Op-ed: When Enough Is Enough, Get Out and Shout!

The antigay actions of businesses such as Chick-fil-A are ushering in a new generation of political activists.

BY John Carroll

August 17 2012 5:00 AM ET

I have to admit, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt the need to be politically active. Like many other LGBT people, I moved away from my small town and into the big city. I surrounded myself with many gay/gay friendly people and never felt or thought about discrimination during my day-to-day living. Complacency, I’ve learned, is a horrible state of mind.

A few weeks ago, when Mike Huckabee spoke out in favor of Chick-fil-A’s antigay stance and called for an “appreciation day,” thousands upon thousands of like-minded people showed up, including everybody’s favorite, Sarah Palin (though truth be told, I think she would probably go to the opening of a car door at this point). That day, the antigay establishment reached record-breaking sales.

It woke me up.

Though Huckabee and Palin might not be high on most people’s lists of reputable, responsible mouthpieces, the fact of the matter is when they speak, people listen.

Where is the ringleader on our team?

Though I was young(ish), I remember the days of Larry Kramer, ACT UP, and Silence = Death. That in-your-face kind of activism sparked a fire within me to get involved. I volunteered a lot of my time at GMHC making phone calls and doing mailings. I did every Dance-a-thon and every Walk-a-thon, basically, if there was any sort of “Gay-a-thon,” I was there.

To say I am thankful to all who are fiercely advocated for LGBT equality is a huge understatement. Even I, a humble Broadway chorine with an ample bosom and a mean right split, realize how hard it is to play nice when there are bullies on the playground.

Now that Mitt Romney has chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate, the LGBT community needs the next generation of Larry Kramers more than ever before. This time the bullies are not merely trying to steal your lunch money. No, this time Romney-Ryan will permanently take thousands in tax and social service dollars from you by denying you the same rights allotted to your heterosexual countrymen.

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