Rallying the Troops
The battle for marriage equality isn’t the only fight the state’s LGBT community has on its hands. That’s why Chris Mason started TakeMassAction.com, a blog that aims to rally would-be activists to LGBT causes of all kinds.
Mason, the 24-year-old canvass director for MassEquality, started the site in mid-June in response to repeated queries from folks who wanted to get politically involved. “I was kind of frustrated that there wasn’t some place where people could go and find out if there was anything they could do to help the community as far as politics go,” he explains. “I could tell them what they could do for the marriage issue, but there’s a lot of others stuff going on.”
As Mason points out, in the past year attacks on the LGBT community have intensified. “And we can also see that they are winning in a few cases,” he says, pointing out Gov. Mitt Romney’s near-success in dismantling the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth in May, Macy’s decision to take down a Boston Pride-related window display after being pressured by the anti-gay group MassResistance (formerly Article 8 Alliance), and the battle being waged by Lexington father David Parker (with help from MassResistance) to squash the discussion of homosexuality in a local primary school. “I just wanted to make sure that people knew we are being attacked head on, and in some cases they’re winning. And I think that we need to confront that.”
True to its name, TakeMassAction is a blog (mercifully) short on the pontificating and name-calling typical of many activist-oriented sites. Instead, Mason provides concise descriptions of what’s at stake and the steps readers can take to make their voices heard. For instance, a short July 9 posting urging the Legislature to override Romney’s budget vetoes of Safe Schools funding and a proposal to create and independent Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, provides links to a list of legislators being pressured by MassResistance to support the vetoes (“So that they also get phone calls from people that support Safe Schools”, says Mason), statistics about gay youth suicide, the efficacy of the gay/straight alliances supported by the Safe Schools Program and a link to a page that tells readers exactly which legislators to contact and how best to make their pitch. “Take a few minutes to make a phone call, send an email, or write a letter,” Mason writes. “The safety of LGBT youth is at stake. Take Action Now!”
Mason says the blog’s format arises from his desire to give the LGBT community the resources to counter anti-gay attacks from right-wingers. “What I want to do is keep track of exactly what the radical right’s doing and who they’re calling, who they’re sending emails to,” Mason explains, “and then alert people of what they’re doing and tell people what they can do in response to that.”
- Laura Kiristy