Well, sometimes you just can't live up to a good group name. Fresh in the inbox this morning is a press release from The Gays United Network announcing they've changed their mind about when California's LGBT community should return to the ballot box to overturn Prop 8. First they supported a 2010 campaign, but now they've flipped to the 2012 side - but not without a few verbal jabs at 2010 proponents and the trans community first. (emphasis mine)
The Gays United Network (Gays UN) announced today that it has a change of heart with regard to going back to the ballot in 2010. It is recanting its support of the 2010 Campaign and aligning itself with Prepare to Prevail and EQCA's Plan and Analysis: Winning Back Marriage Equality in California/Building a State of Equality, effectively declaring its support of a 2012 Campaign to win back marriage equality in California.
"Our community is still too disjointed and the 2010 Contingents are largely made up of a group of detached, self-obsessed, arrogant and privileged white gay men who are unwilling to delay gratification by doing the hard work it will take to really build a community for all of the US's. This dismissive go it alone attitude at the expense of the most vulnerable of our community is unconscionable. Truth of the matter is white LGBTs are closer to equality than their LGBT people of color counterparts. The belief that passion and momentum outweighs preparation, building alliances and clarifying our messaging is childish at best and selfish at worst," said Nakhone Keodara, founder of Gays UN.
Oh, but wait. It gets even worse.
When was the last time you saw an Executive Director (or former ED, as the case may be) curse in a press release sent out to the media? The release doesn't actually announce that Dennis Veite is resigning, but instead quotes him as blaming the LGBT community for his lack of success in a leadership role.
The impetus that has caused a shift of perception for the Gays UN has been the lack of support from the community. In his resignation letter, former Executive Director, Dennis Veite, wrote "I just don't have the support that I need to make a go of leadership for this group. People committed to attending [DADT Protest] and even went so far as to volunteer for safety committees to help keep the protest peaceful and simply didn't show up; no phone calls, no e-mails. They just didn't show. Forty-four people committed to attending and six were there. We had fifteen police cars, thirty-five SF PD officers, twenty traffic control officers complete with barricades waiting on us when we arrived at the recruiting center on the 30th. We wasted close to five thousand dollars in city materials and manpower for a protest that simply didn't happen because no one showed up. That's a month's worth of medication for my friend Mike who is suffering from HIV. I can't tell you how it feels having that information in my head."
"For the Transgender 101, I was attacked and vilified and turned into this monster who hates transgender people because I was trying to reach out and learn and educate myself about a piece of our community that I truly do not understand and at the same time share that information with other members of our community to help others understand as well. Then I was vilified for canceling the meeting because practically the entire damn community was looking forward for taking part in it."
The release ends on a high note by detailing the group's decision making process, but I doubt most people get that far or even notice. The top sections of the release are so titillating - the racist, self-absorbed white guys pushing for 2010, the troublemaking transpeople and the lazy armchair activists - that no one will remember any responsible decision making. Instead, folks who see the release will be more interested in the in-fighting and accusations the group leveled at other activists and the community at large.
Gays United? Not so much.