I first became politically active when the Oregon Citizens’ Alliance put a citizen’s initiative on the ballot to declare in law that “homosexuality” was “abnormal, wrong, unnatural, and perverse”. Measure 9 was itself an abomination, one that treated anti-discrimination laws as if they were discrimination against bigots, which was somehow supposed to be an unconscionable thing, what with how unfair that would be to the bigots.
Measure 9 lost. The OCA (which then featured Scott Lively as its highly visible 2nd in command) lost. But that doesn’t mean that queers “won”. We spent money and energy and made ourselves visible, made ourselves targets, so we could be attacked intensely for an election season in the hopes that sacrifice would make us safer after the election season. That isn’t victory. Honestly, it was a lot like being in abusive relationship, something I knew a lot about, and provoking abuse as the “walking on eggshells” phase of the relationship grated horribly on one’s nerves. Sometimes one’s fears of what abuse comes next are worse than the actual abuse when it occurs. I had to reasonably fear being killed by my abusive partner, but as it turns out, I was never murdered.