Can GetEQUAL NOW Make the LGBT Rights Movement Less Racist, Transphobic, and Ageist?

Dallas-based activist CD Kirven is credited with naming the new activist group GetEQUAL. She attended its initial planning sessions, got arrested for sitting alongside four other members in Nancy Pelosi’s office, and has never strayed far from co-director Robin McGeHee’s side. When Kirven first joined GetEQUAL, she was most excited about its promise of radical inclusivity; she disliked the predominantly white male face of the LGBT rights movement and hoped GetEQUAL would finally address issues of representational inequality within the community itself. But instead GetEQUAL focused mostly on ENDA and DADT and slowly became like the mainstream gay rights organizations they hoped to differentiate themselves from, Kirven believed. When a GetEQUAL member told Kirven that she was dragging down the gay rights movement by constantly bringing up issues like racial inclusiveness, it became clear to her she’d have to form her own group, and that’s why she founded GetEQUAL Now. It’s only associated with GetEQUAL in name and tactics — and it’s forming a grassroots army of butch dykes, trans folk, poor old queers, and people of color to contend with Gay Inc. so “fringe queer culture” will finally get some representation in gay mainstream politics and culture.

While attending Michelangelo Signorile’s LGBT Leadership Town Hall this April, GetEQUAL member Chastity Kirven noticed two things. First, that mainstream LGBT leadership not only seems okay with the government’s slow movement on our issues but also wants other queers to accept it as well. Secondly, Kirven realized that in a room of 60 activists she was only one of three people of color. Even the panel itself had only one person of color — Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend. So Kirven stepped up to the mic to ask how the LGBT rights movement could more fully represent the actual diversity existing within our community. But instead of having her concerns addressed, Kirven was told they didn’t have enough time to answer her, and would she please ask her question “next time,” whenever that was.

On the way home, Kirven complained about what happened and was told by one of her GetEQUAL cohorts, “Whenever you play the race card, you drag the gay rights movement down. We have too much to do and don’t have time to have this conversation now.” Kirven felt incensed. “[The LGBT movement’s leaders] are getting paid $250k and have spent years regularly cutting out transgender people and queers of color from their back room deals,” Kirven said. “Earning that much money, it behooves them to explain themselves when it comes to race and inequality. I’m not the one playing the race card; it’s already on the table and they’re acting like it’s not there.”

One needn’t look much further than their local gayborhood to see what Kirven’s talking about. On Cedar Springs, the gay strip in Dallas where Kirven lives, there’s only one lesbian bar and eight gay bars frequented mostly by white men. The gay bars have a black and Latino night once a month, but otherwise a gay person of color has to find a black or Latino bar far off the main strip. Cedar Springs has about five shops for gay men, but none for lesbians. In the magazine racks of the local video store, it’s rare to see a person of color on the cover of The Advocate, Out, Curve, Instinct, or any other gay mainstream publication that’s still around.

“There’s this idea that if you want a lesbian clothes store you should build it yourself, that if you want to be a member of this community you better have thousands of dollars for the price of admission, just to have access,” Kirven says. “But that doesn’t address the fact that queers of color often lack the education, the training, and the means to raise that money. We don’t usually get a seat at the table until it comes to needing our vote or needing tokens for a photo-op afterthought.”

Kirven and GetEQUAL Now co-founder Michael Robinson had both spoken to gay groups about such inequalities in the past, but they wanted a way to help queers of color define the queer rights movement rather than be defined by it. When it became apparent to Kirven that GetEQUAL wouldn’t deliver on the “radical inclusivity” and “grassroots activism” it first championed, she and Robinson independently formed GetEQUAL Now (albeit with McGeHee and Kip William’s blessing). According to Robinson, gay rights got wrapped up marriage equality long ago, but queer communities of color care more about keeping their jobs, health care, immigration, and school bullying a lot more than they care about ever getting married.

“When you see a muscular guy in a Pride parade dancing around in his underwear and covering his body in Absolut vodka, that doesn’t represent us, our community or our values,” Kirven said. “We want the gay rights movement to look a little more like the actual makeup of our community. As long as we have an older, single, gay, white face that’s obsessed with alcohol and sex, the mainstream is never going to embrace us. But when they realize that the queer community is as diverse as America itself, then they’ll begin to understand that we are more like them and that our struggles are their struggles.”

Towards that end Kirven and Robinson have the lofty goal of setting up up GetEQUAL Now organizations on every college campus across America, forming campaign coalitions with local organizations and national groups like Out Immigration, and using social networking to mobilize them in well-coordinated press events and acts of civil disobedience designed to get attention — something GetEQUAL has been doing since its beginnings. Furthermore, Get Equal Now plans on protesting HRC, LOGO and other groups in the gay establishment for their exclusion of people of color, and will continue to meet with community groups to collect new ideas, recruit members, and educate them about racial issues and the combination of 21st century net-activism and 20th century civil rights protest methods.

But if GetEQUAL Now is like GetEQUAL but with a focus on diversity, is it just the non-white version of McGehee’s original group? “No,” says Kirven . “First, our membership isn’t mostly black; we have Asians, hispanics, transgender people, older people and whites all working together. Also none of us are getting paid, all the organizing is out of our own pockets and we’re really reaching out to younger people and grassroots organizing rather than setting the agenda from above.”

Robinson feels GetEQUAL Now’s goals inevitably serve the mainstream gay community because anti-gay foes see the split between the predominantly white leadership and other races and exploit it to set our community against itself. “They’re consistently on message,” Robinson says. If you’ll recall Yes on 8 had Chinese, black and Latino outreach ads long before No on 8 did. After Prop 8 passed a lot of gays blamed the black community for the loss even though No on 8 organizers didn’t approach the black community until a mere 5 days before the vote. “We have got to look on the inside we’re the most diverse community in the world,” Robinson says. “Facing the challenges that divide us and that has been a difficult process, but it’s time to start mending those relationships.”

Kirven agrees. “A lot of other gays will say that our community’s too diverse and that there’s no way to get all the voices and people in. But our diversity is not a liability, it’s a strength. We have a representative in every racial, religious, and socioeconomic community there is, someone we can send to represent us and share our concerns, to reach out and let them know we are a part of them. But until we start embracing the true face of our community, we will be working against ourselves.

GetEQUAL co-founder Robin McGeHee tells Queerty that GetEQUAL Now is not an action or campaign solely directed at “Gay Inc.” but rather that “everyone, including GetEQUAL, has more work to do to become more radically inclusive in all aspects of organizing.” She also stresses that transfolk and queers of color often get lost in the shuffle of mainstream gay issues. “When we see images of marriage equality, we need to see all the communities of color that are effected by a lack of equal opportunity. When we witness servicemembers who are discharged, we need to be aware that African-American women are the largest group of people who suffer from Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell. When we address the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, we have to be clear that the trans community faces the greatest risk of unemployment and in relation, economic disparity, homelessness and harassment. When we discuss immigration reform, we must recognize that fighting for LGBT couples to be represented and protected is also intertwined with the public debate around immigration.”

Kirven predicts that a some community members will think that she and Robinson are just trying to start trouble, elevate themselves, or chase after windmills in addressing inequality amongst ourselves, but that doesn’t bother her. “Every civil rights leader gets criticized [for these things] in their day. It’s not until long afterwards that we recognize them for pushing the hard issues. But there’s nothing glamorous or egotistical in getting thrown in jail.” Kirven got tossed in jail for sitting alongside three other GetEQUAL members in Nancy Pelosi’s office to draw attention to ENDA. “Now I have a federal record that will keep me from getting jobs and am on 6 months probation. There’s nothing glamorous in that.”

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  • Qjersey

    as for the mainstream LGBT orgs, po’ white trash need not apply either. They are middle class or aspiring middle class white folks. Their idea of an opening conversation is “where did you go to college?” The correct answer is a private school, not a public university or college. “oh you went to State U, that’s nice”

  • sonofloud

    When you have over 70% of black voters in CA supporting Prop 8 and 91% approving of Obama’s performance according to the lastest Gallup poll is it any wonder?

  • Baxter

    If I walked into a meeting and said there were too many black people there and that I wanted to form a whiter group, I’d be called a racist. It sounds to me like Kirven and Robinson just don’t like white people. If they actually wanted more diversity, they would have stuck around instead of self-segregating.

  • patrick

    No 2 – when citing stats like that you should also include other important stats:

    Percetage of African Americans that comprised the total vote in CA in the fall of 2008: 7

    Percentage of Whites: 68

    49% of the 68% also voted Yes on Prop 8

    The number of White people that voted Yes on 8 is enormous compared to the number of African American people that voted Yes.

    Looking at the results that way (based on the Prop 8 report issued by NGLTF following the election) the WHITE people are the problem – not the non-white.

  • Fitz

    If you want to look specifically at Prop 8, where is was lost is the numbers, not the percents. Our biggest foe, as far as # of actual votes, is Old people. Once the old people finally fucking die already, the world here will be a little better.

  • whatever

    Sometimes I look at gay mags, publications and media in general and think, “damn, Hilter would be so so proud.” The gay community is doing a great job of promoting the Aryan ideal in its choice of models and spokespeople in ways that Uncle Adolf himself could have only dreamed. Ironic, no?

    Kudos to Kirven for being a gayfly and not letting up on the race issue at the meetings. She obviously made TPTB very uncomfortable. And that’s great!

    Racism within the gay comm needs to addressed and rooted out with much vigor.

  • Mark n Dallas

    “Every civil rights leader gets criticized [for these things] in their day.”

    – CD Kirven sounding a lot like Robin McGehee.

    It’s always amusing when self-described “activists” refer to themselves as “civil rights leaders.”

    GetEqual was never organized and it has already failed. Get Equal Now will suffer the same fate.

    Let’s hope GetSmart shows up soon.

  • sonofloud

    I prefer a more aggressive strategy for equality than waiting for your opponents to die.

    Blacks supported Prop 8 by over 70%
    Hispanics supported Prop 8 by 54%
    Whites and Asian support of Prop 8 was under 50%

    It’s quite clear who is to blame.
    Regardless of the number of white votes for Prop 8, the majority of white voters were AGAINST it so blaming white people for Prop 8 passing is absurd.

  • whatever

    @sonofloud: You sound like a moron, no offense. Blacks make up 6% of the CA electorate. Other crackers contributed to its passage, just like in Maine, which is 95% white, any every other state where gay marriage has come up for a vote and FAILED miserably.

  • whatever

    @whatever: lol @ “gayfly” I think I just made up a word. It should have read “gadfly.”

  • Saeed Jones

    I applaud Kirven’s efforts. Diversity in our community can be a strength that we choose to embrace and take advantage of as we challenge the conservative America that “we are America too.” I mean this not just regarding race but class, religion, sexual identity (trans) as well. We all have a place in this fight and deserve to be embraced by our community.

    On the other hand, our community’s continued denial of the issues that Kirvan (and countless others) have pointed out really could cost us everything.

  • whatever

    @sonofloud: And look at your so-called numbers. Hispanics voted for prop 8 by a majority and they make up a larger percentage of the CA electorate than blacks. Aren’t they responsible too, but your own republishing of flawed exit polling?

    Math is harrrd.

  • jason

    @sonofloud: I think that my mom’s fourth husband voted for Prop 8 and since he’s a homophobic Black man I cannot forgive him or any other Black person. Or my mom.

    Did I mention that everyone in the world is bisexual except me and that women use bisexuality to exploit the media?

    And foreigners are ruining our proud nation. My mom’s third husband was from Latvia.

  • sonofloud


    Except in 2008, black voter turnout in California doubled to roughly 12%… is also clear who the moron is, no offense.

  • sonofloud


    Yes, Hispanics are also to blame but obviously 54% is not nearly as bad as over 70%.
    Numbers don’t lie.

  • Lanjier

    What do they want the mainstream groups to do? It is just vague, and seems like clamoring for a higher status as a more deserving “sub-group” filled with resentment for white faces and polo shirts. They are uncomfortable around whites because they have racist feelings for whites.

    But it just seems to be vague “attention” or “more work to do to become more radically inclusive in all aspects of organizing.” What!? It makes no sense. What attention? It is just bratty racist whining, without specifics.

    Go form your own group. I want the mainstream groups to be race-neutral.

  • whatever

    @sonofloud: And in Maine and every other state where gay marriage is banned by direct democracy? Also the fault of minorities?

  • sonofloud

    @Mark n Dallas:

    GetEqual has “failed” ???
    The are the only gay group actually fighting for us LOL
    I guess you prefer HRC and our “fierce advocate” in the white house ???

  • Kieran

    Rather than bitch about “too many White people” at gay rights organizations and meetings, CD should be thanking these very people (even if they are Caucasian) for standing up for gay rights within a staunchly homophobic society. If CD really wants to see more black representation within the gay movement, why not gather some gay African-American friends and neighbors and bring them to a meeting or demonstration? What exactly does she want, an Affirmative Action program where whites have to go out and recruit gay blacks to join the struggle for gay civil rights? Nobody is excluding gay black people from full participation in the Gay Civil Rights Movement. All they need to do is show up.

  • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

    I wish Kirvin and Robinson all the best; the more gay/lesbian groups fighting the civil rights cause the better.

    The proof that homosexuals are born homosexual is that gays/lesbians are everywhere across every social-economic, racial, ethnic, religious, geographic, and age barrier. And, every single one of us is the product of a heterosexual fertilization.

    Alas, being as diverse a collection of all subcommunities of human culture, we too have our own fair share of racists, bigots, homophobes (self-loathers such as Reckers), sexists, ageists, xenophobes, transphobics, anti-semites, right-wingers, left-wingers, Mormons, Catholics, and on and on.

    The gay/lesbian community seeks understanding, acceptance, and respect that we too are “endowed by our Creator certain inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” yet ironically so many of us fail to respect those same rights of members other subcommunities. The acceptance or lesser “looking the other way” of the oppression of others only empowers our enemies too. Only those who directly and/or indirectly infringe and disenfranchise us of our rights are our enemies deserving of our focus and venom.

  • whatever

    @Lanjier: Race-neutral = overwhelmingly white by default.

    Pardon me, but your white privilege is showing. Must be nice to live in your world. But meanwhile, back in reality…

    Sounds like you have problem with minorities and are uncomfortable with those non-polo wearing types. It cuts both ways, doesn’t it?

  • sonofloud


    LOL Over 70% of black voters in California support Prop 8 and you try to smear me as the bigot.

  • sonofloud


    Well said.

  • whatever

    @sonofloud: You are a pretty vile bigot. That was a flawed exit poll. Read Nate Silver’s excellent analysis of it and subsequent polling with revised numbers.

    And you have NO answer to the Maine question, which is 95% percent white and every single other state that has voted down gay marriage.

    White homophobia perpetrated by white politicians and sundry gay bashers is endemic to this nation.

  • Baxter

    Regardless of who was responsible for Prop 8 passing, it is very clear that the black community is much less accepting of homosexuality than the white community.

  • Lanjier


    I think you are the racist here.

  • jason

    @sonofloud: After giving comfort to a Black man I gave him five dollars for gas for his car.
    He never repaid me.
    Why are there so many illegals in California?
    I think all the Black people voted for Prop 8 because they hate me. Or maybe they just hate my mom.

  • sonofloud


    Well there are about 2 black people in the whole state of Maine so blaming them would not be logical now would it?
    The only voters I blame for Prop 8 passing are the people in California who voted for it.
    Stop judging people on the color of the skin and start judging them by their actions.

  • whatever

    @Baxter: And yet the Congressional Black Caucus, which represents black communities across this country, has some of the most pro-gay legislators in the country.

    And white communities often elect the most ass-backward, slack-jawed, Bible-bleating, anti-gay morons imaginable to represent them.

    But the black community is more homophobic. Right.

    I don’t think it’s that simple. Is it your guys’ privilege or that fact that you have white family members or hang around lots of whites that you can’t see the malicious homophobia in the white community?

  • jason

    @Baxter: You seem obsessed with hating Black people. I hope that is not contagious.

  • Brutus

    @whatever: “Race-neutral = overwhelmingly white by default.”

    Yeah, because this country is overwhelmingly white. What’s the big deal?

    I totally agree with CD that we should be critical of the image we project in the media and try to help everyone feel welcome. But gay bars outnumber lesbian bars ANYWHERE. I just don’t think there’s as much demand for a lesbian bar. It’s not their scene. If you think differently, open one instead of bitching about how nobody else is doing it. You don’t even need a degree. Anyone with entrepreneurial spirit can do it. And lay off the Pride bashing. Finally, government IS slow. It’s aggravating sometimes, yes, and you should use that aggravation to keep the pressure on. But it’s an immutable fact.

  • Delaware Resident

    Racism do exist in the gay community and white gays and lesbians need to come out of the closet and address it.

  • Black Hispanic

    White supremacy is still a problem in America and white homosexuals need to acknowledge this.

  • Chitown Kev

    Oh, dear, this is a hot racist Queerty [email protected]Qjersey:

    “po’ white trash need not apply either.”


  • whatever

    @sonofloud: Confirmed. You are a racist moron. You blame blame blacks for the passage of prop 8, but don’t blame whites for passing antigay measures everywhere else.

  • whatever

    @Lanjier: Nice projection you got going there. Whatever helps you sleep at night. :)

  • Baxter

    @jason: Is Obama “obsessed with hating black people” because he said “If we are honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community. We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them”?

    I’m sorry if the truth doesn’t fit into your politically correct fantasy land.

  • jason

    @Chitown Kev: I agree.
    Rap music is homophobic.

  • Michael Robinson

    First of all I want to thank all of you for your comments. We are ready for this kind of engagement with the community. Reading the comments show us why we need to face and focus on this very issue that divides us. The oppressed has become the oppressor in our community. You see it’s more than just about race it is about our inability to have a conversation with each other without choosing race to defend our rights. It’s strange to me how most of you who have read the article chose to go right in to gay marriage.

    Activist across the country campaign MARRIAGE EQUALITY as FULL EUQALITY and that campaign did not work. There are certain organizations out there deciding what my equality should be without asking me what is important to me. Many of us out here do not know each other’s “WHY”. Now you are asking what is that? If the activist and organizations campaigning for marriage equality if they would have talk to others about what was important to them and other issues in their lives there could have been a chance to gain gather support.

    As an activist I have to know what is important to you before I go ask for your support too walks into battle with me. We don’t do that as activist in our community because we are so segregated by race and gender and we discriminate in our own community against each other. But yet we are out here yelling for equality but oppressing each other. We are the most diverse community in the world, yet we chose to segregate ourselves. The solution is within us, we have to change that. Forty-one years in this struggle and we are still dealing with the issue of racism in our community. There is something wrong and GET EQUAL NOW is going to engage all of us in this issue to gain equality.

    “That has to change”

    C.D.Kirven and myself (Michael Robinson) are willing to take on this challenge and many others to galvanize the grassroots community so we can stand together not matter what color, race, sexual orientation, gender identity you are. FULL EQUALITY belongs to ALL of us not just a small group of us. Stop telling me what my equality should be, ask me what is important to me so I can fight with you when I know what is important to you.

    If you want to know why I became an activist? Google (Jimmy Lee Dean -July 2008)

  • Chitown Kev

    Well. I look at it like this.

    If this is supposed to be a “spinoff” of GetEqual, that is, a direct action group, then I don’t see why they can’t coordinate actions with GetEqual.

    For example, you can’t have hordes of angry white gay men protesting in front of a black church; you would rightly or wrongly be called racist.

    I’m also noting that Kirven lives in Dallas; funny, because here in Chicago, lesbians pretty much have their own neighborhood, actually.

    It’s just interesting that people are focusing on the racial aspect of what Kirven is saying and not the sexism then again, there’s not a lot of women that comment at Queerty?

  • RW in LGB

    I’m all for GetEqual’s efforts. I’m 100% behind any work to bring the LGBTQ community together into one coherent, effective force.

    We need ENDA now. We need full repeal of DADT *and* DOMA now. We need to get the COURTS to recognize that the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution applies to ALL US citizens, straight or gay or bi or trans or whatever. And we CANNOT let ourselves be stupidly divided over silly things like race.

    Of course, I live in Long Beach, CA, where the LGBTQ community is well-established, very visible and a bit more integrated than most communities (say, West Hollywood). Gays and lesbians party together. Black and white LGBTQ folk are not as antagonistic toward each other as up in WeHo. We’re also quite gentrified. My husband and I have a house next door to a black lesbian firefighter and her girlfriend; we’re also close to her straight son, his fiancée and their cute-as-a-button toddler son. And the straight neighbors party with all of us (our immediate neighborhood is dominated by liberals– go figure).

    I guess what I’m saying is: Things CAN get better. But we have to work for the better things TOGETHER. Can we start to do that NOW? And HERE?

  • sonofloud


    How about some examples of these gay friendly black politicians and their actions? Not merely their names, what they have actually done?
    All I seem to see on tv are black musicians, actors, and athletes saying horrible things about gay people, even calling for their death.

  • sonofloud


    Please show where I didn’t blame white people for passing anti gay policies?

  • Tisha

    I wish C.D. and Michael well. I know them personally and they’ve been fighting for inclusivity in the Dallas LGBT community for quite some time. As a black bisexual (double exclude from the gaystream society), I think it’s extremely important that we start having these talks. We are so afraid to offend someone or hurt their feelings. Screw PC! Let’s start having an honest discussion about our own community. If the Catholics and Mormons can band together to push the passing of Prop 8, I am pretty sure the gaystream and qpoc (queer people of color) can do the same.

  • Chitown Kev

    @RW in LGB:

    Yeah, the Rogers Park section of Chicago is kinda like your neighborhood in Long Beach.

    I do have to say that Boystown is more integrated than it used to be.

  • sonofloud

    “Hidden due to low comment rating”

    I have NEVER seen anything like this at any web site.
    All hail mob rule… you guys like stoning people to death too?
    So much for free speech.
    All hail the One.
    No independent thought will be tolerated.

  • Lamar

    I have to agree, blacks did definitely contribute to Prop 8 passing and that’s coming from a black person so I’m not really insulted when people point to black people regarding Prop 8’s passage. Kirven isn’t racist for starting the group because she only wants to show that the gay community has black members as well which many people are ignorant of.

  • Chitown Kev


    But you conveniently ignore white people (Pat Robertson, Ret. General Mike Mullen, Tony Perkins, the Pope, etc. etc.) who get on TV and say the same things.

    My how…white of you.

  • sonofloud


    For the sack of accuracy:

    Black voter turnout in California in 2008 was 12%.
    And clearly that means White turnout could not have been 68% because that would mean Latino and Asian turnout combined would have been a mere 20% which is laughable.
    Especially since some on here made the point that Latino voters are to blame for Prop 8 as well as Black voters.

  • sonofloud

    @Chitown Kev:

    I agree, there are many, many horribly anti gay white people…..they also come in Latino, Asian, etc.
    When did I ever say otherwise?
    Or am I supposed to preface every comment with “there are anti gay white people too” ?

  • Chitown Kev


    No one has ever said that the black community in California didn’t contribute to the passing of Proposition 8…least of all me.

    And the black community in California (and not anywhere else!) should be criticized for being an important part of the coalition of votes that helped put Prop 8 over the top.

    But that blame needs to be proportional. Only 7% of California’s population is black. There’s only so many votes there and not enough votes to be decisive in and of itself.

  • Chitown Kev


    Then why do you apply a different and higher standard for black voters?

    Just say “all old religious buzzards” of every race and ethnicity and be done with it.

  • Tisha

    @Lamar I agree about the vote but when has Gay Inc ever reached out to the communities of color? It took national LGBT organizations 2 MONTHS after the passage of SB 1070 in AZ to draft a letter to condemn the legislation and that didn’t happen until after LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) drafted a resolution for the repeal of DADT. They are so busy trying to get married and registered at Crate and Barrel that they are missing other issues of social injustice.

  • whatever

    @sonofloud: You imbecile. They are legislators who vote for pro-gay legislation. Look at the roll call votes for the Matthew Shepherd Act and the DADT repeal, for example. You will see that every single black congressperson voted for it.

    Look that the votes against. Nothing but crackers.

    But the black community is more homophobic.

  • Bill Perdue

    People who blame or party blame African Americans or Latinos for the defeat of same sex marriage in California are liars and racists. Especially those who make up or manipulate statistics.

    Our defeat there was partly the fault of HRC/EQCA/No on 8 who ran a Eurocentric campaign ignoring the fact that minorities combined are the majority in California, although that’s not always reflected in the rolls of registered voters.

    And partly it’s the result of the last minute exploitation of Obama’s bigoted rallying cry “gawd’s in the mix” by Yes on 8 who launched a huge media campaign with print, TV and Radio ad and phones calls quoting what Obama repeatedly said at Rick Warrens bigotfest and on MTV. The polls, which had been running in our favor, suddenly reversed as the bigot’s Yes on 8 campaign, flush with moron money and catholic endorsement galvanized the bigoted voters from the roman catholic, moron and southern baptist cults.

    As for the general question, it’s only to the extent that the LGBT movements can reflect everyone in our communities that we can even begin thinking about winning. That requires the constant criticism and ostracism of transphobes, racists and gynephobes. All kinds of bigotries are woven into the very fabric of American society and we don’t have a chance if we don’t consciously, publically and repeatedly reject them. Our communities and organizations can’t be expected to be a mirror of some future or utopian society but if they don’t reflect the transition between the current ugly reality and what we’re fighting for then we might as well give up and vote for Democrats and Republicans, stupidly expecting them to give us our equality.

  • whatever

    @sonofloud: That’s white privilege for you. Every ethnic community is singled out for special treatment, but you can’t single out whites because that would be redundant.

  • Chitown Kev

    Boy, has this thread veered off the subject so let me ask this…

    Do the white posters here blame black gay people for black homophobia?

    Because…I mean, if I lived in California, my rights would have been taken away too. So I was defintely unhappy about the initial exit polls (hell, I wouldn’t dare write down here some of the things that I was thinking).

    Well, all of them but Artur Evans.

    Oh, and 99% of the United States Senate is white.

    Soon to be 100%.

  • sonofloud

    @Chitown Kev:

    How is reporting the fact that 70% of black voters supported Prop 8 holding them to a higher standard?

  • sonofloud

    @Chitown Kev:

    The point is that the black community is the most homophobic of the minority communities here in Califoria so that is the reason you don’t see alot of black people at GetEqual events in California. (because you can hide being gay, you can’t hide your skin color)
    Kudos to the ones who do show up for having the cojones to do so.
    Oh and yes there are lots of anti gay white people too.

  • Chitown Kev


    Well, you would also have to report the fact that those initial estimates of black support of Prop 8 have been discounted.

    You would also have to report that there are more states in the union that have anti-gay marriage amendments in their Constitution than the state of California. And some of them are mighty white.

    You can’t just cherry what you “report” to suit your racist fantasies of these big bad terrible scary homophobic black people who are cock blocking you from your rights and be seen as credible.

  • sonofloud

    @Chitown Kev:

    OK so now I will end every comment with:

    There are lots of anti gay white people too.
    There are lots of anti gay religious people too.

  • Chitown Kev


    Part of the problem here, I see, is that you are in that California bubble.

    Have you been to Bakersfield lately? Or Fresno?

  • Chitown Kev

    I want to repeat my question though.

    Do the white posters here blame black gay people for black homophobia?

  • sonofloud

    @Chitown Kev:

    OK lets be proportional….

    If only white people voted, Prop 8 wouldn’t have passed.
    If only asian people voted, Prop 8 wouldn’t have passed.
    If only latino people voted, Prop 8 would have narrowly passed.
    If only black people voted, Prop 8 would have over whelming passed.

  • sonofloud


    Sorry I forgot, for Kev….

    If only religious people voted, Prop 8 would have overwhelming passed.

  • sonofloud

    @Chitown Kev:

    NO they have not been discounted at all.
    I saw one so called study at which tried to disprove it but they used an extremely small sample and convenient polled in only the most liberal of CA cities with no results at all from: Riverside, San Bernardino, or any of the Inland Empire.

  • Chitown Kev

    If only old people had voted, Prop 8 would have overwhelmingly passed.

    If only Republicans had voted, Prop 8 would have overwhelmingly passed.

    If Prop 8 were only on the ballot in the Central Valley (it’s mighty white there, too), it would have overwhelmingly passed.

  • Lamar

    @Chitown Kev: I wholeheartedly agree. I think the reason people are directing so much anger at the black community though is because of the proportion of blacks from the community who voted for Prop 8 compared to the proportion of white voters rather than the overall numbers. I am disappointed in my community for voting the way they did considering that they too are discriminated against because of things they can’t change.

  • whatever

    @Chitown Kev: Yeah, I remembered that douche Davis after I hit submit.

    IIRC, I think Joseph Cao and Charles Djou were two of the handful of non-white Repubs voted for repeal. That’s pretty funny.

    But minority communities have the problem with homophobia.

  • Chitown Kev

    Oh, and if NO black person voted one way or the other, Prop 8 would have narrowly passed.

  • Chitown Kev


    But you know, that whole thing suggests to me just how racially segregated California is, if anything.

    I mean, you can actually go back and look at the exit polls from the 2004 and 2006 marriage amendment battles. That type of disparity was simply not there.

  • whatever

    That faulty exit poll was the worst thing happended to the gay community. It brought out the racists in the gay community like flypaper. They tenaciously hold on to the discredited findings like a hungry dog with a bone.

  • Lanjier

    I think some people go into gay activism to help their people. The problem is that they see the white guy from Harvard sitting across from them and feel resentful that their activism is going to help someone who they do not consider to be one of them. They are white, “privileged” and not really worthy of the gay activism some people want to deliver. They need an organization to carve out the white gays because they lack crucial color in their faces that makes them different from “people of color.” In the new organization, they will be surrounded with colorful faces, images of themselves, hopefully lots of mirrors, lots of underprivileged wallets. Now that they feel in their comfort zone, they can get some gay activism done for their peeps.

  • sonofloud

    @Chitown Kev:

    So I take it we are in agreement Kev….

    Black voters, Latino votes, religious voters, older voters, and rural voters are most likely to support discrimination against gay people via Prop 8.

    So then you have to look at percentages….
    with black voters at over 70%, latinos at 54%, I would guess close to 100% of religious voters, and let’s say 60 percentile for elderly?

    Of course we are strictly speaking about California voters.

    There are many anti gay white voters.
    There are many anti gay religious voters.

  • Tisha

    Of course you can always argue that they purposely brought out false exit polls (fueled by conservative media) knowing that the stupid f*ggots and dumb n*ggers would go at each other throats while they come up with new plots to strip rights from minorities.

  • Chitown Kev

    “Religious voters, older voters, and rural voters are most likely to support discrimination against gay people via Prop 8.”

    Fixed that for you.

  • Chitown Kev


    Yeah…you are probably right about that.

    Still don’t know what that has to do with the story…well, maybe it does…

  • whatever

    @Tisha: yup. judging from the responses almost two years later, some white gays gladly took the bait.

  • Chitown Kev


    Yeah, but some in the black community took that bait too; that 70% figure is cited by anti-gay black preachers as well.

    I. ain’t. letting. them. off. the. hook.

  • sonofloud

    Weston, 44, is one of an overwhelming number – 70 percent – of black voters in California who voted for Proposition 8 and helped secure its passage, according to exit polling conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International.

    African Americans, energized by Barack Obama’s presidential bid, boosted their numbers at the polls this year to 10 percent of the state’s electorate, up from 6 percent in 2004.

    “The Obama people were thrilled to turn out high percentages of African Americans, but (Proposition 8) literally wouldn’t have passed without those voters,” said Gary Dietrich, president of Citizen Voice, a nonpartisan voter awareness organization.

    Latinos were 18 percent of California’s voters, and through sheer numbers also contributed to Proposition 8’s success. But 53 percent of Latino voters supported the measure, a much lower percentage than black voters. Among white and Asian voters, 49 percent voted for the measure.

    To anyone who says these statistics are wrong…..could you please provide a link to what you think the statistics are?

  • sonofloud

    California’s black and Latino voters, who turned out in droves for Barack Obama, also provided key support in favor of the state’s same-sex marriage ban. Seven in 10 black voters backed a successful ballot measure to overturn the California Supreme Court’s May decision allowing same-sex marriage, according to exit polls for The Associated Press.

    More than half of Latino voters supported Proposition 8, while whites were split. Religious groups led the tightly organized campaign for the measure, and religious voters were decisive in getting it passed. Of the seven in 10 voters who described themselves as Christian, two-thirds backed the initiative. Married voters and voters with children strongly supported Proposition 8. Unmarried voters were heavily opposed.

    PS Guess I was wrong about religious voters…..wasn’t 100% but 66%.

  • sonofloud

    @Chitown Kev:

    except we are both wrong, was 66% of “christian voters” not 100%

  • Mark n Dallas

    GetEQUAL and GetEqualNow = Dumb and dumber.

  • Bill Perdue

    @Mark n Dallas: I thought you were from Plano, AndrewW.

    Whatever, you can go back to sleep now.

  • Anthony in Nashville

    @Chitown Kev:

    I wonder if people will answer your question.

    I feel that the black gay community is often placed in a no-win situation.

    On one hand, many of us have gotten too comfortable hiding in plain sight and given white gays the very difficult task of “reaching out” to heterosexual black people. Hate to be blunt, but a lot of white gays are not used to being around black folks and lack credibility, for lack of a better word. Like it or not, black gays need to be the bridge between the two communities.

    On the other hand, if we step up, mainstream gay media and organizations don’t always adequately support us. I’m talking about coverage and coins. I’d guess there are millions of dollars circulating in the gay nonprofit and organizing world.
    It feels like very little of them are given to initiatives headed by black gays for this very purpose.

    If my assumptions are incorrect I’m sure one of the Queerty queens will put me in check.

  • sonofloud

    @Chitown Kev:

    I guess I’m missing the point of what Arkansas amendment 3 has to do with Prop 8 in California ?

  • Tisha

    @sonofloud, if we stick with your stats, the reason why droves and droves of African American and Hispanic voters turned out is b/c the Obama campaign did not underestimate or take for granted the black and hispanic vote. They poured tons of money and time into reaching to these voters. Can you say the same for HRC or NGLTF? It’s quite easy to blame blacks and hispanics b/c most people equate homophobia to ignorance which equates to people of color.

  • sonofloud

    @Chitown Kev:

    Yep, that is the so called study that tried to disprove the results.
    They only sampled 3000 people and only in the most liberal of cities (except SD).
    No polling of black voters in Riverside, San Bernardino, or any of the Inland Empire (where there is a large black population).

  • Chitown Kev

    @Anthony in Nashville:

    As you pointed out once before, the Black Panthers received some funding from rich whites.

    I don’t see why the same couldn’t happen for an organization like this.

    Unless all of us black folks are simply black and gay black folks who are, in some ways, as angry at the straight black community (if not more) as gay whites (with a little justification, although white folks just say all sorts of ignorant shit out of their mouths).

    The question is still out there, but that involves one of those difficult conversation that we need to have and white gays (and frankly, some black gays) are toooooo scared to have.

  • sonofloud


    Yes I agree, Obama nearly doubled the usual amount of black voters in CA, unfortunately over 70% of them chose to discriminate against gay people.
    I don’t blame gay organizations for how black people voted. I blame the people who actually voted.

  • Chitown Kev


    blacks are so much more homobigoted than white? The Arkansas vote (and all the other ones that I posted) would seem to suggest different.

    In fact, with the curious exception of the Ohio vote where a majority of Latino voters (56%) actually voted against the marriage amendment, blacksa and white voted pretty much the same way.

    Explain that.

  • Cam

    What I noticed in the article was that she had no direction as far as gay rights goes. She said she wants the gay community to be more inclusive but used as examples magazine covers and bars. Right now, I don’t give a shit about Magazine covers and bars. Get our civil rights, I don’t care if you’re black, white, Asian, Hispanic, or from a galaxy far far away. We have federal laws on the books that discriminate against all of us. To complain that bars in your local area catering to a particular race are too far off the strip is incredible to me as an argument for attacking a group like Get Equal. Additionally, she was a part of GetEqual, she was not excluded yet to supposedly make the main gay groups more racially inclusive she…..quit? This sounds like she was much more interested in running the show and quit because she had to be part of a group. And Lastly, to talk about gay white Males, the vast majority of HRC presidents have been women. The group has it’s problems, but being exclusively male sure isn’t one of them.

  • Chitown Kev


    By the CNN exit poll, that would be 33% of the black electorate.

    (Which surprised the hell out of me; I thought that an oversampling of the rural black vote had a lot to do with that error; in fact, I still do. But remember, No On 8 got killed all over Inland California and not just the black communities).

    After all, Alameda County has the largest black population in the state of California and Alameda County voted down Prop 8 by 25 percentage points.

  • whatever

    @Chitown Kev:
    “blacks are so much more homobigoted than white?”

    that’s the gospel and they are sticking to it. gay racists are consistent if nothning else.

  • Chitown Kev


    I was going to bring this up.

    When black gay activists talk about “inclusion” I’m unsure as to exactly what that means and how much of it they want.

    Let’s take the magazine covers (or for lack of a better word, imagery critique).

    Blacks are ~14% of the population. I would think that about that same percentage (or a little lower) are members of the gay community.

    (Although those percentages would be a lot higher in urban enviroments).

    So ~1 in 7 images should feature a black person. Or…if we want to say POC let’s say ~1 in 5 images?

  • Cam

    @Chitown Kev:

    That is fine, and that needs to be taken up with the magazines or the publishers. But when a groups sole existence is getting us our civil rights, you don’t use Magazine covers or bar nights as a reason to attack them.

  • Chitown Kev


    Yeah, I guess that they can’t let the facts get in the way of a good story or their bigotry.

  • Anthony in Nashville

    Get Equal already has splinter factions? This is not a good look.

  • Chitown Kev


    But that does have to do with the image that the gay community (I don’t feel like all that LGBTIQ shit at the moment) sends out to the public.

    Imagery is an important part of any civil rights movement.

  • sonofloud

    @Chitown Kev:

    For the millionth time I am NOT talking about anything other than 70% percent support of Prop. 8 by black voters.
    This article is about how there is little to no visible black people in GetEqual and my point is, in California (where GetEqual is based) you have 70% of black voters choosing to support discrimination against gay people.
    Is it any wonder black gay people (in California) are afraid to come out of the closet????
    As for what ever happens in Arkansas…..that is completely irrelevant to why there are little to no visible black people in GetEqual (which is based in California).
    Stop blaming gay people and white people for 70% of black voters in California choosing discrimination.
    It is called taking responsibility for your actions and not smearing people who point out facts, racists.

  • sonofloud

    @Chitown Kev:

    Yes because Alameda is a liberal area…..that is why they conveniently did not poll anyone in the Inland Empire because they knew it would mess up their intended results.

  • Chitown Kev


    Whos blaming gay people or white people for how black California voters voted?

    I haven’t and there’s a very explicit comment of mine on this thread that notes that.

    However, you want to take a single (and probably wrong) fact in isolation.

    And to suit what agenda?

  • Baxter

    @whatever: Al Sharpton says that the black community has a homophobia problem. Clearly he’s a racist.

  • Chitown Kev

    But what does THIS article have to do with the black community at large?

    This article has to do with black gays. Or are all of us gay blacks simply black to white gays?

    That’s part of thr reason that I asked the question that many of you white posters are too chickenshitted and scared to answer.

  • Cam

    @Chitown Kev: said..

    No. 100 · Chitown Kev

    But that does have to do with the image that the gay community (I don’t feel like all that LGBTIQ shit at the moment) sends out to the public.

    Imagery is an important part of any civil rights movement.

    The civil rights are important. Imagery is imagery, I would much rather the image of the gay community be that of a foaming at the mouth angry green skinned Martian if I get my civil rights. Attacking a group that has gotten us results because she doesn’t like their racial make-up. A make-up that she was a part of before she quit is nonsensical to me. Again, she was part of this group and says she wants them to be more racially diverse yet quit and says that Magazine covers and Bar nights are her proof. I get what you’re saying and I agree with your overall goal, but I think that in this particular instance we have a person who is just being pissy because they didn’t get to run things and is lashing out.

  • wondermann

    @sonofloud: your statement is the reason why there are issues. Get a clue.

  • Who cares?


    We have a few dozen radical misfits. So what. Let them fight over nothing.

  • Chitown Kev


    “she was part of this group and says she wants them to be more racially diverse yet quit…”

    But apparently with Robin McGhee’s blessing.

    Which is…curious.

    And I’m sorry, there’s a reason that MLK and Malcolm X wore suits all of the time in public.

    Imagery is not simply imagery.

  • Chitown Kev


    “Is it any wonder black gay people (in California) are afraid to come out of the closet????”

    So…I came out to a homophobic family (some virulently so) when I was 17.

    Just because something is difficult to do or fearful to do doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done.

    So don’t throw a pity party for black gays (or any gays) that refuse to come out of the closet.

    Because I sure don’t.

  • pithyscreenname

    So a group who’s biggest protest has had 100 people so far is now got a group of its members breaking off to form another group?

    I swear its like the 60’s all over again. Communist group splits into factions – some like Mao, some like Trotsky, some like neither. CP USA is too pro – democrat. SDS splits into more radical groups.

    This is just classic super left politics. Ultimately everyone else’s vision of utopia is different, and differences of opinion can not be tolerated. So the groups split into smaller and smaller factions, until literally you have “groups” of one person.

    I actually agree completely with the analysis of Get Equal NOW- but dividing up 100 people into an even smaller population is not going to accomplish much.

    Ultimately having an agenda of “demanding equality now” is fine, but it misses the nuances of the real world, and devolves quickly into tests of purity that no one can ever pass.

  • Anthony in Nashville

    @Chitown Kev:

    I think it’s revealing that this thread devolved into a Prop 8 debate instead of addressing the original article or the question you posed.

  • anonymous

    Have any of you who seem to be blowing this article out of proportion (along with dominating the comment section) gone to any of the black websites and asked THERE why aren’t THEY running this article instead of Queerty?

  • jeffree

    @Chitown Kev: Great question. I’ll be honest here and not be PC. I can only speak from my own experience, but I do hear a lot of racist comments from white gay men. And straight white guys too.

    Pointing those out to them shuts them up (at least around me) but doesn’t change their minds. Once in awhile a little heart-to-heart discussion does some good.

    At my midwestern school we have approx. 20% Blacks, 15% Hispanics, <10% Asians including people of IndoPak background, and rest are mostly white. The participation of POC in our LGBT events is very low. The handful of POC I've asked about this say pretty much the same thing: they don't want 2 get exposed to racist crâpola theyve dealt with everywhere else. They do have Affinity groups/ clubs for each but they're not focused on LGBT issues.

    I think that for those of us grew up in multiracial/ ethnic families, we're not afraid to discuss the race issue but i sure dont see many people wanting to do that at school. It's the scary elephant in the room.

    Even with all the talk of "diversity" on campus, it's just sad that many of us tend to hang around mostly people of similar backgrounds (social class, ethnicity, race and religion). I can't speak for other schools.

    I don't think that answers your question head on, but I think that until people have those difficult conversations that people see me and think of me as a white lower middleclass straight hick. I'm actually Whitish adopted (probably related to Sarah Palin's husband—yeesh—), gay, and grew up just above the poverty line.

    People tend to affix a couple word label on new acquaintances "Wealthy Cuban Lesbian" "Black gay religious midwesterner or "effeminate New York Jew" until they dig a little deeper.

    We're not digging enough or talking about this enough !

  • Chitown Kev


    But the issues that CD presented aren’t only black issues. We have sexism, ageism, transphobia that she mentions as well.

    So why are YOU (and the majority of the posters) focused on the race comments?

    Oh…and Pam’s House Blend has already picked this up. That’s a black website.

  • Anthony J.

    Maybe because…Oh, I don’t know….so very few black people COME OUT OF THE CLOSET. I dated black guys, plenty of them, and even the ones who were out were not out. The ones who were ‘in’ didn’t even like me saying they were gay. Instead of preaching to caucasian men about how to be gay, first go do outreach WITHIN YOUR OWN ETHNIC COMMUNITY on how to come out as gay.

    If black gays spent half the energy they do proving how racist white gays are on….Oh I don’t know…helping their own communities combat homophobia, maybe we’d all be a little more succesful.

  • Black Pegasus

    Just two points my Darlings.

    1. I applaud this courageous Lesbian for
    her efforts. The elitist brick wall that exists
    within the mainstream gay community displays an ambiguous
    sign that reads “PEOPLE OF COLOR” need not enter. Lets break
    that damn wall down shall we…?

    2. Whenever Black Americans are the subject of any topic
    on a gay blog or message board, I notice the brigade of PROP 8
    soldiers marching in to remind the world of who “they think”
    stole the right to marry away from gays in California. Here’s
    a tip: That Horse is Dead honey! I don’t care to hear the shit anymore. So shut up and fight the next fight!Mmmm-Kay?



  • Brent Joel

    @Tisha: So busy trying to get married and register at Crate & Barrel? That’s about as homophobic of a comment as I’ve read on here. YES, gay people SHOULD put farrrrrrrrr more priority on OUR social injustices because we have far more damn social injustices toward us than any other minority group..and get this you homophobe…we aren’t able to do a whole lot more things that others are able to do. This is the most sensitive time of our movement. You want us to stop our plight and fight toward marriage equality to now fight for illegal immigrants (not even legal) when we legal citizens are barely recognized under mandated law? GET A CLUE! and know you audience…
    and your Crate & Barrel comment, I can just as easily throw a few racially insensitive comments about stores but then that would be completely out of line, you’d get me fired from my job and I’d be a horrible, rotten human. Making homophobic jokes about gay marriage and HA HA HA…GOOO illegal immigration!
    Again, get a God damn clue. I’ll always put gay issues first before any other issue because I am gay (just as EVERYYYYYYYYYYYY minority group puts their causes first in advance of other social injustices…at least succesful ones!)

  • Kev C

    A lot of words and most of them bitchy …

  • Jin K.L

    Chi Town Kev: While you pose questions at white gays…as an Asian gay in Los Angeles(who’s circle of friends is mainly all Asian and has done GREAT outreach for decades, personally in the Asian community, hence my elated reaction to the Asian vote being one of the few groups in favor of gay marriage after the Prop 8 polls)

    My question for black gay folks is: how much outreach do you all do within your own communities?

    All due respect, and it may come as a blanket statment but is really just a personal observation from people I know, but the black gay friends I do have (albeit, not many, around 8 or 9) not a single one of them has ever done outreach to their own communities. Three of them are not even out to their families, and essentially lead a double life with their straight black friends and us. One of them is so busy being hyper critical of the white gay community, we often wonder how his passion for disdain is misdirected at the wrong people and how he’d be better served with that passion in educating his own family first (he’s out, parents and family are not supportive). I guess my point is, while black gays wait for white gays to inform and educate the black community on gay rights; are they doing much of it themselves?

  • Justin

    @Who cares?: Hi AndrewW from Plano, Texas. So today you are Mark N Dallas and Who Cares? You are pathetic.

  • Jimmi

    @Qjersey: HRC

  • Pete W

    I applaud any effort for LGBT diversity and inclusion. As a gay person of color I understand the struggle for justice within the LGBT community and the larger society. I can tell you firsthand that Diversity and Inclusion are national initiatives of the Human Rights Campaign. It is important for people to hear our voices. It is important that we make sure that people see the rich tapestry that makes up the LGBT community. At the end of the day we are all brothers and sisters working for Civil Rights.

  • Hypatia

    The debate raging here has totally ignored the role of trans people in the movement, and their place in Kirven’s vision. Typical. They’re a mere afterthought if they’re remembered at all.

    What attracted me to this story was the promise of some relief from the heavy domination by white men of the leading factions of the Glb(t) movement. This has been a serious lack of diversity, and for the reasons explored in the article, is harmful to the mainstream gay movement as a whole. I’m just so glad that someone has addressed this glaring lack openly and brought it up for debate, so that at least we can have some consciousness of our internal problems.

    The individuals here who exclusively focused on fomenting enmity between black and gay people are guilty of some serious derailing of a woman of color’s issues from their place of white male cisgender privilege. Dudes, check your privilege, please. I know it hurts to be told that, and I’m so sorry to have to do this. Nothing is harder than to check one’s privilege! But as a community we will never be able to advance as long as we don’t open up the movement to more diversity. Diversity is our strength. Without it we all suffer.

    Let’s keep the focus on the movement becoming able to represent the rest of us who aren’t the most privileged layer of the community.

  • John

    I hate this infighting. we need to stand united against homophobia!

  • counterpoll

    Sorry to see this thread got hi-jacked due to some terribly racist remarks. And statistical misuse that was effectively and logically handled with better data.

    On social issues it’s “religious status” that seems to be a better predicter than etnicity or race.
    Find out how often an individual attends religious services and you can better forecast how s/he will vote on social issues such a LGBT rights, abortion, and even gun rights.

    Of course there is a connection between ethnicity and religion e.g. LDS members are predominately white, Catholics are losing Hispanic members to evangelical churches and still skew very white anglo. Black Americans make up a large percentages of many evangelical Protestant churches, et cetera.

    This said, most of the homophobia is based on religious objections. And yes I know there are many LGBT-affirming churches, but their population is still outnumbered by a long shot.

    I seriously question why the arguments on the passage of ENDA and repeal of DADT & DOMA –and Prop. 8 — sink to racially motivated discussions.

    Let’s stay focused on the biggest source of anti-LGBT attitudes, instead of resorting to some of the name-calling that’s running rampant here on numerous threads.

    One of the main reasons so many EU member countries outscore the US on lgbt rights is ++the lack of relgiosity in the population and ++the public desire to see greater separation of Church and State.

    And, AMEN to all those here reminding how Gay Inc staff are almost all urban white upper-middle class men, and fewer women. I’ve attended a few events of two organisations and it was like a 1950s country club party — A sea of white faces in expensive suits. I stopped donating years ago.

  • Baxter

    @counterpoll: Clearly the racist rapist white male oppressors in “Gay, Inc” should be wandering the streets, press-ganging any women or minorities they find into the organization so that you can feel more comfortable when you attend events.

    Also, do you not realize how racist you sound? Wouldn’t you object if I had written something like this:

    “And, AMEN to all those here reminding how GetEQUAL NOW staff are almost all urban black lower-class men, and fewer women. I’ve attended a few events of their organisation and it was like Straight Outta Compton – A sea of black faces in sagging pants. I stopped donating years ago.”

    But of course hating white people is perfectly acceptable.

  • timncguy

    @Chitown Kev</[email protected]sonofloud: Let me take a chance and throw my two cents into the debate you two are having over who is responsible for Prop 8 in CA.

    I don’t look at it as the %%% of each group that voted FOR Prop 8. I look at it instead as the difference between the %%% that each group voted for Prop 8 as compared to the %%% that SAME group voted FOR Obama.

    Let me explain by using some of the numbers that have been thrown around whether they are totally accurate or not, they will still illustrate my point.

    White voters – 51% AGAINST Prop 8 55% FOR Obama, a difference of 4 points.

    Black voters – 30% AGAINST Prop 8 95% FOR Obama a difference of 65 points.

    (I’m not claiming that my numbers for the %%% for Obama are correct. I’m just using them to illustrate the point. But, what we do know for a FACT, is that if everyone who voted FOR Obama also voted AGAINST Prop 8, then Prop 8 would have failed)

    What this shows to me is that the white voters who voted FOR Prop 8, were likely to be conservative republicans who one wouldn’t have expected to be pro-gay in the first place. But, the black voters who voted FOR Prop 8 were likely to be liberal democrats and should not have voted anti-gay. And, if they weren’t liberal democrats, then one would have to assume they only came out and voted for a democrat for president (in larger numbers than ever before) because he is black and not because they agree with any of his democratic political objectives.

    Now then, who do I blame for Prop 8 passing? I blame OBAMA because he did not lift ONE FINGER in CA to convince the black community to come out against anti-gay bigotry. I blame OBAMA because of his “gawd is in the mix” anti marriage equality position that was used by the Prop 8 side in robo calls.

    I blame OBAMA because as a constitutional scholar he should know better than to claim that gawd can be in the mix of a CIVIL matter in the first place. I’m relatively certain that the constitution guarantees that gawd CANNOT be in the mix of civil issues.

  • counterpoll

    @Baxter: I stopped reading before the end of your first sentence. Please try again.

  • Hold Leadership Accountable

    If we hold leaders of our queer social justice organizations to the values that are the foundation of their missions and visions, we’ll have more POC in leadership positions. There are far too many orgs that do not apply social justice values and practices to their internal organizational culture (i.e. hiring, promotions, communication, etc.).

    Take the Gay Straight Alliance Network in California, for example. In the past 10 years, the founder and current executive director, Carolyn Laub, has continuously lost POC staff due to her leadership or lack there of. In the past 10 years at least 30 staff have been employed at the organization, which equals the transition of an average of 3 staff per year. Of the known 30 staff, 19 were identified POC. One might say, “this is great! Laub is clearly committed to empowering POC”. And this is what she claims as well. However, it’s important to know that 12 of the 19 people were either fired or resigned within two years of working at the organization. And if you talked to these folks, those that can talk (given that several were forced to signed gag letters), you’ll find that majority, if not all, resigned or were fired due to issues with Laub’s leadership. Another interesting point is that the only staff that have managed to stay “happily” employed more that 2 years at the organization have been white. Did I mention that Laub is white herself?

    Laub’s currently has a staff of 11, 5 of which are POC. “That’s not too bad”, one might say. However, if you look closer, you’ll see that 4 of those 5 staff are associates/coordinators and are not in leadership positions. The last POC staff that was in a leadership position was fired after challenging Laub’s leadership practices. And the one before that resigned. And the one before that was fired – yet again, for challenging Laub’s leadership practices.

    In addition to leadership within social justice organizations disempowering and forcing POC out, contradicting their missions and values, orgs such as GSA Network are also doing the same with the youth they serve. For example, youth board members and youth council members at GSA Network have come forward in opposition to Laub’s consistent tokenization of POC youth. In addition, several youth have shared that they have been confronted and silenced by Laub when they raise their concerns. Creating positions for youth on boards, developing youth councils, and having youth speak at rallies, does NOT make an organization youth led/youth driven if the organization does not provide youth real decision making power in the organization. And when a youth challenges leadership and is reprimanded for expressing themselves, it is time for a change in leadership.

    In short, it is time we as people, POC and white, committed to social justice and to creating change in the queer community, hold our leaders accountable. It’s time that organizations in the queer movement stop saying “it’s not my problem” when they know a partner organization is not practicing social justice values. And it’s time that co-workers speak-up when leadership is not upholding social justice practices with all staff.

    If we want to see more POC in leadership, then we need to hold our current leaders accountable to the social justice values that they preach!

  • Ricky

    The gay community and certainly the gay rights movement is fatally flawed by ageism, racism and sexism. The farmer kicks the wife, the wife kicks the child, the child kicks the dog, the dog kicks the cat. We remain slaves to the worst of human impulses. Will/can we rise above it as a community? Look at what the victims of the Holocaust are doing to their arab brothers. Is there hope? If America can go from slavery to a Obama over the course of 150 years, the answer is maybe.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Jin K.L:

    This is a fair question.

    Based on my observations (and, again, this is imperfect and based largely on a life lived in the Midwest)

    Those who do come out leave the community at the first available opportunity and the most outreach that they do is with their family and maybe, just maybe, their church. (Thsi was more or less the option that I chose)

    There are those that come out (or not) and remain within the black community and, if they belong to a church (and many of them do, though not all of them) choose to abide by the DADT protocols of the churchified community.

    Of course, there are many other variations to that but as you can infer from my previous comment, yes, black gays have some work to do in the black community, make no mistake about it.

    In a weird way, I say thank the Flying Spaghetti Monester for Prop 8 ’cause white gays won’t put up with 1/10 of the BS that black gays put up with from theie communities just for the sake of a little straight and Christian privilege.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Jin K.L:

    But that’s all most white gays are doing is waiting around just like black gays; there are very few activists out there actually, and many gays of all races all very ill-informed as to gay issues (e.g. remember Jared Polis, a US Congressman, thinking that a federal hate crimes bill was already the law…he’s more the rule than the exception)

    So even in the…apathy that I believe that you are citing, black gays are not alone in that; that’s universal in LGBT communities.

    But you are correct that black gays can reach out to the straight black community better than any white gay can.

    Oh,now don’t let anyone think that I won’t criticize my fellow black gays.

    And…I answered my own question, in part. I still think the rest of this board is awfully chickenshitted and talks a good game that signifys bullshit. ‘Cause none of you can answer it not based on what I wrote but based on what you think and why.

  • Cam

    Again, Attacking a group that is focused on ending discrimination at a federal level, for not being inclusive, when the person herself is a woman of color and was there at the begining of the group, was not kicked out, but decided to quit, and now is screaming about bar nights and magazine covers to me is somebody complaining that she didn’t have the power she felt she should in the group.

    This seems like somebody in the 1860’s telling the abolitionists that fighting to end slavery was elitist and stupid because they were ignoring the slaves that had tuberculosis and cholera and should be more focused on them. Of somebody in the Sufferagette movement saying that they shouldn’t be spending time fighting for the right of women to vote since so many women were abused. Having federal discriminatory laws effects all of us, both in our lives and in the perceptions of the entire nation. If this woman wants to tackle racial inequalities I saw more power to her, but when her main focus is to attack groups focusing on national discrimination because they aren’t focused on Magazine covers, I say this is all about her own self-aggrandizement.

  • Cam

    @Chitown Kev: said…

    Oh,now don’t let anyone think that I won’t criticize my fellow black gays.

    I would never think that Kev, you are an equal opportunity critisizer. ;)

  • Chitown Kev


    Well…I’m most hard on the one that I get to look at in the mirror every morning.

    I would like to write longer pieces than these damn comment postings (I’ve done a few diaries over at Pam’s) but I’m not the owner of this thing.

    That writing and information and my opinions are actually what I’m best at and it’s the best gift that I can give as far as activism to my fellow GLBTs (rich, poor, white, Latino, trans, you name it).

  • Tisha

    @Brent Joel…and you have just reiterated my argument. What you consider worthy fights is anything that is considered a “gay” issue. The gay agenda is nothing more than middle to upper middle class white males trying to get access to rights that primarily benefit them. In short, you’re just trying to hang on to your white privilege. As many have stated, we are a very diverse community and what you feel is OUR agenda may not be OUR agenda. My crate and barrel statement was just to wake you up to the fact that there is more going on with the LGBT community (especially qpoc) than just wedding bells and tax benefits. We come from communities with bigger issues such as poverty, homeless youth, increased HIV cases among minority women, reproductive rights, crime, healthcare, unemployment and YES immigration issues. These are all things that affect the LGBT community. So excuse me if I don’t easily jump on Gay Inc.’s bandwagon.

  • Cam

    No. 136 · Tisha
    @Brent Joel…and you have just reiterated my argument. What you consider worthy fights is anything that is considered a “gay” issue. The gay agenda is nothing more than middle to upper middle class white males trying to get access to rights that primarily benefit them. In short, you’re just trying to hang on to your white privilege.

    You’re a spoiled idiot. Please explain how getting rid of federal discrimination for military service, marriage and employment discrimination is “Holding on to White Privilage.” Really? So a young transexual being protected from being fired from work is somehow only “White Privilage”? So a young child kicked out of their home being able to go to college by promising military service is somehow not keeping somebody from homelessness or poverty? Those issues such as pverty and homelessness? Part of them are from the inability of gays to be full members of society. Gays are marginalized by federal discrimination laws that mandate we are second class citizens. This in turn creates much of the homelessnes. Again, you are the person that would have told abolishionists to stop fighting to end slavery because they weren’t concentrating enough on the fact that some slaves had tuberculosis. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  • Cam


    I apologize for calling you a spoiled idiot. That lowered the level of the discussion and I shoulnd’t have said it.

  • Guttersnipe

    @Tisha: Thanks for your comment. I feel the same way. As a queer white male who has done a majority of his work in low-income communities of color, I have been astonished by comments coming from LGBTQ organizations here in San Francisco. I remember applying for a job at a queer youth organization and was told that I didn’t have enough experience working in the queer community. I was actually shocked. At the time, I had over 10 years experience working as an out queer man in public schools, YMCAs, community orgs, etc. I couldn’t believe that this was a comment coming to me from an organization. It didn’t actually reflect any lack of skill. Just a lack of working with a supposed “demographic”.

    Later in my career, I received other similar comments about how I couldn’t work or relate to queer/LGBTQ organizations. I’ve countered most of those comments with, “But what do you know about working in low-income communities of color?” I know I can’t know what the experience of being in that community is. I can work towards understanding and keep putting myself in situations that expand my experiences and viewpoints. Keeping only within the established LGBTQ organizations means a lack of expansion of experiences and viewpoints.

    I have one very specific example of how being present in communities that don’t look like you changes both you and them. There was this one young man, I’ll call him James, who I worked with at a public school in San Francisco. He is African American and lives in a predominately African American neighborhood in San Francisco. He came to my after school program every day, and every day he would use the word “faggot”. Every day, I had to sit down and have a conversation with him about how that was an inappropriate word to use at the program. About every other day, I ended up having to kick him out of the program because he wouldn’t stop using the word. But he ALWAYS came back. ALWAYS.

    I ended up having a conversation with his grandmother about his language. She apologized profusely and said she didn’t understand why he was using it because he had an out Aunt, and knew other LGBTQ people. The grandma and I started building a very strong relationship since I ended up calling her quite often.

    Then, something changed. I am not exactly sure what, but something did change. James stopped using the word one day. In fact, other young people would come to the program and use the word “faggot” or the phrase “that’s so gay”, and James would tell them to stop. The other young people would shrug it off initially, but James would counter with, “No…you really need to stop.” When asked why, James responded with “Because you don’t want the talk. You really don’t want the talk.” And the youth would stop using the word and phrases because James asked them to. Not me.

    Flash forward a year later, and James had completely changed his attitude and perception. I ended up not returning to the school for a variety of reasons, but while there I had brought in a lot of community members to help teach and facilitate the programs. One of my collaborators saw James out in the community and asked him, “Why aren’t you at your schools after school program?” James response was “Because the gay guy who ran it last year ran it better.”

    I, too, changed in this process. I realized that my “calling” is in being persistent and staying engaged in these crucial conversations and not backing away when epithets and such are thrown at me. If I had disappeared from James’ life, he wouldn’t have had the same pace of change. He might have changed (I don’t give myself THAT much credit), but who knows when it would have happened. James was in the 7th grade when I worked with him. He now has a whole life ahead of him where being gay isn’t going to be that big of a deal. That is amazing.

    We need more queers to go out into these types of communities, be them low-income communities of color or small religiously bigoted towns, and be themselves and NOT compromise. I didn’t change my appearance or how I acted at the school. For Spirit Days, I still dressed in my best Marilyn Manson drag even though it was frowned upon by school administration and parents. We need people to be brave and make connections. And sometimes those connections take time. Lots and lots of time. We mustn’t forget that.

    And queer/LGBTQ organizations need to be willing to take a chance on someone who might not be intimately connected to the LGBTQ/queer established community. Who knows, you might find a whole new audience willing to listen to your message.

  • None

    Thanks for the article. I also found the comments quite interesting though it was sad to read so many negative ones. Those comments don’t help anyone…

    I find that being a black GLBT person is often lonely but no more so than if I were hetero. This is not a problem unique to the GLBT community. walking into a room and being looked at like you’ve got three heads still stings no matter if the crowd you’re encountering is gay or straight…

    Unfortunately I don’t think enough ppl -or at least enough influential ppl- care about this and that’s the terribly sad part.

  • Kyle

    @Tisha: You’re actually the exact OPPOSITE of a gay rights activist. Your a an activist of every other minority in a gay rights costume. We demand to get married because we deserve to get married and you’re speaking to a gay population so of course we would demand our rights over other minorities rights, AS THEY WOULD THEIR OWN OVER OURS. You have no clue about the gay struggle and are more concerned about an ethnic struggle. People like you will shun any gay rights movement and progress to blow a whistle and say “NO, what about the children in Africa?!”….yeah, that’s someone else’s charity case. Gay issue, gay audience, gay rights NOW. Don’t like it? step the f8ck out of my way and go to a pro immigration rally because we’re here to make a difference for our community. The community that has tangibly been swept to the side long enough, and it’s because of sticks in the mud like you. and what’s tragically sad is, you’ll benefit from the hard work of others when your traitor behind doesn’t deserve an ounce of respect. You are the worst kind of member of our community. The one that waves the banner for everyone else’s rights but OURS! Healthcare, poverty and other vague social issues you mentioned are ones being combated but you are actually offended GAY people are tailoring issues that directly target GAYS? I agree with the other poster. You’re an idiot…but a bigoted idiot.

  • Chitown Kev


    Oh, I can tell you what changed.

    Grandma found out that “James” was acting like a little thug and started put her ample foot into that ass.

  • Tisha


    I really don’t have the time to argue with you about my contribution to the community. I just suggest you google Equality March Texas and see what we’ve done for YOUR community (since I’m not a part of your community as a bisexual black female).

    If I have explain to you that there are black, hispanic, asian, and native american members of the LGBT and for many in these ethnic communities, marriage is not on their top priority then you are far more clueless than your post suggest. As a community, we are so quick to chant GAY RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS, EQUALITY FOR ALL or to adorn our cars with an equal sign. Do we truly believe what we’re spouting to society? The slogan should read EQUALITY FOR ALL PEOPLE LIKE ME.

    To deny the parallel work that needs to be done with other activists of social injustice, is to deny the needs of LGBT people of color and women. Based on your statements, you are a pick and choose activist. You only pick causes that personally affect YOU and that is no way to fight for full equality. If I based my activism on what I felt was personally important, I definitely wouldn’t be fighting for marriage equality b/c I don’t plan to marry. I’m not in the military so why should I care about DADT? I’ve never been a victim of crime so I never would have fought for the hate crime bill. I guess I can definitely get fired so I guess inclusive ENDA would affect me. Are you starting to see how silly this sounds?

    We make up less than 10% of the population. Do you honestly think we can pass LGBT legislation without doing parallel/intersecting work in other communities? Go back to sleep.

  • Chitown Kev


    a point of clarity here, though Tisha…

    Just because ethnic gays and even working class and poor white gays don’t think that marriage equality shouldn’t be a top priority doesn’t mean that it’s not on our list of priorities whatsoever.

    I think that often some people thing that not a top priority = not a priority at all and that’s not true.

    I am also confused as to what people on all sides of the discussion define as a “gay issue.” And I agree that middle and upper middle class people should not define that by themselves.

  • Guttersnipe

    @Chitown Kev: I would argue that is was a combination of grandma and me. I know, having worked with other teachers regarding James, that they also called him out on his language. I also know that they did little because their enforcement of calling him out was sporadic. I called him out every single time. It became exhausting after a while. But I didn’t stop. I also didn’t just kick him out like a lot of the other teachers/educators did. Kicking him out meant he wasn’t around for the discussion.

    There is a lesson to be learned here about solidarity, commitment, and repetition.

  • Chitown Kev


    Yeah, I think that sometimes people want instant gratification from a discussion and most of the time it takes have the discussion repeatedly.

  • Tisha

    @ Chitown Kev

    Totally agree, I will continue to fight so that my friends can marry the person they love but my scope is not narrow. I believe we can work on all these things with other oppressed communities. Obama has been criticized by our LGBT leaders for narrowing his scope and putting our issues on the back-burner. Seems a little hypocritical to do the same thing within our own community.


    @sonofloud: You are a complete imbecile. 70% of Black voters did *not* vote Yes for Prop 8. That was an erroneous figure, and it has long since been refuted.

    The REAL number of Black voters in CA who voted for Prop 8 was approx. 58%. This was reported mere weeks after the Prop 8 passage…and yet nearly two years later, racist buffoons like you still cling for dear life to that bullshitted “70%” figure — solely for the sake of using it to fuel the anti-black racism that already simmered in your psyche long before you had ever heard of a Prop 8. And even if Black folks HAD voted “over 70%” for the passage of Prop 8, as you so ignorantly repeat, it still would not have passed if the number of YES votes from White voters weren’t as high as they were.

    In the meantime, ask yourself what church was it that raised over 20 million to help fund Prop 8, and how many of its congregational members are of color. Idiot.

    Know what you’re talking about, before you open your mouth.

  • Jer

    Lt. Dan Choi is not white. I’m just sayin’ …
    I support the efforts of GetEqual, but I see this GetEqual”now” as another division for the LGBT community.

    I’m white. Since that seems to matter in the gay community now?

    Twitter: @jeremyle19

  • Steve Shawcross

    Not using the term “the gay community”, would be great way to start fighting prejudice and intolerance ;-)

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