Learn, obey rules to make changes

Admiration is not a prerequisite for appreciation.

Hurricane Jack may not care for Hurricane Jill’s make-up, but there is appreciation latent in the effort and precision of Jill’s mascara and foundation application. Similarly, the plight of the LGBT community should be appreciated as a teaching mechanism irrespective of personal feelings about the lifestyle.

Proposition 8, a California ballot passed in 2004 restricting marriage to opposite sex couples, was recently overturned, making California the latest state to legally recognize same-sex marriage.

With more states likely to follow, how is it that the small LGBT population is successfully marching through legislative battles? It’s simple. They understand the power behind efficiently challenging the system from within.

Simply shouting what grinds your gears is pretty mundane and rarely efficient. Conversely, the LGBT movement has taught us that to get what you want you must learn the rules, play by the rules and overturn the rules using precedent already established by the rules.

Let’s say you don’t like a particular speed limit in Miami and wish to increase it. How successful do you think you would be by consistently driving over the speed limit and saying, “Hey officers, I’ve been driving 25 mph over the speed limit every day for three months with no accidents, so the speed limit should clearly be raised?”

I assure you that won’t work.

Unlike our Miami speeder, the LGBT community has shined through its systematic challenges. Rather than standing for the slander and public scrutiny, the LGBT community took up activism. How helpful would it have been had the LGBT community just picketed and protested outside the White House instead?

Whether you are a UM student, a little league coach or a mailwoman, remember that to effectively bring about change you must learn the rules, obey the rules and challenge the rules by using the rules. It worked for the LGBT community. It can work out for us.

Christopher Ivory is a first year law and M.A. journalism student.

March 21, 2012


Christopher Ivory

4 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Learn, obey rules to make changes”

  1. Brian Hayes says:

    Chris, this is great!

  2. Chris Ivory says:

    In terms of rules specifically, you don’t need to look much further than the legalization of gay marriage, which more and more states are likely to follow suit. The rule has been same-sex couples cannot legally marry, and that’s being fought through state and federal courts nationwide constantly – withing the confines of the court and attacking the legislation on legal sufficiency and not just emotional appeal. Again, thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. Chris Ivory says:

    @Coreyerb, thanks for the response. Look at HIV/AIDS, for example. In the late 70s and early 80s when it came to the public’s attention, it was thought to be the “gay plague” because it was primarily discovered amongst gay white males. The GLBT community took up lay-activism, or activism without having expertise in the field at hand (medicine in this case) and founded research and awareness organizations such as ACT UP and STOP AIDS to find out what HIV/AIDS really was and how to attack it and the public stigma. Such orgs have contributed to HIV/AIDS awareness, generated funding for research and treatment of infected persons, and the stigma of “gay plague” has faded. That’s what I mean by learning the rules/system and attacking it from within, not simply protesting and being vocal without attacking underlying legislation or effecting capital. That’s one example, and another is their attacks on legislation for gay marriage outlaws. The GLBT are an example of how you learn what you must do to bring about systematic change and do so by the confines of the system, not just being like the Occupy Movement and shouting your message without backing up your voice via the proper channels, namely legislation and some economic effect. Hope that made it more clear. Couldn’t fit everything in the paper lol.

  4. coreyerb says:

    I admittedly haven’t closely followed the news but can you give some examples of what rules this community has followed and how that’s helped change the rules?

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