“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Not only was Washington D.C. named the gayest city in the United States by the LGBT-interest magazine, The Advocate, early in January, but now the National Journal created a list of the “30 Most Influential Out Washingtonians” to show how powerful and influent being proud can be. However, as D.C. Gay candidates seeking Office gear up for 2014, more members of the LGBT community recognize and realize that they cannot rely solely on openly gay candidates because in the past 30 years there hasn’t been not even one fully anti-gay campaign. This duplicity of messages, and attitudes towards what it means to be an openly gay men and a candidate for Office at the same time denotes a surplus of communication issues and a lack of transparency in the system when it comes to issues affecting the LGBT community.
The way candidates talk means a lot their constituency, but the way they behave, means the world. When the way we talk and the way we behave are in disagreement, not only it’s hard to understand what we are trying to transmit, but also serious consequences are produced in all aspects of our lives. The messages and representation these candidates transmit about who they are as persons, and about who they are as openly gay men, has an effect on the perceptions and definitions of roles and stereotypes that the audiences create about them and about what it is, or should be, to be a candidate for Office, and in turn, about what it is, or should be to be a member of the LGBT community. Therefore, in order for gay candidates for Office, and for candidates for Office in general as well, to be taken as a serious options, they need to begin by taking themselves seriously first. They need to show their true colors, to accept who they are, what they are, and what they do, and find ways to reconcile all these spheres in the most balanced and efficient possible way. As Peter Parker’s uncle told him, “whit great power, comes great responsibility.”
Patricia Hill Collins describes in her work how the suppression of representation and knowledge produced by the oppressed not only was, but it still is the easiest way for the oppressor to keep the oppressed invisible and controlled, and in this sense, to set the standard for their stereotypical images. In this sense, in order for gay candidates, and members of the LGBT community in general, to take control over their voice and the messages transmitted by representations of gays and lesbians in the media, active and passive activism should be employed. LGBT activism should explore, analyze, and understand the issue of LGBT rights in all its aspects and spheres, and ultimately as a matter that ultimately affects all individuals in society. LGBT activism should, therefore embody an ideal combination of expert knowledge and organized ways of promotion and action, and should be understood as a matter that affects all spheres of society and civic order, from the local to the global. However, without knowing who we are and where we are, we would never know where to begin to take local actions that could translate to global changes later.