As Harvey Milk once said, the greatest form of activism is to be VISIBLE, to leave behind the closets so that our friends, coworkers, and neighbors have a chance to see that we’re just like everybody else (except of course more fab).
Many feel that this statement, 30 years later, no longer applies. In fact, in 2009 it has never been more applicable.
With the failure of the gay and lesbian movement to stop Prop 8, the increasing number of unwarranted raids on gay bars (4 this year), and diminishing funds for LGBT health clinics, the gay rights movement is in big trouble. And there is a cultural reason for it.
Craigslist, Manhunt, Xtube and on and on… the Internet has provided hundreds of avenues back into Closet 2.0 — the “cyber closet.”
The cyber closet offers gays and lesbians anonymous social interactions from the comfort, safety and convenience of their own homes without all that messy “being out” stuff.
And the gay movement has paid the consequence. We no longer need to wear our stripes like our gay forebears (pun intended) in order to find and connect with fellow gays. We can do all that in a dark room.. with our computers.
As a result we have once again become invisible. And as long as we remain invisible we will never truly gain our equal rights.
If you need proof you need look no further that Proposition 8, a first in American history when civil rights were actually taken away from a minority group.
Before there was the rainbow flag, the most prominent symbol of the gay movement, there was the Hanky Code, a gay code that allowed gays and lesbians to literally wear their stripes and find each other amidst a world of hostility and fear.
Our hope is that a new digital Hanky Code will help to revive this age-old gay tradition and help to bridge the gap between our ever expanding cyber double-life and the very real need to be Out (with a capital O) and to meet each other in the public sphere.
The Hanky Code is a celebration of gay history and a call to arms.. to be proud and maybe a little more extroverted about the great diversity of colors which make up the modern gay movement.
HankyCo, LLC is the official website of the Hanky Code, available on iTunes for the iPhone and iTouch.