Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

This Morning at Netroots Nation LGBT Connect: Missing Issues

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | June 15, 2011 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: #NN11, LGBT Connect, Netroots Nation

netrootsnation.jpgThis morning at Netroots Nation LGBT Connect started with every one of the hundred or so people in the room introducing themselves. What a dizzying variety of people! People from major orgs (Task Force, HRC etc) , people from blogs from various corners of the country (e.g., Bent Alaska, NC's QNotes), major bloggers (Daily Kos, Joe My God etc), new orgs (e.g. GetEqual). Michael Crawford noted in his initial remarks that he was pleased to see so many people of color in the room. I echo that sentiment, because our communities so often don't intersect for so many complicated reasons. It's good to see that Mike Rogers and the team have started figuring out how to impact that separation.

We were asked what issues were not being covered. We heard about health issues, such at the $650 million recently distributed to the states, with zero dollars for queer health, testing LGBT questions on health surveys, tobacco control being our number one health hazard.

We heard from Long Beach California about the high HIV rate, the problem of reaching young people with such messages, and the ignoring of mental health issues. Middle America is often ignored by major media outlets and blogs, too often concentrating on the comfortable coasts, whereas hate is breeding in the heartland. The LGBT community often defines itself as a monolithic gay, white, middle class identity, with bisexual and trans and low income people and people of color not discussed except when "their" issues are being discussed. That will result in more and more people being disenfranchised and a backlash against us as happened with the disconnect between second wave and third wave feminism.

A dozen other issues were raised, more than I could even catch here. Trans health issues, LGBT immigration issues, trans people in detention being denied access to medications, ENDA, representation of various LGBT communities in media, ADAP funding, internalized stigma attached to HIV/AIDS that affect funding as well as social isolation (serophobia), new controversies surrounding pride celebrations and what they mean today, the need to target straight allies, how to provide rights to the LGBT polyamorist community, better approaches to representing our sexuality rather than attempting to obscure it and hope they forget, creating sustainable state level groups that work together instead of attacking each other, learning better how to speak about religious freedom issues, and more.

Then, each of the dozen or so tables was asked to come up with five points on each of five questions. We passed a large sheet of paper with one question on it to each table, which wrote its five points and passed it to the next table. The questions included: identify five gaps in the movement, how can we ensure the LGBT blogosphere is strong and well-funded?, how can we engage more effectively across generational lines?, how can we engage more effectively across race/ethnicity lines?, etc.

Put your thoughts in the comments section. What issues do you think we failed to raise? What would some of your answers to these questions be? I'll give you some of the points we came up with in the comments section.


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1) The crisis of governance facing many boards of LGBT organizations

2) Growing the number of LGBT individuals who donate to equality organizations from 5% to something more like 20%; and identifying the causes of why it is so low in the first place.

Good points, John! I'll be sure to bring them up here.

Thanks for the great NN coverage so far, Jill. I'm attending vicariously through your posts.

I'd like to see the LGBT community start honoring personal responsibility more. As a primarily victim driven movement we toss loads of resources at the irresponsible components of the community while often ignoring people who are responsible. For example, just how much more money should be spent to tell irresponsible people not to have lots of unprotected sex? The same money could be spent on people wishing to find work.