Call to Action: A Letter to Rachel Maddow

Rachel and TRMS Staff,

Thank you for your coverage of issues that go beyond what is popular
for The Today Show and other boring, mainstream, popular news. You are
insightful, hilarious, and if you can make me sit through an interview
involving Michael Steele and realize he’s not a total idiot, you’ve
more than done your job. But, I have one concern with your show and
that is your consistent use of “gay marriage” when talking about
Marriage Equality in this country.

It is far too easy for all of us in the GLBT/Queer community to slip
into the use of “gay” when talking about issues that matter to all of
us. But as an activist for the bisexual community, I often find myself
cringing when an icon for the GLBT/Queer community excludes the
community as a whole when talking about marriage. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
was not just about gay and lesbian service members but about ones who
are bisexual and even transgendered and Marriage Equality is about all
of us who want to see our relationships legalized.

In my years as an activist for the bisexual community, I have come to
learn that words matter more than we ever realize. To label myself as
bisexual, I take an automatic risk of opening myself up to rejection
not only from the heterosexual world, but the homosexual one as well.
Every time “gay marriage” is mentioned on the show, I feel just that
more excluded from a community I have advocated for and embraced for
over fifteen years.

All I ask is that when covering those issues, you think outside the
“Gay” label and remember that all of us in the community are in this
together and that there is an invisibility within our own community
for some of the more marginalized groups. This report, released
earlier this year from the San Francisco Human Rights Commission
details exactly what I have spoken of in this letter:
http://www.birequest.org/docstore/2011-SF_HRC-Bi_Iinvisibility_Report.pdf

Thank you again for your work. Your being out has changed the face of
the media and the conversation about what it means to identify as
GLBT/Queer in this country. Your work on DADT and Marriage Equality is
a voice that speaks loudly in a room that wants nothing more than to
maintain the status quo. I just hope even in these conversations, we
can move forward.

Sincerely,
Shauna Brock
Founder, Utah’s 1to5 Club

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