Looking over the departure of Brendan Eich, I have the feel we’ve just seen something historical happen. A CEO of a Silicon Valley company was compelled to leave (apparently at his own choice) after protests over his support of Proposition 8. I’ll be analyzing this for awhile, knowing me.
Right now there’s a roundup of unhappy people who are anti-gay rights who are obviously unhappy about this. I’m seeing the words “homofascism” thrown around (possibly to recall the infamous Pink Swasticka), talk of the Gaystopo, weird ranting, and so on. Mozilla is target of several boycot calls, including one aping the OK Cupid call. There’s the usual parade of anti-gay groups like NOM, which to note seems to be the only group actually calling for a boycott.
I didn’t see any LGBT rights groups involved in the call for Brendan Eich’s resignation. I saw various individuals, a company in protest, and frankly a lot of unhappiness here in Silicon Valley. It was grassroots displeasure.
Allow me to postulate a theory.
What is really upsetting to people against the LGBT population is this was spontaneous. There was no one group involved, nothing from GLAAD, no big campaign. It was a bunch of different people and then one company saying they didn’t want this guy.
That’s upsetting to the anti-LGBT activists because it suggests that this behavior – their behavior – is simply not acceptable. It’s something people are viscerally disgusted with and won’t put up with.
The anti-LGBT groups target people, let us make no bones about it. They target a small population for ridicule and persecution and worse. They are bullies – they’re big groups (funded by people glad to or ignorantly donating to such groups), and like bullies, they punch down. The people supposedly below just punched back – hard – without an organizing group.
That suggests a fundamental shift. People aren’t taking anti-LGBT stances and laws lying down. If first Eich (who, frankly, handled this poorly and probably could have saved his job) what’s next?
I think they’re angry people are fighting back and there’s no one person to target, no one to take revenge on.
However, let me end that for supporters of LGBT rights this is just one thing. It made a statement, threw down the gauntlet, and called out the rather foul Prop 8. But if you want to help, go get involved. Donate to the Al Forney Center or a similar group to help LGBT youth. Join GLAAD or Lambda Legal. Vote.
Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach. He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at https://www.stevensavage.com/.