Friday, June 16, 2000

IML Producer Chuck Renslow says “VOTE!”

(Leather Life column published on Lavender Magazine website, Issue #132, June 16, 2000)


Here’s what IML Founder and Executive Producer Chuck Renslow said as he welcomed the leather community to the IML 2000 contest on Sunday night:

“Here in the States we have an important election coming up. The next political party will most likely appoint judges to our Supreme Court. We must use our power to make sure that the next court is attuned to our needs. Believe me, the Republican religious right would love to see us annihilated. That’s not going to happen! You, me, all of us, we can make a difference. Get out in your communities and work. Don’t just listen to what I’m saying tonight and let it go in one ear and out the other—get back out there and work, because we can do it. Support the candidates of your choice. We are a force to be reckoned with—let’s use that power. And this applies to our friends from other countries, too: support those who support you. I can assure you, if we get out there and work, get our friends to work, and go back to our communities, we will succeed. The power of leather will triumph, I promise you!

“And incidentally, while you’re out there doing all this, don’t forget to have fun, because that’s what life is all about.”

Renslow expanded further on this theme at the IML Winners’ Press Conference on Monday:

“Right now I believe there are 23 federal judge vacancies open. Of course, the present administration won’t put a very conservative judge in there, and the present Congress won’t approve a judge unless he is conservative. They’re caught in a bind, and that’s got to change. I’m just worried that if we get an extremely conservative Congress, or a president who’s from the religious right, they’re going to appoint judges to that court—and I don’t mean just the Supreme Court, I mean district courts and any federal court—and the religious right is out, as I said last night, to annihilate us. There’s absolutely no question about that. They want to squash us. They’ve tried it in Washington, they’ve tried it in other places, and it hasn’t worked because they don’t have the power behind them. But if they ever get the power behind them, they will succeed. And I think it’s up to us to make damn sure that they don’t succeed?”

How do we do that? “Vote. Go back to your communities and get the people out to vote. As I’ve seen it, and I think AIDS has proved it, the first line of defense in public relations or doing anything in the entire gay community, has been the leather community, I think we’ve established that very well. I think there’s no reason why we can’t do the same here. Go back to our communities, get ’em going. Get people in line. If every person in this room gets three people’s minds changed, and those three people get three people, logarithmic progression—we’ll win. That’s how we do it. Too many times people say, “Oh, yeah, we gotta do that!” Then they go out to the gay bar and get drunk. That we cannot do. We’ve got to actively say ‘Yes, we’re going to go out and do it.’”

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