Saturday, December 20 just may be the busiest day of shopping left before Christmas at malls and plazas around the nation. With that in mind, Join the Impact has called for a nationwide set of demonstrations at shopping places around the country on December 20. The events are being give the collective name Light Up the Night for Equality, and the plan is to appear in shopping places with t-shirts that read “2nd Class Citizen,” to make the point that as Americans go about their Ho-Ho-Holiday shopping in a festive spirit of the season, there is a class of people — gay and lesbian Americans — who do not possess the full set of rights held by everyone else.
There’s a fair amount of dissatisfaction among the rank-and-file local organizers of this event with the “2nd Class Citizen” message, and Join the Impact’s justification of the slogan — documenting the many ways in which gay and lesbian people are treated like second-class citizens in this country — doesn’t address the core of the complaint: for people to label themselves, even bitterly, as “2nd Class Citizens” is defeatist. I agree: the message really ought to be a strong statement that gay and lesbian people are NOT second class citizens, and that they should have the same rights as everyone else.
With that in mind, I’ve designed and made an alternative available: an I am Not a 2nd Class Citizen t-shirt. Further, recognizing that for numerical reasons alone the movement for same-sex marriage equality just won’t succeed without the participation of a variety of allied straight people, I’ve made similar designs available that declare my son/daughter/mother/father/sister/brother is Not a 2nd Class Citizen. They’re all available on our Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Affirmative t-shirt page. Wear these to express your activism in a positive and affirmative way.