The Time to Strike is Now
Get Equal Texas march for LGBT justice
By Brandon Watson, 3:07PM, Sat. Mar. 9
Michael Diviesti became aware of social justice from a young age. His step-father often told him stories of the bad old days, stories of coming home to the violence of spray-painted racial slurs. Even when young, Diviesti was aware that equality required a fight.
So when Diviesti first became engaged with activism, it probably wasn't much of a surprise. But he does seem bemused with how big of a part of his life it has become. He talks about when he first brought Get Equal to Austin, staging protests with as little as three people. "After those first protests, I caught the activist bug," he laughs, "I was always chasing after that activism high."
Now as the state lead of Get Equal, Diviesti's protests have become a bit more elaborate. On Sunday, he expects as many as a thousand people marching to the Capital as part of the first Texas March for LGBT Justice. To Diviesti, it's a march that's long overdue."Yesterday was the time to strike," he says, "there is hope with all the LGBT bills being filed [in the state legislature." When we have those allies, we can only guess that the work of lobbyists and activists is working."
In some ways, the March Sunday is a borrowed idea. Diviesti explained that in years past, Equality Texas held a march before their lobbying days at the state legislature. As the lobbying days became more involved, the march became more difficult to stage. This year Get Equal decided to take up the mantle to bring it back.
Diviseti says that not only is the march "bringing awareness to the needs of the LGBT community," but taking on something further. "I'm an all or nothing kind of guy. I don't want to settle for anything else other than justice on a grand scale. Marriage equality isn't the only issue. How does homelessness and immigration affect the LGBT community. How does women's rights in general, and birth control affect us?" Paraphrasing Bayard Rustin, he says "there is a web of injustice."
Unfortunately, fighting to eradicate the complete web has sometimes put him at odds with potential allies. Diviesti recalls an ally who stopped working with him because he was willing to stick his neck out on immigration reform. Still, he balks at those who think there is a rift in the LGBT community, despite some high-profile criticisms of groups like the Human Rights Campaign for willing to leave trans* protections out of ENDA. "I disagree with any notion of a philosophical difference between movements for social justice. It's like a tapestry - there are several different tactics, but everyone is using tools in different ways. What we do helps create a sense of urgency with legislators that lobbying cannot accomplish."
Texas March for LGBT Justice (Sun. March 10, 5:30pm, Austin City Hall 301 W 2nd St.)