gay inc.

Leading Gay Rights Groups Agree: March on Washington a Stupid Idea


With those grassroots hecklers taking all the power away from mainstay gay organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD — what with their push to repeal Prop 8 in California and their march on Washington efforts — it appears Gay Inc. is moving to the back of the bus on activism while the strap holders take over. Actually, this isn’t news: As Queerty has chronicled since our inception, the most prominent organizations have been losing the trust of gay Americans for years. But sure, their opinions still count! So where does Gay Inc. stand on these yahoos organizing big deal events all on their own?

Blogger Joe My God went looking for answers and began quizzing these groups on whether they backed October’s planned National Equality March.

So, do they?

Well to find out, you’ll have to read through their bleary, horrendously vague responses that are typical of the non-transparency these organizations regularly engage us with.

HRC says in part, “We shouldn’t wait until October for a march in Washington to do the critical grassroots organizing that can happen today,” which is funny, because HRC is the last organization we think of when it comes to “critical grassroots organizing.” But okay, that’s not definitive answer. Does that mean they’ll support it? In a follow up call with HRC director Joe Solmonese, Joe says “Solmonese could not say whether HRC would advise its members to support or attend a MOW, as its actual occurrence is not yet assured.” HAHAHAHHA! That’s such a crock of shit! Either Solmonese wants HRC “members” to support something like this, or he doesn’t. Luckily fewer and fewer gays heed his advice, so there are fewer of us who have to read between the lines.

Moving on. What about the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force? They replied, in part: “National marches can certainly have a community-building impact when energized participants return to their hometowns and get involved, but in an economic downturn — when resources are extremely limited for individuals and organizations, and critical work remains to be done locally — focusing on grassroots organizing at home is all the more critical.” Translation, as Joe notes? No, the NGLTF does not support the March.

Again, the influence of these organizations among gay Americans is on the decline. If folks want to attend this march, they’re going to. Certainly HRC and NGLTF, if they backed the march, could help publicize it with their email blasts, but these organizations do not operate on the grassroots level. And those are the folks we should be listening to, and working with.

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  • Alex

    Whoa. That first sentence is a syntactical nightmare. It starts as a question and ends up as a muddled metaphor.

    As for the piece itself, it is naive to think that, if this goes somewhere, Joe and Friends won’t jump on stage and grab the mike, explaining how he made it all happen.

  • Darrien

    I’m in no position to comment one way or another about the rights or wrongs of the various policies of protest, but will a mass march in Washington DC achieve anything?
    Apart from the increasingly obvious fact that governments tend to ignore marches, isn’t there the other possibility that not enough people would turn up to a protest?
    One only has to look at the number of gays and lesbians in California who didn’t vote on Prop 8 and the relatively small protests that happened after the Prop 8 court ruling to see that activism at a popular level isn’t so great that one would have a guaranteed mass turn-out.
    I don’t pretend to have any answers, but I can see some of the problems.

  • Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell

    I no longer wonder if the Human Rights campaign are aware of gay people whom did not come from wealthy families. Clearly they do not.

    The makeup of that board needs to change. If they keep going the way they are going they are going to succeed in doing nothing but galvanizing the religious right.

  • Qjersey

    if we wait for the LGBT “power brokers” to agree on anything, there will never be a march (or much of anything)

  • Cam

    The LAST thing HRC wants is for us to achieve gay rights. Us achieving our rights would be as bad as a cure for the common cold would be for the makers of decongestant.

  • adamall

    A march on Washington right now is exactly the wrong thing to do–expensive, ineffective and a waste of energy and time. So how does HRC communicate that without offending some really passionate people who’ve suddenly woken up on these issues? It’s a hard question, and one not served by the silly swipes taken by Queerty editors.

  • Rob

    The march on Washington has been badly planned. It’s scheduled on a day when Congress is not in session and the Mall is having protests by three other groups. Joe Solmonese is right to doubt whether this march is actually going to happen.

  • RichardR

    Not certain about NGLTF, but HRC (and I’m not a big fan) is on the ground right now in New York State working to sway NY state senators to vote in favor of gay marriage, which might occur this afternoon. Where’s that story?

    Queerty needs to cover the news, not trash equality supporters

  • galefan20004

    Honestly, the first time I read about this I thought you had a point, but my god has this been beaten to death now. Apparently, Queerty thinks the march is a stupid idea. We get that. Apparently so does HRC and NGLTF we get that as well. However, no one has really came up with any different strategy, so maybe the time is here to stop complaining about what you do not think will work until you come up with something that you think will work. Personally, I agree with NGLTF that the change has to come from within the community not a trip to Washington DC.

  • dgz

    @galefan20004: i think Queerty likes the idea of the march, but has issues with the utterly incompetent way it has been implemented.

    and while i’m not necessarily the biggest HRC fan, i think Joe would’ve at least thought to ASK if the MALL WAS FREE.

  • John

    Um, DGZ, HRC isn’t the group organizing the march, so they were’nt the ownes to check and see if it was “free.” There are huge problems and risks with the planned march – not the least of which that Congress won’t be in session, so there’s no opportunity to lobby while there. The other big risk, which I several folks have alluded to, is that it’s a horrible economic time and a march that is half-assed and poorly attended sets us back. My own two cents is that marches are a lot like pride rallies – they make people feel good, but don’t really do much to effectively advance our struggle. I know lots of friensd who are quick to turn up at a rally, but slow to do anything that is difficult when it comes to political work.

    Also, I agree with the commentator above who mentioned that HRC is working in New York to get marriage passed there on the State level. I know they did the same thing in Iowa and New Hampshire. HRC recently committed significant resources to defeating an anti-trans ballot initiative originated and funded by the religious right down here in Gainesville, Florida – staff, fundraising, phone banking, etc. Ask anyone involved and they’ll tell you that HRC’s efforts are one of the main reasons we were able to defeat it.

    The reality is, HRC does a ton of stuff in smaller fights like that that are never covered in the press and certainly not on Queerty – so a lot of folks (and I think a lot of Queerty readers) get a skewed view of the organization by the haters who post. Sometimes there is legit criticism, but far too often rather than an intelligent discussion, it devolves into rants and “off with their heads” comments that really don’t accomplish anything. If you disagree with HRC, don’t give to them and give to a group you think does a better job. But lets give the bashing a rest, eh?

  • Kelly

    @John: Even if you’re right (and I think you make good points), that doesn’t change the fact that Joe Solmonese has lost the faith and confidence of the people he’s supposed to be leading….and that the HRC board could use a major shakeup.

    I mean, just imagine what HRC could do if it wasn’t led by such out-of-touch snots.

    And does anyone else think that pay-for-performance would be a good idea for HRC leaders? If Joe knew he wasn’t getting paid until DADT was gone, you can be sure he wouldn’t have rolled over like a power bottom for the Obama administration.

  • michael

    Here is something really fabulous and uplifting. A reason why we cannot give up on folks. Everyone really owes it to themselves to watch this and pass it on. make sure you keep watching until the second portion begins.

    And when the broken hearted people
    Living in the world agree
    There will be an answer
    Let it be
    For though they may be parted there is
    There will be an answer
    Let it be

  • J.Lowrot

    I went to the Millenium March. It was fun. What was the major advance that came from it . . . ? Oh wait, I know: none. Absolutely none.

    Marches on Washington don’t accomplish anything. Let’s not waste the time or money.

  • dingo

    Marches in Washington are not always effective. is one exmaple whent hey organized that march on Washington a couple of years ago. It was organized and well planned, lots of people attended but it got lost in the media hype of the Larry Craig toe tapping scandal. It didn’t make any difference with the former adminstration either. Many of us don’t have the incomes to travel to Washington DC, hotels (including the worst ones) are expensive, food, travel related expenses, etc.

    I use to support and HRC but I got tired of getting bombarded with their “send more money” requests that always came with the usual “see what we have done so far” spin. I also stopped supporting some of the larger HIV organizations as well. They keep asking for money, some of these orgs get grants federal funds and while they may be doing some good things, the salaries and expense accounts of their paid staff have increased significantly. I see a lot of nice furniture and 20 buck paper clip holders in the offices of many organizations.

    There always seems to be justification for what they give to themselves but I really have not seen much progress being made from some of the older established movements.

    These days I support the smaller grassroots since they seem to be more in touch with many of us “average folks.”

    I certainly don’t need anyone’s endorsement or permission to march protest or BOYCOTT. I just do it, been doing it since the 60’s. At the age of 55 and as a 20+ year survivor of hiv, I have come a long way and been able to effect change with many people.

  • piarbe

    If they could care less, why don’t they? I mean really….hire someone with some grammatical skills.

  • adamblast

    Queerty could hardly be more politically demoralizing and activist-stifling if it tried. In their attempt to be more-jaded-than-thou, they’ve adopted a worldview where every political or judicial strategy is flawed, every activist group corrupt, every potential ally an already-proven betrayer. Why don’t you just give the site over to Bill Purdue already? Long live the revolution. Zzzzz.

  • dingo

    “Grammer skills” aren’t what they use to be. It’s an hiv related condition that has impacted my brain functions.

  • Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell

    In the spirit of saving us from us I do hope this march does not take place. It will be a funeral for anything else in the near or far.

    I mean really. N. Korea, Iran, the economy, the unemployed and uninsured, the end of the auto industry with job losses to total in the millions and and last but not least the housing and credit crisis along with sky high oil prices.

    And now we want to march on Washington because we are pissed our causes is not being allowed to advance by a president who is already being tested on the world front with record deficits and a country STILL at WAR?

    Lord, please save us from us.

  • Galefan2004

    I just think it is all dumb. Not as dumb as I am but very dumb.

  • dgz

    DUH, John. reread my post please. i said Joe would have thought to ask.

    i’m not sure if HRC does a great job with advocacy, but they’re at least organized — i was trying to pay them a compliment.

    (granted, in a typically gay, backhanded way.)

  • michael

    @Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell: How noble you are to put all others above you. I am sure your rewards in heaven will be great. Why not go ahead and claim those rewards. After all there is probably several sick, dying individuals, far more worthy to live on this planet than you are that might need your vital organs to keep living there far important than yours life. But keep your heart, I have a feeling that would never do anyone in the world any good, it certainly hasn’t for you.

  • Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell

    @michael: Nothing personal Majorette Michael but I would not miss the destruction of queens like you for the world. March on girls. But before you go switching down constitution ave. past the dept. of justice, the FBI, and the Reagan building I strongly suggest you ignoramuses have a dress code for parade participants.

    Not too many people outside the gay community are going to have sympathy for men and women who are employed, insured and for the most part middle class but choose to flaunt their excesses (and bare ass in leather chaps) with a parade filled with deviant suggesting sexual behavior while they scrape along wondering if they are going to have a job the following week. Yes, I can see it now. Support is so low for this a call has already gone out to whoever can afford a bus ticket is free to participate. And participate they will.

    As for saving your soul in your case there is no point of trying to save what clearly isn’t there to save. Good luck to all of you pursuing this foolish, misguided and ILL TIMED parade. Rest assured all you will succeed in doing is losing what little support you already have from the very must-have segment of society needed to get this self-serving bill passed.

    I’ll donate my plane ticket and hotel fare to the local gay homeless youth shelter. And again my cry goes out to save us from our selves. I almost wish I weren’t an athiest but performances such as this parade….er…um, march and it’s disastrious aftermath only confirms my non-belief.

  • Landon Bryce

    “@Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell:

    “Not too many people outside the gay community are going to have sympathy for men and women who are employed, insured and for the most part middle class but choose to flaunt their excesses (and bare ass in leather chaps) with a parade filled with deviant suggesting sexual behavior while they scrape along wondering if they are going to have a job the following week.”

    These are the words of someone who despises gay people.

    So many of you cannot write about us without expressing your hatred of us.

    I don’t care how many of you are actually self-hating gays and how many of you are trolls.

    And, Prof, if you have ever made any contribution to gay youth, I would be stunned. But, if you have– just send cash. Those kids don’t need to be around someone who thinks they’re disgusting deviants.

    You’re pretty disgusting yourself.

  • Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell

    @Landon Bryce: Your unresearched, inaccurate comments about me are exactly why I hang around. As for surprises I would not be shocked if you used toilet paper to wipe your mouth which is clearly where your crap exits.

    Interesting how you did not list the volunteer work you do for the unfortunate in our community. But then you are moral enough not to list what does not exist. Closeted mormon no doubt.

    I have been out of the closet more years than you are old and I know for a fact this march is heading for disaster at the speed of light. Let us not forget the GOP (religious right) are looking for ANY opportunity to resurrect themselves and your kind (shoot from the hip) are handing it to them on a silver platter. You kind, unwittingly, are giving the newly untested president reason to put gays further on the back burner by making radical demands by way of protest.

    Gay marriage will rock the foundation of america and I can tell you now, whether you or whoever else likes it or not, that is not going to happen no time soon as far as a national amendment is concerned. This march is the final nail in the coffin. Go ahead dear and march on. It is your right.

    I will close with a suggestion. With all bullshit snide remarks coming from you and I not withstanding try proof reading your comments before you hit submit. That way YOU don’t come off as a screaming Mimi that your fellow sisters who march in that “parade of the queens” will.

  • Landon Bryce

    @Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell:

    “That way YOU don’t come off as a screaming Mimi that your fellow sisters who march in that “parade of the queens” will.”

    Yes, you hate gay people. I get it. We all get it. You can’t write about us without calling us queens, talking about our deviant sexual behavior and the shit in our mouths. Whether it’s self-hatred or bigotry, it’s toxic, and no gay person who does not hate himself is going to be influenced by it, something you may want to consider as you continue to write us your little notes.

  • Lonine

    Let’s be absolutely honest and clear. HRC is not a gay rights organization. They are a lobbying and fundraising organization that works to elect particular Democrats who they deem “gay-friendly” into office. No more, no less. They are not a queer or lgbt organization as they have no base in the lgbt community. They have no open organizing meetings in which non-millionaires or non-profitistas can offer a way to shape policy or demand an accounting of the tens of millions of dollars we give them.

  • billybob

    @Kelly: Hey! Don’t insult the millions of us power bottoms out there by comparing us to Joe!

Comments are closed.