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Joe Solmonese Just Promised DADT Will Die This Year. That Was a Really Stupid Thing to Say

We never thought we’d say it, but we’re starting to like this Clay Aiken character. At the Human Rights Campaign’s Carolinas dinner — where folks get dressed up to applaud at people who take the podium — Aiken brought up the whole “What took me so long to come out?” question.

This just might be Aiken’s entry into what becomes a long journey of public activism. If we’re to believe his story, Aiken didn’t take tips from HRC’s speechwriter, which means all of these applause lines are his own. He even snuck in a few digs, but no, none at our current leaders. Which is fine. Clay is just getting the swing of this.

And then along came Joe Solmonese, who wanted everyone to applaud not what we haven’t accomplished (basically, everything), but what the past year has brought us (basically, more than any other presidential administration). This is fine. It was a night of celebrations, and it’s worthwhile to point out what has been achieved. What’s questionable, then, is how much HRC was involved with any of them.

But Joe’s most notable moment came with this singular bold statement: “This year we are going to bring down the discriminatory policy known as DADT.” That is some heavy freakin’ lifting. And, by most accounts from The Hill, impossible. The Pentagon, White House, and even the gays in Congress don’t think that’s reasonable. And those guys in the Senate? This would make them laugh.

But Joe says it will be done. He’s always claimed to have insider access to the political maneuverings of Washington, so we should trust him, right? Then, if DADT is not repealed this year, is Joe a liar? Of course not. He can’t predict the future. But he just staked his leadership of HRC, and his legacy, on these very words.

Because for someone who criticizes President Barack Obama for making grand, empty statements with little follow up, it’s Solmonese who volunteered to put himself on the line to make good on his word. Judging by Solmonese’s own road map to equality, it’s hard to believe even he thinks it’s doable.

(Pam’s House Blend has more video from the evening, including Meredith Baxter’s speech.)

By:           editor editor
On:           Feb 28, 2010
Tagged: , , , ,

  • 89 Comments
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      Meredith Baxter, thank you for speaking out, coming out, and articulating the pain so plainly. You have never looked more beautiful.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 1:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BradSa
      BradSa

      In the original interview it said ” Even as he has decided to take a measured approach, “that sure as hell doesn’t mean I won’t be loud one day.” I believe that he will be very loud one day. He is a big proponent of “using your voice”

      http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/02/24/354895/pop-voice-pipes-up-for-gays.html?utm_source=web&utm_medium=twitter

      Feb 28, 2010 at 1:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • katy
      katy

      Clay Aiken can be an effective spokesman for gay rights issues. He is passionate about inclusion and “using his voice”, so I have no doubt he will help advance the issues about gay rights, also. I’m glad he didn’t use prepared text.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 2:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Luluasst
      Luluasst

      Bravo to Queerty for seeing the truth of Clay Aiken. He is a manof his convictions, the speech was right on, and I also think he will be around supporting LGBT rights for a long time to come.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 2:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tessie Tura
      Tessie Tura

      CAN WE DRAFT CLAY AIKEN FOR PUBLIC OFFICE????

      Think about it. Stage presence. Name recognition. Intelligence. If Fox News can “school” Sarah Palin, let’s send him to Olbermann and Maddow for finishing school.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 2:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Anna
      Anna

      “Clay is just getting the swing of this.”

      Clay Aiken has always had the “swing of this.” Those of us who have followed Clay for years know him as an intelligent, articulate, talented, humorous, courageous, and thoughtful man. We had always hoped that the rest of the world would someday see what we saw. Perhaps this is the way. Bravo, Clay. Continue to “use your voice.”

      Feb 28, 2010 at 2:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fitz
      Fitz

      I am really glad that we have Clay Aiken speaking, and being a public voice. His popularity speaks to his ability to excite a large number of people. I will be honest and say that I am not an HRC fan, but I still applaud someone using their voice for something more important.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 2:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Colin
      Colin

      Surprisingly good speech from Aiken. To the point and self deprecating for how and when he chose to come out. Great image and is a great asset for the good guys.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 2:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Colby12
      Colby12

      he didn’t say anything that hasn’t been said before. his speech isn’t that good.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 2:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      Tessie Tura, “Finishing School” Hilarious.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 2:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BradSa
      BradSa

      The speech was excellent, almost presidential, including a very catchy tag line. “Its about damn time”

      Feb 28, 2010 at 2:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Erv
      Erv

      Great speech by Clay Aiken. It was short and he said what had to be said. He is a great person to fight the fight!!

      Feb 28, 2010 at 3:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • whatevah
      whatevah

      He’s a better speaker than I thought he would be. Not bad for a beginner.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 3:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"
      Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

      Per Quuerty’s new headline: JOE SOLMONESE JUST PROMISED DADT WILL DIE THIS YEAR. THAT WAS A REALLY STUPID THING TO SAY.

      Why is that so stupid? Don’t we want a lead with a vision and a commitment to complete a task? Most of the article rightly takes Joe to task for failing to get anything done. So what if Joe has boxed himself into a corner?

      If this new tack gets the job done, well great. If Solmonese fails to achieve the goal, well fire his ass for failing to complete the task that he himself has established as an achievable goal.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • plasticoduress
      plasticoduress

      Love, media style.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 4:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      I have no faith in Joe Solmonese and I have no faith in Human Rights Campaign. As far as I’m concerned, Human Rights Campaign wants us to vote for the Democrats. That’s their number 1 priority in my opinion. They want us to be positive and hopeful about the Democrats so that we vote for them in the Congressionals this year.

      We are being manipulated for party political reasons. It’s time we told Human Rights Campaign to fuck off.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 5:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian En Guarde
      Brian En Guarde

      I really do like Clay Aiken. I think he is charming.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 5:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      Why do I get this picture of an HRC cartoon character more than willing to bend over every time any wants to f*ck them? “Why, yes m’aam, I be happy to sit on the back of the bus. Why, yes m’aam, I’m just happy you give me a ride. Oh, and don’t worry, I won’t drink out of that water fountain. I’mma justaa happy you gave me that one to drink from.”

      Feb 28, 2010 at 5:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Larkan
      Larkan

      Uh..Michael?

      Feb 28, 2010 at 5:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rachel
      Rachel

      I fail to understand why the HRC would have selected someone like Clay Aiken to be a featured speaker. Is the movement so lacking? I chose to bypass this year’s event due to this ludicrous decision. What a disappointment.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 5:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Larkan
      Larkan

      I doubt they missed you, Rachel.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 6:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Erv
      Erv

      Rachel………good you were not there. You were NOT missed. I bet you didn’t even listen to what he said. And even with your poor attitude, Clay still stood up for you!!

      Feb 28, 2010 at 6:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shawn
      Shawn

      Supporting the HRC is a fashion accessory, just like reading “The Advocate” or listening to NPR or voting for Barack Obama. Note the HRC’s odd silence on The Incovenient Truth: They murder homosexuals in Iran.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 6:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul T
      Paul T

      Perhaps it’s just who is delivering it, but I felt that Clay’s speech was very self serving.

      Probably the most impressive thing about his presentation was that being such a departure from the false Clay Aiken facade that he had a hand in manufacturing for the public for so long, that in contrast this Clay Aiken would almost seem genuine.

      The content of Clay’s speech was very topical and self -effacing, yet it still has an air of artificial performance.

      That he is desperate to rehab his career and is reported to have a new CD soon, makes it even feel more manufactured.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 6:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BradSA
      BradSA

      He can’t win. If he has a new project he is accused of doing it to boost his career. If he doesn’t have a new project he’s accused of doing it because his career is down, as was the case when he came out IN 2008. What would be a good time? How about now?

      Feb 28, 2010 at 7:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tamops
      tamops

      Words are meaningless to me these days.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 7:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TIN
      TIN

      To answer the question why Clay was there, I think it is primarily because, for the NC HRC, he is a visible North Carolina native and for Clay, it was a good place for him to begin to make some amends to to gay community.

      There are probably many like Rachel who still don’t trust Clay Aiken and feel that he came out when his career was in trouble and had nothing much to lose and is being somewhat opportunistic. That said, I think there are many things which could have helped to turn Clay around to reconcile his private life with his public life. I think that Clay was frightened about the response he would receive from his fans who seemed to be holding on to an image of him which was inaccurate, so that when the sky didn’t fall down and many of the fans that he had left responded positively, it gave him confidence that he no longer needed to be so reserved about speaking up, albeit somewhat moderately, for gay rights.

      I think another factor in Clay’s newly-found confidence was that he was helped by many friends in New York (which he has spent a lot of time in lately)- that community especially including his apparent partner who has been living openly and appears to be much less timid about voicing his opinion about gay issues than Clay had been. To a lesser extent, I think he does feel the responsibility that being a parent has towards helping to live in a more just society.

      I understand the skepticism about Clay and hope that this is a genuine first step in his path of gay rights activism. I think like some others, however, I will be watching his actions rather than merely listening to his words.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 9:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 4 Douche BFs from my 20s (I am smarter now)
      4 Douche BFs from my 20s (I am smarter now)

      re Aiken

      Not to defend him because everyone should come out, but I am curious about his background. Did he live outside of the South before appear on American Idol? Did he have any exposure to the greater gay reality before then? He should have come out earlier, BUT, I wonder how much his age and background influenced him?

      Feb 28, 2010 at 9:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BradSA
      BradSA

      He was 23 when he auditioned for AI, he wasn’t out to anyone and had not been outside of NC. It isn’t hard to understand that coming out was a real process and growth experience for him.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 9:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Trevor
      Trevor

      Clay was out to a degree before American Idol, going to gay clubs and not really hiding his sexuality back in the late 90′s and early 00′s, but it is my understanding that he was still closeted around his family, church, etc.

      Like many gay people, Clay was leading a double life. When the American Idol opportunity presented itself, Clay chose to hide his sexuality, which struck those of us who remember him being comfortable with being gay as sad, but somewhat understandable.

      Still, for years thereafter, he seemed to go out of his way to hide, as if he were ashamed of being gay. It seemed to some of us that he chose the path of financial security over being true to himself. He went out of his way to mislead his fans. Many in the gay community were made targets by these same fans as they took talk of Clay’s sexuality as a personal attack. Even the word “gay” was forbidden on fan boards, as it was seen as a sin, and something dispicable.

      And Clay did nothing, said nothing, but let it happen with no comment, because he just didn’t want to lose potential income.

      When he could no longer hide who he was, when the money train had exhausted itself, then he came out. Sorry, but that isn’t the sort of “hero” the gay community needs right now.

      Clay Aiken isn’t evil, but he is an opportunist, and someone who has yet to show that he is anything more than a user, who in fact doesn’t respect his fans, or anyone who has a differing opinion.

      So, yeah, can’t get behind the HRC on this.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 9:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lyle
      Lyle

      Clay came out in stages. Some of us have known for over ten years now. The process for Clay, like most, was gradual.

      I don’t fault Clay in the least for the pace of his coming out, although the way he indirectly encouraged attacks on the community, because of his fear or shame, is regrettable.

      I’m hopeful that those fans who are still with him regret the way certain fans acted. I hope this has been a learning experience.

      Agree though, Clay had no business being an invited speaker at this time, but since he was, let’s hope the faith some have in him is justified, and that this isn’t just another scheme of Clay’s to promote himself.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 10:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BradSA
      BradSA

      Sorry Trevor and Lyle but I call bullshit. Clay admitted that the first person he ever told was Kimberly Locke in 2003. His 3 room-mates in college were shocked when he came out in 2008. One even dropped him as a friend because of it. You are just here to troll and spread more rumors and lies.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 10:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jasonb84
      Jasonb84

      What would be really effective is if we have straight celebrities speaking out for our rights instead of glbt people. Anyway Clay did a good job.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 10:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh AZ
      Josh AZ

      Submissive Solmonese tried to sound like he isn’t. DADT isn’t being repealed this year – Joe is just soliciting donations.

      HRC wastes +$50 million a year. That makes US the fools. Joe is just workin’ it.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 10:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian NYC
      Brian NYC

      Joe Aravosis at AMERICAblog.com is claiming that the his blog forced HRC to promise DADT was finished this year. Oddly enough, John has a very short memory about “promises.” Yes, we can.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 10:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lyle
      Lyle

      I didn’t know Clay was claiming not to have been out before 2003. I wonder why he feels the need to lie about this.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 10:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sarah
      sarah

      I guess I am curious why everyone seems to think everything he is doing right now is to booster his career. From what I have seen his career is fine, and I hate to do this it but really bugs me that people question his “career”. Let’s face it almost everyone at least recognizes his name. He has sold millions of albums (with no help from RCA and radio), 9 successful tours, Spamalot..what about this is not successful? Yes, he took a year off but who doesn’t? I agree he is very smart but I don’t believe it is an evil way. Yes I am sure he absolutely does some things to “drive” his career, who doesn’t? But fighting for the civil rights of people and fostering the needs of children are not things he does for publicity, he does them because he believes in them. And as he said early on, on AI, that this platform would allow his “celebrity” to help others. He has kept his word, why question that?

      Feb 28, 2010 at 10:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Erv
      Erv

      Trevor and Lyle……..you are both lying through your teeth. ANYONE who knows anything about Clay knows that what you said is not true.

      Clay NEVER went to a gay club before American Idol. Those of us who actually know his family and some of his friends know that he was the one who hated going to bars, clubs and still does.

      Clay NEVER told anyone until he was on American Idol. He was still trying to figure out his life. He was a very sheltered Southern Baptist. To this day, he has family that will not accept that he is gay. Sad isn’t it??

      I find it sad that some of you cannot give him a break. Whatever he does is wrong……didn’t come out……only came out to help his career…..If you were a 23 year old guy who had never been around gays and were told all your life that being gay is wrong, how would you act.

      Trevor and Lyle……you need to stop going to all the site and saying all these lies. No one believes you!!!

      Feb 28, 2010 at 10:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lyle
      Lyle

      I don’t understand why you are so defensive? I just think it is strange that Clay felt the need to not be completely straightforward, since he was coming out.

      Anyway, your statement that Clay had never been around gays is completely false, and is not something that he has said to my knowledge, so I don’t know where you are getting that from. Clay performed in a number of theatrical productions here in Raleigh, and was very much aware of the gay scene.

      Your claims that he never went to gay clubs in his youth is definitely wrong.

      It makes me wonder what your agenda is. Is it somehow more acceptable for you to accept Clay as an open gay man if he didn’t participate in the community prior to coming out via People Magazine?

      Maybe you just have trouble accepting the idea that Clay hasn’t been entirely truthful, even now apparently.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 11:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Reggie
      Reggie

      Clay Aiken’s speech is getting quite a bit of buzz in the blogosphere. I found this to be an interesting analysis that nails why so many of us question Clay Aiken as a spokesperson when so many other true activits have given so much more, and would have been far more deserving:

      Clay now claims that he was waiting for “thing$ to change” before he came out. Really? Was that before or after he told People Magazine that he “didn’t want to teach his son to lie”? What thing$ was he waiting to see change? If he was waiting for people’s opinions about gays to change or for people to be more accepting to change, then the best way to affect such change would have been to come out and demonstrate that gay people are just like anyone else. Or… he could have defended those like his ex boyfriend John Dahlstrom who came under vicious attack by his fans who were upset with the idea that Clay was dating his then hair stylist. Or… rather than perform at a Church who damned gays to hell and that went out of it’s way to defend Clay’s heterosexuality by sending out a letter to its church members, Clay could have demanded that the concert be held at a more accepting place. Or… rather than pointing the finger and those not in his family who aren’t accepting, maybe he can lead by example by educating his own unaccepting family members.

      I applaud Clay for giving a speech on human rights and equality, but it takes more than just giving a 4 1/2 minute speech to a group of gay/gay friendly people in a room, it takes activism… it takes leading by example to effect the change that he’s calling for.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 11:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brenda
      Brenda

      Thanks for sharing that Reggie.

      Erv conveniently left those details out.

      It sounds as if Clay Aiken didn’t have the strength to be brave when it really could have made a difference. I just didn’t realize that he had actively worked against us back then.

      While there seems to be confusion over when exactly Clay Aiken realized who he really was, it is also very clear that these decisions to hurt other gays were made when Clay knew who he was, even if he had yet to come out publicly.

      I agree with others on here who feel that it is far too soon to champion this individual for recognition. The more I discover about him, the more convinced I am that he has quite a ways to go still.

      Thanks to all those providing a more complete picture of this “activist”.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 11:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sam
      sam

      Good grief, it’s astounding how so many of you know so much about his life and his intentions.

      It doesn’t matter how he arrived at this point, another voice speaking up for equal rights is a positive thing.

      Why is this guy getting criticized and Meredith Baxter who waited until the end of her very long career to come out isn’t. I’m scratching my head here.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 11:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BradSA
      BradSA

      Oh great, now Trevor and Lyle have morphed into Reggie and Brenda. Nice tag team action guys. One tells the lies and the other backs him up. Nice try but no sale. Your tall tales, Reggie, are so off base that I question your sanity.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 11:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      Who cares. He’s out now. Who hasn’t wished that they could go back, knowing what we know now, and re-do our youth? There is only here and now. The trick is to make good decisions now, so that 10 and 20 years from now, we won’t be lamenting (again).

      Feb 28, 2010 at 11:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BradSA
      BradSA

      No. 40 · Reggie

      Clay Aiken’s speech is getting quite a bit of buzz in the blogosphere.

      Yes Reggie that is why they chose him, he gets the attention and the Buzz. Why isn’t Meredith being castigated for coming out in her 60s when Reggie/Brenda act like its too late for Clay Aiken who is only 30? Some people don’t have 2 braincells to rub together.

      Feb 28, 2010 at 11:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Katy
      Katy

      I don’t see anyone having a problem with Clay Aiken coming out in his 30′s. I think the concern is about HRC picking someone to speak who has just recently come out, and yet has not been an activist, and even worked against us prior to coming out.

      It is more a criticism of HRC than Mr. Aiken.

      I also can’t help but notice that it is only those individuals “defending” Mr. Aiken who have resorted to cheap shots and name calling. You aren’t helping your argument by acting rude.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 12:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 4 Douche BFs from my 20s (I am smarter now)
      4 Douche BFs from my 20s (I am smarter now)

      @BradSA: From the sounds of it because she never played public games with her sexuality. I really don’t have an opinion here since I am not sure which one of you here is telling the truth or not. However, it is one thing to say someone is lying, and, quite another to admit that they are telling the truth about his motivations, but to declare they don’t matter. With one, he’s being attacked, and with the other, you are protecting someone who is acting in a bad manner. I don’t know which is true here factually, but I do know there is a difference in what you saying. I keep saying this, and, I will repeat it now: There is something wrong when people are not only going to have vice now, but we are going to treat those vices like they are virtues. Gay or not, that’s unacceptable.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 12:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BradSA
      BradSA

      Katy he has never worked against us. Are you the new Trevor/Lyle/Reggie/Brenda? Its getting to be a strain keeping up with all the sock puppets.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 12:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lukas P.
      Lukas P.

      Music or Military?
      Hmmm…Joe Solmonese said DADT will be repealed, and Clay Aiken gave a speech that we think is worthy of more comments?

      I.Cannot.Understand.Why.Clay.Matters.More.

      Solmonese and HRC cannot legitimately claim to influence the opinion or actions of Congress, the President or the Military in repealing the DADT policy. We’ve seen no proof that what HRC has done makes any difference at all.

      We’ve seen no game plan, strategy or results.

      How many men/women have had their expulsion from the military (for violating DADT) overturned due to the HRC?

      What recent evidence/statements would lead a reasonable person to think that DADT will be rescinded in the near future? If so, what role has HRC played in that turning of the tide? If not, what the hell is HRC doing other than spouting off words of hope and victory?

      Clay Aiken may not be have been a shining example of bravery in coming out, but he’s in the business of making music, not lobbying, so I will wish him and his family well, and hope that now he’s an advocate for GBL rights that he will continue to speak out. Solmonese’s “job” is to create results and he and his organization seem to be delivering false hope.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 1:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sam
      sam

      “@BradSA: From the sounds of it because she never played public games with her sexuality”
      Getting married twice is not playing public games with her sexuality???…color me confused. My intention is not to slam Meredith Baxter here. What she did was a brave thing just as what Clay Aiken did was a brave thing. I guess I don’t understand why he is held to a different standard than other celebrities who come out after years of being closeted. It seems that he has come out in a shorter period of time compared to a lot of the newly out celebrities and yet he is criticized more so than any of them.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 2:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • FAEN
      FAEN

      No. 14…

      Mike, I agree with you but I dont think we need to wait to fire him. He’s a do nothing mouth piece and frankly I’m done with him and the do nothing HRC. Fire Joe and the HRC…NOW!

      Mar 1, 2010 at 4:47 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alexa
      Alexa

      Interesting. I see three or four regular posters in this thread, a couple of posters who are obviously gay and neutral on Clay, and the rest are Claymates and Clay haters doing what they have done best for the past seven years – fighting about Clay. And this is one of the reasons Clay was chosen to speak (beyond being one of the most well known openly gay people from the Carolinas, where this was held) – people talk about him.

      To those complaining about Clay speaking because he wasn’t deserving, this was not an awards banquet, it was a FUND RAISER. You pick people who will raise funds and awareness. Do you really think if he hadn’t been there that anyone anywhere would still be talking about it?

      @Sam, that’s a good question. I think the main difference, beyond Clay having many rabid lovers and haters who troll the internet fighting each other and who are nothing to do with the gay community, is that Meredith flew under the radar until right before she came out. Many of us think, as Clay said himself in his speech, what the hell took him so long. Meredith doesn’t have the built up anger and resentment from some of us that Clay does. I hope that as time goes by and he is more open and honest about himself, and if he speaks out more, that more of us will accept him and be less angry with him.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 7:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DrJRobinson
      DrJRobinson

      I’m happy to see that Clay Aiken has made so much progress over the past couple of years. Even if being open about his sexuality has hurt his career, I’m certain that he is much happier living as his authentic self.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 9:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon
      Jon

      Ok Joe I will be a HRC member next year if you keep the promise to remove DADT this year! U PROMISED!!

      Mar 1, 2010 at 10:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lukas P.
      Lukas P.

      @Jon: Let’s throw DOMA on Joe’s to do list too! lol.
      I just opened up a report/newsletter from a non profit I do support. It’s not a biggie nor does it focus on LGBT issues, but how they operate is interesting. What does it include?
      * A list of goals they had in 2009, and a handy dandy checklist of which ones they reached, ones where they had partial success, and ones they failed to accomplish.
      * Action plans for this year’s goals: and a few updates on the year so far.
      * A list of projects they need volunteer support for: time, information, material items (supplies) and, of course money.

      Nothing fancy there, but I wish HRC and /Gay Inc. would be so clear and open and strategic. I’m much more willing to haul out my checkbook or donate time/stuff to an org. that spells out their successes/failures/plans than one that is as vague, self-serving, and unaccountable as HRC.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 10:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 4 Douche BFs from my 20s (I am smarter now)
      4 Douche BFs from my 20s (I am smarter now)

      @sam: Sorry I forgot, I am dealing with nutcases. I doubt she got married due to the public. But you can feel free to make up shit as you see fit.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 11:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 4 Douche BFs from my 20s (I am smarter now)
      4 Douche BFs from my 20s (I am smarter now)

      @Alexa: She also was not using her sexuality one way or the other in public to attack gays. If the others are correct, then the issue with the other person is that he was.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 11:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alexa
      Alexa

      @4 Douche… The others aren’t correct. As I said, Clay has rabid fans and rabid haters who descend on websites and blogs like this to fight about him, frequently pretending to be gay, and you can’t take what any of them say seriously. Yes, he waited way longer than he should have to come out, but he never said or did anything to attack gays – unless you count not coming out as an attack on gays, which some people do.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 11:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh AZ
      Josh AZ

      HRC must be very happy that the focus is on Clay Aiken and NOT their ineffectiveness.

      HRC = BS

      Mar 1, 2010 at 12:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jean L
      Jean L

      @Alexa: It’s not true that Clay Aiken has never done anything anti-gay. Beyond the insinuations that he was repulsed by the gay community back when he was in the closet, in fact he gave a concert at a southern mega-church known for its anti-gay teachings. I ask you, what kind of “hero” to the gay community would sing for bigots?

      Clay Aiken is no hero to us. He’s just an opportunistic sleazebag.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 1:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian NYC
      Brian NYC

      In response to the title of this article: No, HRC can’t promise anything. They have NO influence at the White House or in the US Congress. We have been duped for many years. You can’t lobby-away anti-gay beliefs. It just doesn’t happen.

      If lobbying was effective, you’d think after 57 years we would have made some progress with Sen. Robert Byrd. But, Byrd is a Baptist and West Virginia is 74% anti-LGBT. Lobbying is a waste of money.

      HRC is a lobbying group. The now-becoming-obvious-reality is that they are not effective, influential or even very smart. The only thing they’ve done well is make us believe they we effective. They’re only effective at raising money. Hopefully we’re smart enough to stop funding them.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 2:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TIN
      TIN

      Unfortunately, some of Clay’s fans are rather impressionable and may not understand that neither Clay nor many other celebrities tell the exact truth to the media, as they are commodities. I happened to believe Lyle and Trevor whether or not they are authentic personages because I think they got the story right. Ms. Locke may have been the first person Clay shared his sexuality with in words on the American Idol set who wasn’t a gay male, but it is pretty ridiculous to think that she was the first he ever shared his sexuality with before he got to American Idol. I think that as it has been rumored, people in his college community knew he was gay because he was more or less out to the gay community there.

      These unfortunate fans are still hanging on Clay’s words, literally, the way they hung on to their belief that Clay was not gay. Because they are rather unsophisticated they have made Clay some kind of saint before and after he came out and have made life miserable for others who found flaws in Clay or who had the audacity to have maintained earlier that he was gay.

      Clay has been a lightening rod, but Clay has opened up a dialogue among women who would have never thought about gay issues before they became fans. At the very least that has to be postive thing.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jupiter
      Jupiter

      Why would John Paulus come here posing as #40 Reggie and posting exactly verbatim the same content he wrote on his own blog? John has a blog devoted to Clay bashing – so do you reckon he has an agenda? For those claiming to know Clay Aiken – you just have to take their comments with a garain of salt. John has been obsessed with Clay Aiken for 4 years, has this love/hate thing going on, and you have to really feel sorry for a guy who just can’t move on with his life. Pretty sad case and one for the books. Whenever an article is put up about Clay Aiken, You can bet your life John will be there.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 5:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Katy
      Katy

      @Jupiter: Go back and read Reggie’s post. He did not claim to have authored that post, by shared a blog that he discovered regarding the event.

      I think the point being made was that Clay Aiken being selected would lead to greater interest in the event, although to pretend that all feedback has been positive is delusional.

      I’m starting to think that fans of Clay posting here seem to lack any sort of critical thinking ability.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 8:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jean
      Jean

      #13 (Whatevah)- Clay is NO ‘beginner’. Clay has given speeches numerous times for many different organizations; including at his own foundation’s Galas. He has had 8 solo tours-where he didn’t just stand there and sing. He spoke to and with the audience. He joked around with his fantastic fellow tour members. His adlibbing is some of the best I have ever heard in my 58 years. He starred on Broadway in “Spamalot” TWICE to rave reviews. He has given many interviews to various media outlets. When he was just 19 he was the Emcee at a local variety show–very funny stuff (should be on youtube). I could go on with many, many more items to prove..Clay is NOT a ‘beginner’. Clay is very intelligent and has proven a thousand times that HE was/is the TRUE American Idol.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 8:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jean
      Jean

      Oh, to those who are upset that Clay came out when he did….Liberace NEVER ‘came out’. Freddie Mercury never ‘came out’. Rock Hudson ‘came out’ shortly before he died-when he was 60. Richard Chamberlain didn’t publicly ‘come out’ until he was in his 60′s. Some people just can’t ‘come out’ when others want them to. Think about if YOU were gay and if YOU would come out when you first realized it. And…if you are gay–did you come out immediately when you realized you were gay???? Don’t try to get into other’s heads. You do NOT know their situation.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 8:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Patrick
      Patrick

      @Jean: Is this a joke? What sort of sickness compels you to go on and on like this? Did anyone ask?!

      Perhaps you could share some of the things that you don’t like about him. Otherwise, your post seems to be somewhat unhinged and fanatical.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 8:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scott Ny'er
      Scott Ny'er

      After 29 years and $500 million, nobody expects anything from HRC except their going out of business.

      We’ve wasted a half a billion and they have failed.

      Mar 1, 2010 at 10:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Erv
      Erv

      Reggie = John Paulus

      Word for word, the post here is on this stalkers blog. #40

      At this point, I don’t care if you like Clay or hate Clay. I do dislike people like the scary stalker coming on here and spewing lies.

      John…..you are not fooling anyone. You have become a laughing stock. Your posts are all the same.

      For the rest of you…we all need to move on. Clay Aiken is not the devil and he certainly isn’t a saint. He’s just an ordinary man you tries to live his life the best he can.

      Yes, I wish he had come out earlier, but he didn’t. Now, I see him standing up and fighting the good fight. How can I be mad at him?

      Mar 2, 2010 at 12:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Patrick
      Patrick

      @Erv: Reggie posted that he found that comment on a blog. Do you have reading comprehension problems?

      Reggie posted: “Clay Aiken’s speech is getting quite a bit of buzz in the blogosphere. I found this to be an interesting analysis that nails why so many of us question Clay Aiken as a spokesperson when so many other true activits have given so much more, and would have been far more deserving:”

      Now, do you get it? Reggie mentions that Clay’s speech is getting mentioned in the blogosphere. He found the analysis to be an interesting one. He then posted a portion of the blog he found, preceded by a colon, which tells you that what follows is from the blog he found.

      You are so eager to squash any debate or disagreement over Clay Aiken, that you are now resorting to attacking posters you disagree with by trying to guess who they are, as if that makes a difference.

      You think Clay Aiken was some bright shining beacon of hope for us? Fine. You are entitled to your “opinion”, but so are others. Are all Clay fans so thin-skinned?

      Mar 2, 2010 at 1:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BradSA
      BradSA

      Erv is correct. Reggie copied that slanderous garbage from Clay’s stalker. Why Patrick would defend that action is anyone’s guess. They must be in it together.

      Mar 2, 2010 at 4:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Patrick
      Patrick

      @BradSA: So, one really can’t express an opinion against Clay Aiken without personal attacks from his fans. Stalker indeed?!

      Anyway, I was merely pointing out that Reggie had brought over that opinion, and that he wasn’t taking credit for it as being his own words, though he shared the sentiment.

      Just because you hate the source, doesn’t make the opinion any less valid.

      Mar 2, 2010 at 8:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      No. 66 · Jean said…
      Think about if YOU were gay and if YOU would come out when you first realized it. And…if you are gay–did you come out immediately when you realized you were gay???? Don’t try to get into other’s heads. You do NOT know their situation.
      _____________________

      Are you insane? You DO realize that you are on a gay blog don’t you? All of us here have had to deal with comming out etc… You can’t use the same attacks that you would use around a bunch of straight people trying to defend Clay Aiken’s Actions. You are trying to argue to a bunch of people who ARE gay, by telling us we don’t understand what it’s like to BE gay. These fans of his actually do him a disservice by coming on to these blogs with with phony praise and then attacking anybody who dissagrees.

      ………That said, I thought that most of Clay’s speech was nicely done. So yes, my opinion of Clay Aiken shifted somewhat, but my opinion of HRC has stayed exactly the same, they are a waste of our money.

      Mar 2, 2010 at 12:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      No. 66 · Jean
      Oh, to those who are upset that Clay came out when he Freddie Mercury never ‘came out’. ….
      ____________

      Oh, and Jean, get your facts straight, Freddie Mercury came out in 1974 in a magazine article according to his bio.

      Mar 2, 2010 at 4:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • erewhon
      erewhon

      Freddy Mercury finally admitted he was gay on his deathbed.

      Mar 2, 2010 at 4:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • erewhon
      erewhon

      Cam, you do us no favors when you treat all LGBT as if they are cookie cutter characters in your passion play. We are not all the same, we have not all had the same experience or circumstances. Your coming out experience in no way matches the experience of a celebrity. Cool your jets.

      Mar 2, 2010 at 4:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      No. 76 · erewhon said…
      Cam, you do us no favors when you treat all LGBT as if they are cookie cutter characters in your passion play. We are not all the same, we have not all had the same experience or circumstances. Your coming out experience in no way matches the experience of a celebrity. Cool your jets.
      _____________

      Give me a break, you folks have moved from defending Clay Aiken now to defending a person coming on here and attacking people for not liking him. She started that part of her comment with “Think about if YOU were gay…” Gee, not to difficult to do now is it? Since pretty much everybody on this site, except for the fans of Clay Aiken coming in and yelling at us ARE gay. The fact that she would even start out a comment like that shows that she had no idea what she was saying. You are so eager to defend Clay Aiken that you can’t even sit back and look at my post. In that post my target was the former poster, I pointed out how fooslish her comments were. At the end of it I actually complimented Clay Aiken on his speech. So you may want to try reading an entire post before you start attacking people………..
      As for our experiences not matching the experience of a celebrity, well you’re right, we don’t have people running around doing everything for us, we don’t have a bunch of fans who attack anybody who says anything about us and most of us don’t live or work in an environment surrounded by gay people. Many of us live and work in areas hostel to gays and yet we still came out of the closet and dealt with these issues without millions in the bank. So your defense of the poor little celeb rings completely false.

      Mar 2, 2010 at 5:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • erewhon
      erewhon

      I recommend that you get some therapy, cam. You have some serious personality issues.

      Mar 3, 2010 at 1:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lukas P.
      Lukas P.

      Can we Please stop worrying about wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, or DADT, and JUST focus on Clay Aiken?

      Oh, I just had my wish granted.

      In case anyone is bored, count the number of posts that focus on Clay, versus the # about DADT or the HRC.

      Scary, huh?

      Now we know what’s really most important!

      [Legal notice: Adam Lambert was NOT harmed by the creation of this message. No medical experiments were conducted on Joe Solmonese. No military personnel
      were outed or discharged directly due the words herein. kd lang is still Canadian]

      Mar 3, 2010 at 3:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      No. 78 · erewhon said…
      I recommend that you get some therapy, cam. You have some serious personality issues.
      __________________

      The typical retort from an idiot. Don’t bring up a point, don’t try to dispute what was said, merely attack somebody that has dissagreed with you. That seems to be the M.O. of you fangirls that come on to these sites.

      Mar 3, 2010 at 9:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • erewhon
      erewhon

      No. 79 · Lukas P.

      Can we Please stop worrying about wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, or DADT, and JUST focus on Clay Aiken?
      ————————————————————–

      I get you. Please somebody muzzle Cam.

      Mar 3, 2010 at 5:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      No. 81 · erewhon said…
      No. 79 · Lukas P.

      Can we Please stop worrying about wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, or DADT, and JUST focus on Clay Aiken?
      ————————————————————–

      I get you. Please somebody muzzle Cam.
      ___________________

      And once again, an irrelevent attack based on the fact that somebody dissagreed with you. As I said before, you fangirls are all so typical in your behavior. You defended somebody coming onto this site and attacking us, saying we didn’t know what it’s like to be gay. Instead of realizing her comment was ridiculous you took it as an assault on somebody you’re a fan of and had to then attack again. If you don’t like comments like that, then don’t come on to gay blogs and attack gays. End of story.

      Mar 3, 2010 at 6:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lukas P.
      Lukas P.

      @Cam: I attacked no one. My point is that Clay Aiken supporters and detractors have hijacked a discussion about DADT and Joe Solmonese.

      I also did not attack Mr Aiken or Ms Baxter. Nor would I.

      [Legal disclaimer: Elton John is still gay. Lady Gaga is still a woman. DADT stands for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and NOT: "Does Aiken Demean Tenneseeans."]

      Mar 4, 2010 at 1:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      No. 83 · Lukas P. said..
      @Cam: I attacked no one. My point is that Clay Aiken supporters and detractors have hijacked a discussion about DADT and Joe Solmonese.
      ________________

      Hi Lukas, I wasn’t responding to yourstatement, but to the comment that erehon said underneath it.

      Mar 4, 2010 at 10:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jay
      Jay

      Just for those that haven’t figured it out yet. Several of the so-called Clayfans posting here (ahem – “Jean”) are not Clayfans at all but actually Clayhaters who search the internet night and day looking for opportunities to make Clay and his fans look bad. They have been doing this since the beginning of Clay’s career. John Paulus and his minions are some of the worst. You’d think people would have better things do to with their time.

      Mar 4, 2010 at 3:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AshleyAlph
      AshleyAlph

      @Jay: That has got to be one of the most pathetic excuses I have ever read.

      Isn’t it much more likely that you finally realize how badly Clayfans come across, and are just playing the victim so that we will all see the light and realize just how unfairly you have been treated?

      Face it, you don’t know the motivations of anyone posting anonymously, so you can’t definitively say one way or the other why anyone posts what they do.

      It is nice how you are so willing to throw anyone under the bus just to make Clay Aiken and his fans look “innocent”.

      Maybe it is time for you to step away from the computer, and stop worrying so much about how others think, because if you are hoping for a world in which everyone believes as you do, you are never going to be satisfied.

      Mar 4, 2010 at 6:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Benjy
      Benjy

      Ummm… I know probably no one will believe me but I actually knew Clay Aiken back at UNC & he wasn’t out at all. He was a very devout Christian & struggling desperately with discovering his own sexuality & reconciling that with his extremely conservative, religious upbringing. We were friends, neighbors, both gay, both confused, both scared to freakin’ death of being disowned by our families. I’m 32 & still haven’t told my family. I’m certain my father will never speak to me again. It’s very possible my mother & grandmother may be shunned by their church community as it has happened here before. My friends know, & I assume at least some of my coworkers have guessed. But it’s really, really, really hard & I am so very proud of my old pal Clay (whom I haven’t seen or talked to in years) who is finally at a point in his life where he feels empowered to be authentic in every aspect of his life. Knowing what a genuine guy he was & how much he adored his family, I don’t believe for a minute that his coming out process was dominated by career concerns. Bravo, Clay! Maybe we’ll meet again someday & I can shake your hand & say thanks.

      Mar 7, 2010 at 12:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sam
      sam

      Benjy, I know you’ll never see this but I’m going to put this out in the blogosphere anyway..I believe you and may you somehow find your way to living your life in truth and honesty. I hope that you have people that will support you, accept you and love you as you are.

      Mar 29, 2010 at 11:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Justin
      Justin

      3 months to the day that this article was written, the bill that will repeal DADT has passes the House and the Senate. Joe has kept his promise and I think it is a huge thing for him and us to have accomplished.

      May 28, 2010 at 2:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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