Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dillinger Escape Plan's Liam Wilson for LGBT Issues

Name:  Liam Wilson  

What is your job? Bass Player and good vibe tech for the Dillinger Escape Plan, turbo-vegan whactivist.

What social causes are most important to you?
The issues regarding gay marriages, domestic partnerships and other LGBT issues, including Prop 8. Environmental issues such as Mountaintop Mining and Valley Fills as well as animal rights/veganism issues and where these dietary choices overlap with public health and health care. 

What charities do you support?
Because of our touring schedule, most of my support comes in the shape of financial donations or general knowledge spreading via whatever soapbox or bullhorn this career affords me. I think my most recent contribution was for a low-income and homeless organization in Philadelphia called Project H.O.M.E. I also recently discovered PFLAG, and decided to get more vocal about that specific agenda as well.

Why do you have a passion for this one in particular, is there a personal tie?
 I was raised by my lesbian mother and her partner as well as a broad circle of their friends. It makes me rather livid to see that a society based on equality has such a gag-reflex to so many seemingly obvious solutions to social dillemas such as equal rights for the gay community. The fact that there’s any debate over whether or not we were a family, and deserving of the same rights is beyond my comprehension. I didn’t realize how maverick my mother was for her time, raising me to be as well-adjusted and open-minded as she did despite severe social prejudices as well as a dramatically more ‘in-the-closet’ atmosphere around the topic of gay-parenting in the 1980s. There were no books or internet sites, forums, blogs etc. dedicated to talking about that subject, and in conjunction, the idea of legal rights for families with gay or lesbian parents was way before its time. Before the internet, there was only  a relatively disconnected movement-at-large. To see PFLAG spearheading a broad-movement using all this technology available to us is remarkable. 

The Project HOME thing came about after growing up in and continuing to call Philadelphia my home as an adult, and although I love it there, I can’t deny that the city has some pretty serious issues regarding its low-income and homeless demographic.

Is there a particular way you would want to encourage readers to be involved?
I think there is a real unfounded fear in donating money to causes, and a convenient ignorance unless major disasters like the tsunami in Thailand or the earthquake in Haiti happen. I think most people can afford to give something, and something is always more than nothing. Otherwise, talking about these issues, helping to educate and open minds to other points of view seems to still be the best ammunition against issues based on ignorance and prejudice. Taking basic steps like having at least a general awareness in the world around you, and living by example - being the change you want to see in the world, these things never go out of style.

How would you define social responsibility?
I think we should strive to leave this world, and all the life on it, as we found it, or better…The campsite rule!

I think the serenity prayer sums it up even better:
    “God”, grant me the serenity
    To accept the things I cannot change;
    Courage to change the things I can;
    And wisdom to know the difference.

Do you have any tattoos that relate to your social beliefs? 
I have a tattoo on my ribs of a single lotus stem having two blooms, and instead of the traditional banner that says ‘MOM’ I had my friend tattoo ‘MOMS’ as a commemoration of all the Mom’s I had raising me.

Favorite artist?
Daniel Weyandt

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