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.