being frank

Barney Frank on GetEqual’s Protests: ‘Immature’ + ‘Tacky’

Never one to hide his feelings about gay rights activists, Rep. Barney Frank isn’t mincing words over Get Equal members storming the House Education and Labor Committee. “What a stupid thing to do,” he says. Oh, Barns! You’re killing us!

By now you should be used to Frank dumping on anything you radical homos do. He called the National Equality March “useless” and encouraged you to stay home.

Always one to advocate Americans call, write, email, text, and tweet their lawmakers instead of trying to drum up headlines and YouTube views, Frank’s attitude toward civil disobedience isn’t terribly surprising. And from his position, we can see why he’s upset, as he believes ENDA will begin making its way through the House in the next two weeks, and playing Interrupting Cow with what might be sympathetic lawmakers is only going to piss them off.

Maybe. But these events are also generating more mass media attention to Obama and Congress’ failing of the LGBT community than anything Gay Inc.’s platitudes have to offer.

Yesterday, NGLTF, NCLR, and the National Center for Transgender Equality, were among some 200 groups that signed a one-sentence letter to lawmakers: “Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act NOW.” And exactly zero of them actually read it. Without demands that are backed up by little more than guarantees of more press releases, these messages carry almost no influence.

Even Frank knows that.

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  • Cam

    This is because Barney Frank, I think, still sees being gay as an inconvienience. He goes on and on about how Tip O’Neil once told him that if he wasn’t gay he would be speaker of the house one day. It shows how dumb Frank was, Tip O’Neil was brilliant at keeping his party in line and would say whatever he thought they needed to hear. Hey Barney…he used that line on dozens of other congressmen too, only they weren’t dumb enough to take it to hart.

    Barney Frank wants us to treat being gay the same way as if we were a bunch of lobbyists asking Congress to relax rules on coal mining. i.e. have lots of lunches, donate, put a little pressure on and don’t worry, in 5 years or so, we’ll schedule a vote…unless we come up with enough money to pass around, then the vote gets done in two years.

    Well Sorry Barney, this is a civil rights issue, and for you to treat it any differently is shameful…..and if you want to talk tacky, I would say being outed because your much younger prostitute boyfriend was running an escorting business out of your office trumps ANYTHING “GetEqual” has done in the tacky department.

  • DG

    Hey Barney – get over it – we’ve tried it your way and it doesn’t work. We don’t have years to wait for equality!

  • Aaron

    @Cam: SO well said!

  • Jeremy

    Sorry Mr Frank, we have no time and place for you to play the “white knight with the shinning armor coming to rescue us” anymore. We know you want act heroic so every gays in this country will go up kissing your feet like Gandhi. Well, this is our civil right matter, and since you are too chicken to act like a real hero, we have to take this on our own hands.

  • Equality NOW

    Good for Barney.

    Being an openly gay congressman is sort of like being a gay activist protester….except that you have actual responsibilities.

  • Steve

    Civil disobedience and grassroots activism are exceptional tools, but only when they have a purpose and are organized properly.

    Just look at the efforts of GLSEN with the annual National Day of Silence and Soulforce with the annual Equality Ride. Efforts that are conducted with dignity and respect – that’s right dignity and respect.

    What GetEqual has been doing is nothing more than poorly executed and childish pranks. They are an embarrassment and using the anger that many of us in the LGBT community feel to garner support.

    Instead of these meaningless, small and ineffectual efforts, why doesn’t GetEqual work to organize protests with the supposed groundswell of support they say they have at every single congressional office of congressmen and Senators that have not expressed their support yet or are dragging their feet after expressing their support instead of people who are already on our side.

    I will tell you why, because that would actually take some hard work, thoughtful planning to execute, and a groundswell of support.

    What we need right now is real solutions, not childish antics that will not deliver results.

    And for everyone that says their actions are creating conversations in mainstream media, you are fooling yourselves. Google these actions and and you will see that the majority of outlets who are covering these events are gay blogs and new sources. Straight people, the real key to getting equality, have no clue they are doing these things.

    I am angry just like most of the people in our community by the lack of action by Congress and the White House, but I am not going to let my anger let me follow the first group of activists that tries something new. After reading about their first few actions, they are clearly driven purely by emotion and not thinking with their heads about how to deliver the result we really want. Equality.

  • Gridlock

    If Barney was a boat we could all ride in, it would be the smoothest ride ever devised by man. No rocking whatsoever.

  • Jon

    Headlines are good! Barney Barney Barney *Sakes Head*

  • niles

    Unlike people who chain themselves to fences, Rep. Frank actually has to work within the system to affect change. It’s not glamorous and certainly doesn’t endear him to the radical base, but thank god for Barney.

  • Fitz

    There is room and need for all levels of action. he should not be discouraging civil disobedience and we should not be disparaging the hard work eh does from within.

  • edgyguy1426

    I think GetEqual has been very well coordinated and is effective. Equality Ride? Give me a break! I hadn’t heard of it till you mentioned it. The activist ‘pranks’ as you call them shut down the whole park across from the White House and were the majpr part of the latest White House press conference. Nowhere during the press conference did I hear mention of the Equality Ride. Sometimes ‘antics’ like these will create a groundswell.

  • Paul

    BARNEY FRANK is FANTASTIC – he’s level-headed, clever, shrewd and he knows how to affect change from within. GOOD FOR HIM.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Cam: Yes, that’s exactly his problem. That and his priority is the Democratic establishment rather than gay rights.

    He said ENDA would come to a vote last year. Are we suppose to ignore the fact he was wrong?

  • Johns

    Stop calling it civil disobedience. It’s just being a bunch of hooligans, and directed at the wrong people.

    GetEqual can call attention to Obama’s “failing” the LGBT community all they want, but it doesn’t matter because NOBODY CARES. Scarcely more than 5% of the population, at MOST, will vote against a Democrat solely on that basis.

    Get out there and win hearts and minds instead of aggravating legislators who aren’t responsible to you and can therefore hurt you without suffering any major reciprocation. Change starts with the people.

  • AndrewW

    It was stupid, immature and tacky.

  • Lincoln Rose

    Geezz…and I suppose that ACT-UP sprang fully-formed, with all of their backers in place, their media contact list fully grown and large as life, and never needed any room to grow, make mistakes and learn from them while they gave lackluster politicians hell and kept the focus on what was (or wasn’t) being done?

    People who are crucifing GetEqual for their actions are suffering from this cultures “instant results now” crap. If it doesn’t come out of the chute absolutely perfect, we want to return it as defective because damnit, we’re American consumers with absolute rights to everything perfect.

    Even if all we want to do is sit on our butts at home forever and not lift a finger.

    GetEqual is making progress, especially for a brand new organization. They’re growing at a viral rate because people outside DC are getting quickly tired of the same crap coming from Frank and HRC. Honestly, by now I could have recorded what they both said in 2007 and 2008 and just spent time replaying it to myself.Same message with only a slight twist in words.

    This movement needs the shot in the arm of direct action to remind us that equality is not won by rich queers opening their pocketbooks and being sheeple to orgs and politicians that do what they want when they want with no regard for anything but the next round of fundraising dinners.

    Money is not the only thing that brings about change.

  • R.

    You know what’s also tacky Barney, paying for sex.

  • Bill Perdue

    Tediously, Barney attacks everything we do that has any merit. He’s old and he’s tired, in more ways than one. He’s been working on the ‘inside’ of those sewers of bigotry called the Democrat Party and the US Congress for so long that he forgets what fresh air is like.

    Fresh air is mass actions and activist zaps. It’s the mounting radicalization of the LGBT communities and the growing attitude of contempt for the inexcusable bigotry of Democrats and Republicans alike and a steely determination to replace them if they can’t keep up.

    Frank opposed the original form of ENDA and in the process exposed himself as a virulent transphobic bigot. When marriages were authorized in San Francisco he was against it. He opposed the March on Washington because it became an anti-Obama and anti-Democrat rally.

    His lobbying approach, his dependence on smarmy hustlers like the Clintons and Obama to keep their campaign promises and his strategy of working through one of the two bigot parties are strategies for losers. We’ll begin to win when we’re independent of Barney Frank and political hustlers like him.

    We’ll begin to win when mass actions become more common, more militant and when our agenda reflects the needs of working class GLBT folks.

    A Republican is a rightwing jackass with a theocrat attached at the hip.

    A Democrat is a Republican in ‘progressive’ drag. With Democrats like these who needs Republicans.

    The looter rich much prefer working with Democrats like Obama and the Clintons – they’re greedier, they fool more people and they’re able to get away with a lot more than Republicans.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Bill Perdue: You are right. He does seem to attack anything that affects his sphere of influence in DC.

  • Cam

    No. 12 · Paul
    BARNEY FRANK is FANTASTIC – he’s level-headed, clever, shrewd and he knows how to affect change from within. GOOD FOR HIM.

    He’s been in office for decades now, exactly what “Change from within” has he affected?


    Like Jessie Jackson is to today’s African/Black Civil Rights Leaders, thank you for your service, but your actions are no longer useful- pass the torch and fade gracefully.

  • Robert

    All Barney knows if the beltway mentality. Simply said – “Agitate, Agitate, Agitate”, Frederick Douglass, Abolitionist

  • Bill Perdue

    @AndrewW:’s big whine if the day is that the zap was “stupid, immature and tacky”.

    Look who’s talking.

  • JR

    @Steve: couldn’t agree more.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Steve: Except your statement is objectively not true. How can I say this? I can google the subject of the protests by GetEqual, and I can see the number of positive articles that a) bring the issues to the for front when it had been put on the back burner and b) I can see how the issues are being covered- which are mostly positive coverage. Thus, objectively speaking despite your rather long meandering post, you are factually wrong about GetEqual’s ability to affect things. Indeed, they have done more to push things forward in just starting off than Frank can do behind the scenes. He huffs and puffs, but we find out that actually the White House has been trying to shut down gay rights advocacy in DC (soon after the president’s state of the union speech or whatever it was and his claims regarding DADT, for example, it turns out the WH was already pushing against repeal of DADT (as in within days or weeks). Thus, again, we have objective ways to demonstrate that what you say is inaccurate. I question whether many ofyou truly understand what civil disobedience is. The key word is “Disobedience.”

  • Jane Lane

    This is hardly radical politics. These are new-age fags who are willing to risk just enough to get want they need right before they become normatrons.


  • AndrewW

    @Jane Lane: GetEqual wants to get media attention. If they get media coverage they can raise money. Thankfully, the media has ignored their childish antics.

    GetEqual is the next EqualityAcrossAmerica or Join The Impact. Their 15 minutes are almost up. Good.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @AndrewW: < Political hack repeating talking points on various sites. This statement he makes is placed in various blogs including JoeMyGod and others along with comments such as mentioning radical right groups so that it comes up in google searches. It is all coordinated smearing. Nice try.

  • the crustybastard

    Not very politic, Barn.

    He might have said, “I understand the protester’s urgency, and agree with their purpose. We all have our roles to play, and I am here to help in DC. My door is open to GetEqual anytime they want my help and my staff’s expertise within Congress. Frankly, we would have advised them to do ABC, rather than what they did, for the reason XYZ. However, I do hope we can work together in the future.”

    Instead he has another hissy fit. How…typical.

    Representative Frank, tragically, has an incurable case of Insiderosis, and is exhibiting the classic symptoms of superiority and condescension.

    Our movement’s Tennis Court Oath is coming, congressman. You better start deciding whether you will stand with your party or with your people.

  • Jordan

    @Equality NOW:

    “Being an openly gay congressman is sort of like being a gay activist protester….except that you have actual responsibilities.”

    YEAH! Just like being an activist is sort of like being a blog commenter — except you have the gumption to actually do something, instead of just sitting on your ass being snarky!

  • Scott

    How many more of these vanity projects are going to be mucking up our real efforts? GetEqual? Equality Across America? There is a new one every other day and the mission statement seems to be the same: “Whine, whine some more. Throw a tantrum. Self aggrandize and then go back to whining.”

    GetEqual has the nerve to talk about “Gay Inc”., and the Gay Org elite when they are slopping from the same trough. Getting a quarter million dollars from one donor isn’t more transparent or accountable than getting $250 from a 1,000 people.
    They don’t work for “the community” they work for Jonathan Lewis and his checkbook caddy Paul Yandura.
    In case no one else will tell you guys: We are moving forward despite your melodramatic publicity stunts and faux martydom.

  • ewe

    I wonder if Barney Frank felt the same way about ActUp. His comments about Get Equal mean nothing to me.

  • ewe

    No one has asked Barney Frank to be Daddy.

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