Gina de Vries

F--k The Advocate

Filed By Gina de Vries | December 11, 2008 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: queer people of color, race, sexuality, WTF

I am not surprised by this in the least -- The Advocate has a long and well-documented history of catering to the privileged and few (and did I mention white?) GayLite. But for god's sake.

FUCK THE ADVOCATE!Oh, and if you're wondering why I'm offended, in brief:

Gay Being the New Black makes it sound like there were no queer people of color involved in the Civil Rights movement, and no queer people of color involved in the current-day queer movement. It assumes that queer people are outsiders in people of color communities, and that people of color are outsiders in queer communities. To state the obvious, the communities are not mutually exclusive.

See also, Oh Hai White Gays, plz stop comparing the Civil Rights movement and the current struggles to secure gay mawwiage & matwimony. NOT THE SAME.


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It's not all about white priviledged gays vs you and Crawford's struggle to the mountain top from the cotton fields in the south.
With the LGBT movement it is about psychological struggle of being labeled a cocksucker and fudgepacker, being beat to a pulp, and pain of being rejected by larger society. There are many suffering white gays with a penthouse in New York and Hollywood who have been told they were nothing by society. Case in point, Microsoft founder Ric Weiland who shot his brains out at age 53. He was an investor in PlanetOut that owns The Advocate. He fought for us, but the battle was too much. These days, I feel like it may be too much for me also.

Weiland worked on shareholder campaigns to get McDonald's, GE, Wal-Mart and Emerson to bar sexual-orientation discrimination in the workplace. And he was an early investor in PlanetOut, an online media company focused on the gay community. Weiland was extremely shy and uncomfortable in the spotlight. But at a GE shareholders meeting in 1999, he stood up in front of 2,000 people and urged the company to add sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy, which it did the following year.

Weiland, who admired the company and its chairman, Jack Welch, contrasted the situation at GE with Microsoft.

"From the beginning there was no secret about my sexual orientation, because Bill Gates and Paul Allen had known me for a number of years already," he said in his GE speech. "Luckily for me, I knew what they were interested in was the quality of my work, not whether I dated someone of the same sex."

In case anyone wondered, Weiland drove a red Corvette around Albuquerque during the early Microsoft days with the license plate "yes I am," Bill Gates recalled at Weiland's memorial service last year.

"Ric was a very talented person who helped get me going on software," Gates wrote in a memorial book. "He was also a great friend."

Unless you have walked in a persons shoes, don't judge a person by what you perceive as priviledged.

It's nice that all of these rich white gay men did so much for gay people in those companies. Some of those companies you mention still don't have any protection for their transgender employees. That says a hell of a lot, and none of it good.


What a load of crap. To say no good has come of what these men have done is utterly disrespectful and shameful. It starts with tolerance, then comes acceptance. You want it now, its not going to happen. Deal with it. But bringing down the actions of others because you didn't get what you wanted, is not acceptable.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 12, 2008 4:10 PM

Wow, Monica, it doesn't take much to get the underpants of Matt W and Midtowner in a twist, now, does it?

Their misunderstanding and overreaction to your comment only proves your point.

Wow Monica I love it when people like you throw out the phrase "rich white gay men" and denegrate them... wasnt the fact that you were a rich white gay/straight man allow you to have your operation. Because surely if you were a person of color you wouldnt of have the opportunity to make the change that made you the woman you are today...

Stop all the bashing...

Monica is a gay man? I don't know her, but I have to wonder if she appreciates being labeled that way.

No Aria..she used to be a rich white man I didn't know gay/straight...but knew she used to be a man and this supposed Rich White Gay Man moniker would have been applied to here and apparently it helped her become the woman she is today. The reason I assume rich is the operation is very expensive and from what Ive learned here is that most people of color are so disenfranchised they never would have been able to get it (so Monica Being white and rich allowed that). So now that Monica is a women its easy for her to distance herself from the Rich White Gay MALE crowd and chastise and denigrate them... after all she got what needed from being one then moved on and now is oppressed and disenfranchised....poor poor thing...

I guess I don't get the whole used to be a man thing. Do people mean social roles, or something deeper? I guess you can change social roles, as much as people will allow once they know someone "used to be a man". If people don't know about a person's previous history, that's definitely possible. You get treated just like every other person on the planet, no extra bs to deal with.

I don't agree with the idea some have that you can change the essence of *what* you are. As though changing the body changes what you are, because the brain has no role to play in it. Am I my body, a thing? Or am I my mind? I'm not sure the brain is plastic to any real degree in adulthood. And if it was, I wouldn't be me if it changed... lol ok this is too much.

Reducing a person to his or her component parts is difficult. The way we go about it lately seems like imprecise, lazy thinking to me. We conflate biological and social theories, eventually negating both. Then we try to develop a strange, synergistic offshoot called "gender theory" which somehow lacks reference to either of the root disciplines.

Besides that, all this social essentialism dehumanizes us, reduces us to things. I am a "man" or "woman" is like saying I am a "brownhair", on some level. They are all descriptors; "man and "woman" just carry more implied backstory is all. Should man and woman be nouns, or adjectives? :)

i dont understand why you think being a target for anti-gay violence takes away white privilege.

we're all targets in various ways. most of also have various privileges. part of the reason the gay community is doing such a piss-poor job of making its case is its refusal to acknowledge its own privilege in this fight for marriage--an institution of *special* (not equal) rights whose rhetoric assumes we all have employment and romantic love to begin with.

Marriage doesn't benefit everyone. Marriage never has. More often than not it's been used to police minorities, though you never hear that when "we" talk about it. So yes, we are fighting for a privilege. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have it -- but let's start making an honest case for it.

Gina, you are so right about the need to recognize our brothers and sisters of color involved in the movement for African-American civil rights.

Let's start with Bayard Rustin, black gay Quaker man who was Dr. King's chief strategist. You couldn't be out-out in those days, but Rustin's sexual orientation was known to many in the movement, to the point where some of the conservative church people supporting the King felt that he should not have Rustin working for him.

There were others too, less well-known than Rustin. All the more reason for us to bore into this part of our history.

Thank you, Patricia, for mentioning Bayard Rustin --- who should be far more well-known than he actually is in the GLBT community.

However, Rustin may have muddied the very waters we are currently wading in, when during a speech in 1987 he supposedly made a statement which was worded something like, "Gay people today are the new nigger."

But I don't believe he meant the same thing that some today mean with "Gay is the New Black". He meant it is no longer acceptable to call a black person a racial epithet in public, but it is still OK (in 1987) to call a gay man (or woman) a sexual epithet in public. This, in turn, is a measure of the (very low) level of awareness regarding individual civil rights in this country.

"Gay is the New Black" is confusing, divisive, polarizing, and worthless. Let's dump it without delay.

As for the Advocate magazine, I'm OK with it if the Advocate becomes the new "George" magazine. I've had no use for it for decades.

The two civil rights movements may not be the same (instead of being hung in trees, gay people are beaten and tied up to fences, left to die), ignoring the fact that homophobic attitudes are much more prevalent in some minority communities than others makes it much more difficult to put together a real strategy to make progress.

We may not have arrived in the same ships, but now we're all in the same boat. Until all people are equal in the eyes of the law, equality in the eyes of the law does not exist for anyone.

A friend of mine (an elected official who happens to be black and straight) wrote a column about how disgusted he was by the hate in the African American community towards gays. Acknowledging that this is indeed a fact is the place to start. Denying it out of political correctness will lead to another generation of these haters.

Anthony in Nashville | December 12, 2008 2:29 PM

Can I find your friend's article online?

"...that this is indeed a fact is the place to start"

really. and you don't think there's anything more complex to this than simple black homophobia.

It would be good for the gay community to start reading up on how the US Gov has demonized and policed all black sexuality, for a clue on why some communities don't necessarily see our fight as one of equality. To make progress, you actually have to understand what's going on...

Bayard Rustin is my hero and he even went to jail for his civil rights activities and his writings about it ended chain gangs in one State. He was also arrested for his sexual orientation.
As to the Advocate, as a bi person I've hated them all along. They have always avoided inclusion of anything that is not the walking talking young gay white male ideal that they have there.

Cop out, total absolute cop out.

Unless they are flaming, you can't look at someone on the street and say definitevly that they are gay.

Blacks on the other hand, seem to have a problem with 'blending in', so to speak. You don't have to "come out" or worry about getting outed as a black person, you're pretty much 'out' from the day you are born. I mean I have never heard of a black parent agonizing over their child, wondering if they are going to turn out black, have you?

This is just HRC, log cabin repub, rich white gay man BS. Unless you walk around with a "kick me, I'm queer" sign or something you have no idea about what it is like to have to live in a black man(or womans) shoes.

They need to grow up, get their head out of GQ and take a look around at the real world, then maybe they wouldn't say such stupid things.

diddlygrl, you're right. they shouldn't have gone there. However, I guess they were just elevating the whole meme of gay equality as 'the next civil rights movement' to the next level -- a thoughtless, pop-cultureish blurb.

Except ... OOPS!! They stepped in it. Big Time. Comparing the two movements is one thing (I've even defended the comparison - to a point), but what exactly do these pampered, rainbow flagging waving (though hardly known for their diversity) ADVOCATE fcuks know about being BLACK in America??!

It would be like me claiming to know the intricate perils of being transgender, or a woman, or Jewish, or an amputee, or even a rich white guy (for they must have their perils, too -- about which I know nothing).

It's one of those things that you have to BE before you can speak on with any great aplomb -- and certainly before reducing the experiences of a vast swath of Americans to a self-serving blurb.

Although I never subscribed to the mag for obvious reasons, I can honestly say Gina is right: Fcuk the Advocate!

F--k them very much indeed. I'd love to see you expand on some of these thoughts, Gina. Your posts always want me leaving more of your thoughts on the topic.

I'm thinking maybe I have a blog crush. LOL

William D. Lindsey William D. Lindsey | December 12, 2008 11:59 AM

I'm all for remembering Bayard Rustin.

But if we do so, we're going to have a serious problem on our hands. He said in 1987, "The barometer of where one is on human rights questions is no longer the black community, it's the gay community. Because it is the community which is most easily mistreated."

Unfortunately, when we remember Coretta Scott King, Bayard Rustin, and Mildred Loving, we remember people who saw the intimate connections between the gay movement for civil rights and the black movement for civil rights--since both are part of one overarching movement to extend human rights to ALL marginalized groups in democratic societies.

Or some folks just like to be offended by HRC, Barney Frank, or gay white men in general, and this cover art is as good an excuse as any.

While racism has been employed to galvanise the white Republican base in past elections - most notably by president George Bush's father in 1988 and Newt Gingrich in 1994 - homophobia may yet become the rallying cry for the next one. When it comes to finding a signifier for the indulgent excesses of liberal Democrats and the Republicans' no-nonsense adherence to the values of middle America, gay is the new black.
Gary Younge writing for the Guardian 6/16/2003.

The Advocate wasn't the first publication to feature the phrase. The issue is being productively discussed in other articles on this blog. Why the invective?

The delicious irony is that had the shriller voices left well enough alone, the phrase would have become as irrelevant and trite in the gay world as it is in the fashion world (where the phrase originated). Green is the new black .

BTW Charles, your dig at Michael Crawford is wide of the mark, but the rest of your comments are right on target.

Greg, perhaps the phrase "gay is the new black" will become irrelevant and trite, but in the aftermath of Nov. 4th, I am not so sure.

Yes, the Advocate is not the first publication to use the phrase. But its a phrase, and an idea, that has long needed to be put to rest. By proclaiming it on their cover, and then having the incredible cluelessness to sub-title it as "The Last Great Civil Rights Struggle", the Advocate fed the beast rather than letting it disappear.

For me, the sad irony is that the actual article rejected the cover's phrase and the sloppy, offensive thinking contained in that phrase. But how many people actually bothered to read the article?

Thanks. It wasn't meant as a dig, I honestly thought Michael Crawford's video showed blacks in the field doing backbreaking work. Instead he showed other scenes from the 50's. We have a black President. I think the Advocate was referring to gay struggle in their article and asking the question can their ever be an LGBT President.

Tina Fey: (about Hillary Clinton) "Bitch is the new black."
Tracy Morgan: "Bitch may be the new black, but black is the new president, bitch."

lolcats used to make fun of the Advocate? that's funny.