Reality Check

Jim Burroway

June 26th, 2009

Are the LGBT blogosphere’s opinions of President Barack Obama in line with those of the average LGBT man and woman on the street?

In two dozen interviews on the street in Manhattan and Brooklyn, gay, lesbian, and transgendered New Yorkers generally first discussed the economy, healthcare, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and issues that are not specific to the queer community when asked to evaluate Obama.

While they expected action on gay issues, most were willing to wait until later in Obama\’s term for results, and only two saw such issues as their primary concern. For some, if they had to choose, they might not select a gay choice.

“As an HIV-positive gay man, I would rather have healthcare than gay marriage,” said Manny Rodriguez, 42, as he stood outside the office of Make the Road New York in Brooklyn\’s Bushwick neighborhood.

That contrasts with angry criticism on a few gay blogs over the past month. The bloggers have pilloried the White House for what they view as its inaction on repealing Don\’t Ask, Don\’t Tell, the Defense of Marriage Act, and enacting a federal law that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. While the blogs represent a segment of the community, it is not clear how large that segment is. It is equally unclear that the agenda the blogs are pressing on the White House is one the broader community would choose.

This is by no means a scientific survey, but then neither would a survey of blog readers and writers. What do you think?

Ben in Oakland

June 26th, 2009

I tihnk bloggers are probably more active, more aware of what’s going on, and thinking aobut it more.

Ken in Riverside

June 26th, 2009

That gay and lesbian people wouldn’t identify gay issues as the most important issues that Obama is dealing with isn’t a very interesting observation. Most gays I know don’t consider their sexuality to be the primary defining source of identity.

I read your blog along with The Daily Dish as my primary sources for gay-rights issues. So, while recognizing the potential selection bias, I have to say that I am very, very unpleased with Obama’s performance on gay issues. I don’t think I can put it better than Sullivan when he says that Obama just wants us to go away. What evidence do we have to the contrary? Symbolic gestures like hand-written notes to DADT discharges and a speech here or there when DNC fundraisers lose contributions from gay orgs. Which is the real policy? The one submitted to the SCOTUS or the one to which lip service is given at fund raisers?

I’d be fine with the achievements being made later in his term. President Obama’s campeign co-opted “hope”. It was an inspiring and uplifting message. Where is our hope? We HOPE to have equal rights one day. We HOPE that our spouses won’t be deported. We HOPE that whatever hospital closest to us honors our rights as spouses. We HOPE that our professional lives and skills would be valued on their own merits, independant of which sex we are attracted to.

Perhaps President Obama doesn’t want to diminish our hopefulness by doing so little as engaging our community before damaging our interests with something as trivial as a SCOTUS brief.

Next time, I’m voting for the candidate that runs on the “Certainty” platform.

Bruce Garrett

June 26th, 2009

That link isn’t working. I’d like to see the source. If it’s from a mainstream news outlet then I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them trying to marginalize the bloggers. There’s not a whole lot of love lost there…


June 26th, 2009

“It is equally unclear that the agenda the blogs are pressing on the White House is one the broader community would choose.”

What nonsense. There’s nothing to choose. Equal rights are a demand of our very existence. The community is not split on what they would CHOOSE to happen. They may be split on their level of patience, however.


June 26th, 2009

What do I think?

I think it’s not too surprising. Like Ben said above, bloggers are more aware than the typical man-on-the-street. And like Ken said, few people consider their sexuality the most important aspect of their life, especially when bigger problems are pressing.

I think it’s reasonable to assume some priorities, that some broad challenges we’re facing must take precedence over others.

At the same time, though, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. While there’s some threat of seeming selfish or greedy, and while some people do go too far in harsh criticism, I think we have a right to keep reminding the government that these are real issues that we want, nay, need to see progress on soon.

Yeah, fixing the economy is probably a lot more important than repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. But repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would also be a lot easier. They could probably get it done on their lunch break, figuratively speaking.


June 26th, 2009

I’m also getting a broken link. There’s not enough information in the quoted portion to evaluate the survey — what actual choices were the respondents given, and in what context were gay rights presented as part of the overall picture?

As for the blogs not reflecting the average LGBT, what media outlet does reflect the average anyone? CNN? New York Times? Fox? Excuse me, but is there a slight conceptual gap here? And, to be perfectly honest, I do see the role of political blogs as adversarial, at least in part — it’s some thing that’s been missing in this country for a while.

Based on the segment in this post, I don’t see much of value in the survey — which is probably why it got reported.

Lynn David

June 26th, 2009

It would have been peachy-keen if the democrats had gotten their act together and passed just one initiative. And I think that one should have been ENDA or rather, GENDA. That would have been what I think should have been done.

But I’m with the guy on the NY street [at whatever link that is supposed to be], I’d much rather have some sort of effective health care passed. I got purposefully price out of my health-care insurance by the company I was with, and cannot get new insurance because of certain pre-existing conditions. I’ve spent into the mid-6 figures the last serveral years on healthcare which has destroyed a life savings.

DOMA and DADT could have been left until later. I suspect that Obama would rather institute new rules into the military after bring home most of the troops anyway. DOMA could wait until 2010 or later.

NH Baritone

June 27th, 2009

I have been extremely disappointed by the President’s failure to follow through on his pro-gay campaign rhetoric.

Inviting a few gay folks in for tea and cookies does NOT come close to fulfillment of his pre-election promises, and neither does giving minimal rights to gay couples who work for the Feds. Even Condi Rice did that.

He should immediately through his stop-loss executive power suspend the implementation of “don’t ask-don’t tell.” (This will provide a period of experiment for the military to live with openly gay people among its ranks.) He should put all of his weight behind ENDA. And he should insist that congress begin repeal of DOMA within its current session.

Ed White, Knoxville

June 28th, 2009

I think it’s not just a matter of LGBT bloggers being more informed – they’re IMMERSED, thoroughly, in LGBT news, with the intent on creating or at least perpetuating more of it. The weaker journalistic types lean toward the dramatic to generate more buzz – it’s addictive and gets noticed. But even the more ethical, thoughtful bloggers aren’t immune from the echo-chamber effect of the blogsphere. The buzz of the day or the week bounces around and gets amplified sometimes to the point that it doesn’t really match the reality on the ground.

I’m not a blogger, but I’m not immune either. In preparation for a speech at our local PrideFest, I read everything I could find on the web for weeks, trying to decide where my audience might be at. In the earlier days, a couple of weeks ago, I found the near rage I was reading appalling. By the time I finished writing my speech 2 days ago, I had gotten caught up in it somewhat myself, and tried to play the middle, recognize the anger and try to mitigate it.

But from the reaction, during and after my speech, I now feel it was a bit of a wrong note the way I recognized this anger as if it were somehow commonplace: I couldn’t really find that much anger in the audience, and in fact, the cheers I got were from counseling patience.

Granted, Knoxville’s LGBTs have always been more moderate – even conservative – than the rest of the country in general, but I have a feeling the rest of the country is far more patient that the blogsphere and many immersed activists, too.

Michael Ditto

June 29th, 2009

I think we and the President can multitask.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.


Latest Posts

The Things You Learn from the Internet

"The Intel On This Wasn't 100 Percent"

From Fake News To Real Bullets: This Is The New Normal

NC Gov McCrory Throws In The Towel

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.