What’s Happening at the ‘Secret’ Gay Activist Retreat in Knoxville?


We’re hearing a slew of gay rights leaders and organizers from across the nation are holed up near Knoxville at a “secret” retreat at the Highlander Research and Education Center. Among attendees: Kip Williams and Robin McGeHee (above, on L and R), who defected from Equality Across America in November, along with other NEM organizers and regional activist group leaders. Also, according to one tipster, this is supposedly an “all-expenses paid queer gathering”; might this be that new, SECRET Gill Foundation-funded organization we’ve been hearing about? Mabes!

Either way, it sounds like there’s some closed doors, cigar-smoking power playing going on in the shadows, and we wanna know who’s there, who’s footing the bill, whether Pepsi or Coke is being served, and most importantly, what’s the goal?

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #activism #activists #gayinc. stories and more


  • TommyOC

    I would wager to think that the majority of “rank and file” gays are tired of secret meetings of people plotting against us…. and doubly tired of secret meetings of people plotting FOR us!

    Why? Because they’re secret.

    I don’t know if this group of people think we’re too stupid to understand the issues’ nuances or if they think they’re simply too considerate when they decide not to burden our little hearts and brains with their lofty logic and hefty burdens. But I do know they’re pretentious, self-important, assuming asshats that somehow appointed themselves to positions of power.

    They don’t speak for me. They don’t speak for you. They speak for themselves.

    Now excuse me while I fight my local battles for equality from my low-wage job, stopping only to eat microwave dinners and resting on my lumpy bed in my small and messy bedroom.

  • Josh_Texas

    This is Cleve Jones deal for a Gay Union. The big idea is to ELECT leaders. Wow.

    They are planning more unsuccessful marches and non-effective demanding. Nothing to get very excited about. Nothing new.

  • Derek Washington

    Lol, if there’s cigars and fancy accomodations here, I’m pissed because I’m on a mattress in the living room. I wish. Can’t a few friends get together without it being some Pinky and the Brain shit? Btw, as an hiv poz black guy, I highly doubt I’d ever be invited to a secret lgbt Bohemian Club. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar people.

  • Brian NYC

    What’s Happening at the ‘Secret’ Gay Activist Retreat in Knoxville?


  • Steve

    The Perry v. Schwarzenegger case really throws a wrench in the machine. If we win equal marriage rights in court, the other equal rights issues will follow easily. But that will complete the mission of most of the Gay Inc organizations, and they will have to find a new mission.

    Two topics that I expect the executives of the various organizations are worried about include: How can my organization continue to justify its existence (and its fund raising)? How can I continue to justify my salary (and, raise the funds)?

    At some point, there will be a shakeout. A small number of the organizations will become the big dogs, and the others will either shrivel up and go away, or find a niche and specialize.

  • ggreen

    If I was in Tennessee Id want to keep it secret too. Isn’t it one of the least gay friendly places in the US.

  • Brian NJ

    I am sure these are the workshops:

    1. Zen Meditation. Contemplating eternity and loving yourself.

    2. How not to become bitter and turn into Catwoman when a Democrat pushes you out the window during a White House reception, or a Capitol Democratic fundraiser. Just go back to your little apartment, smile, and hug your stuffed animals.

    3. Leadership exercise! Swing from rope. Remember, if you didn’t push hard enough and didn’t make it to the other side, you are still just as valuable because you are special! Just swing around a little while, the paycheck will still come.

    4. How to make a stunning Congressional gift basket.

  • Joe Rader

    The “secrecy” might be imposed by the Highlander Center…??? Once, about 50 or 60 years ago, when the Center was located near Monteagle,TN, they were burned to the ground… after Eleanor Roosevelt had visited there. Their sin in those days was holding workshops on racial integration.

    To see more about the current Highlander Center, outside Knoxville, see

  • Chandler in Las Vegas

    @Derek Washington:

    Derek, come back and teach us the secret handshakes:)

  • Michael

    What a shocker, queen McGehee is clawing herself back up to the top of the heap!

  • Whitney

    Whoa. No one is saying that these folks represent the queer community in its entirety. maybe they are just some activists coming together to figure out what they can do to become better organizers and help the movement progress.

    Maybe these folks realize that schmoozing and ass-kissing w/ the Dems isn’t the best way to go and are *truly* trying to find a way to use grassroots strategy & direct action to empower others.

    Also, the Highlander Center isn’t known for bullshit/”A Gay”/top down organizing. They have a history of educating and empowering people and communities to make the changes that no one else can make for them.

    Maybe we should wait & see what comes of this “secret meeting” before we start getting heated.

  • Brian NYC

    @Whitney: I think they’re trying to figure out how to get paid as activists. The National Equality March and EqualityAcrossAmerica fell apart because of SALARIES.

    This meeting isn’t about strategy or how to win – it’s about money. Kip and Robin are negotiating their salaries – secretly.

  • Laura Kanter

    ]My name is Laura Kanter and I am a full-time equal rights activist in Orange County, Ca – a place where doing what I do is not popular and where being a Jewish woman married to a Black woman is not common. I have been one of the only consistent and loud voices in my area, rarely complaining about what is not done, and mostly working very hard in many ways to create change.

    I will start by saying that I truly love and admire many of the activists who were at the retreat; they have been my friends, my inspiration and my support. At the same time, I never got my cool cared and I am not one of the “in” crowd, and don’t get invited to events like the retreat. But I have spent countless hours, days, weeks, months knocking on doors, making phone calls, and standing on street corners in Cali, Maine, and freezing cold wet New Jersey trying to get the public to do something to create change. I have created organizations, organized protests, organized trainings, meetings and events, developed and worked with coalitions, and provided support for struggling individuals and groups. I write, blog, and scream relentlessly. I am a friend of Dan Choi’s and organized a protest in his honor in Orange County before Robin even knew who he was. I was the one who told her first that she needed to have him speak at Meet in the Middle.

    I did feel left out when I heard about the retreat. Upon reflection I think it was in very poor taste to start tweeting about what an amazing time the organizers had while it was happening – it incited feelings of resentment and made it appear that they were part of some elite strata of activists that the rest of us can only hope to join. This is not a way to build a cohesive community. Getting us left-out outsiders angry enough to “act up” too is also not productive -it is divisive.

    What would have been a more productive and responsible way to share about the retreat would have been to make organized announcements either before or during or even after, about the who, what, and why followed by some detailed discussion about what is next and how people can get involved. The way it was tweeted and shared was irresponsible and smacked of high school like behavior.

    I have been a friend and supporter of Robin and Kip and Willow, JTI, MIM, and the NEM. Of course 100’s if not 1000’s of people on fb could say the same; but I am loud and persistent and have developed relationships with some of them that I value. I did feel very left out and had wished I was there in Tennessee. However, now that I have had time to really think about the way such an an amazing opportunity was handled, I am glad not to be associated with behavior that lacked grace and humility.

    I am disappointed in the way this was handled.You can dismiss my comments as coming from someone who is simply envious, which I may have been at one point. But I am not envious now. Only sad that those who were fortunate to participate were not also humble enough to recognize that there are many many others who are not on the cool list, who are not idolized podium protesters, but who (like me) have risked everything for what we believe in – for what you believe in too.

    The way in which this was handled has alienated and hurt people. To me that is the most destructive thing anyone can do at a time like this and it makes me profoundly sad. I still have respect for the organizers and I plan to continue to work together, but I feel this needs to be addressed.

    In SINCERE solidarity,
    Laura Kanter
    [email protected]

  • Brian NYC

    @Laura Kanter: Thank-you for sharing that Laura. Kip and Robin’s secret meeting isn’t about the movement, or any other activists – it is about THEM. Both were paid for the National Equality March and they hastily left Equality Across America when they weren’t going to get more money.

    There is nothing to get excited about at this silly retreat. It’s not about ideas, strategies or more inclusiveness for LGBT groups – it’s just about a few Activists forming another non-profit so THEY can get paid.

    To make a lot of money being an activist or advocate, you have to send a Resume to HRC, GLAAD or one of the many other LGBT make-believe-we’re-fighting-for-equality groups.

  • Richard Aviles

    @Brian NYC: Oh honey I wish I was getting paid, intense I’m a struggling college freshmen who cares about the movement and not about salary. We’re just a group of people who got together to CONVERSE not negotiate about what we wnat to do in our local communities. There’s so much bullshit in the movement and I wonder why people still wonder why we’re not going far.

  • Brian NYC

    @Richard Aviles: You talked about civil disobedience. You, as a Student, may not be interested in a salary, but don’t misunderstand Kip and Robin’s goals.

    If you went to the secret retreat, how about you share what you accomplished? Did your conversations lead to something significant, or is this another EqualityAcrossAmerica failure?

    Besides marching around making demands, what’s the strategy or should I say the secret strategy?

    Please share.

  • Anthony in Nashville

    It does seem elitist that this meeting was allegedly supposed to be a secret, but you can’t invite the public to every function.

    Every social movement I am aware of has leaders who develop strategy and goals. I’ll withhold my criticism until I see what comes from the meeting.

  • Brian NYC

    @Anthony in Nashville: I agree. But, I’m not holding my breath. This wasn’t about strategy and goals – it was about Kip and Robin making a living. It’s an old story.

  • DramaQueenNYC

    It looks like a bunch of fools up on here trying to whine. Listen, all this immature bull * needs to stop. Give me a break- arm chair quarterbacks in the world listen. I get that many in the movement work hard in many ways but we need to trust in each other a little better. Cynical view points are nothing but another way to say I know you are, but what am I. Grow up everyone and stop fighting each other and start supporting each other y’all. We ALL should be happy that members of the community ARE fighting for all of us in MANY ways across the U.S in large and small towns. Complaining is not fighting for anything or anyone. Moaning because you were not invited? I was not invited – so what. This movement needs to stand up, shut up with the in fighting and fight together screaming at those who hold us down. Girl,I am sick of this baby mama drama everyday. I respect view points on all sides but get over it and get on board together girlfriend. Peace.

  • Brian NYC

    @DramaQueenNYC: I don’t think everyone was whining about “not being invited.”

    I asked if they had any “strategy” or new ideas. We don’t need another group with the same old ideas. THAT is what is wrong with our supposed movement.

    IDEAS would unite our movement – look for those, not silly “secret” meetings.

  • John Bare

    I don’t get why people who get off their asses and try to do something get trashed the way these folks are getting trashed here. Don’t get me wrong – I understand and appreciate @Laura Kanter: ‘s legitimate criticisms. They come from someone who HAS and IS working for equality. And she knew many attendees. So I get her criticism and can only say that I hope that her not being invited doesn’t dampen her enthusiasm for the movement. We need her AND those in Knoxville to work for equality.

    What I don’t get is sniping from those who seem to have nothing better to do but criticise. And they seem to expect that those who work full time to secure our equality should somehow have to live on the streets in order to do so. I mean really- how do they thing full time activists are going to support themselves if they aren’t paid. And where in heaven did they get the idea that the only reason folks went to Knoxville was to negotiate some secret deal to get paid?

    So, @Brian NYC: , what’s your strategy for achieving equality? Shine some light on your secret strategy so we can throw darts at it too!

  • Laura Kanter

    @John Bare – Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    I hope people can read past my self-absorbed disappointment over not being invited to see that my real disappointment was about the way the messaging was handled. Through twitter. This was not a responsible way to address the situation – as it would have been inevitable that people would feel left out and would be critical – whether or not they actually ever do anything real. In order to foster an inclusive cohesive movement, inclusivity has to be addressed from the ground up and the way it was done failed to do that. I think there is a learning curve here for all of us – me included. Anyone who is going to put themselves out there as a leader and talk about where “they” want to take “the movement” must have an understanding of the history of such movements and how we can achieve success. My dear friend and mentor, Zoe Nicholson wrote

    “At this moment my concern is that the process is going to create the very outcome they did not want. Freire, Gandhi, King, Wheatley, Greenleaf advised us that whoever is not included at the onset of a movement feels isolated and ultimately rebels. Servant Leaders cast a wide net to include all who care, sort of care, might care, could consider caring.”

    We all have to do our homework and some of that wasn’t done.

    That said – I still respect and admire Robin and Kip and all of the amazing activists involved. Shortly after posting this note in facebook, Robin and Kip called me. In fact – that demonstrated a level of responsibility that I did not – because I just posted my note without calling.

    We had a good talk and I sincerely believe they have the best intentions, big hearts and capable minds AND they are also willing to listen, struggle and learn.

    I am not sorry I posted my note or blog because it was truthful, appropriate and has forced a conversation to begin that needs to happen on a much larger scale. I am an activist, aren’t I? I agitate. I will do my best to always be accountable but I will also ask my colleagues to do the same.

    In Solidarity –
    Laura Kanter

  • Brian NYC

    @John Bare: I don’t have a secret strategy and I never said I did. What I did say is there is nothing new to this group that met secretly, AS IF THAT MATTERS, because there was nothing NEW.

    What part don’t you get John? It has been the same old shit for 50 years. We don’t need another non-profit. We need new ideas.

    Yes, I agree people should be able to earn a living, but THAT shouldn’t be put BEFORE new ideas. You may like the game of our so-called movement, but MOST of us DON’T. It has been and IS a waste of time and money UNTIL we figure out how to WIN.

    So, you can stop being a pussy and seek new ideas, too. If you think we’re doing well – you are delusional.

  • Brian NYC

    @Laura Kanter: Don’t worry Laura. NOTHING happened – AGAIN. Kip and Robin will each be paid $50,000 and they are doing an EqualityAcrossAmerica type of thing. EAA has already failed.

    So, you keep doing what you are doing – that’s more important.

  • John Bare

    @Brian NYC: OK Brian, if you have new ideas, let’s here them.

    What the movement does not need is more bitter bitchy haters.

    If you don’t want to support what others are doing, and you don’t have any new ideas, then please put a sock in it.

  • Brian NYC

    @John Bare: That’s stupid John. I don’t care what others are doing BECAUSE IT ISN’T WORKING. LGBT people are smart enough to come up with a way to WIN our equality – not earn a living.

    YOU are bitching to protect the status quo and this idea that if we “keep fighting” maybe (hope, hope, hope) “one of these days” we’ll finally win.

    I’m sorry, but for most of us, that isn’t GOOD ENOUGH. Like myself, we are waiting until someone figures out how to win. I don’t care about Kip or Robin, I care about our equality. Maybe you should do the same.

  • Brian NYC

    Recent LGBT Failures:

    National Equality March
    The Dallas Principles

    and on and on and on.

    Unless we have some new ideas, we will continue to have more failures.

  • John Bare

    @Brian NYC: So your new idea is to rip apart every effort? and then “wait” until there is an idea that works? Geez that sounds like a workable plan…

  • Brian NYC

    @John Bare: Most of us are saving our money and our time UNTIL someone figures out how to WIN. You can duplicate efforts 1,000 times if you want – THOSE efforts are NOT working.

    So, YES – we should stop participating until we figure out how to win. Participating in old ideas is a waste of time and money.

    Have another secret fucking meeting – but, this time, figure out how to win. If you do that, maybe people will get excited. This Knoxville charade is just another re-hash of old, tired ideas.

  • Jordan

    @Brian NYC: Brian, your logic is flawed here. There isn’t just one way to achieve equality.

    Nobody disagrees that we need new, fresh ideas. But clearly you have a personal grudge, and you don’t care WHAT came out of the meeting – you have already decided that this is about Robin & Kip getting paid, and it doesn’t matter that you don’t have a clue what happened, you’re just going to barge forward with this idea and beat everyone over the head with it.

    Here’s a fresh idea: THE ENTIRE MOVEMENT, AND THE ENTIRE WORLD, DOESN’T HAVE TO BE NOTIFIED WHENEVER A GROUP OF PEOPLE GET TOGETHER TO TALK. The people who are actually out in the real world, doing shit, working on projects, trying everything they can to make change for people like you, are not required to send you a gold embossed invitation to every meeting, event, and chat around the fireplace.

    Perhaps if you spent less time responding to every comment with vicious sniping, you’d have a little more time to impress upon everyone the reasons why you should have been there. And that’s exactly the problem: everyone believes that they have a RIGHT to be invited to every meeting, or know about every planning session, and that it’s criminal that every single LGBT troll isn’t sitting around the table to nay-say anything that’s proposed.

    Just like the American entrepreneurial spirit, we’re all better off if there are multiple efforts seeking multiple routes to success, instead of a monolithic movement trying one thing at a time and failing at it. Stop assuming that just because someone is doing something means that it’s for personal gain. This is the crucible, and in the end, the best is going to rise to the top. The worst will simply fade away.

    And bottom line is, if you’re so pissed, why aren’t you organizing something better?

  • Brian NYC

    @Jordan: I’m not pissed. I had NO interest in your meeting, even though a friend went. I didn’t expect anything from your effort and that’s how it turned out. Forming a “new group” shouldn’t inspire anyone – we have too many groups.

    I don’t care if people get paid – I care if we waste our money on old, tired ideas. You acknowledged we need “fresh ideas,” but you had none at your meeting. In stead, you talked about expressing anger and making demands. PLEASE, give us a BREAK.

    If you think the same old ideas are working or have EVER worked – please provide some evidence.

    We don’t need more of the same, more of the past – so please give it up. Until we find a way to actually WIN, groups like yours will continue to provide false hope and you’ll keep taking our money.

    Tell your friends at the retreat: We’ve had enough bullshit. Figure out HOW we can WIN and WHEN we can WIN. Don’t bother us or take our money UNTIL you do. If you aren’t prepared to do that – then please, shut the fuck up.

  • Jordan

    @Brian NYC: For the record, I wasn’t there, and didn’t have anything to do with it. Like you, I just knew someone who went, but I don’t have a clue what happened or what they talked about.

    But here’s a message for you: the rest of us have had enough of your trolling. Figure out how you can actually HELP the movement, instead of wasting everyone’s time complaining. Until then, please shut the fuck up.

  • Larry-bob

    I am reminded of what John Burnside said when he and Harry Hay came to Minneapolis to talk and long-time, long-winded activist Robert Robert Halfhill asked a question: Some change takes geological time.

    There is no one strategy that will change the minds of all straight Americans. It takes each one of us recognizing every time we are treated unequally, addressing it, and if it is not made right, getting help from others to put pressure on the person or institution giving unequal treatment.

  • Brian NYC

    @Larry-bob: We don’t know if there is ONE strategy that can change the minds of all Americans, but we only need the majority. Right now, Gay Inc. and the many activist groups aren’t trying to change minds. They are, in their own words, “fighting and demanding.” If it is about changing minds neither one of those things helps – in fact, it hurts.

    Just because we’ve had a very unimaginative movement for 40-50 years doesn’t mean we have figured out how to win. It seems just the opposite has happened – we have simply latched onto old ideas and we continue to pretend they are effective.

    The numerous comments here indicate there is NO evidence that anything we’ve done has actually worked. Public opinion has changed (thankfully) despite our efforts and is mostly the result of old people dying and taking their old ideas with them. If you doubt that, ask you Black friends how the “end of racism” is working out. The Civil Rights Act was passed 45 years ago. Passing a law didn’t change any minds regarding racism – we have just been watching those people/ideas die off.

    I wish I could give credit to either Gay Inc. or angry activists, but I don’t see the connection. The world has changed. Public opinion has changed. But, we haven’t.

  • Brian NYC

    @Jordan: What movement? You mean you and your friends making angry posters and marching around? That’s not a movement.

    If you are offended that some of us believe the effort to obtain LGBT equality needs some accountability, please have more secret meetings and keep your comments to yourself. If you want to suggest somethings is valuable, I’m afraid some of us will be doing the math. Some of us actually want to WIN, not simply make a living off the hopes of our community.

    You never did provide any evidence. Hopefully, people are beginning to understand how delusional many activists are. Get all the attention you desire making your angry demands, but stop suggesting it is helpful. We want evidence.

  • John Bare

    @Brian NYC: You write, “The numerous comments here indicate there is NO evidence that anything we’ve done has actually worked.”

    Yet in your own homestate of NY, the Empire Pride Agenda reports, The Pride Agenda has a track record of producing – not just promising – for New York State’s LGBT community. With the support and participation of people and community groups all across New York, we have won over 60 separate victories on the local and state levels. Many of these advances recognize our relationships and benefit our families and provide direct recognition by government that LGBT families need and deserve the same support that all other families receive.

    In my state of California, in 2009 alone, EQCA reports, We passed a record 11 pieces of Equality California-sponsored legislation that will improve the lives of LGBT Californians. Another six bills and resolutions passed their first house or key committee and will be taken up again when the Legislature reconvenes in January.

    Dozens of other statewide groups have won victories – not the least of which are those states that have marriage rights today that didn’t have any a year ago.

    The National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, ACLU and others have won DOZENS of cases in the last year furthering our rights.

    Staffs, board members, volunteers, and donors helped make these victories happen. I’d venture to say that NONE of these people or any of the newer organizations and efforts you have blasted, are satisfied with the state of inequality we find ourselves in.

    But if we have to fight folks like you who refuse to participate, donate, or even get out of the way…then the day of equality is further out into the future than it needs to be.

  • Brian NYC

    @John Bare: Please John, anyone can cherry-pick a few results from NY and CA – without mentioning how same-sex-marriage worked out there – we failed. Because you work in the Gay Rights Industry you want us to believe all is well – that we’re making progress. We know better.

    Since you’re so connected ( and part of the failed failure) why won’t you tell us WHEN and HOW we can achieve full equality? You gave us the “Dallas Principles,” a list of “goals” but not a single new idea. Goals are easy John – figuring out how to win is the real work – where’s that?

    You don’t have to “fight” me John – you have to CONVINCE me (and everyone else) that you have a strategy and plan to achieve full equality. My nephews can set goals and they are children. WE need more than that. So far, you and your friends in Knoxville haven’t shown us anything NEW. Therefore, you do not deserve our interest OR our support.

    So, go back to work. Figure out how to win OR do not bother us. We are NOT giving anyone or any group any more money until they figure this out. Nothing you can say will change that new reality. So don’t blame us for wanting some accountability. Oh, and get used to it.

  • Brian NYC

    @John Bare: Oh, how much money did we waste on ? How much did YOU receive?

    ActOnPrinciples, EqualityAcrossAmerica, JoinTheImpact, NationalEqualityMarch, EqualityNow and all the others that have failed in the last year – WHY?

    They ALL failed because we are no requiring accountability for Gay Inc. and Activists. Until you have figured out HOW to WIN and WHEN we’ll WIN – you no longer get our support. It’s very simple.

  • Brian NYC

    From EDGE:

    In an e-mail response to questions, Juan Ahonen-Jover explained how the participants were selected.

    “The list started with people who we knew could make a significant contribution to this conversation (we may have known them in person, others online, others per reputation, etc.) These people were sharing the same concern of ’How do we better accelerate reaching legal equality for the LGBT community given the better political climate after the elections?’” Ahonen-Jover wrote.

    The 24 participants come mainly from the East Coast, which was also a criticism right after the principles were released. However, Ahonen-Jover said that the group needed to be “about that size to ensure that we could have a meaningful conversation.”

    “Actually, some of the geographic diversity changed at the very last minute since there were several other people from the West Coast that were invited but had to cancel literally the day before due to personal or family illness or similar circumstances,” he wrote.

    So, John Bare – from the West Coast – how much $ did YOU receive to endorse a very OBVIOUS list of LGBT “goals?” Not a strategy or plan or solution, but a very simplistic list of goals. How much did YOU make?

  • John Bare

    @Brian NYC: I’m not sure that whether I’m paid or not has any relevance to the discussion, but here’s the answer:

    I am not now paid by any non-profit organization. I have never been paid by any non-profit organizations except those Universities for whom I did scientific research. When I did work for those Universities, I literally made less money than the people who dish out food in the university cafeterias, even though I helped discover the gene underlying the most common cancer in human beings.

    I was not paid to go to Dallas. In fact, I paid for my own plane ticket to go there. I paid for my own hotel room there. I even paid a fee to help defer the costs of the weekend. I’ve continued to pay here and there small expenses, for example, to print copies of the Principles to hand out at the march in DC and other locations. To the best of my knowledge, each co-author has born their own expenses to create and promote the Principles.

    All of my work in the movement is voluntary. I’ve spent thousands of hours volunteering without pay for the movement, including to create and promote The Dallas Principles, and my work with Act On Principles. Neither are organizations. Neither have budgets. Whatever expenses we incur come out of our own pockets. Why?

    Why do I donate time, money, and energy? Because I believe that to achieve equality we must all do whatever we can to move the ball forward. Each of us has a role – some large, some small – to bring the day of equality sooner. I’m not at all sure how that will happen or when it will happen. But as Harvey liked to say, “I’m here to recruit YOU”.

    One thing I AM sure of: equality will not be achieved if we besmirch the efforts of those who sincerely work and sacrifice for it. We need all hands on deck. Mine, yours, and everyone reading this. Let’s role up our sleeves and support one another instead of tearing each other down.

  • Brian NYC

    @John Bare: It’s called accountability, John. Just because you think something is effective, doesn’t mean it is.

    You are talking about intentions and NOT results. I would suggest you try using some math – it is fair and objective – it’s also helpful.

  • ActOnPrinciples

    Here is the latest post on Act On Principles that was posted yesterday, before this thread even started. Thanks to all of the LGBT community who are finally standing for Full Equality.

    Obama DADT and Marriage Equality Dodge at Town Hall

    Posted: 28 Jan 2010 02:30 PM PST

    Today a young brave college student asked President Obama about DADT and Marriage Equality. It is almost embarrassing watching Obama stumble through his answer.

    I think President Obama using the Representative Tammy Baldwin bill providing domestic partner benefits to federal employees as political cover is shameful, and unacceptable. Representive Baldwin and other Members of Congress should not allow that to happen. The LGBT community at-large has never fought for such legislation, we never made it a priority for our movement, but the Administration and various national LGBT organizations have been co-opted to accept this crumb as progress.

    President Obama doesn’t say anything about DADT which is troubling since he was asked to name specific steps that he is taking.

    President Obama then goes on to say that he is out of time, but spends another 5 minutes wrapping up (which isn’t captured on this video).

    The game is changing and the LGBT community will no longer accept being treated as a pariah from the Democratic President. Either the Democratic Party insiders have no access, are not being listened to, or they are being walked all over.

  • John Bare

    @Brian NYC: When I gave you “math” — the HUNDREDS of victories that have been won in our favor, you called it cherry picking. You cite marriage in CA. What about marriage in MA, Iowa, etc etc. What about the 18,000 California couples who are married TODAY, including my friend Helen Zia who testified brilliantly in Perry

    I’m as impatient as you are about our inequality, believe me. But the tactic of ripping people apart who are honestly doing the best they can to achieve it is no tactic at all.

    Again, if you have an idea share it. If you don’t believe in the strategies and tactics that are being employed, then don’t support them. But please for the love of God put a sock in it if all you want to do is criticize people even before they’ve unpacked their suitcases or are building the strategy they have started.

  • Brian NYC

    @ActOnPrinciples: So you can Post a story from TowelRoad. That’s exactly my point. We don’t need another “new service,” either.

  • Brian NYC

    @John Bare: Knock it off John. You know it is bull shit to claim I am criticizing anyone. I have not.

    As far as your “math” goes you (like many others) wish to take credit for small advances that are the result of CHANGING PUBLIC OPINION and not anything the so-called LGBT Movement has done.

    No, I won’t shut up and sheepishly take your “everything is fine” bull shit. If you did create a strategy in Knoxville WHAT IS IT?

    Are you prepared to tell our Community this is HOW and WHEN we can achieve our full equality? If you are not, then we are once again creating another unaccountable LGBT non-profit to do the very same things we’ve been doing for 50 years. I’m sorry, but if that the case, PLEASE don’t bother. We’ve had enough.

    We have too much duplication of efforts already and too little real strategy. We lack a strategy to WIN. Until that shows up we shouldn’t waste our time, energy or resources on more of the same – more tired and unproven tactics.

  • Mark in Dallas

    @John Bare: You continue to misunderstand Brian’s comments by making this claim:

    I’m as impatient as you are about our inequality, believe me. But the tactic of ripping people apart who are honestly doing the best they can to achieve it is no tactic at all.”

    Brian seems to be using his impatience to seek (even demand) some solution or answers. I agree we’ve been doing the same thing for decades and we have very few results.

    You get defensive and then accuse Brian of “ripping people apart” and you know that isn’t true. He wants to WIN. We ALL want to WIN. You are in denial if you believe we are winning.

    If you can’t be honest in your responses to Brian, at least get out of the way. For the first time in my lifetime I am seeing young expect to find a solution to WIN. I think THEY are on the right track. We don’t need another organization (I’ve been part of a half-dozen) we need to figure out how to win. I don’t care “who” figures that out, but i think that should be where we put our attention, energy and resources.

    Good luck Brian. Keep looking for answers and don’t let John Bare interfere with your pursuit. Everyone can shut up unless they have a solution.

  • John Bare

    @Brian NYC:

    I didn’t go to Knoxville. Nor was I invited.

    I’ve never created an LGBT nonprofit.

    If you read my post I clearly said I don’t know how or when we’ll achieve equality. In addition, I don’t know how to put out a fire but I’m not sitting and watching while my house burns.

    When do feel the need to be critical, at least I don’t deny it by saying “You know it is bull shit to claim I am criticizing anyone. I have not.”

    Lastly, I have too much dignity to continue to respond to sympathizers and employees of

  • Mark in Dallas

    @John Bare: Don’t even bother @Brian: John Bare has shown his true colors by suggesting you are part of the Religious Right. He has NO dignity or respect.

    That is really pathetic John. You have finally acknowledged that you do not know “how” or “when” we will achieve our full equality but, you couldn’t just leave it there? You had to be a pissy queen?

    I think we should all be trying to figure out how to win. You are not and that is very clear. But, it is beyond offensive to dismiss, let alone tag them with a radical right affiliation, instead of encouraging them to seeks answers/solution.

    You are just plain old pathetic John Bare. You can remain frustrated, bitter and even lost in our faltering movement – but, don’t discourage our younger LGBT community. I would prefer you simply shut up.

  • DramaQueenNYC

    @BrianNYC stop your bitching as an armchair quarterback. Your opinions are bitter, uneducated and frankly tell of your lack of knowledge and maturity. Might as well call yourself a teabagger honey you act just like em’ Stop this nonsense ans put your passion to good use sweetie.

  • Brian NYC

    @Mark in Dallas: I agree. At least John Bare (and his organizations: The Dallas Principles, ActOnPrinciples, NationalEqualityMarch, EqualityAcrossAmerica, EqualityGiving, etc., etc.,) has admitted that:

    “they have no idea how or when we will achieve our full equality.”

    That’s very clear. Thank-you John.

    Some of us are going to figure it out. The failed status quo is not acceptable. It should never be acceptable.

  • Brian NYC

    @DramaQueenNYC: It’s quite alright if YOU don’t want to actually WIN our equality DQ. Cozy up with John Bare and just keep enjoying the status quo. It doesn’t bother me that many in the LGBT Community are retired now. I get it.

  • Lukas P.

    Brian, do you type your replies to others’ posts BEFORE you finish reading them? Is that YOUR strategy to WIN? I’m still look to the day you share YOUR ideas on gaining this undefined WIN you refer to over and over and over and over again.

    I hope that you would consider a brief respite from the badgering criticizing of others for long enough to actually DO something to help someone else, in the real world! Try that, you’ll appear less strident. You’ll feel better. You might even develop a sense of humor, but that might be me having too high hopes for you.

    Just not us having to see the WIN used and capitalized over and over in every single post will be a nice change. Most of all, please do share your ideas, because so far all you’ve done is critique others. You’re smarter than that, aren’t you??

  • Brian NYC

    @Lukas P.: I am asking all of us to focus on ideas to win our equality. I find it amazing that new groups form to just do the same old things. That is why we are not making progress.

    We all have to focus on ways to win. That is called accountability. That is not badgering it is what we must do to actually make some real progress. All LGBT non-profits and activists should be asked HOW and WHEN we will achieve our full equality. This group that met in Knoxville didn’t do that. Therefore, they should be dismissed. We do not need more of the same. Everyone knows that.

  • DramaQueenNYC

    @BrianNYC no one need to take a vote with every queer on the planet before we do something. Therefore they should be dismissed? I am sorry does HRC ask your permission or any of the hundreds of other groups. Be happy someone somewhere in any of these groups is fighting for you when you wont do it yourself.

  • Brian NYC

    @DramaQueenNYC: You miss the point(s) DQ. We need to create a strategy to “win.” Myriads “fighting” for our rights sounds good, but it isn’t leading to our winning.

    I don’t care about anyone voting on “leaders” of a group – that’s Cleve Jones silly idea for his next organization. I care about ideas to win. I want to know HOW and WHEN. That’s accountability.

  • Nicholas

    I don’t know what’s happening at the retreat but I can guess what’s happening after hours on the mattresses. Lots of “face time”, lots of “butt kissing”, lots of “swapping” of not just stories and strategies, lots of “getting to know one another”. Just a guess.

  • VforVendetta

    “I hope people can read past my self-absorbed disappointment over not being invited to see that my real disappointment was about the way the messaging was handled.”

    @LauraKanter…self absorbed describes you to a tee. You’re like Frieda in the “Peanuts” gang who was pestering Charlie Brown to “lookit” while she was jumping rope and his mind was wandering elsewhere. (I’ll send you the comic if you need a reference) You did this, you did that…whoopede f’n doo! Yet you run over people in pursuit of your own vainglory for the purposes of satisfying your fragile ego. You are one of the main reasons that people in Orange County do not want to be involved in your organizations anymore. You drive more people away than you attract. It was never about “the cause” or “solidarity.” It’s about your ego, plain and simple. And maybe that is what the guys who went on the retreat realized Laura. You wanting to feel important so you can hang out with Cleve Jones or whoever the uber-gay activist celeb of the week or month is. All of this while begging your network of “friends” to donate money to you so you cna go on your little jaunts to Maine to hang with Lt. Dan Choi. Here’s an original thought…GET A JOB LIKE THE REST OF US if you want to do things like NEM and phone banking for No on 1. In the time you have spent playing starfucker like a starstruck Justin Bieber fan or Twilight mom, you could have found some decent employment and paid your own way to these jaunts. But no, it’s easier to use other people’s money for your adventures than actually earn it. Because that’s all you are really good for Laura…using people!

  • Paid To Protest

    @VforVendetta: Wow – you just described Robin McGehee perfectly. She’s getting paid $89,000 plus travel expenses to act like an activist. Well, at least activists will now get paid to make trouble. We need to thank Robin and the Kipster for that. We can all use a good job now.

  • VforVendetta

    Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t defending Robin McGhee or Kip Williams at all. I agree it’s kind of a nice paying gig if you can get it. However, Ms. Kanter relies on the “donations” of other people when she needs something or wants to do something. She acts way too much on emotion and has virtually no clue on how her actions have affected other people. Instead she never gives back at all, burns bridges, plays the victim and talks a big game. I don’t know Robin or Kip and frankly I don’t care too either. My beef is with Laura Kanter because while her rhetoric and spin are impressive, her actions and the way she uses people to further her own agenda tells a whole different story.

    I’m no Obama fan, but I wish she would have been thrown in jail with that pig Zoe Nicholson for acting like an boorish ass at the fundraiser for Barbara Boxer (who I don’t like either). Get Equal can GET LOST for all I care. Even Dan Choi will have nothing to do with them now. Which speaks volumes about Laura Kanter’s true character. Goes through colleagues like water.


Comments are closed.