In the month since the heartbreaking loss on Proposition 5 (the proposition to add protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity to the Anchorage Municipal Code), there has been a lot of looking inward and outward to explain why the outcome was so drastically different than what the One Anchorage campaign worked so hard for. While it is too soon to confidently draw conclusions about what, if anything, went “wrong,” we don’t need to wait on focus groups and voter analysis to celebrate what went right.
The One Anchorage campaign was inspiring and truly brought the LGBTQ and straight ally community together. The campaign saw new faces take the lead in training volunteers and talking to voters about the importance of equality for the first time. Long-time leaders stretched their talents in new directions.
New relationships were forged not only with people in Anchorage but in the Lower 48. Our allies in the faith community took a pro-active stance in support of Propostion 5 — the proposition to add protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity to the Anchorage Municipal Code. Organizers from the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force gained a better understanding and appreciation for how Alaska fits into the national movement for LGBTQ equality.
Organizations like the Montana Human Rights Network and Basic Rights Oregon — long-time friends and grantees of Pride Foundation — took a break from their own campaigns to make calls to Anchorage voters. Whole new lines of communication and collaboration were opened up and, despite the projected loss at the polls, I think the community is better for it.
Would we be celebrating ten times more enthusiastically had we won? Sure. But the advancement of a movement for social change is not only measured by electoral victories, but also by the number of new people recruited and trained for future battles, the number of new people who know our stories, and the new-found respect for our ability to mobilize and stay the course until the very end. On that front, the One Anchorage campaign has a lot to be proud of.
Tiffany is Pride Foundation’s Regional Development Organizer in Anchorage. Email Tiffany.