This is a story that happened last June and got very little press play due to its content and the fact that it looks for an alternate to FULL EQUALITY that falls outside Gay Inc’s long-suffering plans.
On June 9th, 2012, activist Richard Noble completed his historic “Civil RIghts Walk Across America” in Jacksonville, FL as reported in the Florida Times-Union. Noble set out from San Francisco in March, and crossed 10 states and journeyed 2700 miles, carrying the Rainbow Flag and to demand full equality and promote The American Equality Bill, a one-bill strategy for equal LGBT civil rights that would amend all existing federal civil rights laws to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” and would end discrimination in vast areas of life: employment, housing, credit, public places and facilities, and all programs operating with federal funding. It would also cover school discrimination and bullying, adoption, and all federal health programs. But has been met with much resistance by corporate LGBT rights agencies like the Human Rights Campaign.
Noble, set out last March 2011, sleeping his first night on the sidewalk outside The Harvey Milk Library in San Francisco. “I carried the Rainbow Flag through the deserts of Nevada and across the Rockies, to Matthew Shepard’s fence and Wounded Knee, to gay groups and elected officials, all to help light a fire for full equality and to talk about the insidious psychological and physical harm LGBT Americans suffer from discrimination.” Nobel said.
In Nevada, Lauren Scott, a transgender activist, buried food and water every twelve miles in the desert. Kids on the Sioux land in South Dakota offered him a soda, a mother driving by in Orange Texas gave all the change in her ashtray. He adopted a dog, Trinity, who walked over and one 23-year-old, who had given up his room to Richard, thereafter died in a car accident. The stories captured in his travel blog are heart warming and both heart breaking and too many to canvass.
But this story and The American Equality Bill has been all but ignored by the gay media, the Human Rights Campaign, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and others because it doesn’t fit into the current “piecemeal” strategy that these organizations have set out and refuse to deviate from.
The Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) and versions of it have been languishing in Congress unable to pass since 1974 and no passage is seen soon on the horizon. ENDA has been troublesome. And our gay rights organizations have been unable to sell it. It’s like a separate water fountain for “sexual orientation and gender identity” (SO&GI) discrimination while everyone else regardless of race, national origin and religious background drinks safely from the Civil Rights Act . And because of this many anti-gay opponents on the right have specifically and successfully used that by calling ENDA “special rights for homosexuals” The AEB would end that by granting the same right to the LGBT community that anti-gay religious extremist enjoy in the same piece of legislature.
And while HRC’s, NGLTF and Gay Inc’s piecemeal approach seems to have been a disaster taking decades and still going nowhere fast they are resistant to the idea of the AEB because they believe that it MIGHT upset the black community but more likely because they would have to admit thier current strategy is not working.
Harvey Milk once said “I ask for the movement to continue, for the movement to grow” and we are not following his wishes by standing by the same failed plans that haven’t worked in over 30 years.
The American Equality Bill is an idea whose time has come and represents a basic re-framing and education of the debate, something that some of us have been advocating for many years.