Angry Gays and Angry Vegans

(Via the Daily Dish) Here’s a great article by a gay rights activist who takes the approach of trying to create meaningful dialogs with the opposition.

What’s striking to me is that, if you replace every gay, queer, and GLBT reference with “vegan”, how this article could have been written expressly for the animal protection community.

Even though my being “Mr. Nice Guy” wasn’t chosen for strategic purposes, I try to work it to my advantage. It gives me influence with a certain group of people. And it’s shaped my career as a gay-rights advocate, one who aims for thoughtful engagement with the other side.

Such engagement can be productive. For one thing, the more our opponents know us personally, the harder it is for them to demonize us. (Not impossible, obviously, but harder.) Part of my life’s mission is to create cognitive dissonance for those who would label all gays as angry deviants.

I adore this passage:

There’s a character type in the GLBT community that we might refer to as the Angry Queers. (It’s a caricature, to be sure, but like any good caricature it captures something important.) They’re angry, and they want everyone to know it.

They’re angry at our opponents. They’re angry at me for civilly engaging those opponents. They’re angry at the schools who host our debates, for giving the opposition a platform, as well as for not providing (take your pick): (a) free parking; (b) accessible seating; (c) more Q&A time; (d) universal health care.

They’re angry at the world generally, and they’re going to let everyone know it.

Ring any bells? And here’s the payoff:

I agree with the Angry Queers that the other side is wrong—badly wrong, wrong in ways that profoundly harm innocent people. I get it. I get it strategically, and I get it personally. But, for reasons both strategic and personal, I can’t join their approach.

Pragmatic activists all speak the same language, no matter what cause they’re working for. Link.