by Erica Mauter • I asked if OutFront Minnesota is doing its job, as it’s a common complaint I hear from people who disagree with their strategy. OutFront Communications Director Jo Marsicano replied in the comments.
OutFront Minnesota would like to respond to the question, “Is OutFront Minnesota doing its job?”
OutFront Minnesota works year round advocating for our community and working closely with our allies.
This year, for instance, our legal program worked with elected officials in the City of Minnetonka to revise an ordinance that penalized people for being in the “wrong” bathroom – obviously creating potential hazards for our transgender brothers and sisters. You now cannot be arrested just because someone thinks you’re the “wrong” gender for the bathroom you’re in. Our Anti-Violence program provided referrals, helped get orders for protection, and provided direct one-on-one counseling for GLBT members who were victims of domestic violence and hate or bias crimes. We went all over the state co-sponsoring screenings and post-film discussions of “For the Bible Tells Me So” – helping people talk more meaningfully about the intersection of religion and sexual orientation, and about 1,000 people in all attended these events.
Our training and education team went to public schools, universities, correctional facilities, police academies, churches, and workplaces to facilitate positive, constructive conversations about sexual orientation and the way it plays out in all areas of our political and social life.
We worked with state lawmakers to again advance bills to improve the lives of GLBT people including the local government domestic partner bill. We conduct the largest GLBT lobby day in the country and have every year increased attendance at this event, reminding lawmakers and reaffirming for them that they have GLBT constituents and that their votes on our issues matter. In addition, 54% of OutFront Minnesota Action-endorsed candidates won their races for election or re-election, helping our community rely on a fair-minded majority at the legislature.
The grassroots organizing OutFront Minnesota has been doing is necessary in order to get marriage equality passed by the legislature in our state. We talk to 25,000 each year all over Minnesota to lay the groundwork for this change. Some have expressed frustration at what they perceive to be a too-slow pace at achieving this change, and people certainly have the right to their criticism and frustration. But the move toward marriage equality is not as simple as bringing a single court case and in fact, a court case could even set us back further than we would ever want to go. (Read our statement on marriage litigation at https://www.outfront.org/library/marriage.
OutFront Minnesota is proud of the work we do on behalf of our community. Vocal criticism of the organization helps us stay on our toes, always looking for ways we can do better.
We also acknowledge that given the diverse views of our community, there will at times be disagreement with our approach, tactics, and strategies.
In turn, however, we must disagree with those who claim or suspect that we “do nothing.” Our donors, members, volunteers, and straight allies would also disagree with this assertion, as would the hundreds of individuals and organizations who contact us every year for assistance, information, referrals, and guidance on a host of issues related to the work of pursuing equality for GLBT people.
We are grateful for forums like this one for enabling the community to discuss these issues with vigor.
You may not agree with what they’re doing, but they are doing something. A lot of something. Hell, if you’re not in agreement with what they’re doing, maybe you should make an effort to get more involved in the organization. Or at least sign up for their newsletter.
Originally published 11/26/08