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:


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.


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.


  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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  • Pridefest is a nice event, but it has been stripped of every bit of political meaning. Parading a bunch of politicians across the stage is nothing. They should want to be there. They should get down into the crowd and want to learn about us.
    Let's get some new blood and money flowing into the GLCC so we can stop worrying about the party planners. Write a check, even for $5.00 if that's what you can spare.
    The Pittsburgh Principles.

  • Rodger McFarlane died this week. Larry Kramer said he did more for the gay world than any single other person. Rodger started AIDS hotlines and ACT UP among many other projects. I had the honor of meeting Rodger at a fundraising event many years ago. The man positively radiated. I must admit my purse strings loosened up a bit simply due to his fervor for the cause.
    There is a leadership vacuum in Pittsburgh. We have well-intentioned people hampered by a steadfast belief that incrementalism will work while all around us lies evidence that the battle for equal rights has landed in our laps. We also have, as we always have, mind you, self-serving individuals who use their assets to step into that vaccum and direct energy into directions for personal gain and glory. Finally, we have far too many people who fall sway under both perspectives with the end result of very little being accomplished.
    As always, we have many self-congratulating politicians who believe they have appeased us and their conscience with gestures and cautious steps toward equal rights.
    I agree that the next truly great leader of Pittsburgh's gay community will come from the progressive “queer” movement. They have the energy as well as the passion. They, like Rodger, see firsthand the devastating impact of the incremental policies.
    The current leadership is not the issue. They can continue to run the GLCC and Pridefest and the service organizations. They do those jobs just fine. They know their limits.
    The real question is how we find the next community leader. These “principles” are all well and good, but the issue of leadership is most pressing for our region. How do we find her? Yes, I think it is time for a woman. I say that as a fairly well-off gay man. I would have no problem financially supporting projects that reflect today's gay world using language we once found deeply divisive such as queer and dyke. I might stumble a bit saying them out loud, but I admire their pluck and I see the spirit of Rodger McFarlane and Randy Forrester in their projects.
    Rest in peace, Rodger.

  • Didn't these old farts and non-leaders come forward with their own money to save PrideFest? Can you blame bar and bath house owners for turning it into an event that promotes their business? Sure they arent moral and ethical leaders, but it is what it is. You want the money, you accept the “stigma” of sex and booze.
    You can't throw people out until you have someone new in mind to throw into the ring. I don't see anyone lining up, so just enjoy the party until they appear to save us all from oppression and bondage.
    Jesus people, relax a little.

  • I hope you don't mean Sue Kerr. She's a divisive bitch who resents anyone with money and spews her hatred in all directions. She couldn't lead her way out of paper bag. All these years of blogging and what does she have to show for it? She has no friends and not even her partner's friends want to be around her. Have you ever seen someone from all these organizations she “champions” write anything positive about her? Name one person from the GLCC, Stonewall or the Ugly Fat Lesbian March who even reads this stupid blog.
    We need to shut this bitch up.

  • I think Sue Kerr rocks. Your comments about the Dyke March show how threatened the old queens are by women who want to control their own destiny. Long live dykes.

  • As current President of Steel City Stonewall Democrats I am writing to express how concerned I am by the above comments. Sometimes these kinds of over the top personal attacks are best left ignored but in this case, I do feel the need to clarify the following…As SCSD president, when I have time I do read this blog along with many other blogs and also maintain registration on numerous e-mail blast lists from local organizations. The opinions of members of the community are important to listen to. I may not always share the same perspective others do, but anything that promotes a conversation amongst us is useful I think. To set the record straight, I will write a positive comment about Sue and her efforts to at least get us talking and thinking. Personal attacks such as above do nothing to further our agenda.

  • I'm very glad Dana chimed in with that comment above, and that's surely all that was really necessary. But I just can't help myself.
    “Ugly Fat Lesbian March”??
    Measuring the value of one's advocacy efforts by immediately referencing the number of “friends” (or perhaps you mean “friends of quality”) that it has helped one to accumulate?
    You're an embarrassment not only to gay people, you Anonymous coward, but to Pittsburghers of all stripes, to politically active people everywhere, and to all persons who either type or use pen and ink to express thoughts. Please reconsider who you are and then rejoin society after an appropriate interval.

  • How many gay orgs participate on this blog versus participating with OUT which is a dinosaur? How many even use Facebook? We are far far behind the times.

  • The interesting thing is just by blogging about the Dallas Principles, this blog and the blogmistress are living up the call to action:
    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.
    It is a different role than being president of the GLCC or Steel City Stonewall, but someone has to be the “voice in the wilderness.”

  • Pittsburgh's gay male community has shut enough women up, thank you very much. You can spit out the hate as much as you want, but our truth is on the rise. Dykes are making it happen. Women's events are everywhere and our newspaper still caters exclusively to men. No wonder we need the blogs and myspace.
    Long live the dyke march.

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