Cleve Jones’ Equality Across America Is Falling Apart


What a perfect day to announce the collapse of Equality Across America’s infrastructure. On the day we’ll all be concerning ourselves with the outcomes in Maine, Washington, and Kalamazoo, the organization behind the National Equality March has collapsed — and doesn’t even know if it has a future.

Co-directors Kip Williams and Robin McGehee (above, on L and R), who just a few short weeks ago took the stage in front of thousands to ream out Barney Frank, have resigned. How come? Something about “finances” and “organization.” Namely, the lack thereof?

The pair are making their exits a time many expected EAA would, having wrapped up the National Equality March, be moving full speed ahead on federal gay rights legislation. Instead, EAA is on life support.


Even Cleve Jones doesn’t know if EAA will survive. “We’re still not sure this is a viable organization,” he tells The Bilerco Project. “It’s still not clear to me that EAA is going to happen yet. There needs to be a working group to take EAA forward. I’ll be inviting [the March’s] steering committee and executive committee members to participate.”

Sadly, none of this is terribly surprising to Queerty.

When we asked organizers in September, before the march, what would happen to EAA after the big event, Williams told us those questions “just haven’t been answered yet.” At the time, there was a loose-knit plan to turn EAA into a democratic grassroots organization that would assist other activist groups in the nation’s Congressional districts. But there was no structure for that to happen.

There still isn’t.

For Williams, leaving is a financial decision: Having been paid $9,000 for three months of work, he’s moving on to something that can pay the bills: “I worked on the march for less than minimum wage and without health insurance.” (Williams gave notice two weeks ago; McGehee, the day before Halloween.)

So who’s in charge? That’d be Tanner Efinger (pictured above, center), the babyfaced “Postcards to the President” creator, who’s been named interim project director. And his new gig has critics complaining it’s his friendship with Jones that got him selected leader — and Williams and McGehee “forced out.” (Indeed, the two camps are in disagreement about what EAA’s strategy should be moving forward.)

Then again, EAA doesn’t even have bylaws or a mission statement, so at this point it’s a group of like-minded individuals plotting their next step. Wait, is that what it means to be grassroots?