Bil Browning

Demanding quality state equality orgs

Filed By Bil Browning | May 20, 2009 11:30 AM | comments

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Bilerico Project contributor (and the former HRC field organizer who helped to pass Indy's inclusive human rights ordinance) Bo Shuff has started an interesting series on the main site. The series looks at Equality Ohio and asks whether the equality org is providing quality representation for the LGBT community.

As a frequent critic of Indiana Equality's lack of professional staff, moribund leadership, financial mismanagement and inability to actually advance the Hoosier LGBT community, I'll be reading the series with interest. I've long considered doing a thorough exposé on IE's serious lack of quality representation, but it's never been a top priority.

It'd be interesting to read critical analysis of each of the state-level organizations. All too often, these orgs attempt to silence anyone who points out flaws in the management structure instead of working with the critics to improve. IE, for example, refuses to link to any blogger who's criticized the organization and doesn't send us press releases for fear of negative coverage. But if you have to hide what you're doing from your own community, are you really working for the common good or protecting a cult of personality?

Bo's first two posts are up now with a third being published tomorrow.

Most orgs are trying to move our agenda forward, but should we give their bad past performances or current struggles a pass because they're the only gig in town? Or should we hold them up to a standard of quality that's needed to truly spur change?


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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 21, 2009 2:11 AM

Bil, am I remembering correctly? This is a pont of, let's call it, "objectivity"...don't you have a past personal relationship with Indiana Equality? I know you have been involved in a fistful of LGBT orgs in Indiana.

I ask this only so that no one can argue that there is any personal agenda on your part. All Gay orgs should be subject to listening, transparency and criticism, but I sometimes wonder if all the time spent listening to EVERY point of view makes for paralysis or progress. Few organizations can be everything to everyone and I think that seeking alliances and common interests makes for a better legislative plan. Find the common issues and remember that people have memories.

"Thou shalt not speak ill of another LGBT org" :)

LOL - That's been a large part of why I've not written the post myself, Robert. I'm not sure I could provide the objectivity needed for an in-depth investigation.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 21, 2009 9:40 PM

This is why I read more these days and comment less. It makes myself and so many others happy :)

Donna Pandori Donna Pandori | May 22, 2009 11:53 AM

Bil, the best measurement of an organizations effectiveness is an aassessment based on outcomes. Bottom line, Indiana is too slow moving equality forward.

We allow ourselves to be controlled by those who threaten us with the marriage amendment - don't push it or the marriage amendment will pass. We kowtow by talking about how legislation like the marriage amendment will implact the straight community.

The only way the pedulum is going to shift is by educating and gaining allies. Where's this effort?

Do we want equal rights, when do we want them, get them.

I don't feel the momentum.