NYC Gay Rights Activist Alan Bounville Goes On Hunger Strike Demanding Gays Be Added to the Civil Rights Act

New York City gay activist Alan Bounville who has been trying to  persuade Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to file a bill adding gays and lesbians to the 1964 Civil Rights Act has gone on a hunger strike.

Bounville has been trying to to persuade  Gillibrand, a staunch supporter of marriage equality and a proactive advocate of DADT repeal, to file the bill for weeks by holding daily vigils in front of her campaign office to no avail.  So on election day Bounville began his hunger strike.

On Oct. 11, the vigil was expanded to a 24-hour protest and ended early Tuesday morning when Bounville started his hunger strike at an undisclosed location.

On Tuesday night, 18 hours into the fast, Bounville spoke to DNAinfo over the phone.

“I have a bit of a headache,” he said. “What’s keeping me going is these visualizations of Tyler Clementi jumping off that bridge. I keep replaying that in my mind.”

“The issue is full civil rights right now,” he explained, in contrast to the more narrow, targeted battles favored by many mainstream LGBT advocacy groups such as marriage equality, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and anti-bullying bills.

“None of this piecemeal, convoluted stuff,” he said.

But even within the LGBT community, many believe that a campaign like Bounville’s should wait for a time when there is broader congressional support.

“You can count on one hand the number of members of the Senate that supports this idea,” Richard Socarides, a Chelsea-based gay and lesbian civil rights attorney and former White House advisor to President Clinton, said at the start of the vigil.

“Senator Gillibrand has been probably our strongest advocate for gay and lesbian civil rights in the entire federal government,” he added

As for Socarides that whole “wait till more are on board” is a such a disastrous plan because we will be waiting forever.  The whole point is to write up the bill and THEN get people to support it.  make deals, exert pressure. We march, picket, rally.  Did none of these people ever take a Political Science Class?

And for all of you out there going but Kristen is our friend.  Yea maybe she is.  But whats the harm in writing up the Bill?  There is none. 

I admire his passion and there’s certainly room for radicalism (which also makes the left of center look more centrist). And while he’s certainly correct that our representatives are our employees, just like other employees they are people and they respond to relationships.  But there is a point when you have to scream at every friend to do something or make a REAL STAND for you.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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2 thoughts on “NYC Gay Rights Activist Alan Bounville Goes On Hunger Strike Demanding Gays Be Added to the Civil Rights Act”

  1. The bill is called: The American Equality Bill (AEB).

    Join the AEB Project on Facebook: http://bit.ly/AEBnow

    It's all grassroots. All volunteer.

    A project of eQualityGiving.org

    Tks, Todd (Tif) AEB Project, Campaign Facilitator

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