Not a gay organization

Timothy Kincaid

March 17th, 2012

Corporate America is currently the gay communty’s biggest supporter. Time and again companies have stepped up and supported equality even when under threat from a “million” moms or “families” who are enraged at the idea. This wasn’t always true, but nowadays the bigger the Big Business, the more they seem to want to sponsor events or contribute to campaigns or even lobby legislators on our behalf.

And while some in our community are not going to ever change their perspective about the role of business in society, most of us will happily accept their support. If Microsoft wants to work for marriage equality in Washington, that’s a good thing. If Apple and Levi’s give to fight Prop 8, we’ll use our iPhone to buy some jeans. If Macy’s tweeks the nose of the “marriage protectors”, we’ll chuckle while registering in their marriage register. And if a handful of Republican Wall Street types put enough money and pressure on the Republican controlled NY Senate that they pass a marriage bill, even dedicated liberal Democrats will swallow hard and smile while throwing rice.

Most of us.

But there are those who claim to be gay groups that put gay issues secondary to their radical political agenda. GOProud is a good example. They’ve never met an extremist homophobic Republican or an outrageous Republican position that they couldn’t endorse. Often with logic that would make a pretzel dizzy. And nothing is more important to GOProud than hatin’ on The Left; hate is their primary purpose and driving motivation.

And there’s also this:

As constituents and LGBTQ supporters, we demand that HRC stand with us, to stand against the exploitation of the less fortunate, and stand for those suffering at the hands of corporate criminals. We urge HRC to make decisions that support their mission statement of “equality and fairness for all.” WE DEMAND THAT HRC rescind their Workplace for Equality Innovation Award and revoke Mr. Balnkfein’s title as “national spokesperson for same-sex marriage.”

Lloyd Blankfein’s crime, that which disqualifies him from working for marriage equality in the minds of GetEqual, is being CEO of Goldman Sachs. Because, when it comes right down to it, GetEqual has a lot in common with GOProud. In choosing between advancing equality or hatin’ on the Wall Street fat cats, there’s no question.

And if advancing gay rights is but a secondary purpose – as is the case with GOPride and GetEqual – then you aren’t a gay organization.

UPDATE: I was insufficiently clear above. The group protesting HRC is GetEqual. I only included GOProud generally, as a balance, not because the object to Balnkfein. As far as I know, GOProud has never organized their political allies to picket any gay organization.

Muscat

March 17th, 2012

Of course, this is a false dichotomy (and, once again, you make a false equivalency between left and right). If universities make hiring decisions for professors by taking into account not only academic record but also things like criminal record this does not mean they have made academics “secondary” or that they are not truly an academic institution. Likewise, one can support the role of businesses in advancing LGBTQ equality and even support recognition of efforts by businesses and business leaders while also advocating that special awards and accolades be extended to individuals and corporations that reflect broader ideals of equality (or, at an even lower bar, aren’t under suspicion of having engaged in criminal behavior). Not putting blinders on regarding other issues doesn’t automatically make gay rights advocacy a secondary issue. What a ridiculous claim.

Theo

March 17th, 2012

If HRC is going to team up with Blankfein and Goldman and give them positive PR, then it had better get big money in return. At the end of the day, that is what Blankfein brings to the table.

I am not aware that they have gotten much out of him. He is not disclosed as a donor to the 4 GOP senators who supported marriage equality, even though our other Wall St. allies did contribute to those senators. He has not pledged any money for ME, WA, MD, MN or NC. And as Rolling Stone pointed out, Goldman Sachs is only a “bronze” level supporter of HRC, well below platinum. HRC should ask for $200K from Blankfein for each of the 5 states in which there is a marriage battle this year, for a total of $1 million. This wouldn’t be symbolic; we really need the money.

Lucrece

March 17th, 2012

I’m not sure associating with men who shamelessly exploit the American populace at large is going to make for good PR for the gay community.

But, it is the obligation of any big tent activist organization to be agnostic politically speaking.

Lindoro Almaviva

March 17th, 2012

As a gay man, who was unemployed for 2 years in the middle of this depression, I see why there is hate for the fat cats in Wall street. When it all comes to it, we are all screwed, straight and gay alike because of the sins of many in the upper tears of the corporate industry; and the uncaring, selfish and destroying attitude of some of those still in wall street.

Much as I dislike GoProud and believe that they are not a gay organization, speaking against them for this, when there is so much else that could be picked is in my opinion petty.

For many years, HRC has been nothing but a part of the establishment that they so like to make us believe they are fighting. They have turned themselves into pot for high ranking gays-in waiting for Democratic organizations and administrations. Through this administration, they have demonstrated that they are more than willing to give a pass and allow unpopular segments of the LGBT community to become expandable pawns in the fight.

All of a sudden, the T in LGBT could not be dropped fast enough, when it became clear that it was unpopular to demand equality for our T brothers and sisters only because they seemed unsightly to those in power.

In a long list of donors and truly deserving people, why the fat cats in wall street, why now? Seems highly suspicious that right when they are at the bottom of their popularity, and for good reasons, HRC runs like a good servant and gives them an award. Why? Why not Microsoft, JC Penney, Apple, Starbucks or many other corporations that do the same and did not get us in this economic mess that we are all going through?

The fat cats at wall street have done very little to curtail the behavior that got us in this mess (at least their part in it); and just because they took of their bailout money and spent it on HRC as a PR ploy to get in someone’s good graces it should not mean that all of a sudden those in the gay community who are still suffering from the repercussions of this mess are all of a sudden better off.

Jim Hlavac

March 17th, 2012

As a long time Goldwater-loving, Ronald Reagan-liking, Libertarian, (hey, grow up with 4 immigrant grandparents in a Czech bilingual house with relatives in Prague, wind up with anti-big government politics,) who wades into Republican, Conservative, Tea Party Websites first on the basis of economics, second on foreign policy, last on gay stuff (we are really not that important in the greater scheme of things,) I can safely say that I have never ever seen a member of GOProud make a comment or have an article published that puts forth the gay point of view on any site that I would expect them to be there along with me when gay stuff is brought up. I am the lone gay voice at American Spectator, National Review, and many other places, places that would curl gay men’s hair, or straighten it, as the case may be.

Alas, at this point in Republican Party history I can only compare Rick & Newt & even Mitt to Klement Gottwald and Gustav Husak who so screwed over my family over there as presidents of Czechoslovakia that I’m not sure whether I have the FBI file on me for being the “gay activist” or the guy who wrote in Czech for decades to those left behind; not to mention smuggling in books, Levis, music and other Western goodies.

But GOProud? What do they do? Other than raise funds to support their cushy lives. “Blazeny divni.” Crazy sissies, in Czech. But also, as my grandfathers said: “zatra zeni kram a kral” — Goddamned church and king.

Ryan

March 18th, 2012

This is of course a ridiculous false equivalency. Can you point to single example of Get Equal supporting an politician who is anti-gay rights and even anti-gay period, as GOProud does on a regular basis? Get Equal is actually an equivalent to the Log Cabin Republicans, both of whom place value on other political issues besides gay rights ones. I’m certain the Log Cabin Republicans wouldn’t accept assistance from the Socialist Party. This is the left wing equivalent.

Priya Lynn

March 18th, 2012

Lindoro, thanks for standing up for us “T”‘s. It’s a relief after the bashing some BTB readers have given us.

John

March 18th, 2012

GOProud coming out against the 1%? Isn’t that anti-Republican?

Timothy (TRiG)

March 18th, 2012

Timothy,

You really dislike intersectionality, don’t you? It’s about the kyriarchy. We’re all in this together.

TRiG.

Zach

March 18th, 2012

I find this ridiculous. GetEqual has not dedicated any substantial resources toward working for economic justice; merely opposing the CEO’s of Goldman Sachs spokesperson gig, a company whose name really is toxic across much of the country (for good reason, IMO) hardly means they’re no longer a gay organization. GOProud, on the other hand, consistently supports politicians with anti-gay views, and seems to oppose the centrist and leftist gay rights orgs as often as they oppose anti-gay policy.

I’ve come to accept, however, that a lot of people have a sincere belief that both sides of the political spectrum are equally at fault in most if not all ways, and look only for evidence to confirm that belief rather than accepting the evidence for the fact that sometimes one side doesn’t match the other in a particular way at all. In this case, there is no left-wing equivalent to GOProud.

Jay Jonson

March 19th, 2012

GetEqual has been an altogether responsible organization that has moved gay rights forward. They have also pushed HRC and exposed it as having been coopted by the Democratic Party and big business. There is simply no equivalence between them and the odious GoProud. Really absurd to say the two organizations in the same breath. I contribute to both HRC and GetEqual. I’d like to see them work together, but I am always happy when GetEqual pushes HRC to do the right thing.

MattNYC

March 19th, 2012

(Disclosure: I donate to GetEqual and boycott HRC)

I agree with GetEqual. I would not stand in the same room with Lloyd Blankfein. He belongs in a cell with Bernie Madoff. If Bernie Madoff wanted to endorse HRC’s agenda, I am sure they’d happily arrange a cocktail party in the prison visitor’s hall. They’d sell their mothers for a $10,000 donation.

The Task Force is doing a good job of linking issues. HRC continues with its tunnel vision. I can only pray that the new ED will change their attitude.

fannie

March 19th, 2012

“And while some in our community are not going to ever change their perspective about the role of business in society, most of us will happily accept their support.”

You need to be really careful about deigning to speak for “most of us,” Timothy. Have you conducted any polls? Were you appointed our official spokesman?

“And if advancing gay rights is but a secondary purpose – as is the case with GOPride and GetEqual – then you aren’t a gay organization.”

Same with kicking people and organizations out of the True Gay Organization club.

Believe it or not, many LGBT people are perfectly capable of truly, sincerely supporting LGBT equality while also supporting other important issues.
Unfortunately, you seem to demand support for the issues you care about, but continually trivialize non-gay related social justice issues that allies and others in the LGBT community care about.

Donny D.

March 19th, 2012

Timothy,
I have to agree with the others who see false equivalence in your comparison of GOProud all the time and GetEqual’s opposition to HRC for using Goldman Sach CEO Lloyd Blankfein as a spokesperson. Goldman Sachs played a significant role in the financial disaster that we’re trying to live through now. He and Bill Gates are NOT the same.

Plus it seems you’re trying to smear LGBTs and their allies who oppose HRC’s alliance with Blankfein as being knee jerk anti-business. And just as you’ve recently made the case that GOProud isn’t _really_ a gay organization, you’re now trying to suggest that gay activists who think economic perceptions matter aren’t _really_ gay activists.

This blog post of yours seems a little tone deaf on economic issues, because there are a lot of people who are REALLY pissed at Goldman Sachs and the rest of the financial sector right now — and have good reason to be, including a great many people who are struggling just to get by.

One thing HRC and maybe you also don’t get is that LGB people are seen by a large portion of straight people as white and affluent. They don’t think of us at the same time they think of people trying to keep their homes or get enough food to eat. Black, Latino, and Native American people are thought of that way, but not us. And some gay people are VERY happy that we generally aren’t thought of that way, but those gay people are, in my opinion, shallow and self-absorbed. Because the perception of us as uniformly affluent splits us off from the large proportion of straight Americans who struggle with getting by. And it’s all too helpful to the anti-gay crowd when they want to pit us against ethnic minorities who have even bigger problems with poverty than do Americans in general.

Those of us in and allied to the LGBT community know that the HRC doesn’t represent us all, but when I’ve seen straight writers write about it, they’ve operate under the assumption that the HRC does speak for all LGBTs. We really don’t need HRC’s grandstanding with a financial industry malefactor to tar us with the image of being cynically and uncaringly affluent, or of being craven, fawning suckups to the wealthy and powerful.

Lindoro Almaviva

March 19th, 2012

Lindoro, thanks for standing up for us “T”‘s. It’s a relief after the bashing some BTB readers have given us.

Thank you sweetheart. I have had amny a conversation with a “T” brother or sister and their presence in my life has been nothing but uplifting.

Priya Lynn

March 19th, 2012

: )

Donny D.

March 19th, 2012

I also was disgusted with HRC for dropping transgender people from their ENDA advocacy. It makes me wonder if they’re another of those organizations that’s T and B because it would be politically impossible for them to be an LG organization only — like the Log Cabin Republicans explicitly are.

Lindoro Almaviva

March 19th, 2012

I also was disgusted with HRC for dropping transgender people from their ENDA advocacy.

This and their willingness to give the administration a pass when they looked they were backing out on the DADT promise (I will always remember the whole “Thy got it covered” comment without explanation, after a very short meeting) are the main reasons why i do not support them anymore and look at them with suspicion.

For a long time, all I have seen is high ranking gays jumping from HRC to high ranking administration jobs (case in point, the outgoing ED taking a job with the Obama administration). This has led me to believe (as I already said) they have just become a holding pot for gays-in-waiting and not an advocacy agency.

Neil

March 19th, 2012

GetEqual questions the suitability of some to advocate for gay rights.

GOProud fully endorses anti-gay advocates.

That’s the difference.

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