US Gays Plan One-Day Economic 'Walkout'
For Equality








Organisers of the Boycott For Equality are expanding their nationwide “economic walkout” to include a coordinated cash withdrawal from the economy on October 8.

To demonstrate the need for equality in marriage and the workplace, straight and gay supporters are being asked take out at least $80 from their local ATM.

Boycott For Equality expects the action will exhaust the cash in many ATMs, leaving a reminder of gay economic power to all who try to use them throughout the long bank weekend.

To further drive home the lessons taught during the Boycott, participants should refer to the Boycott when communicating with their elected representatives, particularly when candidates ask for money to fund their campaigns.

“Let them know you participated in the Boycott,” explained Duncan, one of the co-organisers. “Just take your ATM receipt, cross out your account number, circle your balance, write GAY MONEY on it and mail it to campaign headquarters in the postage paid envelope they provide. They'll get the message that nobody in America can be taken for granted.”

The $80 represents the amount the average member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community contributes to the US economy each day, and could grow beyond the $1.4 billion that LGBT workers contribute each day -- more than $500 billion each year according to computations by Washington D.C.-based public relations firm Witeck-Combs Communications.

The walkout combines several actions highlighting the various ways that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) citizens contribute to the economy on a regular basis.

Other components of the Boycott include a one-day work stoppage or ‘pink flu’ day to demonstrate solidarity to employers and colleagues; a moratorium on spending for goods and services such as gas, food and clothing, to show retailers what would happen if 7% of their revenue goes away; closures by sympathetic businesses to make their customers aware of how dependent Americans are upon each other; and a halt to cell phone use to spread the plea for equality throughout the participant's network.

Close to fifty businesses and 15,000 people have already pledged to participate using the online forms at the group's web site. Some major groups that have endorsed or encouraged Boycott For Equality Day include Don't Amend:  The Equality Campaign, The Advocate magazine, Civil Marriage US, several local PFLAG chapters, DC Diversity, Equality Illinois and Wyoming Equality.

In at least 36 states it is still legal to fire someone because of their sexuality -- even if they never bring it into the workplace. And nowhere in the United States are these taxpayers able to file joint federal income tax, combine tax deductions, or access their partner's social security or disability benefits.

Boycott For Equality is an Atlanta-based non-profit formed to promote the boycott, scheduled this year for October 8.  For that day, GLBT Americans and their straight allies are encouraged to withdraw from the economy in five specific areas:

■  Stay home from work. Do not generate payroll taxes, income taxes or add to the economy.

■  If you run a business, let your customers know by closing for the day.

■  Withdraw $80 from your bank account at an ATM.

■  Don't shop. Do not generate sales tax or business revenue.

■  Switch off your cell phone. Your silence will affect your whole communications network.

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22  September, 2004