The Grassroots Showdown Against HRC Is Just Beginning: Robin McGehee Is Launching a War

Whether you grew familiar with Robin McGehee — the lesbian mom-cum-activist — during Fresno’s Meet In The Middle rally, her spearheading the National Equality March, her not-so-quiet divorce, her formation of Get Equal, or her Thursday arrest during Dan Choi’s White House chaining, by now you know she’s very quickly catapulted herself to the forefront of gay activism. In wanting to know what’s been driving McGehee up to this point, we emailed her a few questions about what’s in store — which she had to take a beat in getting back to us, because she was helping Choi get out of prison.

QUEERTY: Was it your intent to get arrested? What was the experience in jail like?

It was my intent to send a message that we will no longer wait and except excuses, compromises or empty promises. I realized an arrest could be an outcome, but I was willing in our fight for equality to take that risk. And, I STILL AM. My intent was to force the issue around DADT.

The arrest was very interesting.

Is it true Get Equal and Choi were working with each other? Is he an official liaison of Get Equal?

I called Dan on Tuesday because I was very upset with the debacle of the Kathy Griffin show in DC. While I was here in DC, with GetEQUAL, planning the ENDA actions at Pelosi’s office I asked if he was willing to do some sort of action at the HRC rally. The mission of GetEQUAL is to empower the LGBTQ community and our allies to take action to demand full legal and social equality and to hold accountable those who stand in our way, so it only seemed fitting to call HRC to task for making DADT a joke with some of the antics of her show this past week. Dan’s response was that his issue was with the White House and that he would prefer to take action there, not at Freedom Plaza. I told him that I would help him organize what ever he wanted to do – because in my mind the people that need to speak for DADT is NOT Kathy Griffin, but the people who actually suffer because of the injustice of DADT. Don’t get me wrong, Kathy Griffin is funny, but what is NOT funny is the service members who suffer because of Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell.

One of our goals is to help anyone and everyone who wants to take action. What do you need – a bullhorn, bail money, handcuffs – if the action is a great idea, we’ll make it happen. We HAVE TO organize our lunch counter moments and make those happen. Dan and Jim asked for help and we helped.

Do you consider Thursday’s events a success? Did anything happen that was unexpected?

Yes, we had 4 actions that were pulled off as successful as I would have wanted.

* HRC event was redirected to the White House, where the true pressure needs to be applied
* White House action
* DC Pelosi action
* SF Pelosi action

I had planned to be involved with the action at Pelosi’s office that was demanding a date for a House vote for a trans-positive ENDA, I did not plan to be arrested at the White House – but, when Dan asked me to support his mission for Obama, I felt it was very fitting, since my frustration is truly with him. As I said at Meet in the Middle rally, I want Obama to show the courage that convinced me to work to elect him.

Are you disappointed in HRC, or Kathy Griffin?

ABSOLUTELY – HRC needs to know – they have a HUGE problem. They are completely disconnected from their community and their base and there is a way to reconnect, but I think they are so consumed with fundraiser events and t-shirt sells to really engage in a conversation about why the organization that is NATIONALLY branded to represent us is NOT connected to those who feel disenfranchised. I know that I, and many others, would love to have an open and honest conversation about how to build a better army, but I don’t believe there are ready or willing to have that conversation.

[Ed: Apparently HRC is on “lockdown,” fearful McGehee and Get Equal will storm their offices like they did Pelosi’s. But can’t Joe Solmonese just hop on a first-class flight out of dodge?]

David Mixner is among your brand new supporters. How do you plan to merge “old activism” with “new activism”? Or do you consider what you’re doing to be one in the same?

David Mixner is a hero to us. Kip, Dan, Jim and I – as well as the many others who were arrested on Thursday have admired his true patriotism to our community and to our country for so very long. What we do is completely done with direct influence from his leadership. Mixner has supported us since the National Equality March and his advice as a leader in our movement who also chained himself to the WH fence in opposition to Clinton’s decision to compromise around the DADT bill is one of the exact reasons we admire him and trusted his input.

He has offered support and advice for GetEQUAL’s mission since long before last week’s action.

Well, what’s next?

We need people to go to our website, sign on, take the pledge. The questions there will ask if you are willing to sign up for non-violent civil disobedience – if you are ready, we have bail money, legal services and a strategy to make change. We want volunteers who are ready to take action and not only with the efforts of phone banking, lettering writing and doing lobby visits.

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  • Stephen

    wow. she’s passionate.. but she is gonna scare people. civil disobedience just wont work anymore.. lobbying may be the best way. But the HRC is doing a decent job, keep in mind we are fighting an uphill “culture war”. Lets just work together peacefully.

    PS. Barney Frank is may be our biggest asset, listen to him. Stop marching, start lobbying

  • Sammie

    Stephen, really? Really?

    HRC and decent job shouldn’t be put together.

  • Jimmy

    ” Stop marching, start lobbying”

    Do both!

  • Rob

    “HRC is doing a decent job.”?????????????

    At what? Making excuses? Attending cocktail parties? Photo-ops? Fake rallies for a comedienne’s reality tv show?

  • DR

    Everything which has been said in posts 2-4, I wholeheartedly agree with. Especially the understanding that HRC has become a joke.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Stephen: Barney Frank is a politician.

    Here’s the reality as per Pam’s House of Blend. Today, there’s a march for immigration rights amongst various immigration groups.

    Here’s the White House’s response to the march:

    “The rally is expected to bring 50,000 reform advocates to the nation’s Capitol right as the health care debate reaches its climax.

    ..However, the White House knows the pressure from the right to stop an “amnesty” bill will be intense. That may be why the lone Republican, Sen. Lindsay Graham, is already backing off his stance in favor of a bipartisan bill.

    If the crowd dips far under the 50,000 that organizers predict, expect less interest from the White House.

    …The White House is very leery on this topic, and will be looking to see solid grassroots support before proceeding, especially after the cauldron of health care.”

    This is how REAL politics versus what Frank says to keep power for Frank: if there is a big enough uproar, the White House and the Democrats will feel a need to react to it to placate the base. We have seen this before. The White House above admits to it. The only idiots who don’t seem to get it are Stephen and the other HRC sychophantic rent boys.

    Street activism is not and should not be our only tool. No one has said it should be. But like lobbying , it has its role to play. I talked to a friend. He says these sorts of things in DC stir up a lot of attention and energy toward pressuring reform. They assume that if a small number of people are willing to come out to fight like this, then that represents a lot of voters on the scale of 10,000 for every 1 protestor. The idea being that the protestors are the most passionate, but they represent a wider discontent with a base vote.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    Regarding intensity:

    You also need to realize that as far as intensity goes- the WH and the Democrats already know the polls favor repeal of DADT by 70 percent, and that’s including the military. Thus, they are up against the wall to produce if they believe the intensity amongst LBGT voters is also there. That’s the value. That is creates one more sense pressured urgency to act. That if people are willing to spend their money, time and indeed give up their freedom for this- they must act. The recent Barney Frank does not believe in this is that he’s among that generation of Democrats that believes in reacting to the right rather than setting the agenda. They are the old guard.

  • TonyD

    Scare people into action as our chance at civil rights fade and being seen as secondary class submissive sidekicks forever sets in. I’ll take my chances and back this woman, Lt. Choi, and numerous others with backbone to use all peaceful means necessary to have our voices heard, rock the boat, and leave mud on Kathy “My gays” Griffin and HRC’s Obama-obedient faces. Thank you!

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    Lord, look, if the Democrats are not great (because they are not liberal enough) you Cat Walker are like a chicken praising Cornel Sanders. Why don’t you link to some comment from the Tea Partiers caling up fags next?

  • AndrewW

    BOTH organizations should be held accountable.

    HRC must provide evidence that their lobbying is effective.

    GetEqual must provide evidence that their publicity stunts are effective. They must explain HOW very public, angry demands provides more support for our movement.

    The failure of BOTH organizations to agree to be held accountable will lead to their demise. GetEqual has accused HRC of being ineffective and it’s only fair to determine if they are effective.

    Robin and Kip need to show us some evidence.

  • NG

    How effective was GET EQUAL? It led to Lt. Dan Choi and Capt Paintrangelo going to prison and asking for a trial; presumably to argue whether DADT is constitutional.

  • Storm

    Every civil rights movement has involved a two-pronged approach. You need the velvet glove, but you also need the fist. The carrot -and- the stick. Martin Luthor King needed Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. We need Barney Frank and HRC on one hand, and we desperately need GetEqual’s more confrontational tactics on the other hand.

  • AndrewW

    @Storm: It’s 2010. 50 years ago we needed publicity stunts and even civil disobedience to get ATTENTION. We have enough attention – that isn’t the problem.

    The PROBLEM is we don’t have enough support. We need people to support us and stand with us for full equality. Publicity stunts don’t inspire people to support us, in fact most think they’re counterproductive.

    PETA, GreenPeace and others dropped all their publicity stunts 15-20 years ago. They DON’T work. They simply irritate people, including some of our supporters.

    If GetEqual believes they are helpful in generating real support, it would be a good idea for them to tell us HOW. Otherwise, we’d be better off if they simply shut up.

  • randy

    Look at the numbers: 70% of all Americans agree that DADT should be repealed. Even a slight majority of conservatives agree. That’s about as close to unanimity you will ever have in this country. Even the military is coming around. So what’s the problem? What’s the holdup?

    The problem is that there are still Dems (and yes, they are in the White House too) who believe that this is somehow controversial. they are scared because of the debacle that created this monster back in 1993 with Clinton. The President, and Pelosi should just tell the Dems that they will vote for this because the American people support it, and it’s good for the military, AND it’s good politics.

    Yes, there are some Dems who are scared of their own shadow. Those are the ones to strong arm and tell them it’s time to grow a pair. And we get that by shutting down the ATM machine that gays have been for the Democratic party until we get what we want, and we make it so embarrassing that the Dems have to explain why they won’t vote for something so commonsensical.

    When there are demonstrations and arrests, people will ask their congressmen where they stand on this issue, and that will force them to do the right thing. Until then, there are too many places to hide.

  • Ethan

    Well her timing really sux doesnt it… The whole country was focused on Health Care this week so this went absoloutley nowhere…they may have the energy but not the fore thought.

    This was poorly planned and executed on her side, this is the problem I have with these fly by nite organizations that just pop up and demand the death of older organizations…

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Ethan: It was trial run for the organization. You either don’t understand how to build up a movement or are like several others just against the idea in general. Do you know how many events precede flash points that go into the national conciousness? There were multiple events before stone wall, and there were many after that you never heard of. The value of stone wall was that it was a flash point, and not that it was a single event. If you read her interview, they are building. That’s a different point than you are making. I realloy think many of you are stupid. Either that or support the Human Rights Campaign. Including the poster trying to play false equivalence. Well if Human Rights Campaign (which has been around forever) is bad, then so is this new organization just getting started. When you read the history of movements it often starts small, there will eventually be some flash point, and it will grow from there. Some idiot will react badly to the peaceful disobedience. it will be a slow news day, and things will suddenly take on an importance that they didn’t before. That’s the history of social movements. No one knows where or where the tipping point will occur. We just know that there will be one.

  • Cat Walker

    @D’oh, The Magnificent:
    so, by following the same line of thinking of yours, I assume that kfc its the only food you eat.

    some people have too much free time on their hands.

  • delurker

    @D’oh, The Magnificent: They got 150k-200k at the pro immigration reform rally. Immigration reform is probably next on the president’s agenda.

    Hint, hint, gay rights groups. This is how you get the president’s attention, not theatrics like chaining yourself to the white house.

  • Ethan

    D’oh, The Magnificent, well to be honest I’m a huge supporter of HRC, do I believe they are the end all and be all of Gay rights organizations …no. I think there is room for many voices is this movement. What I don’t like is the the anti HRC’ers fixating on HRC and slamming them all the time when all they can come up with is an Ill timed and executed side show. If you don’t like HRC then fine, go on about your business and try to add something to the mix but come on to bash them and do this…it’s silly.

    Next week if not sooner this will be forgotten about, except for your lot who will keep rehashing it over and over and HRC will be slowly moving along trying to get things done…

    Get Equal will swell up and then pop out of existance like so many groups before.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Cat Walker: Apparently you don’t have enough time on your hands to actually make a coherent point. Get back to me when you do.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Ethan: Since my point is that both Human Rights Campaign and grassroot activism like Equality are necessary, you are straw man boggie man’s to my argument. Let me know when you are ready to bring some nuance beyond whining like a child about “but the others are mean.”

  • AndrewW

    GetEqual is last year’s EqualityAcrossAmerica and the year before’s JoinTheImpact. Unless they show us some evidence and a Plan, they’ll be over soon, too.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Ethan: You are either a retard, in which case you didn’t understand, or a manipulator with an agenda, in which case you don’t care. Either way, putting you down is about only thing of value I can get from this exchange.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @AndrewW: Oh lord, evidence to some no body whining online? You are important in your own head baby.

  • AndrewW

    @D’oh, The Magnificent: Oh, their evidence is some kind of secret? Tell you buddies to put it on their website – while it’s still up.

  • Daniel

    AndrewW, it would be helpful if you would post some suggestions on what people can do, rather than just criticizing everyone else. It would be more effective.

    Of the overall environment in the USA, I think everyone in the GLBTA community has a right to be pissed at the situation. A few thousand politicians and religious leaders are violating the human rights of millions upon millions of other people while lining their pockets with money from followers and by becoming lobbyists after their political careers. Any group experiencing that political and religious corruption on Earth would rightfully be angry beyond all approach.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Daniel: The point is to get all of us to “convince” Andrew we are right. Not for Andrew to do shit. Tactically, the denialists are in charge of the country right now. The basic approach “you haven’t convinced me, now waste your time trying to convince me and whatever you say I will say you haven’t convinced me.” One can spend a lot of wasted time trying convince folks who really have no interested in being convinced. They are, however, really interested in derailing any movement hip to the game. Look at Andrew here, I am supposed to “prove” things to him because why exactly? Because he says he doesn’t believe. well that’s enough for me.

  • trickstertara

    I couldn’t afford the $175 gala luncheon the HRC held in St. Louis last Spring (don’t believe that was how much it was? I have a screen shot of the e-mail they sent me). When things were really tough for me, I couldn’t even afford the $35 membership fee.

    Things are better for me now and I can afford a fine for disorderly conduct. I’ve already signed the GetEqual pledge.

  • AndrewW

    @D’oh, The Magnificent: GetEqual and any other LGBT advocacy group needs to prove the effectiveness of their tactic, strategy and plans so we don’t waste our TIME, MONEY or ENERGY.

    If that’s NOT important to YOU – you can just continue to skip down the yellow brick road.

    But, for GetEqaul and others asking for money and participation, they MUST provide evidence that we’re not wasting our time or money. If not, they will not receive our money or our support. So, it’s completely up to them.

  • AndrewW

    @trickstertara: So, you “pledged to demand equality.” How is that going to work? If we just “demand,” then those against us just give up and deliver our equality?

    Can we just demand by phone, email or youtube? Oh, and how many of us need to demand? 100 million? 200 million? What the magic number? Plus, can we all demand 10-12 times, that would add up quicker?

    If you really think just demanding will win this struggle, or anyone will actually care that YOU are demanding, try it this week. Go make demands. Get arrested. Get real angry. See if that changes anyone’s mind. Because if it doesn’t – you’re simply wasting your time.

    Some people commenting here are happy to have you waste your time. I’d rather you used your time to try and figure out HOW to actually win. We need to win – 50 years is enough of “try anything” and “one of these days.” but, it’s up to you.

  • jeffree

    @Daniel: Do not bother asking AndrewW or his sockpuppet Brian NYC among others for suggestions. He’s here just to say NO NO NO & cannot offer better ideas. Ive asked & he can’t answer. can you say UNHELPFUL NASTY TROLL? Don’t waste your time on it/him/them !!

    If HRC wants 2 stay relevant then they need to focus less $$ & time with “meet & greets” & more on motivatting people 2 get their friends/family/allies 2 speak up.

    DADTs repeal should b a priority & so should repeal of DOMA & passage of the ENDA & lets not 4get Prop8 2!!!!

  • Sammie

    If getqual has to prove to us why they need our participation, our effort, doesn’t HRC have to do that as well, with HRC being a organization presumably worth millions?

    If you don’t believe in them, don’t join. Just like many people who don’t believe that HRC is effective, will not join and will quit if they already were members.

  • sacgary

    I was at the equality march in DC. On the way back from the march on Metro, I was talking to a local couple.

    As you might imagine the locals see a LOT of protests at the Capitol. What they told me is that the local people judge the success of a protest by how much grass can be seen between the people on the West lawn.

    At the end of the march, there was NO GRASS to be seen and people were still coming down Pennsylvania avenue for another 30 minutes.

  • AndrewW

    @Sammie: HRC’s donation have been cut in half during the last 6 months. THAT is accountability. They do need to substantiate their tactics – primarily lobbying. Because if they can’t, they will lose even more support.

    GetEqual should have known, well before they launched their publicity stunts, that they would need to substantiate their efforts. They thought David Mixner’s endorsement would be enough.

    I’m sure they’re working on providing some support for their ideas and tactics now. Look for it on their website by Wednesday.

  • AndrewW

    @sacgary: Cute story. The success of the March depends on whether or not it changes any minds or any votes.

    Five months later there is NO evidence that March did either.

    I know it probably made you feel good, and I know you want to help, but we need to determine what works and what doesn’t. WE need to be more effective by embracing accountability.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @jeffree: Agree. Their only purpose for posting seems to be to say no. Well that, and to do something I see on few liberal blogs where in they ask constantly for people to prove a position over and over again no matter what is said. The point of this sort of tactic is to derail. You could write 2+2=4 and they will claim not to buy the argument. It’s a tactic. Not intellectual interest.

  • AndrewW

    @D’oh, The Magnificent: It is very clear you are part of GetEqual (Kip or Robin?).

    We ALL know 2+2=4, but does Angry + Demand = Equality?

    It’s a very fair question.

    GetEqual is not receiving financial support until they make the case for their stunts. It’s my understanding they will post something on their website by Wednesday. Let’s see.

    I appreciate your comments. We can talk after Wednesday.

  • trickstertara

    @AndrewW: I don’t know what the magic number is. I don’t pretend to know what works, what doesn’t and what will garner the most positive results in the press and the polls for ENDA, repealing DADT, equal marriage. The only thing I know from day to day is the weight of my personal actions on myself and the people around me. I know I’m willing to try this approach more than feeding my pay cheques to HRC.

  • AndrewW

    @trickstertara: I appreciate that. I stopped supporting HRC 4 years ago.

    The MOST important thing you can do is talk to your friends, neighbors, co-workers and even strangers. Ask them to support your equality. Two out of Three will agree. The more you ask, the more we enroll.

    We win when we get ENOUGH people to join us, not when we piss off enough people.

    Think about it. It’s great you are participating.

  • jeffree

    @ AndrewW/BrianNYC/ & assorted sockpuppets!

    Am still waiting 4 u to suggest ideas!

    How much longer must i wait, while u stew in the garbage of your hate?

    Until you post ONE good idea of a better strategy to WIN WIN WIN you r a TROLL & a loser & a nobody & a hater & every one of your comments will get flagged & u will be kicked off Queerty like u have been booted from other blogs!

    Get real!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dayle

    We need to work together. If we turn on each other now, the right will take all of our freedom away. patience, and percerverence.

  • PBCliberal

    If “stunting” is dead, then why did HRC provide production support and “demonstrators” for a reality show that features a comedienne asking the house whip if she could whip him, and hoping that DADT could be repealed by the weekend so that she’d have good news to tell Lisa Minnelli.

    Before you can impel people to act, you have to get their attention. Putting oneself in peril to make a point seems a lot more on point to inspire than burlesquing the whole issue by filling an hour of Bravo with topical stand-up.

    But I think this whole question of tactics, as well as the question of protesting while wearing the uniform, is just a cover for the real outrage felt by Gay, Inc., of which HRC is chairman of the board.

    You don’t get admission to the tables of power unless the powerful believe you hold sway with the members of your minority. What must the Obama administration think about its decision to appoint HRC and the legacy gay organizations as its conduit to the gay community when they obviously can’t deliver.

    The servicemen shackled to the White House fence are an embarrassment not only to the Obama administration, but to the suited supplicants from our community telling that administration that they have everything under control.

  • Soakman

    Take a page out of history:

    Civil disobedience IS necessary, as is a pacifistic approach. Both are necessary, and cannot stand in each other’s way. Avoid condemning each other, and be visible in your own way.

    It took Martin Luther King Jr. AND Malcom X to change the USA. Neither were wrong, and BOTH were needed.

  • J

    Here’s what works – EVERYTHING works
    for those who think that the March on Washington did not do any good – did you hear General Patreus tell Congress the time is now to end DADT? Did you know that this week Senator Lieberman is introducing a bill to end DADT, days after Lt. Choi and Captain Petrangelo chained themselves to the White House fence.

    Even though the homo-obsesed heterosupremacist tyrannical theocRATs compare us to animals, we have nothing in common with Greenpeace or PETA – we are not animals – we are human beings, and if you think civil disobedience does not work – don’t try it because it is difficult and daring, and it has always worked and will always work.

    But that’s not the only kind of direct action that works, along with lobbying, meeting with people in power, and now we have the direct action of the internet – which is having a tremendous influence – so much so that laws are being introduced in Congress for the first time.

    So don’t complain to the choir or bitch at the choir – take your fingers and find your members of Congress on Facebook and Twitter and confront them directly, and make them answer you directly in front of everyone. Get everyone on their pages talking and if your style is diplomatic be a diplomat and if your style is angry be angry – because what works is what works.

  • AndrewW

    @PBCliberal: You are comparing the “stunts” of HRC with the “stunts” of GetEqual?

    Yeah, they are stunts and they are intended to create attention. The problem is attention is not what we’re lacking. People know about us – that isn’t the problem. The problem is we don’t have enough people supporting us, standing with us.

    Publicity stunts don’t encourage people to join us or support us. Nancy Pelosi was clearly in our camp – until Friday afternoon. Our very public bitch slapping of the Speaker will probably result in further delay of legislation.

    If these stunts are helpful for our community, GetEqual needs to show us how. I’ve been told that it will be on their website by Wednesday.

  • Eric

    I think she’s wonderful.

    “Integrity has no need of rules.” -Albert Camus

  • AndrewW

    @J: Everything works?

    Lieberman introduced the DADT Repeal Bill more two weeks ago, (March 3rd) – it had nothing to do with Choi’s publicity stunt.

    All General Petraeus did it was suggest it was “time to review DADT” (because Obama told him to) and he asked for a year-long review. HE never said he wanted to change DADT. So, what exactly did 20,000 people marching in DC last October have to do with his “not” changing his mind?

    And don’t suggest refusing to leave Nancy Pelosi’s office is “dangerous” civil disobedience. There is nothing courageous about irritating people to get attention. Most people find it childish. Other organizations stopped doing it, because it was ineffective.

    We have enough attention. We need accountability.

  • Chitown Kev

    GetEqual and other direct action groups need to do their job IN ORDER for Uncle Joe and HRC to do theirs.

    I don’t know what part of that HRC doesn’t understand but they don’t get it.

  • Chance

    @NG: Choi will have absolutely no chance to argue the constitutionality of DADT. Sorry, legal system doesn’t work that way.

    He’s facing trial in civilian court for chaining himself to a fence. DADT’s constitutionality would be irrelevant. He’ll be facing military court for two things now – his appeal about his DADT dismissal, and now, for wearing his military uniform during a political demonstration. The only one where he’ll even get to talk about DADT is his appeal, and that’s military so forget about constitutionality.

    If he wants to have that battle, he’ll have to file suit directly in federal court.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    There are so many red herrings being tossed out by the detractors there seem little point in engaging them all. If your basis for arguing against political action that causes pressure is that it is not a “law” then you already off to the point of navel gazing. THe point is to create the environment to pressure policy changes. That’s why every bit of pressure matters. I think Andrew who keeps posting under different names knows this. THe logical is so flawed that I have to hope it is really one person who is this lacking in reasoning ability or the work of HRC because otherwise we live in a really stupid society right now. I don’t want to believe people are this poor at reasoning.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    By the way, the detractors keep asking for proof, and yet, when given proof of how movements like this work, one has to question given your inability to comprehend basic premises whether you will even understand. And, yes, Andrew, Chance and others I am not ready to question your intelligence level. If you are not smart enough to get the arguments thus far, I doubt there is any amount of reasoning that will understand.

  • AndrewW

    @D’oh, The Magnificent: Many people have posted a very simple question:

    HOW does creating attention help us gather support?

    YOU don’t have to answer that question, but Kip and Robin do. They will not receive any support, until the do. If publicity stunts really help us, then tell us how. Tell us how they change either minds or votes. We already have plenty of attention – we need effective tactics. GetEqual needs to prove their stunts are effective.

  • NG


    Sure he can. Capt Paintrangelo and Lt. Choi can say their actions were in part due to the discrimination caused by DADT.

    If you have people who can blame their anti-gayness on poor education, why not Lt Choi blame his actions on DADT?

  • Cam

    Nothing was being done, Obama even made a joke at our expense regarding the pickets outside a meeting. Then there is the march on Washington, combined with the call to boycott DNC fundraisers…..funny how much movement we’ve been getting since then. HRC and Barny Frank were saying MArches and Rallies don’t do any good, funny isn’t it that now HRC is planing a march for May 11th? I guess they only hate marches when they didn’t plan them.

  • AndrewW

    @Cam: You said:

    “Then there is the march on Washington, combined with the call to boycott DNC fundraisers…..funny how much movement we’ve been getting since then.”

    What movement?

    DADT is being studied.
    ENDA is no loner being considered.
    LGBT considerations were NOT in the Healthcare Bill.
    DOMA is not being considered.

    and we don’t have enough votes to pass anything in the US Senate.

    Plus, we publicly humiliated Nancy Pelosi on Friday afternoon.

    So, what movement?

  • PBCliberal


    A literal reading of your post to me would suggest that you’re trying to compel @getEqual to explain how “stunts” work while acknowledging that HRC and getEqual are both stunting.

    If I were getEqual, I’d point out that their actions were intended to be civil disobedience. You seem bright enough to know who Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King are, and I’m willing to bet you’ve read David Mixner’s brilliant encapsulation of Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

    So you’re not really asking how these things “work;” we have history to teach us that. You’re asking if they still work. The only thing that will tell us that is the outcome. There’s nothing one can put on a webpage that will accurately predict that.

    I know Nancy Pelosi knows what ENDA is. I suspect she also believed there was no downside to providing little more than lip service about it. I know President Obama knows DADT is a critical issue for us and for military staffing, but I suspect he also believes it’s not one critical enough for his administration to do anything more than fundraise.

    You accurately assess the impasse we face on most of our primary issues. Most are issues HRC claims they’ve been addressing since 1980, yet you seem far more critical of the upstart organization than the one that has made little progress in three decades.

    So we come back to my assertion that this is far more about power and control than about tactics. A lot of people got humiliated last week; they’re the ones who have taken our money, used our people as their political beasts of burden, and produced little or nothing to show for it.

  • Oh-So-Very

    I’d love to give this woman a hug, then get thrown in jail with her and friends:)

  • AndrewW

    @PBCliberal: I think what you have suggested is mostly accurate.

    Civil disobedience was effective 40-50 years ago. But, the world has changed – especially communication. So, GetEqual has an obligation to present HOW these stunts will be effective. Part of that explanation must deal with whether or not this “attention” is helpful, and if so, why?

    I’m not fan of HRC – they need to be held accountable, too. Whether an organization is asking for money OR participation they need to justify their actions, tactics and strategies (if they even exist).

    I agree, after 40 years we have little to show for it. To that end, we must determine what tactics are effective. We must focus our attention on what works and where we commit our resources – time and money.

    I appreciate your comment.

  • edgyguy1426

    No. 49 ChiTown Kev, if you ever want to disobey civilly in Chicago sometime, lemme know… [email protected]


  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @AndrewW: Can you tell me the lotto numbers for this week? With your psychic abilities to tell the future about the success of any given action as a part of a multitude of actions being taken- well- let’s just say we can be come rich if you are this powerful. Like I said before in another thread, you people are geniuses. Smarter than all the rest of humanity combined who had to toll through history to get to this point.

  • Forrest

    Well it’s easy to say that the militant direct action style of ACT UP is not relevant in our “modern” age.

    OTOH HRC’s cocktail party/lapdog approach has not exactly borne much fruit. Even of the lowhanging variety.

    There is no doubt that ACT UP’s militancy produced results and saved lives. Dr Tony Fauci from NIH and others in the medical community and government at the time freely admit this now.

    So I say more power to Getequal and their ilk. We need more of this type of visibility. Not everyone is meant to chain themselves or occupy offices. But hopefully these actions will inspire more of us to make our voices heard.

  • AndrewW

    @Forrest: I don’t think it’s an either GetEqual or HRC question at all. BOTH must provide evidence that they are effective. HRC has already wasted +$550 million with lobbying and they haven’t changed any minds in the US Congress.

    You suggest we need more of this “visibility.” Why?

    Fill in the blank:

    If more of us disrupt other peoples lives and bring more attention to the fact we’re unhappy and that this is unfair, even by getting arrested, it will ________________.

    What will it accomplish? Everyone already knows about our struggle. So, beyond publicity, what will it accomplish?


    How many of you have ever heard of the Salt Tax which led (many years later) to India being free of the chains of colonialism? At the time, many British Imperialists dismissed Ghandhi’s very public “stunt” of going to the salt flats and picking up salt he was forbidden to touch. It led to a never ending round of “stunts” until India was free.

    Did you know that Rosa Parks didn’t just happen to refuse to get up for a white man one afternoon? She had been trained at The Highlander Center. She knew how to pull a “stunt”.

    When MLK got started, the establishment Negroes who got invited to the White House under Mrs. Roosevelt told him to quiet down and let them handle it. They didn’t want no “stunts” complicating the relationship they had already built up and Negroes just needed to wait until the time was right for colored folks to get their rights.

    The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a “stunt”.

    Walking across that bridge in Selma was a “stunt”

    Priests immolating themselves to protest the war in Vietnam and young men burning their draft cards were all “stunts”.

    Remember the picture of the long hairs putting daisies into the barrels of rifles during the war?

    A “stunt”.

    I firmly believe in “stunts”.

    As far as providing “evidence” of success goes, well, the March put thousands of activists in touch with one another all across the country. Everyday my inbox is full of actions going on from New Mexico to Maine and offers from across the country to help. Is it always about DADT or ENDA? No. In the last two days a massive outpouring of disgust with a sportscasters homophobic comments got him to issue a an apology. In MN a Black minister is being boycotted at a gospel convention because he is openly Gay. We are working on making sure that is brought to everyone’s attention. In Tupelo MS, a furniture company is under constant bombardment from activists and I’d be willing to bet that they won’t be holding a segregated prom to keep a young lesbian out.

    Now, let’s talk about what Gay Inc has done in 30 YEARS and Lord knows how many millions of the dollars they have sucked out of local LGBT communities. Please, evidence. As far as I know, hate crimes legislation. That’s great, but, for a dollar to effect ratio plus time spent, it sorta sucks.

    Big time.

    Give me “stunts” that cost some time on the cell phone and laptop that can affect change in days vs whatever the fuck Gay Inc does anyday.

  • AndrewW

    @DEREK WASHINGTON: Anything evidence for the last few decades Derek? This isn’t your Grandfather’s America. The world has changed – history and endorsement aren’t enough.

    Tell me HOW these stunts will help us win. Fill in the blank (above).


    @ANDREW W: I’m glad you made my argument for me. The world has changed. We live in a 24hr media cycle. The teabaggers are a relatively small group of people ,however, I have to admire their brilliant “stunts” which have exploded them onto the national scene. The essence of these “stunts” is political theater. Sure, there’s plenty going on backstage, but, look at how quick the Republicans fell into line over a few thousand people pulling stunts. And they did it without 30 yrs and who knows how many gazillions of dollars that could have been used training LGBT youth in politics or training LGBT seniors to be precinct captains (which I do) in order to ,by now, have changed the system from within. Instead, Gay Inc. went down a path of Tuxes and dinners. That’s fine, but, that’;s how my grandfather would have done it.

    May I kindly ask you ANDREW W for “evidence” of what Gay Inc has produced other than a rather fab building in DC? And please divide it by years spent and dollars sucked up and out of every major city in America. Then please, ANDREW W, explain to me how it all works out in a cost/benefit sorta thingee.

    I’ll spot you one, Hate Crimes Legislation.

    Your court. And don’t look so threatened.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @DEREK WASHINGTON: Yes, I know that Rosa Parks was planned. A lot of it was planned. This idea of spontaneousness is just part of the Hollywood version of how movements happen. You can see that in Andrew’s post. It’s incredibly ignorant of history. For example, it is clear he does not realize these movements have happened in cycles with long periods of relative quiet and short periods of radicalism, etc. For example, the black civil rights movement didn’t just occur in the 1960s. I bet Andrew doesn’t know there was a similar movement in the 30s that was quieted due to the war and the subsequent “We must be normal”years of the 50s. By the 50s, no one could have imagined the 60s because they thought the turbulence that led to the movement of the 30s was over. The history of civil disobedience and civil rights in general is very complex. The idea that anyone can decide what strategy will or will not work out of hand without offering any proof mind you is the height of arrogance. that’s why I keep attacking Andrew. He’s arrogant. But he does n’t get that.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @DEREK WASHINGTON: The hate crimes wasn’t a product of HRC. It was a product of the theatrics of deaths like those of Matthew Sheppard, which offered a great deal of emotional appeal behind passing the bill. HRC was kind of besides the point.


    @D’OH ,etc: So you’re telling me they’re batting zero? They sure do claim it, along with DC weddings and that fact that chocolate tastes really good on your birthday.

    Note sarcasm. ;-)

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @DEREK WASHINGTON: I am not saying they don’t matter. They add the element of lobbying, which is absolutely necessary. But that lobbying alone, unless you are Daddy Big Bucks like the insurance industry or the Christian right, does not hold as much clout. My point more that HRC needs a radical element to make HRC relevant. The problem with someone like Andrew is as I said- he’s arrogant. He assumes we have all this power in DC, and thus, they can just play the DC game alone. Those games work for the conservative agenda, but not so much for radical shifts in policies like a new emerging minority power. It took the entire spectrum of black leadership to move black civil rights. I suspect the same will hold true of gay rights as well. I am not so arrogant to say one or another strategy will work. I am willing to use every means available to us. Apparently, Andrew has the luxury of picking and choosing. Must be nice.

  • AndrewW

    @DEREK WASHINGTON: You compared GetEqual to the Tea Party whackos. Excellent. Dan Savage did the same thing. Many others have said it quietly.

    America laughs at the Tea Party. Support GetEqual if you want America to laugh at us, too.

  • AndrewW

    @D’oh, The Magnificent: You can try to make your strategy of “try anything and everything without regard for their effectiveness or consequences,” but some of us with rather be smart about it.

    Keep throwing darts. When you get tired of missing, embrace accountability. Put some real thought into how well something works, look for evidence. Then, put you time, money and energy into the ones that actually work.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @DEREK WASHINGTON: I wanted to wait until Andrew responded to illustrate a point. There’s a reason why others consider him a troll. It is because we are here to convince Andrew, and no matter what you say, Andrew knows best. So, Can I ask you to stop feeding the troll?

  • Jude

    Derek, I’m with you. Perhaps because I remember the Civil Rights Movement, protests against the Vietnam war, Nelson Mandela.
    Civil disobedience can work. No one has the ability to predict the future. But I can tell you that at my age, and I’m straight, I have too many gay friends in their 50s, 60s and even 70s who want and need legal benefits and protections. It’s time for discrimination to end.
    What will work? I don’t know. But Joe Solmonese’s big fat salary and fancy parties don’t work for me.

    I applaud Dan, Jim and Robin’s courage, along with the ENDA 4 and those in San Francisco. They are passionate about rights and equality.

    For those of you that disagree, what are you doing?

  • Polar Bear

    Blacks had to protest and use nonviolent resistance and get arrested to get their rights in America. We need people like Dan and Robin and more Martin Luther Kings and Gandi types out there standing up for the rights and freedoms of all gay people in America. The time is now for non-violent resistance to fight against all of the injustice against gays in America. We are Americans and we need to stand up and fight and demand the right to marry and work as equals in America, NOW!

  • AndrewW

    Still no evidence that civil disobedience and publicity stunts are effective. IF they are effective, please tell us how. Something from the last few decades, please. The world has changed. America has changed. Give us some fresh evidence that these stunts are helpful. We needed demonstration before we had communication.

    Several of the comments above have been supplied directly by Kip Williams and Robin McGeehee. They are very similar to emails I’ve received.

    Tomorrow GetEqual is supposed to post their rationale for their actions on their website. I’m looking forward to hearing what they hope to accomplish with these activities. I’m very pleased to see they are accepting the necessity of being accountable.

  • Soakman

    So…did you notice that J and I both got completely ignored?

    As if throwing a hissy-fit at each other in an online forum is helping. If you want to get results, put your money where your mouth is and GO MAKE IT HAPPEN.

  • Sammie

    Andrew – you are such a jackass.

    My brain hurts reading your words, because you are nonsensical. It’s truly sad. Are you for gay rights, because this incessant need for proof from a start up organization, that isn’t asking for YOUR money, or a lot of money is weird? They want people to protest, and if you don’t want to protest, go away!

    And read a book to see how civil disobedience works and can work. I’ve met plenty of Phds who see how it works, so why not call one of them.

    And Derek Washington – great post! Too bad Andrew can’t understand it.

  • jeffree

    Ignore the troll. Engaging with it puts you at risk of ending up insane, frustrated, alone and sexless! Its strategy is to wear you down, because thats the only victory it can claim. Its role in life is to whine. Its own strategy has proven ineffective because there are no converts to its way of thinking, just a trail of enemies……

  • Bill Perdue

    What our movement needs to get ahead are the following:

    Total organizational and political independence from the Democrats, the Republicans and their front groups that operate in the GLBT communities, siphoning off activism and funds to elect people who then toss us under the bus at every junction.

    Those front groups include Log Cabin, HRC, Stonewall Democrats, California Equality (and other state Equality groups affilitated with the Democrats) and GOProud.

    A democratic internal life with an elected, recallable leadership elected solely on political and strategic agreement.

    Most of the work can be done by volunteers. We don’t need self appointed leaders or ‘star power’. Our leadership should be paid a living stipend and not a penny more. Fundraising should be for specific purposes and accountable with frequent reports.

    The basis for our unity should be broad adherence to a program of militant mass action accompanied by smaller acts of civil disobedience for whose willing to accept the consequences.

    We want to build a movement that reflects our goals and not the ugly bigotries of the society we’re trying to replace.

    For that reason we want to exclude people who insist on promoting strategies and views that are racist, immigrant bashing, sexist, islamophobic or transphobic. It’s not a question of denying them their right to speak, but we have to leave that garbage behind us if we want to win. Those are the hallmarks of the old, failed society. We’re part of the embyronic new society.

    We have to develop close mutual support relations with trade unions, the antiwar movement, and organizations that arise from the struggles for equality by women, African Americans, native Americans, women, immigrant and imported workers and others. Unity is the key to victory.


    AndrewW’s only strategy is to try to recruit superstitious cultists to the LGBT cause. He’s said it once or twice but is regularly met with laughter and scorn.

    So he carps.

    He’s become unnecessary oxygen consumer.

  • AndrewW


  • Genia Stevens

    I’m with AndrewW here. I love, love, love the fact that people are getting more and more motivated to actually DO something. And I love the fact that we’re no longer waiting for the HRC to get our rights for us.

    BUT, I’ve always lived my life by asking one simple question: IF THIS, THEN WHAT? I need to have an idea of what the end-result will be.

    I want to know EXACTLY what GetEqual’s direct-action-resulting-in-jail-time will accomplish. I already know that this kind of activism results in 15 minutes on the news and about 2 weeks of discussion on blog posts like these. I also know that this kind of activism gets people all fired up and “ready to rumble.” I also know that this kind of activism has embarrassed the hell out of the HRC (and they surely deserve it). But what we don’t know is will this kind of activism result in any major changes to state and federal laws?

    I’m also curious if this sort of direct-action-resulting-in-jail-time will ever happen in places like, oh, the deep south, where the need is great, the risk is far greater, the religious-right is much more rabid and the rewards won’t come nearly as quickly.

    One more question: Does GetEqual have plans to dethrone the HRC and become the next national LGBTQ equal rights organization?

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