hush hush

Why Was the White House Trying to Hide a Secret Gay Pow-Wow?


Is Monday’s pow-wow at the White House a chance for President Obama to smooth things over with the gay community? Or a “long planned” celebration of the 40th anniversary of Stonewall?

The meeting was at first super-secret; the White House didn’t announce it, and invited GLBT organizations didn’t publicize it. Then word leaked, gay orgs acknowledged they were going, and now the White House confirms things, and says Obama is expected to speak at the event. White House spokesman Shin Inouye says “invited guests include families, volunteers and activists, and community leaders” and the “event was long planned as a way to applaud these individuals during Pride month.”

Of course, when the White House applauds Americans, it usually at least issues a press release about it. Which means Obama’s camp either 1) is embarrassed about honoring GLBT Americans (this we doubt, as the one thing Obama gives us are photo ops); or 2) really, really wanted to keep this meeting — to grease the hands of Gay Inc. — on the D/L.

Neither scenario makes us comfortable.

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  • galefan2004

    One year ago the meeting during pride month would have been between Pat Roberston (and the rest of the religious right) and GW. I think we should be happy that this meeting is even taking place.

  • JohnVisser

    Isn’t this also National Coming Out Day (or very near it)? If so, it sounds like Obama needs to come out of the closet on gay rights. He’s like those white people who have black friends, but in the presence of an all white racist group they laugh at the racist jokes and don’t stand up against the racism. Where I come from that is called chicken sh**.

  • timncguy

    Can someone tell me what “Gay Inc.” is.

    Is this a generic term encompasing ALL gay advocacy groups? Or is there reall a group named Gay Inc. similar to HRC?

  • Cam

    Great, HRC employees can now pass their resumees around the white house in exchange for selling us out again.

  • emb

    @galefan2004: Excellent point. Can anyone imagine for a moment that a mccain-palin White House would hold a public, secret, or any other kind of meeting with the homo-sexuals? My problem with Obama is that he’s back-burnered us (at best) to pursue his goal of one big happy bipartisan kumbaya with the republicans. He needs to realize that they only want to pee in his sandbox, and that he needs to be nice to his friends. The DADT and DOMA incidents were unforgivable and shocking; his handout of third-tier “benefits” to a handful of homos was a transparent, embarassingly offensive effort to protect a fundraiser. He’s three for three in my book; it’s time for some change please.

    But no, we weren’t better off with the neocons. Good to keep that in mind while we slap our guy here.

  • Fitz

    Supporting us in secret is not particularly helpful. He holds/held TREMENDOUS popularity, and he had/(has?) the opportunity to address this issue in a conversation with his adoring minions. A friend who is afraid to be seen with you? What kind of junior-high BS is THAT!??

  • dontblamemeivotedforhillary

    My palms feel greasy!

  • schlukitz


    I did a Google on Gay, Inc. and came up with nothing of relevance.

    I think Gay, a camp sort of term used to encompass the feelings, thoughts and character of the entire LGBT community and as used in this particular case, to make all of us feel better.

  • Sam

    Yeah! Why would you ever need to have a “secret strategy meeting?” Gay rights groups should post their damn strategy for the next decade right on their websites! Let the haters know what’s coming so they can plan and be ready for it! Don’t these gay groups know ANYTHING?

  • AustinAbomination

    Gay, Inc. is not a real organization. It’s Queerty’s derogatory term for the HRC and other gay-rights groups that seem more focused on fundraising and DC ass kissing than actually working for our rights.

  • J. Clarence

    I don’t think at this point we have enough to definitively come down on either end. If it is including families, volunteers, etc, it is less likely to be a policy meeting which is disappointing, and what I was hoping for.

    I don’t know why President Obama is so scared about publicly coming out as a staunch supporter, after all Republicans depict him as one already. He doesn’t have to be so coy anymore. He says something really supportive, such as the Pride month declaration, and then ducks back in a hole and tries to be secretive about it.

    He’s essentially the groundhog of gay rights advocates.

  • Konrad

    Bitch all you want. They are not going to widely publicize this gathering far in advance because then every third-rate gay activist would be begging for an invite (yeah, don’t lie — you would too).

  • galefan2004

    @Konrad: Actually, no I wouldn’t. I passed on my chance to meet Obama for free in person. It just wasn’t worth it to me. If I want a tour of the White House, I’ll gladly pay for one when Obama isn’t there.

  • galefan2004

    Actually its part of the beauty of living in Ohio. We get to meet pretty much everyone (in and out of office) when they are campaigning nationally because Ohio is considered a must win state.

  • Sim

    “I think we should be happy that this meeting is even taking place.” Really? At leastI knew where I stood/stand with Bush-McCain. I knew what my goals where and what I was up against and I had help for the numerous GLT organizations along with the media. Now not only do I have to fight the status quo, I now have to figure out where I stand with those I thought were with me!

  • asianinla

    Maybe the people invited to this meeting aren’t saying anything because they’re afraid they’ll be put on a blacklist. Reading most of the posts, you get the impression that these people are sell-outs and don’t care about our community. I don’t think that’s true. These people often sacrifice to volunteer and/or work in non-profits at lower salaries. So their tactics may not be the same as others. But I wouldn’t question their motives. I do believe we are on the same team.

  • stephan

    OMG, why does Obama even try? we will never be satisfied by anything he does.We wish Perez Hilton had won the presidency.

  • InExile

    This mt friends is “CHANGE”!

    “YES WE CAN”!!!

  • Tim and Earl

    He’s not our “boyfriend” (as Bill Maher said) so he can do WTF he likes for us, which isn’t very much so far – Obama’s not trying to win our hand in marriage, that’s for sure, we’re not his type!

  • Allen

    @InExile: There is a big difference between “Change” and “Pandering” and this is pandering. Obama is simply tying to string us along, just like (almost) every other democrat in power. We need to wake up and realize that lip service should not be enough to warrant our donations or votes anymore!!!

  • edgyguy1426

    What I fail to understand is the lack of communication between the WH and the community. HRC says ‘something big’ will be announced shortly or don’t beat Obama down because he has ‘plans’ for us in place (please I can hear the comments already *grinnin*)
    Maybe according to the WH, the line of communication runs directly through HRC or GLAAD or some organization, but THEY’RE not saying anything because they like holding the cards. Even if the administration does come thru in some GOTCHA! way, I’m still resentful of being kept in the dark.

  • petted

    Seems more likely that the event is a bit of a rushed PR job – that being said President Obama will get no small amount of flack for this from the religious right and that will not go away readily so I think we can consider his intentions towards us to be sincere while certainly not executed how we’d like. There are generally 2 things I’d watch for at this event the administration clarifying/substantiating its strategy on LGBT legislation and announcements regarding progress on legislation particularly in regards to ENDA as this would impact the entire community (and symbolically a hostilities the community suffered leading up to Stonewall are addressed through ENDA). In many respects I’m glad our President is doing this – no I’m not happy about progress on our legislative goals but I live in Texas so the effect of any lobbying I could do would be rather minimal… sigh – however this event does remind the general public that we are a facet of the larger American community and it gives us a chance to show the breadth and depth of our community our needs, hopes, desires to a segment of our fellow citizens we might not reach any other way – we might want more from our leaders but this is an opportunity for us to build public support in addressing the inequalities that face our community and quite likely having a sitting president making his case for our rights, particularly in regards to ENDA.

  • tommytoons

    We critize Obama when he does try to reach out to our community, and we critize him if he speaks behind the scenes with the community. The man can’t win.

  • artemis

    @JohnVisser: National Coming Out Day is october 11th

  • Fitz

    @tommytoons: How dare you try to put this on us. He has been offensive to the GLBT community, we called him on it, and now we are calling him on this approach. He got some splainin to do, Lucy.

  • tommytoons

    Fitz: It is part of “us”, Obama himself has not been offensive to us, at least that was not my take on his relationship with our Community..We as a community are divisive in relationship to government policy, we have many great ideas, we have the voices to share our vision of what we would like regards our freedom from being second class citizens, but perhaps too many “voices”?

    I may not like the pace Obama is making towards our Community and I may feel that Obama is “acting like a politican”, but he is not being offensive. Sorry to disagree with you Fitz.

  • Konrad

    @galefan2004: You wouldn’t. But you know damn well that scads of others would. Get real.

  • InExile

    @Allen: I was being a wise ass! I have never had much faith in his “Change we can believe in” or the “yes we can” thing! Like the way you spell you name, one of my names is spelled like that!

  • SM

    “Give your husband a hug from me,” – Michelle Obama, to a gay man married in California.

    June 23, 2009

  • MackMike

    @SM: So much more effective, and thank you!

  • michael

    I am all for holding the Democrats and Obama responsible for their promises and accountable for their actions. But I am also for doing it in an adult way. We can show our disdain with our $$$ and our voices. But we need to watch be petty and shitty. We really need to study Dr. King and how he responded and how he demanded freedom from the oppressor that he was dealing with. Dr. King and the civil rights movement went down in history as a success, as a respectable movement full of integrity and truth. Let us see how we can do the same and as individuals I challenge all of us to apply the same principles when we are commenting on blogs, writing letters, etc. Anger is a powerful motivator, but if it is not guided by a mature adult mind it can destory us.

  • timncguy

    THis was described by someone in the admin in explaining to the media as a celebration of Stonewall and thus gay heritage similar to other kinds of celebrations of heritage at the white house like for St Patrick’s Day and Cinco De Mayo.

    So, they are comparing an event like Stonewall to St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco De Mayo.

    Personalyy, I don’t think Stonewall is something you “celebrate”, but rather “commemorate”. And, you certainly don’t liken it to the drunken festivities of St Patrick’s Day and Cinco De Mayo.

  • timncguy

    @tommytoons: Oh hell yes Obama has been offensive. Prior to the Pride Proclamation, the only public comment Obama had made on GLBT issues was to make us the butt of a joke at the Annual Correspondant’s Dinner and at a CA funsraiser the same day that the CA Supreme Ct announced it’s decision.

    When he made a joke (unintentionally) about Special Olympics, he was forced to apologixe immediately. When he joked about gays intentionally, there was no apology. Are we deserving of less respect than Special Olympics?

    And he was extremely offensive with HIS DOJ Brief on DOMA.

    Even his Pride Proclamation was offensive. It contained a “call to action” that intentionally left the White House out of any “action”. Instead it called for the commenuity and congress to work together to advance our issues. President Fierce Advocate should have called for the community and congress to WORK WITH HIM to advance our issues.

  • SM


    You should not have been offended by that joke. First, they were joking about everything and everyone. Be worried when you are not joked about in fun at those events. The guest entertainment was a lesbian. HELLO?

    The joke about Iowa was on point for many reasons…It was also Iowa that gave Obama the chance to be the Democratic Presidential Candidate. He HAD to win Iowa.

    Lighten up :)

  • InExile

    @timncguy: I agree, How can Stonewall’s 40th anniversay be called a celebration? To celebrate what? 40 years of being second class citizens? I find this reference to a celebration quite offensive!

    This meeting better not just be more “hope”, “change”, and “yes we can”, we need a concrete plan for action. No more empty promises, no more delays, and excuses, equality NOW!

  • schlukitz


    Count me in on that observation as well!

    The only thing Stonewall should be remembered as, is that it sparked the beginning of an organized effort to obtain equal rights for LGBT people all across America and probably around the world as well.

    Yes, there were freedom fighters before that, but to my knowledge, it was the first time in American history that LGBT people rioted and fought back against those in power who tried to keep us suppressed, including the New York City police Department.

    I still recall, quite vividly, the night I spent in the Tombs as a result of one of the “queer drag nets” in the Village that they used quite frequently in those days to harass gays and fleece them of “fine” money, just for being gay.

  • M Shane

    Clearly Stonewall is not something that modern assimilation politics would want to be associated with: that’s certainly strange.
    Nonetheless, if Obama wants to get anywhere with gay aspirations, he will want to talk to the organizational people who appear to count without the religious freaks looking over his shoulder.

    E.g. When Clinton fucked over American labor signing NAFTA, he had been holding highly secret meetings with Big Business leaders for some time.

    Perhaps in this case, the lack of transparency will yeid something that you want, whether it’s ultimately good or not.

    Realistically, in America, Gays will never be mainstream, despite attempts at a pretense, the affect of which is just to alienate us more in gays attempst to appear like breeders.

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