The 4 words of this common refrain reflect an attitude that’s even more to blame than our enemies for the too-slow pace of LGBT equality
There’s a refrain, one you hear quite often if you work to make things better, that I’m trying really hard not to grow accustomed to. I heard it again at the Equality Texas booth at Dallas Pride. I was talking about our effort to encourage Dallas County to offer domestic partner benefits to its employees:
“Good luck with that! This city will never treat gay people right.”
Never mind that the city of Dallas has offered domestic partner benefits for years and we were talking about Dallas County, not the city.
Never mind that two of the five members of the Dallas County Commissioners Court (which has to approve DP benefits) have been very public in their support.
Never mind that this same court voted last year to add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the county’s nondiscrimination policy.
“Good luck with that!” and a dismissive bounce to the next booth over.
I’m worried I’m getting used to “good luck with that.” I hear it often enough.
When we were working last year to pass anti-bullying legislation in Texas: “Good luck with that.”
When we were trying to defeat a bill that could have prevented people with a history of gender transition from getting married (to anyone): “Good luck with that.”
(It didn’t pass.)
When we were trying to make sure that Texas universities were allowed to keep their LGBT campus resource centers: “Good luck with that.”
(Students still have those resources.)
Granted there are defeats in this work, sometimes more defeats than victories. The victories don’t make the defeats sting any less, but vice-versa, the defeats don’t necessarily spoil the victories — or make them unimportant.
“Good luck with that” is just too easy to not be upsetting. It places the speaker in the comfortable position of either being right, or enjoying the benefits of other people’s work if they’re wrong.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “appalling silence and inaction of the good people” has been replaced with the cynic’s national anthem, the mantra of the disaffected: “Good luck with that.” And this refrain, far more than the “vitriolic words and evil actions of the bad people,” is responsible for the too, too slow pace of equality.
So here’s a promise and a challenge: I promise that when Equality Texas sends you an email alert, or asks you to sign on to a campaign at a Pride festival, or takes to social media with a call to action, it’s because we know that your action has the potential to make a difference. The challenge to you is to cast off the easy comfort of “good luck with that” and actually follow through with an action to change the world.
It’s not easy. It’s the hardest thing. It doesn’t count if it’s easy, but that’s how we bring equality to our state.
Well, that and a little luck!
Daniel Williams, field organizer for Equality Texas, can be reached at [email protected].
Tell Dallas County to offer domestic partner benefits
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia are working to ensure that Dallas County offers domestic partner benefits to its employees, but they need your help.
The decision to offer benefits is made by the Commissioners Court, made up of Jenkins, Garcia and three other commissioners: John Wiley Price, Maurine Dickey and Mike Cantrell. Three “yea” votes are needed for the county to offer benefits, so we’re almost there!
Call or email the members of the Commissioners Court and tell them to treat all of their employees fairly by offering domestic partner benefits:
• County Judge Clay Jenkins: 214-653-7949, [email protected]
• District 1 Maurine Dickey: 214-653-7552, [email protected]
• District 2 Commissioner Mike Cantrell: 214-653-6100, [email protected]
• District 3 Commissioner John Wiley Price: 214-653-6671, [email protected]
• District 4 Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia: 214-653-6670, [email protected]
— Equality Texas
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 28, 2012.