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Friday, November 28, 2008

Coming Soon: Day Without a Gay

Posted By on Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 3:58 PM

By Lauren Smiley

The opposition to Prop. 8 is trying a new, less divisive approach to tilt public opinion in favor of gays, and, by extension, gay marriage. Two gay men in West Hollywood conceived the Day Without a Gay, slated for December 10 to coincide with International Human Rights Day. With the slogan "Fight the H8 with love," the movement asks that LGBT folks "call in gay" to work that day and instead volunteer at a humanitarian organization. (See their website here.)

Co-founder of the gay day, Sean Hetherington, a personal trainer and stand-up comedian, drew inspiration from a column by L.A. Times writer Joel Stein, suggesting a day when all gays would stay home from work and not buy anything to measure their true social and economic impact in this country. It was modeled after the general protest of Latinos in 2006, who skipped work for mass marches demanding immigration reform.

But Hetherington thought that rather than just staging a polarizing protest, the gay community could boost society as well as their own image by volunteering, especially in those communities that supported Prop. 8. "Hey, maybe the reason you're voting this way is you don't know how compassionate we are as people," he says. "There's something to be said for people knowing this."

He says the day allows for flexibility for folks who can't get the day off work, maybe using their lunch break to write to their congressmen about reversing Prop. 8, or to volunteer after hours.

"I don't want any gay person to feel like they have to call in sick to work, they have to boycott, that they're somehow a bad gay if they don't do it exactly how it's advertised online," Hetherington says. "We just really want it to be a day you can interpret however you want."

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