Cricket here. I was thinking…
Why is Gay Pride in such a hot month? Why we can’t just agree to do this in the Fall? Step back, Your Cricket’s about to drop some history.
In the early hours of June 28, 1969, a group of gay customers at a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village called the Stonewall Inn, tired of harassment by police, took a stand. A riot broke out when one patron threw a beer bottle at the paddy wagon that showed up at 3am to round them up—again. It all started with one person’s small act of rebellion. For all that person knew, that single act of rebellion would get him/her clubbed, arrested or worse.
Small crowds turned into thousands. Eventually, the police had to take cover inside the bar. (That’s called irony, kids.) They say that night the Gay Liberation Movement was born.
So here we are. Pride Week 2015. You may think on the face of it, this has not much to do with me as a straight, senior cat—apart from the fact that I am fabulous. But FFL is marching in the Pride Parade this year! I have seen mirrored disco balls, feathers… and as with most things that go on around here, Your Cricket has thoughts…
Friends For Life is a perfect fit for Pride because they do not believe in any type of discrimination. (and they can dance.) Simply, discrimination is treatment based on category rather than individual merit. It’s incompatible with the FFL view that Every Animal Matters. We see animals as individuals. Friends For Life was forged in the fires of the No Kill Movement and that is our strength.
Should there be such a thing at a shelter as “too small to be worth saving?” Should you have to weight 2lbs to count?
I am literally alive right freaking now because some FFL founders withstood being told they would fail, that No Kill is “fringe” (and not the sparkly kind), and that a No Kill shelter will never work. There are people who said it simply was not possible to save…well, pretty much every cat ever with me in the senior room and most of the thousands who have already gone home. We are literally living proof of the value of the No Kill activists’ refusal to sit down and shut up. If that’s fringe, then Honey, hook a sister up with the whole outfit!
When someone calls you fringe say, “Thank you. Leaders come from the fringe because only leaders are willing to go to the edge. And by being reduced to personally insulting me you have just done the rhetorical equivalent of flinging your poo. I think we’re finished here.”
Our nation’s Founders were fringe. Suffragettes who wanted the vote for women: fringe. Martin Luther King, Gloria Steinem: totally fringetastic.
Gandhi was a very fringey guy even for a dude who was actually a lawyer.
Innovators like Steve Jobs and Nathan Winograd terrified the old guard with brand new, “fringeified” ways of looking at things. Change isn’t made by asking permission or caring one iota what people may call you.
Animals, like people, should be treated as individuals with inherent value and basic rights to compassionate consideration. And newsflash: No Kill shelters are here to stay. If my gay friends will permit the paraphrase, “We’re here. We’re No Kill. Get used to it.”
Discrimination in animal shelters kills millions of pit bulls because they are born to a certain breed. That same discrimination kills nursing mothers/babies, injured animals, animals needing behavior rehab and senior animals like yours truly because we are “pre-judged” en masse, to be “unadoptable” and not worthy of saving. The message is clear: “If you are old, afraid, very small, injured or of a certain lineage, we will not protect you and we will marginalize your advocates.”
Discrimination hasn’t worked out that well for you humans, either. It has killed people who couldn’t get medication because the government didn’t approve of how they got sick. Gay kids commit suicide because they are bullied right over the edge. Why would they think it will ever get better when their teachers and scout leaders could be fired for being gay? 76 countries criminalize homosexuality and 7 of those punish it by death. The message is resounding: “If you love the wrong gender, we will not protect you and we will marginalize your advocates.”
Discrimination is ignorant. It is flat out wrong. And the fact is, it is lethal.
So here’s Your Cricket’s weekend request of you:
Come to the Gay Pride Parade Saturday, June 27th and wear fringe! Cheer for the Friends For Life float when we go by! Show us your No Kill Fringe Pride!
Epic social movements don’t happen in epic sweeps—they happen in choices in the smallest moments. Do you sit at that lunch counter or no? Kiss her in public or no? Use the correct pronoun or blend in? At some point, someone gathers their courage and says, ”No, I will not get up from this seat.”
“Yes, I love this woman and I will say it in public. At our wedding.”
“I don’t care what names you call me, I will save these animals.”
Sometimes it is easy to forget that social change movements don’t just spring from Zeus’s head fully formed, names already capitalized and written in bold with dates in parentheses. The Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Movement, the Gay Liberation Movement and the No Kill Movement didn’t start out as Movements. They started out as scared people being brave.
These movements are just collections of moments where someone was terrified they would be fired, unloved, bankrupted, marginalized, embarrassed or even killed. Someone had sweaty palms and a sick stomach and did whatever it was…anyway. Trembling, someone resolved, “I will not be made to feel small, irrelevant or marginal. I will not sit down or shut up.” Then she braced herself for the storm.
This Saturday, we march for the animals who have fallen victim to being pre-judged as “unadoptable” because of their breed, size, age, health or emotional state. We march for the No Kill advocates who will not be swayed by the futile disapproval of the old guard. There are lots and lots of opportunities to get on the right side of history right now. No Kill is one of them.
Capitalize That, Historians.
Happy Gay Pride Parade 2015! Now put your paws up and get out there, kids.
Yours in sparkly fringe forever,