nat'l equality march

If You Can Afford Your Nightlife Habit, Cleve Jones Demands To See You in D.C.


If you can go out four nights a week and pay for $7 Amstels and $12 Bombay martinis, you can surely afford to get your ass to Washington D.C. next month. Or so goes the reasoning of Cleve Jones, who’s had enough of this “we’re too poor to make to the National Equality March” crap.

Recession, schmecession, Jones says. “Even during this recession, I go out, and everywhere I go, I see the clubs are filled with people,” he told an audience at the NYC LGBT Center this week. “Thousands and thousands of people every night, drinking high-priced drinks, spending money on their clothes. We can do this.”

And so the thinking goes.

But NEM organizers still don’t have any idea how many of you will continue using the “no cash” excuse, and how many will actually show up. Jones refused to even guess (though he noted the portable toilets they ordered have a capacity for 100,000 people), and on a media conference call yesterday, co-organizers Kip Williams and Robin McGehee opted not to guess, either. (“No idea,” says McGehee.)

Also among the things they have no idea about? What NEM’s parent organization, Equality Across America, will look like after the Oct. 11 weekend. Questions about what EAA will be after the march “just haven’t been answered yet,” says Williams. But he promised it would evolve into a democratic (read: grassrootsy!) organization focused on aiding local activists across the country. That sound you hear is HRC, rolling its eyes.

(Photo: bkusler)

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #clevejones #kipwilliams #nationalequalitymarch stories and more


  • Sam

    You know what I’m sick of? Folks like Cleve Jones putting on poorly planned, half-assed events without any consultation or outreach to the community organizations that could make them successful and then blaming the lazy selfishness of geighs for their failure.

    I’m not buying it. If this thing is a flop, it’s because the organizers did a piss poor job of planning it. If they wanted a big successful march, they should have held it on Columbus Day 2010. It takes a good year-and-a-half for people to organize contingents, fundraise, plan, book travel, and generally do all the things that make huge events like this happen.

    I, for one, had already planned a vacation and bought plane tickets for Columbus Day week when this was announced. If there had been any real effort to make this work – say applying for a permit BEFORE announcing the dates, or getting any buy-in from other LGBT groups – I’d have changed my trip and organized a group of folks to go. But it was clear from the beginning that these folks were in it for some crazy ego trip and not really interested in doing the real work. So I’ll be in Argentina.

    Don’t get me wrong: kudos to everyone who goes. I hope you make a big difference! But for Cleve to blame a failure on selfishness of the community when he and his cronies did such a crappy job is total horseshit.

  • hardmannyc

    Completely agree with Sam. I’m also sick of people looking at apples and oranges for browbeating purposes. “Oh, you can take a taxi to the grocery store, you don’t need welfare” (comment to women who lives miles away from a food source). Or the elitist blog comments to an article in NY times about how the city is taking away big dogs from people in public housing: “Oh, if you’re in subsidized housing, you shouldn’t spend any money on dog food.”

    Same stupid arguments as Jones is making. If someone goes out once in a while and splurges on an appletini, it doesn’t mean he has the time or money to fly to DC, rent a hotel, and pay for dinners.

  • Joel

    AMEN, SAM.

    The people who poorly conceived, poorly launched, and poorly promoted this march are warming up their blame game.

    Unfortunately, practicing with a mirror is not on their to-do list.

  • Andrew

    The Muslims will have +50,000 “believers” in DC this weekend – out of 2 million Muslims in the US. The LGBTQ Community may have 10,000 – out of 20 million gays and lesbians. You do the math. Embarrassing on all counts. Thanks Cleve.


    CHRISTIANS Christians pray on eve of today’s Capitol Muslim gathering

    Christians alarmed at today’s scheduled gathering of tens of thousands of Muslims outside the U.S. Capitol have prayed together in a national conference call.

    Shirley Dobson, who heads the National Day of Prayer Task Force, said she and other Christians “are so troubled at what we see going on in our nation we’re watching the foundations crumble.” Organizers of today’s massive “Islam on Capitol Hill” event insist that it’s not a protest, but rather a time for Muslims to pray together, read the Quran and celebrate America’s religious freedom.

    But Christian leaders in last night’s conference call were unconvinced. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins wondered if the Muslims would be “praying for the well-being of our nation.” Perkins called the Muslim gathering “a wake-up call for the church” and a warning that if Christians don’t “fill the void that’s in this nation with the truth, it will be filled with something else.”

  • Bob Summersgill

    We’re really looking forward to seeing you all in D.C. we have Amstels for less than $7. COcktails can run $12, depending on where you go.

    Here is a nice bar and restaurant guide.

    Be sure to tip generously!

  • scott ny'er

    Not one of those peeps. Don’t drink. Don’t go to bars. And don’t purchase expensive clothes. So, I have no idea what he’s talking about. Also don’t have a job now. So, there you go.

  • Philip

    The “activists” going to this Parade Charade will all be in wheelchairs. Young people understand the world has changed and they can communicate with Politicians without traveling to DC.

    So, sip your cocktails and send your emails. Plus, spend time talking to your neighbors and friends – we need to change minds and that can only be done in person.

  • James

    Wow. The knives are out, no? I luv us. We moan about some big political event, it gets planned (imperfectly of course), and we still complain. Listen if you don’t want to go, cool. No worries, but don’t say you are staying home because the event organizers are not the best at planning.

  • Andrew

    @James: “but don’t say you are staying home because the event organizers are not the best at planning.”

    I think people have said “it wasn’t planned.”

    Cleve Jones thinks of himself as a “Gay Equality Messiah.” The March isn’t working because nobody else thinks of him like that. He’s a puffy relic from the late 70s. Many of us thought David Mixner would straighten this mess out, but he was hospitalized (puffy, too).

    I’m staying home because there is work to do here. Nobody is going to DC and no politicians will actually be in DC. Stay home and work with your friends, family and neighbors. That will make a difference. Following Cleve won’t.

  • Jason

    “Gay lemmings over a socialist cliff.”

    Steve King would probably say that.

  • James

    @Andrew: But is the march about Jones? Yes he’s organizng it, but why are people make it personal as opposed to being about issues people say they care about it?

    I’m no defender of Jones, and have issues with the march, but not going because you have a beef with the organizer seems counter-productive to me.

  • Andrew

    @James: I don’t have a beef with Cleve Jones. He creates feelings of “indifference” in me. But, that’s not important.

    The March was poorly planned, poorly marketed, poorly timed and will be poorly attended.

    You can do much more in your own neighborhood or City or State James. A small crowd of gays and lesbians chanting or even doing gymnastics in DC isn’t going to help. Plus, there won’t be an audience – they’ll all be out of town.

    Cleve didn’t give this failed event enough thought and he didn’t involve qualified people to help plan it. But, even then it doesn’t really matter – few people care about Marches. There are several every weekend. Maybe the Port-a-Potty people and cops (because of overtime) care, but I can’t think of anyone else.

  • James


    “poorly timed and will be poorly attended”

    You really have no idea how the event will be attended. No one does. Yes you can tell me all of the folk you know who won’t go, but I can counter with names of people attending.

    Oh well. We’ll see what happens. Thanks for the convo.

  • Andrew

    @James: The MOW website has had very little traffic and registration. I’d be surprised if it exceeds 10,000.

  • James

    @Andrew: :-) Now brother, we both know if it does more than 10k, you are not going to come back here and say you were wrong! LOL

    It’s all good though. Enjoy your night.


  • HayYall

    I’m not really sure what this event is trying to accomplish. Honestly, if I were to see a bunch of people I had no political interest in helping at the moment, I might side-eye them while I finish my moist and deliciously frosted cake.

    So no, Cleve Jones. I won’t be going to NYC and I won’t be saving my pennies to attend your poorly-planned and rushed event. Furthermore, I’ll be sipping a Smirnoff & tonic @ home with the current squeeze because there’s a recession on and yes, we’re not all the stereotype you make us out to be.

    Why am I supposed to recognize this person as representing me again?

  • Andrew

    @James: It’s really “who cares” unless it’s 500,000 people. 100,000 is also very embarrassing.

    How many do you think will be Marching (aimlessly) in DC?

  • Jason


    Moralizing, “I know better than thou” advice from self-appointed “leaders.”


    That will lure EVERYONE to DC for this homo confab.

  • Andrew

    @HayYall: “Why am I supposed to recognize this person [Cleve Jones] as representing me again?”

    Nobody knows.

  • YellowRanger


    As best I can tell, because he said so.

  • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

    @ Andrew et al

    Who cares? Stay home.

    The positivity you are all spewing is incredibly inspirational and productive.

    Hopefully next time you post, you can mention what you are doing? what you do and the cause and affect of it all..

    I’m sure we’d all love to know. Whining is do last year.

  • Andrew

    @John from England(used to be just John but there are other John’s): Hello John.

    Some of us have expressed concerns about a few things related to this March:

    1. Resources. We, as a community, need to use our resources wisely. Marching doesn’t accomplish anything, especially with an embarrassingly small number of people. It’s very 1970s.

    2. The event (if it can even be called that) was simply “announced” with no planning, no marketing and ultimately no purpose.

    3. Local, grass roots efforts are much more effective. Friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. Direct, sincere conversations. One-on-one.

    4. Cleve Jones had no idea what he was doing and then the “children” he hired simply made the whole thing even sillier. “March Idol,” wow.

    5. 10,000 Marchers does more harm than good. The immediate question will be: “Is that all? That’s all they could get?” It’s laughable and sad.

    Sure, a few people will travel to Washington DC and stand around in a small crowd, all of whom will be wondering aloud “now, what?”

    There has been a very healthy debate about Cleve’s March on Queerty and not a single person ever made a compelling case for the purpose or effectiveness of this March. There have been several “cheerleaders,” but no evidence that the March would accomplish anything.

  • Joel

    Oh, here we go again: that old false argument that if you doubt this march, if you fail to go because the cause is not clear, the tangible political product lacking, well you must be snipped at for being gripped with apathy.

    If you cannot address the reasons, planning, etc. of this march intelligently and directly, please do not veer off into straw man arguments.

    Questioning the failed strategies and tactics in the sad aftermath of Prop. 8 in California certainly was no indication of apathy, and you surely were not making such accusations. Total disconnect then, total disconnect now.

  • Joel

    (that was @John From England, No. 21)

  • Mark

    Please just go away Cleve. Our community will be laughed at on October 11th. That-you for that.

    Let’s all just hope this is the last thing Cleve does. It has gone way beyond a waste of money, it’s now embarrassing.

    For those 10,000 that ARE going – save your money. Cleve standing in DC with the 5 young men (gag) would be a better picture.

  • Ken

    Fact most gay prides and political events cannot happen unless there is at least 3-4 circuit parties associated with the event, each which cost up to six figures to produce and each which on the average cost the participant a couple hundred for tickets, outfit, transportation and party drugs. The turn around is that more than half the participants are so partied out they don’t even attend the pride or political event. Sad, really, imagine if we could get those participants to volunteer 1/10th of their time or money to action causes for the GLBT community. I did the circuit and wasted so much time and money. I am making up for it now! I wish I could say that for so many others

  • Lloyd Baltazar

    I am not attending the NEM because I really don’t have the cash for it. I mean, I have enough money to take me to the clubs get the high priced drinks, but I just don’t have the money pooled up for the Washington trip—-even if I wanted so badly to go. The cost alone is going to kill my budget for the month—sadly I haven’t had enough resources to save up enough money for October.

    And I just don’t want to have to sacrificed all that money which I can use to buy my drinks at the bar for a far-flung similar event which is happening in my area. (L.A. pride rally October 10th).

  • Andrew

    Dear Cleve,

    When I have a $12 martini, I know what the results will be. Same for the $7 Amstel Lite.

    Do you see how that works?


    Yeah, we know. That’s why we’re not going.

    – Andrew

Comments are closed.