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Play Nice, Folks: Why confrontation is exactly the wrong approach when it comes to getting what you want.
Advocate • Feb 6, 2009
In 1991 a group of activists from the radical gay group Queer Nation infiltrated the set of The Arsenio Hall Show and interrupted the comedian's opening routine, demanding to know why he didn't invite more openly gay guests to be on his program. The audience booed the hecklers, and the stunt represented the last gasp of the in-your-face tactics that gay activists had utilized since Stonewall. In the 1980s, when a whole generation of gay men was dying and no one seemed to care, we needed angry, brash gay activists to wake up the rest of the country. But we don't have to scream at Arsenio Hall to interview Gus Van Sant anymore -- and not just because Arsenio is washed up. That confrontational approach is as dated as the slogans on the Queer Nation T-shirts: Queer Liberation Not Assimilation. We need a gay movement that reflects its amazing successes, not its continuing frustrations.
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