The battle for equality and acceptance for gay people in the United States continues today under a new initiative known as ‘Day Without a Gay,’ which urges gay people to stay home from work as an act of solidarity and to raise public awareness about gay rights. Viewing the event in Massachusetts, it is easy to forget how much controversy this action will stir up across the rest of the nation. Participants in today’s protests should not be afraid to make their presence known, but they should bear in mind always that education can better prevent ignorance than protests alone.
Though protesters terming the action a ‘gaycott,’ the demonstration the public should not interpret it as an effort to hurt employers or the economy in which we all participate. The demonstration is not aimed at coercing any company or organization, but rather it is meant to spread awareness about gay rights through a non-aggressive movement.
Despite the partisan rancor that was put on display during this year’s elections, the fact remains that it is possible to change the minds of other people. For those who choose to participate in today’s demonstration, the hope is that their actions will help educate people who are on the fence about gay issues simply because they have never interacted with openly gay members of their communities. A major goal of the demonstration is that participants will not only stay home from work, but will use that time to donate time to charity and help spread awareness by volunteering.
Some participants plan to visit inner-city schools, where there are typically very small, if any, gay populations, and gay rights are largely ignored.’ By acting individually and being present in places not typically exposed to gay people, participants will put a face to an issue that many see only as a faceless cause.
Those fearing for their jobs and those who cannot afford to take off from work should do everything possible out-of-work to support the cause. From writing letters to simply promoting the day, there is a lot individuals can do to support ‘Day Without a Day.’ Supporters in the state should indeed fight for the rights they are fortunate enough to enjoy here. There is still a huge fight to go for equal rights both in the commonwealth and across the country.