We got involved in a game of charges and counter-charges over our campaign to elect delegates to the State Democratic Convention. That is not surprising when you have two groups, each of whom think their own slates are best. One of the specific charges surprised me though. The charge that as an LGBT focused Democratic Club, we were a single issue group. To be absolutely fair, no one specifically called us that. They used an old trick I’ve used myself many times where you describe an attribute you feel your group has and let the reader infer that the other side, us in this case, does not have that high minded attribute.
It’s not an unfair tactic and I don’t blame the folks on the other side for using it. What surprised me is that some on our side bought into the argument. So let me set the record straight.
San Diego Democrats for Equality is chartered by the Democratic Party to be a representative of the LGBT community to the Party and to be a representative of the Party to the community. All Democratic Clubs are chartered in this way. Some are representative of communities who are fixed to a specific geographic location and some are representative of communities or interests that have common traits regardless of where they live. So, if we are a single issue organization because we represent an identifiable community, all Democratic Clubs are single issue organizations.
So let’s talk about what our single issue is.
I’ve done extensive research into the matter and found that a huge majority of lesbians are, women. While the number of women in the gay male population is minimal (you’d almost call it the opposite demographic from lesbians), there are also significant numbers of women in the bi-sexual community. Likewise, amongst the transgender community there are significant numbers of people who, though not identified as such at birth, know with a certainty that they are women. Why does this matter? Reproductive rights and access to economic equality are LGBT issues.
Some of the Dreamers and other immigrants to this Country are LGBT. Immigration reform is an LGBT issue. LGBT people breathe the air and drink the water. Environmental protection is an LGBT issue. There are African-Americans who are LGBT. Equal protection/access and Economic Justice are LGBT issues. There are LGBT people who are Israelis and Palestinian. A solution that promotes the safety and aspirations of both is an LGBT issue.
In the LGBT community we used to say, “We are everywhere”. We don’t say that a lot now because as more and more people came out, it became obvious that it was true. Perhaps though we need to remind ourselves that LGBT issues are everywhere.
That doesn’t mean that we have to be, or should be, the point group for every issue. There are many students at State supported schools who are LGBT. Does that mean we should plan unilateral action on painful tuition increases at those schools? Clearly not. Should we speak out on the issue and back-up the College Democrats at those schools? Hell yeah! It’s an LGBT issue not only because there are LGBT students but because our community benefits from a more educated workforce and electorate. For the same reasons, Restoration of the social safety net, changing the minimum wage to a living wage and workers’ right to collective bargaining are also LGBT issues. Republicans are correct in stating that a rising tide raises all boats. Unfortunately, they are clueless about how to create a rising tide. We know that you don’t get there by sinking the poor, working poor and middle class. Everyone will benefit from ending the destruction of the middle class to benefit the already comfortable wealthy. That makes it quite possibly the biggest LGBT issue of them all.
So yes, it does indeed take a certain isolation and disconnect to try to make the case that our community has only one issue. Rather than take umbrage to the charge though, I think a better way for us to respond is to own the label.
Yes, because LGBT people are involved in every community and cause known to humanity, our single issue is the well-being and advancement of humanity and the creatures with whom we share the planet. If your focus is indeed different, exactly where do you stand?
President, San Diego Democrats for Equality