If activism were a sport, HRC president Joe Solmonese would be playing recreational badminton, while David Mixner would be an Olympic boxing gold medalist. Asked to give a brief report card of Obama’s first full year in office, Solmonese (who heads a multi-million dollar organization with hundreds of staffers) provides a cagey nothing response, while Mixner (who operates independently and whose only official infrastructure is his blog), whose balls look like granite tanks, reminds us that, hey, we’ve got a horse in this race.
Solmonese: “In 2009 there was historic progress — including enactment of hate-crimes protections and the lifting of the HIV travel and immigration ban — but LGBT people and our families still face discrimination and that has to change now. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members are still being discharged from the military, LGBT people can still be fired because of who we are in too many places, and our families are treated unequally under federal law. Although we have a strong ally in the White House and pro-equality leadership on Capitol Hill, change won’t happen unless all of us increase our pressure and advocacy.”
Mixner: “There is no question that President Obama has missed a historic opportunity for change in the last year. The Republican victory in Massachusetts proves the point many of us had been making the entire year — now is the time. Never again will we have the political opportunity with 60 Senators and a majority in the House to make change for the LGBT community. Instead, some amazingly stupid calculations of taking everything slowly for our rights has resulted in a year with little progress for the LGBT community. Yes, there have been highlights and some victories, but the chance for a really historic breakthrough in our rights has been lost to those who played to caution instead of substantial action. What a tragic missed opportunity.? ?In fact, the president’s silence while we have been fighting major battles have actually begun to hurt us. His words of proclaiming marriage is between a man and a woman has been used over and over against us without a word from the White House. Silence has been a way of action for this White House on the major LGBT battles. Even Pope Benedict XVI spoke more passionately against the ‘kill gays’ legislation in Uganda than our own president.?”
The difference in approach — and choice on whether to give the Obama administration a wrist-slap or a bitch-slap — isn’t just apples to oranges, or night to day. It is the difference between institutional acceptance of inaction and identifying hacktivocacy when you see it.
All those millions to Joe and Gay Inc., and nothing to show for it, except praise for Obama as a “strong ally.” They have to be kidding if they want us to believe that the HRC is anything other than a bloated, useless banquet server. Their office have so much sugar coming out of it it is looking like Willy Wanker and the fucking chocolate factory. We need Delores Claiborne go get in there and teach them to buck up and fly right. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWHjCwtryVg
The title pretty much says it all.
David Mixner is a do-nothing fraud.
Wake up people.
Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"
While I certainly agree with David Mixner’s take on our new “hope” “yes we can” “change you can believe in” president and his horribly disappointing lack of leadership of LGBT issues, Mixner has not always made such astute observations. Back in the 1990s, Mixner was saying pretty much the same kind of crap about Clinton (author of DADT, signer of DOMA) that Solmonese says about Obama.
I am not making any excuses for Solmonese; he is smart enough and paid well enough that he should know the old saying “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”
Irrespective of the hard fought victories of the 1970s (Harvey Milk, defeat of Briggs) through Massachusetts’ Marriage Equality, the reason so many LGBT are irate with Gay, Inc. is that Solmonese, HRC, et al, continue to allow us to be fooled over and over again with fake promises of support from politicos running for office only to see same run from us after winning elections. To be fooled so many times, yes indeed, the shame is on us. And this shame is breading the furor over the many failures the LGBT has suffered.
HRC receives $50 million a year more than David Mixner. David Mixner probably does 50 times more than HRC.
The political possibility for LGBT Equality we had in 2009 is now gone. Any additional contributions for a “political solution” will be entirely wasted on HRC salaries and lobbyists.
Changing minds is the ONLY change we can believe in. Spend money on that – it actually works.
No. 3 · Transracial said…
David Mixner is a do-nothing fraud.
Wake up people.
ahhhh, I see the HRC employees have signed on.
Mixner is 360 lbs. Solmonese 120 lbs. Game over.
Joe is prettier in his body. David is prettier in his heart.
The problem with a lot of these gay activists is that they are Democrats first. Their commitment to gay rights is sidetracked by their allegiance to Democrats. As a result, we’ve been misled and manipulated by those very same activists.
If HRC and GLAAD ever disappeared, only caterers will notice.
I’m curious, as I have not started reading this blog until the past few months… were the readers and writers here aware that Obama would be pretty much useless for LGBT equality prior to his election? I have been a follower of Outright Libertarians’ blog for some time, and they knew very clearly from Obama’s record months before his election that he’d be of little help to us, as with the majority of Democrats historically.
Anyway, it’s nice to see that I’m not the only person who marches lock-step with a worthless political party (not that the Libertarians are perfect, though I see quite a lot less BS coming from them).
christopher di spirito
“How to Tell Activists Joe Solmonese + David Mixner Apart: One Is a Phony Hack, the Other Is an Activist.”
This may be the best title I’ve ever seen on Queerty. Absolutely flawless.
Both Solmonese and Mixner got it wrong. There has not been a political opportunity, even with 60 Senators and a majority in the House, to pass bills that actually benefit G&L people. Enough of those Democratic congressmen are against us, that any bill that actually benefits G&L people has no chance of passage. The Mathew Shepard act was a symbolic gift to a mother, with no money for enforcement, and no expectation of ever being enforced. Nothing has changed.
One of the witnesses at the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial, Dr. Gary M. Segura, a Stanford Political Science professor, has explained WHY so little progress has been made on gay issues, despite 40 years of steady lobbying. The basic problems are that the gay minority is so small that we have no real voting power, and that the people who hate us have much larger numbers, so they do have greater voting power.
The clear implicatin is, Lobbying is not going to work. The legislature is where the majority gets its way. G&L people are not the majority, never have been, and never will be. Worse, the number of people who either hate or fear G&L people is far greater than the number of G&L people. Forty years of lobbying has done only one thing — it has accumulated enough failures so that the G&L minority is getting studied and recognized as a minority
The COURTS are the place where minorities are protected, not the legislature.
I expect the current case (Perry v. Schwarzenegger) will do many times more for us in 2 years, and at far less cost, than throwing money at the Democrats has done over a period of more than 40 years, or could do over the next 40 years. I don’t expect to live another 40 years. It has to happen now.
There is a tradition in some countries. When you want to say “no”, but you also want to be polite , you say “maybe later” or “not now”. “Later” means “No! Never!”, but the foreigners don’t understand.
Mike in Asheville
@No. 13 Steve
Sorry Steve but your assessment is not the black and white picture you painted.
As with litigation through the courts, Congressional and state legislative lobbying of the past 40 years has had significant successes along side some significant losses.
Through the various judicial arenas, LGBT have seen horrible losses such as Bowers (SCOTUS opinion upholding sodomy laws), the state supreme court opinions denying marriage equality, child adoption, and employment anti-discrimination. And courts that grasped the “equal protection” clause to opine for marriage equality, lacked the integrity to enforce their opinions or self gutted them. The Hawaiian supreme court was the first to rule for same-sex marriage, only to delay and delay enforcement so that wingnuts could, and did, succeed in undermining enforcement of the opinion. A decade later, there are not even civil unions in Hawaii. While the unanimous opinion of the NJ Supreme Court was the LGBT are entitled to full marriage rights, a majority also opined that the legislature could come up with a “separate but equal” civil unions (that are not equal because they are separate).
On the brighter side, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and the Supreme Courts in Iowa and Conn have mandated marriage equality. California Supreme Court is taking advantage of lax marijuana law to come up with truly fucked up opinions both for and against marriage equality; in New York, their Court of Appeal has also issued rulings one against NYers being afforded marriage equality BUT allowing out-of-staters marriage equality when married elsewhere.
Similarly, there have been successes and failures through Congress and state legislatures. In the 1980s, even with a president who never once spoke the word AIDS publicly, lobbying by GLBT groups succeeded in gaining HIV/AIDS program funding that greatly exceeded the population of HIV/AIDS patients compared with heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
During and continuing from this time, setbacks include DADT and DOMA, courtesy of Bill Clinton. Also several state legislatures, north, south, east and west, passing anti marriage-equality laws and constitutional amendments, anti-adoption laws, and failures to enact anti-employment and housing discrimination laws.
Successes, though, are very significant. In Mass, the legislature refused to take up legislation and constitutional amendments to over turn marriage equality. Conn legislature codified its Supreme Court ruling endorsing marriage-equality. Vermont and New Hampshire legislatures adopted marriage equality, even over-riding one governors veto.
The fight for full LGBT civil rights is a fight that will require battles on all fronts, through the legislatures/Congress, the executive and judicial branches.
While the Matthew Shepherd Act is a big yawn as to accomplishing anything important for LGBT civil rights, the difference between the status of LGBT rights today compared to 40 years ago is huge. In 1970, most all states had sodomy laws that made homosexual sex a crime, no protections, indeed actually laws encouraged employment discrimination against LGBTs (to protect children), permitted discrimination in housing and public accommodations, and LGBT were the constant subject to police harassment.
I count my lucky stars that during this horribly dark time, I was an undergrad at Berkeley where there was much more of a “live and let live” attitude.
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