Follow-Up and Reactions To My Symbolism vs. Substance Cincinnati CityBeat Article – Ken Smith, Chris Henry, and Mary Armour

Last week I wrote a freelance article for Cincinnati’s CityBeat newspaper titled Symbolism vs. Substance on Gay Rights which explored what happened to a group of grassroots activist in Cincinnati in early 2009 when they tried to push for a Domestic Registry and were stopped not by the city council who were on board or the crazy religious organizations in the area but they were stopped Cincinnati’s own recognized gay rights group Equality Cincinnati. 

Well alot can happen in a week both good and bad.  The good is that my article received the most hits for the week on the CityBeat website.  The bad.  People who agreed with my article have suffered ramifications by EC supporters and I myself have been the victim of of a form of harassement.

Now before I start I want to make this clear.  The article I wrote for CityBeat was a freelance writing assignment and I finished my assignment.  I did my research, I contacted all involved and gave everyone plenty of time to contact me one on one and respond and many on the EC/HRC side didn’t  Instead they wanted a group meeting to explain so “we all could be on the same page” which I denied because I did not want to get into a situation where I could be bullied.

Since the article has come out there are many who agree with it and of course those involved with Equality Cincinnati and The Cincinnati HRC group doesn’t.  If you go to the CityBeat page you will see that Ken Smith (his real name) posted about his negative experiences with HRC and EC..

But what shocked me was what happened  next to Ken Smith and his partner Chris Henry who have long been involved in Cincinnati’s LGBT Community working on LGBT related causes and fundraisers for LGBT friendly politicians. And at one time both Ken and Chris were members of HRC Cincinnati but dropped out and decided to longer be associated with them.

Ken and Chris were recently contacted by the Jim Tarbell campaign, (Tarbell is running for Hamilton County City Commissioner)   about putting a fundraising event together. Ken and Chris started working on the even and joining them was Mary Armour who donated her residence for the event and joined the hosting committee for “Tarbellfest”

One day after Ken commented on my article at CityBeat he and Chris received the following email:

Despite her assertion  Mary obviously only believes in Free Speech, except when it’s not against her friends at HRC and EC and you are NOT ALLOWED to have a different opinion.  I find this totally outrageous especially since Ken and Chris were the people originally contacted about the fundraiser and it’s not even a specific LGBT, EC, or HRC event.

There really were so many things that I didn’t mention in my original article to make it stay objective and not seem like I was out to get EC, HRC, or as they should be called “The A List Gays”  here.  Like the general feeling of disenfranchisement that the LGBT Community feels from them,   Their lack of availability, visibility, transparency, and  their elitism and control issues  But when situations like this occur just because someone has a different opinion of their group and speaks out  I do find that totally unacceptable,  incredibly obnoxious, and yes, elitist and controlling and this all just helps to prove what many in the LGBT Community in Cincinnati feel..

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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