news of what could be a momentous turning point in the struggle for equality.  This document is referred to as the Dallas Principles (drafted in Dallas this past weekend).  Here's some of the language:

PRINCIPLES

The following eight guiding principles underlie our call to action.  In order to achieve full civil rights now, we avow:

  1. Full civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals must be enacted now.  Delay and excuses are no longer acceptable.
  2. We will not leave any part of our community behind.
  3. Separate is never equal.
  4. Religious beliefs are not a basis upon which to affirm or deny civil rights.
  5. The establishment and guardianship of full civil rights is a non-partisan issue.
  6. Individual involvement and grassroots action are paramount to success and must be encouraged.
  7. Success is measured by the civil rights we all achieve, not by words, access or money raised.
  8. Those who seek our support are expected to commit to these principles.

FULL CIVIL RIGHTS GOALS

Being united by common principles and engaging in united action, we will achieve the following goals:

  1. DIGNITY AND EQUALITY. Every lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender person has inherent dignity and worth, and has the right to live free of discrimination and harassment.
  2. FAMILY.  Every LGBT person has the right to a family without legal barriers to immigration, civil marriage or raising children.
  3. ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY.  Every LGBT person has the right to economic opportunity free from discrimination in employment, public housing, accommodation, public facilities, credit, and federally funded programs and activities.
  4. EDUCATION. Every LGBT child and youth has the right to an education that is affirming, inclusive and free from bullying.
  5. NATIONAL SECURITY.  Every LGBT person should have the opportunity to serve our country openly and equally in our military and foreign service.
  6. CRIME.  Every LGBT person should enjoy life protected against bias crimes.
  7. HEALTH CARE.  Every person should have access to affordable, high quality, and culturally competent health care without discrimination.

CALL TO ACTION

  1. We demand that government officials act now to achieve full civil rights without delay.

  2. Our organizations and individuals need to develop a collaborative and revolutionary new organizing model that mobilizes millions of supporters through emerging web and phone technologies.

  3. All LGBT individuals must accept personal responsibility to do everything within their power for equality and should get involved in the movement by volunteering, giving and being out.

  4. We will hold elected officials and our organizations accountable for being transparent and achieving full civil rights by active participation when possible and active opposition when necessary.

  5. Our allies need to be proactive in public support for full civil rights.

  6. Every government measure that quantifies the US citizenry must permit LGBT individuals to self-identify and be counted in every way citizens are counted.

  7. We demand that the media present LGBT lives in fair, accurate and objective ways that neither include nor give credence to unsubstantiated, discriminatory claims and opinions.

I need to do some more reading on this, but my gut tells me that people in our community are fed up with the “not right now” approach of too many of so-called allies in elected offices and other leadership roles. 

The national scope is impressive and I believe this is the sort of call to action that will generate the rise of national leaders we need. 

On a local level, we need to pay attention to this as well.  Our progress has been duly noted, but the plain truth is that we do not have full civil rights, that we do leave people behind, that our grassroots has not been mobilized and that success has been defined by access to power rather than empowerment of the whole community.  We shouldn't have people comparing leaders to has been movie actors; we should have leaders on the forefront earning respect and loyalty with their accomplishments as well as their rhetoric.  We should DEMAND that of our leaders.  We should DEMAND something of which we can be proud, proud to share with our children and the larger community.  We should DEMAND more of ourselves – that we step in to fill power vacuums rather than hand it over to the highest bidder. 

We are about to enter the month commemorating the Stonewall Riots.  Not the Stonewall street party.  Not the official Stonewall drink.  Not the Stonewall meeting or picnic or church service.  Riots.  Action.  Resistance.  Demands for accountability.  Defiance.

The rest have their place, but I would charge that a “Visibility March” should not be the defining political moment of June.  We are missing something and that absent spark paves the way for more apathy and lethargy.  We cannot cajole, beg or shame people into action.  We must MUST find a way to make these principles real and personal for our community.  We must ask our leaders from the 80s and 90s to step forward and proactively cultivate that kind of leadership today.  We must realize that people need to be energized.

We need leadership that unites the gays and the lesbians and the bisexual men and women and the transmen and transwomen and the dykes and the queers and the questioning and so forth.  I contend that no one person in recent memory has been able or willing to tackle this.  I contend that all of you who read this little blog should take ownership of whatever draws you here and hold the current leaders accountable.  Yes, we should acknowledge what they are doing, but we must be clear as to what we expect. 

“Not right now” is no longer acceptable.  A new generation of leaders are rising to elected positions.  Take this opportunity to educate them.  Make sure they understand that the LGBTQ community is not solely defined by white privilege or socio-economic affluence.  Make sure they understand the real faces of our bisexual, transgender and queer-identified brothers and sisters.  Make sure they realize that we aren't interested in proclamations or gestures of support.

We demand they roll up their sleeve and get down to the task of building a more equitable community in Pittsburgh. Domestic partner benefits for County employees, appointments of openly LGBTQ individuals to boards and commissions — these should be done deals.  We shouldn't be engaged in backroom negotiations to get what we deserve, what we have earned with our blood, sweat, tears and millions of tax dollars. 

I encourage you to enjoy Pridefest and the other activities.  Revel in the company of your community.  Celebrate your identity and enjoy the festivities.  Just remember that when June 15 rolls around, you go back to being a second-class citizens in this City, this County and this Commonwealth.

Yes, right now.  Yes, right here. 

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