I really don’t like New Year’s Resolutions. They never seem to work — or at least, almost never.
The only one I really remember working was becoming vegetarian, and that lasted for almost 10 years.
Still, it seems to be human nature to look at the year ahead and the year past, and try to pledge a course of action that will make a difference. I guess that’s why AA groups have such a surge of new members after Jan 1.
So with that in mind, I will give it a shot. Here are my New Years Resolutions for 2010 (please check with me next year and let me know how well I did):
1. Stop using the phrase "When I was younger." That phrase is a sure sign of being a curmudgeon, and though I once aspired to be the gay Andy Rooney, I think I need to drop that from my vocabulary, along with "Back in the day" and "When I first came out."
2. Stop believing that California is a liberal state. For some reason, I always thought that California — home of the Gay Mecca of San Francisco and arguably the most gay-friendly city in the world, West Hollywood — was open-minded. Not so. Just look at the "Prop 8" mess and it’s pretty obvious the Golden State is as bigoted as our own.
3. Buy more beads for the gay Pride parade. Every year we seem to run short before the end of the parade. Of course, this year the crowd swelled to a record 50,000, so how could we have known?
4. Never write columns about Queer Anarchists. They send really vile hate mail, and they don’t seem to understand that busting up and defacing property belonging to liberal organizations creates a public relations problem. Besides, few people will take you seriously if you insist on descending into debating the intricacies of a neo-Marxist philosophy, except maybe a few poli-sci professors.
5. Spend more money with LGBT businesses. Though I don’t live in the gayborhood anymore, I still need to remember, if I am shopping or looking for a place to eat, think gay first. I would hate to see Cedar Springs lose its rainbow character simply because Starbuck’s or Applebee’s is a few miles closer than Buli or Hunky’s.
6. Remember to get an HIV test every year. The epidemic is not over by a long shot, and though testing is not prevention, it does let me know where I stand. I have lost way too many friends over the past couple of decades, and I don’t want to lose any more.
7. Clean up our messy house! Good God, I am a gay man, and having a cluttered abode is just not upholding the treasured gay stereotype. After all, I do like opera; I adore Broadway musicals; I know all the words to Judy Garland’s "Live at the Palace" album; and my partner and I have cats. Add a home that is so pristine it could be in Architectural Digest, and I could be a veritable gay icon!
8. Stop believing that Texas is a Red State and there is nothing I can do about it. The major metropolitan areas of our great state are pretty durned blue already. Dallas keeps electing Democrats to local offices, and Houston just got itself a brand new lesbian mayor!
If the saying "All politics is local" is really true, then I need to get off my butt and start working for some local candidates. The Texas House of Representatives has 77 Republicans and 73 Democrats. That is a razor- thin majority, and maybe some work on a local level could tip the balance.
9. Always remember that even though a politician is a Democrat, he or she will never grant LGBT people equal rights unless we keep making noise. That is what the National March for Equality was about, and Cleve Jones knew that when he organized it. The sad truth is we have to keep working, and that means pressuring the Democrats in Congress and the White House to do the right thing.
10. Always remember that if a politician is a Republican, he or she will never grant LGBT people equal rights no matter how much noise we make. Look at the silly efforts of the newest right wing gay group, GOProud, which is being banned from speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference that they attempted to sponsor.
I feel pretty sure I could come up with a few dozen more, but heck, when I first came out I wanted to move to California where everyone was gay-friendly. Damn, just blew the first two and it isn’t even 2010!
Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist. His blog is at http://dungeondiary.blogspot.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 01, 2010.