Rethinking the Democrats
Presenters: Brent Holman-Gomez and Rich Wilson
Facilitator: Andy Thayer
Room: 624 S. Michigan, Room 1305, 10:30 AM -11:45 AM
This workshop will examine whether our civil rights movement is best served by allegiance to the Democratic Party. Discussion will include the Democratic Party response to LGBTQ rights, but emphasis will be placed on direct action as opposed to an electoral approach. The elections = politics paradigm will be challenged. We will examine homophobia in the political arena. By recognizing that "the personal is political," we will look at how confronting the homophobia we face combined with the determination to have our rights respected can energize our fight for freedom.
DEBATE: Should Activists Focus on Winning Equal Marriage Rights?
Debaters: Andy Thayer and Yasmin Nair
Facilitator: Brent Holman-Gomez
600 S. Michigan, Ferguson Lecture Hall, 1st Floor, 1 PM - 2:15 PM
With the defeats in California and Maine, some activists are questioning our movement's focus on winning marriage equality. Debating the issue will be Andy Thayer, an activist who has been working for marriage equality since before the turn of the century. He is a co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network and has also spent considerable time on anti-war, police brutality and other LGBTQ issues. On the other side of the debate will be Dr. Yasmin Nair, a queer activist who has focused on immigration and youth issues. She is a frequent contributor to Windy City Times and other queer publications and is a member of GenderJust.
Successfully Taking on the Religious Right
Presenter: Andy Thayer
Facilitator: Judy Heithmar
624 S. Michigan, Room 1105, 2:30 PM -3:45 PM
During the time of Anita Bryant, our movement, despite being much weaker financially and institutionally, successfully took on and defeated the Religious Right and its anti-gay Briggs Amendment. We not only won, but we destroyed Bryant's career. On a smaller scale, we did the same thing with hate radio hostess Laura Schlessinger, at one time the nation's #2-rated radio personality. Yet today, even when they are vastly out-spent in referenda, the Religious Right has defeated us repeatedly. But in some states such as Illinois, the Religious Right has gotten little traction with these referenda. What accounts for these different outcomes, and how can we use this information to win in the future?