Queer Activists Show NYC How It’s Done: Shutting Down Streets For Gay Marriage

Back in the 80s, protests in the form of civil disobedience were the primary means of protest visibility for the gay community. ACT UP had chapters all over the nation, staging nonviolent protests against AIDS inaction: corpses littered the streets, and blocked traffic, demonstrating the deaths directly caused by the government’s painfully slow movement to fight the AIDS crisis.

Local drag icons protest for marriage equality in New York City.

Yesterday, a grassroots direct action group called Queer Rising reminded us of the work still to be done for LGBT rights. Perhaps we have grown too complacent in the unprecedented acceptance some of us enjoy today.

Queer Rising was “formed in late 2009 by people tired of watching LGBTQ rights put on the back burner or given no attention at all.”

The group is incredibly active locally in New York City, and not in the vanilla “let’s wait and trust our politicians to get this done.” They are pissed off, rightly so, and are out to cause civil disobedience to keep our issues at the forefront – both for politicians and our own community.

Less than one month after shutting down Sixth Avenue, 5 activists were arrested as a large group blocked New York City rush-hour traffic in front of Governor Cuomo’s Midtown offices to protest for marriage equality.

They unfurled a 75-foot banner, which cut across the south side of 41st Street at Third Avenue and read: “Marriage Equality NOW!  Call Cuomo: 518-474-8390!!!”

The group managed to stop traffic for 10 minutes, until NYPD arrested five members for obstructing traffic. The action was widely covered locally, and did a wonderful job at reigniting the debate regarding marriage equality in New York state.

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/QueerRising/status/55142236685471744″]

Ali Lozano, a Queer Rising activist, was arrested chanting a powerful statement: I AM SOMEBODY.

(via Gay City News)

Thoughts on Queer Rising’s direct action civil disobedience tactics?

  • Anonymous

    Those are some really brave people. They got my respect.