Tag Archives: LGBT Activists

GLAAD, What Else Are You Doing Other Than Selling T-Shirts? Same Question For You HRC

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The title is harsh but it is an honest question. Too often I feel that the LGBT community is nowhere near as united as it used to be or like it should be now. When we talk about the various issues within a community I feel that the problem starts with the most visible. The ones that are given a platform to be the voice of us and our concerns. In this case that would be both GLAAD and HRC. Still with all the issues I have with these organizations I know that they are successfully doing more than selling really cool shirts.

I’ll start off by saying that I feel these organizations are about more than selling shirts and having lavish parties with celebs. I love a great party just like the next gay. And they have done some great work with suicide prevention and made great efforts to end bullying. That work does help save lives and I am always thankful for any measure that saves live and look forward to seeing their techniques advance for the next generation of LGBT people.

But all my praise for these organizations stops there. Any other problems that affect our community are either met with endless delays, fall by the wayside or completely forgotten. Efforts only become about parties and advancing the rights of some members of this community instead of all members.  This train of thought entered my mind again tonight as I was about to do a quick summary about GLAAD teaming up with American Apparel and how this is a great step in giving this community visibility but I’m not too sure I feel that way about it now. I love the simplicity in the shirts and applaud the efforts made by American Apparel but GLAAD’s association with this leaves me with more questions than answers.

Not to be pessimistic but before reading the article my first thoughts were what exactly will GLAAD be doing with the proceeds? Are they donating it to a cause or is this purely for profit? Will they use transgendered men and women in their campaigns? Will all models be a size 28 with chiseled jaws and perfect abs? Kind of sad that those were the first questions that popped into my head when I read about GLAAD’s involvement. But it’s not like those thoughts and concerns aren’t coming from a history that has not been that favorable for them in terms of truly representing this community. Both organizations have done some questionable things in recent years.

I also began to think about how this upcoming week can be a huge week in advancing equality for our community and our society as a whole and if the Supreme Court rules in our favor we will be the closest to being truly recognized as citizens in this country in the eyes of the law.  We are on the cusp of great change within our society, regardless of what the decision the Supreme Court makes this week but somehow it does not feel like a united, uniformed effort. The time is now to work on the issues going on within this community that you and other pompous leader’s parade around saying you know diversity when you clearly don’t. The reason we are stronger as a community is because people are speaking out and standing up no matter what.

Just this year GLAAD named Brett Ratner Ally of the Year for doing a modicum of work. This is was only a year after he was in hot water for using gay slurs during a rehearsal. Think someone was probably more deserving than someone that threw some of his celebrity friends in a video to promote equality. Don’t get me wrong the efforts he made since his comments were admirable as it helped bring more recognition to this community but still not enough for an award many were more deserving of at the time.

It took GLAAD until this year to add transgendered men and women to their official mission statement. My only question is why did it take so long to do this? What possible explanation is there that provides a real authentic answer and not a bunch of red tape and colorful jargon to deter us from recognizing this exclusion.

My point is that one of the biggest problems with organizations like GLAAD and HRC is in how they choose to represent this community. There is little to no diversity in terms of race/ethnicity. Even less lesbian and bisexual representation. And virtually no representation of transgendered at all (unless they are again accused of discriminating against them by not allowing transgendered members in LGBT rallies like they were accused of during the Supreme Court DOMA/Prop 8 hearings). We are tired GLAAD (and HRC as well) of you saying that you are going to do more to show how diverse we truly are but you keep agreeing to ads like this which is the same, nearly monotone aka safe advertising and it has to stop. Is it that hard to have a team of people within your organizations that are willing to do actual research into the real issues of this community or am I and the other concerned members of this community talking to thin air?

I often think about the time of Harvey Milk and how I wish we were seeing the same passionate multifaceted approach of his generation but we are anything other than the successors of this great man. He truly stood for the differences among all of us and it often feels that these organizations don’t. Let’s not forget that in 1995 HRC were perfectly willing to exclude transgender men and women in order to have ENDA passed. So yes this community has a history of struggling to be united when fighting for equal rights. Some may argue that it is the past, but the past sets precedent and when no mass collective effort has been shown to include all members, how else are the rest of us supposed to feel?

Why is it that you and HRC are not working on a more visible campaign for ENDA (Employee Non Discrimination Act)? Why is it barely mentioned and only given a few paragraphs and the only time that you may bring it up is when there is an LGBT member. Why aren’t these organizations using their grand platform to speak to the community to reach out to Senate Democrats who keep stalling out on progressing ENDA through Congress? How much longer will we have to wait before we ensure LGBT members of this country have federal protections against discrimination instead of endless parties, fundraisers where it isn’t made clear where the money is going, and awards to undeserving people? Both groups said virtually nothing during the Immigration Reform Bill as well that excluded LGBT members from receiving the same benefits.

My words are harsh and blunt, but it’s what you need to hear. Maybe I am being so forward because I am waiting with as much anticipation about what this week could mean for us a community and it has me thinking of what else needs to be done that has not been done yet. I know both organizations have done some great work in promoting change and fighting for equality. But we need to do just as much work, if not more within the community. We need to work on these issues now and that starts with talking about them openly and honestly.

If you continually make members of this community who are not gay Caucasian males not feel welcomed or a part of this community then it’s reasonable to be at the very least frustrated with how these organizations operate. Whatever the decision is next week know that we all have so much more to do. We have to do more. So let’s start now.

Cynthia Nixon To Be Honored

amfAR New York Gala To Kick Off Fall 2010 Fashion Week - Arrivals

This has been another hectic week so here’s a quick repost from HuffPo:

The “Sex and the City” star, 46, will reportedly receive the award as part of Yale University GALA Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Alumni Association’s Reunion Weekend. Although the weekend itself has been postponed in the wake of Winter Storm Nemo, Nixon is still currently slated to receive her award at a special Feb. 8 concert, where she will be serenaded by the Yale Whiffenpoofs, the university’s legendary all-male a cappella group.

Nixon will be the inaugural recipient of the award, will be presented annually to artists “who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community,” according to a press release.

In an email statement, Nixon said she was “incredibly honored” by the Yale award. Given that the actress is a Barnard graduate, she added, “I am looking especially forward to hearing the Whiffenpoofs, although I will feel a twinge of rivalry on behalf of the Columbia Kingsmen and the Barnard Bacchantae.”

It’s always nice to recognize the people that serves ass inspiration to our community. Through roles, activism and discussion it helps foster understanding.  Congratulations Cynthia on your award!

Happy Birthday Ellen DeGeneres! Here’s Why We Love Her

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Birthdays are always a time to reflect what a person has accomplished and activist, daytime tv host,  and comedian Ellen DeGeneres is a perfect example of this. HuffPostGay did a nice tribute to the now 55 year old (can you believe it?!0 celebrating her birthday today. Here are some of the reasons why Ellen is a national treasure:

12. She believes that humor should always be kind, and holds herself to a high standard of compassion. She told Good Housekeeping

“The most important thing for me is to know that I represent kindness. I’m glad I’m funny. I’m glad I make people happy, because that’s very important. But I’m proud to be known as a kind person. You listen to any monologue on late-night TV or just in general, to people talking, and there’s always a joke at someone’s expense. It’s sarcasm; it’s nasty.
Kids grow up hearing that, and they think that’s what humor is, and they think it’s OK. But that negativity permeates the entire planet.”

15. She tries not to judge others. In an interview with O, The Oprah Magazine, Ellen said: “I am saddened by how people treat one another and how we are so shut off from one another and how we judge one another, when the truth is, we are all one connected thing. We are all from the same exact molecules.”

16. She came out on “Ellen.” Coming out can be a very difficult personal step — emphasis on the personal. We love that Ellen’s announcement was filled with humor and aired publicly on her sitcom. Despite the possibility of a backlash — which followed almost immediately — she chose not to hide.

34. Her wedding to Portia was pretty much the most beautiful thing we’ve ever seen. The pair married in 2008 at their home in L.A., after dating for four years. Ellen told People: What can I say? I’m the luckiest girl in the world.”

I highly recommend checking out the rest of that list. Always lightheaded, always kind, and always funny, we wish Ellen many more years of making our would a better place.

Recognize Our LGBT Leaders Now, Not Just Later

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Okay so I was originally going to wait on writing this until I felt better but my last article got my creative and expressive synapses all in a flutter. Earlier today, I was writing about Miley Cyrus and how she’s being a great advocate for supporting the LGBT community. While I was randomly deciding on whether or not I like her latest hair style, I started thinking about our community as I often do and how we recognize each other and the accomplishments towards true equality. I also reflect on how we recognize those that that actively make contributions to this ideal. They are not being honored, at least not the way they should be.

What comes to mind today is why so often in our society places  much more emphasis and attention given to the celebrities and movie stars for their support than the ones truly doing the work everyday? Those leaders that are up everyday, from dawn to dusk, out championing for us, refusing to accept anything other than equal rights. We are sadly more likely to hear and see a cooled response from allies than the greats like Dan Savage that demand we be treated fairly and equally. Why does there always have to be that “safe bridge” or the person known in the majority group be heard more often and their words are seen as more significant?

I read about the creative and innovative practices of LGBT leaders everyday. Yet on any given day stories like Miley’s two or three words of support will have more weight in our society than the people that fight and at times risk their lives to ensure that each generation has it easier than before. So that our burdens are not our future’s burden. So that they will be safe from being fired from their jobs, marry the one they love, or walk down the street not being afraid someone will attack them or worse for being gay. So they can be who they are anywhere and everywhere.

Far too often, we hear and momentarily praise the achievements of fighters like Richard Adams during special events and ceremonies when stories like this happen everyday. I want to hear more about stories like Perry Watkins braving against the government so he could serve our country as an openly gay man while they still walk among us. Entertainers like April Ashley remembered only during special ceremonies. People like Frank Kameny that dedicated his life to the cause so we would not experience the same wrongs he set out to make right. So many stories like this heard too infrequently.

When you only hear about these incredible men and women at the end it feels like it was only a footnote in history when they were so much more than that. Their journey alone was remarkable, and the path that they set out for us should never be forgotten, And it certainly shouldn’t be in a few short paragraphs summing up their accomplishments only to be remembered during anniversaries or LGBT History Month.

It aggravates and frustrates me that this happens so often and reminds me of what my great aunt told me as a child, “whenever there is a  river dividing right and wrong,  the wrong side’s shit still floats downstream”. Pardoning the language, she was right. We always see words of the people that aren’t having to fight nearly as hard sail through while many times our words and the brave actions of our leaders sink to the bottom. We still carry the words of others more than we do of our own. And as a blogger, I am sometimes guilty of this too. And I can do better. We can always do better.

I can only liken this experience to my race, something that I often do because in many ways the reactions to issues are interchangeable. You’d be surprised of the similarities between the two. So often when there is a discussion of racial strife and divide within the African American community the problem is addressed many times by African American leaders, often and repeatedly. Only much later, when the problem is addressed by someone else, usually a straight, Caucasian male, is the issue given any weight and credibility. It’s disconcerting when you witness more people give weight to a movie director’s words of Quentin Tarantino and his fictional tale is praised while African American leaders or writers like Al Sharpton or Spike Lee, who have said the same thing (but more eloquently and are more historically accurate) are rarely given the time of day.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against praising the people that are our allies. The people that get up and fight along side us for every scrap of victory that we are afforded. We still need them as we all need support each other, regardless of the community we are from. And I humbly and profusely thank them for their love and support.  But we also need to recognize those within the community that make it possible for those celebrities to know about us and our struggle. Far too often, the only time we hear about the great works of an LGBT leader is when they have met their maker, either through natural causes, or more nefarious means. It shouldn’t be that way. We shouldn’t wait to hear and appreciate the great works of those great activists until after they’re gone. The world needs to know them now.

WOOF! Ronnie Kroell: Model, Actor, Activist, HOT

Have you heard of Ronnie Kroell? He wants to be you friend (how could you turn down an offer like that?). This up and coming model, actor, and LGBT activist gained fame as a contestant on Bravo’s Make Me A Supermodel. Winning the judges over with those soft, sweet eyes and firm chiseled body, Ronnie went on to be a fan favorite of the two season show.

Being featured in magazines such as Instinct, Ronnie found recognition and esteem in the modeling business after his reality tv career, even doing a very…revealing spread in Playgirl. Ronnie has also began to expand his brand, appearing as Beau in the popular LGBT dramedy Eating Out.

But as Ronnie’s career continued to flourish, he also wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. Proving that he’s more than a pretty face, Kroell has been involved with the It Gets Better Project, as well as GLAAD, ACLU, and The Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Currently, Ronnie is promoting the film project called the Friend Film that focuses on those affected by bullying to help promote education, prevention, and acceptance, You can find out more about the film on his twitter and official Friend Film website to find out how you can become involved. I did.

 

He has it all. And he is so sweet to everyone. I mean look at those eyes (and abs)!

I mean to give you a clue about what I’m talking about in his Playgirl spread..You know what, rather than talk about it, I’ll just leave this here..,,

LGBT Activist Give Reagans Portrait The Finger At LGBT Pride Reception – BRAVO!

Oh the GOP wingnuts are going insane once again.  But this time its not about Dan Savage.

Its because an LGBT advocate (well 2 actually) dared to give Ronald Reagans portrait  the middle finger last week at the White House LGBT Pride Reception.

The photos were originally published by Philadelphia Magazine and then closet-case Matt Drudge (Yes, Matt Drudge is a big frackin Auntie Tom, closet-case homo)  took it and ran with it posting almost a McCarthy-esque headline leading all the other wingnut sites to it.

The right-wing Weekly Standard went to town.

(Matthew) Hart posted his photo on Facebook with the caption, “Fuck Reagan.” [Zoe] Strauss simply posted hers without commentary.  

 “Yeah, fuck Reagan,” reiterates Hart one week after the reception. “Ronald Reagan has blood on his hands. The man was in the White House as AIDS exploded, and he was happy to see plenty of gay men and queer people die. He was a murderous fool, and I have no problem saying so. Don’t invite me back. I don’t care.”

Matthew Hart.  I love you man.  Because you are exactly right.

Ronald Reagan was and always should be remembered as the President who helped bring back poverty to the masses, the President who changed American foreign policy, by selling arms to Iran, and forwarding the profits to right-wing Central American dictators to help fund their death squads, and most of all as the President who IS GUILTY of Genocide and Murder against the gay community and is personally responsible for the deaths of thousands who died of AIDS

If the  Pinhead Reaganites (Hellraiser joke) are bent out of shape for someone giving The Grim Gipper’s portrait the finger then its a good thing that I wasn’t invited to the Pride reception.

Because I would have pissed on it.