Bil Browning

Follow the Money: Is GetEqual the New HRC?

Filed By Bil Browning | June 01, 2010 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell, gay rights, GetEqual, HRC, Human Rights Campaign, LGBT community, progressive politics

6-2-10 Note from Bil: After GetEqual's Managing Director Heather Cronk's guest post this afternoon, I've corrected my salary numbers now that concrete dollar amounts have been released.

Quoting Martin Luther King or Bayard Rustin doesn't make you a successful activist. In fact, I've never really trusted people who had to rely too heavily on quotes from others to make a point; if you can't tell me yourself what you've got to say, why should I take you seriously?

new-and-improved-sticker1.pngKnockoffs are tiring; how many impromptu-but-choreographed flash mobs can there be before the idea is finally given a rest? Worse though, are the copycats that try to be something they're not. Instead of putting forth something brilliant and groundbreaking, they recycle something, put a new brand on it and try to spin it to the consumer as superior to the product they're aping. (Hello, Microsoft. I'm looking at you!)

As I've been watching some of GetEqual's recent tactics and behind-the-scenes positioning, I can't help but get the same uneasy feelings. I'm starting to feel as if I've been sold a bill of goods; I wanted orange juice but got Tang. Instead of a radically different, transparent and community-focused direct action organization, I got HRC Lite (now with more action!).

This week I'll look at three ways GetEqual is starting to become everything they railed against, but for today let's follow the money.

A few concerns about GetEqual's recent statements and decisions have been circulating and a recent piece in the Advocate, "The Rise of GetEqual," finally clears up many rumors. Unfortunately, it also raises new questions and leaves too many unanswered.

The Advocate reports that GetEqual is being financed by wealthy activists Paul Yandura and Jonathon Lewis. Lewis also financed last year's secretive Highlander retreat for 45 handpicked activists that had worked on Prop 8 organizing and the National Equality March; the retreat cost $45,000. He is the heir to the Progressive Insurance fortune.

Who's Getting What?

Heather Cronk, GetEqual's new Managing Director, told me, "The structure of GetEQUAL is constantly evolving, depending on what we need from staff/volunteers and what assets our staff/volunteers bring to the table."

"We currently have a few private donors who have contributed to the work of the organization, though we are also examining the best funding structure for our work. We have no interest in setting up a permanent organization -- we are focused on setting up a "campaign" structure that is focused on achieving full legal and social equality," she said. "Since there are few models for that kind of structure for us to use as inspiration, we are currently examining the most effective funding strategy for accomplishing those goals."

Cronk, co-directors Kip Williams and Robin McGehee and two other activists are all collecting salaries from the new organization. Williams disclosed that he and McGehee both make "less than $90K per year," but the other salary amounts are unknown. (Full disclosure: Kip Williams is a Bilerico Project contributor.)

"Some of us are making about the same as we were before joining GetEQUAL -- some are making less," Cronk told me. "But no one is making more than they were before joining the organization and we all come out of the nonprofit world."

This seems a little off to me. Depending on where you live, $90,000 a year is a decent to damn good salary. Cronk, former COO of the New Organizing Institute, said she would be getting paid "about the same as I was at NOI, but certainly without some of the stability of a larger organization." As the Managing Director, it can be assumed that she will be making more than McGehee and Williams. Cronk will be making $70,000.

Williams, who lived off a stipend while organizing the Equality March, was a New Organizing Institute fellow before he was hired by GetEqual although the Advocate piece simply says he was an "online campaign strategist for Radical Designs, which builds websites for advocacy groups." Unless William's NOI fellowship was highly lucrative, it's doubtful that this isn't a raise for Williams and a design company's campaign strategist isn't a not-for-profit job. Williams will be making $72,000.

McGehee is a communications professor at College of the Sequoias in California's San Joaquin Valley. The school is a two year community college that offers vocational and community-based classes, including the local fire/police academies. A salary of almost $90,000 a year for a vocational school teacher would be exceptionally rare - especially in a state facing extreme budget difficulties. McGehee also wouldn't be considered a not-for-profit worker.

McGehee will be making $89,000 and sent this text to clarify her previous salary: "I am more than willing to send you a copy of my tax statement from COS (w/ proof of my $89k salary) if you want to have proof that I only speak with the honesty I know to be true - you can publish without my personal info - I really am doing this because I believe in our work and believe we are all supposed to be on the same page working to get equal (no pun intended)."

Shortly after the National Equality March both Williams and McGehee quit working with Equality Across America citing concerns about financial security and the leadership of the new organization.

The other two employees, Jay Carmona and Michelle Wright, are logistical consultants for direct action protests.

So What's the Total?

Yandura told the Advocate that the group had spent approximately $130,000 plus the extra $45,000 for the retreat. Williams told journalist Michael Petrelis the group had spent $135,000 plus the cost of the retreat. Either way, we're looking at approximately $175,000 to $180,000 spent already - not a huge difference.

Two weeks ago, Williams deposited another check from Lewis for $250,000. While GetEqual is in the process of applying for a c(4), they are currently sponsored as a c(3) through the Citizen Engagement Lab according to Cronk. This would make Lewis' contribution tax deductible.

If the group has already spent $175,000 and just deposited $250,000, one can safely assume that the organization is sitting on between $75,000 to $325,000. The group's salary requirements alone, however, would outweigh that amount so other sources of funding are going to have to be found.

Three Director level salaries at $90,000 per year is $270,000. If we assign $50,000 each to the advance and logisitics team members, that's another $100,000. Grand total for salaries for the year? $370,000 According to Cronk the payroll budget is currently $300,000.

Lewis' check for a quarter of a million dollars won't cover the payroll costs for GetEqual this year. This doesn't include any administrative costs, travel reimbursements, supplies, or any other part of running a major organization that requires money to function. How much do you think it's going to cost to keep GetEqual running for a year?

Half a million dollars? A million? Speculation has been rife in Washington DC that the org is sitting on a war chest of almost $500,000.

Follow the Money

Who decided how much to pay everyone?

To help provide oversight, the group has invited six undisclosed people to serve on the org's board. This group will meet at another retreat to be held later this month. These are the individuals responsible for GetEqual's actions; until then there doesn't seem to be any sort of check in place other than the threat of closing the pocketbook.

A half a million to a million dollars is a large amount of money. That's not chump change any longer and it's strips GetEQual of the "struggling activists with hearts of gold" mystique they've been capitalizing on lately.

It's hard to be the common guy when you've got a million dollars. I've worked with tons of small independent little groups and operations that've struggled to survive financially. The constant competition for dollars, the demands for transparency, the constant criticism are draining and the pay is usually very low.

Throw in an economic downturn and many groups are shutting down. The not-for-profit and activist worlds are littered with the souls of good intentions. It's grueling work and the burnout rate is high.

Most organizations are ruled by their boards - usually individuals who have donated large sums of money to the group and want a voice in guiding how the org moves forward. The motivations behind organizational decisions aren't always what's best for the community as much as what's best for the board member.

A recent example would be HRC's board decision to support a trans-exclusive ENDA that was not supported by a large portion of it's employees but became the group's official position nonetheless. The people with the pocketbook controlled the decision.

A large segment of the LGBT community opposed HRC's decision on ENDA, but we had no voice in the choice. Billed as the everyman's direct action group, GetEqual gives the average member the same amount of input while potentially spending a million dollars this year.

If you were suddenly making a really good salary for working on LGBT rights with no oversight and a huge amount of money to spend, what would you do? Would you bite the hand that feeds you?

Next I'll look at the group's accountability - both to their members and donors and the community at large.

The Entire Series

Part 1: Follow the Money: Is GetEqual the New HRC?
GetEqual's Managing Director: GetEqual: A Response & Clarification
Part 2: Behind the Veil: Is GetEqual the New HRC?
GetEqual's Managing Director: Part 2: GetEqual responds again
Part 3: Through a Glass Darkly: Is GetEqual the New HRC?

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Maybe it's time we stopped crucifying anyone who is able to pay the bills AND be an activist. Robin spent $18,000 of her own money to hold "Meet in the Middle" in California. I think she's proven mettle in that department. I don't think it's too much to ask that she's able to get paid, so that she doesn't have to work 9 hour days and try and be an activist on the weekends.

I get your desire for transparency, so that they don't become "HRC-lite," but I'm so tired of the constant barrage of criticism from the blogosphere anytime someone is able to balance activism and salary. People need to get paid to do work, and people who are working full time on this CAN (not always, but can) do more than people who are weekend activists only. The last successful unpaid activist in the world was Gandhi, and he wove his own underwear. Give it a rest with the salary-phobia.

I think the article was way beyond "paid activists." There were very good questions about purpose and accountability. GetEqual has not been forthcoming on with of those issues.

I am the first person to suggest paying for results, but that's not GetEQUAL. In fact, I'm not sure what Jonathan Lewis (and the LGBT Community by extension) is paying for.

That, and other appropriate questions, need to be answered. GetEQUAL should answer them. I haven't seen any results, just some irritating stunts and some interesting salaries. GetEQUAL should start by explaining how their stunts help us and how they add support and/or change any minds. Usually, that is done first - before money is spent or decades of work is risked.

There were very good questions about purpose and accountability. GetEqual has not been forthcoming on with of those issues.
Accountability for what? They're like three months old.
That, and other appropriate questions, need to be answered. GetEQUAL should answer them. I haven't seen any results, just some irritating stunts and some interesting salaries. GetEQUAL should start by explaining how their stunts help us and how they add support and/or change any minds. Usually, that is done first - before money is spent or decades of work is risked.
You have your results, AND your success: DADT is "a done deal" according to everyone in Washington. They did it.

Disagree? Prove it wasn't them.

This is exactly the problem with your constant harping on the "results" note. What are "results"? What is "success"? How will we measure it when we see it? There's never going to be a direct line between one person/organization's work and a specific success. Was it Malcolm X or MLK's work that compelled Kennedy to push for the Civil Rights Act?

Gosh Bil, where do you think you can find talent in this recession unless you offer 90K plus expenses? Such a dilemma.

Hell, I'd be glad to do it for half the salary.

So, get your act together, organize a few things, and find a sponsor. That's what they did. It's not like they were anointed -- they just spent a hell of a lot of their own TIME and MONEY to prove themselves, and then took their plan to someone with the money to fund them.

All of the questions should have been answered (resolved) before this loosely defined "organization" was started.

My information suggest that Robin doubled her salary and Kip tripled his. While that seems like a wonderful achievement (for each of them), it does have to make some sense.

In the Petrelis piece a few weeks ago Kip said "nobody getting arrested was paid a salary" and Robin had already been arrested and he was arrested a few days later. I don't mind people with nice salaries getting arrested (BP CEO, please), but there was some misinformation from Williams. There are many of us who dislike GetEQUAL's simpleton strategy of "demanding," but we also have concerns about "paid activists." Ultimately, effective "direct action" requires participation (with sufficient numbers to exert influence) and it needs to be sincere.

I suspect if there was some oversight of this small band of paid activists some of their stunts would have been planned and executed better. Perhaps, there would have been a clearly defined strategy. Cronk's suggestion that they are a moving target isn't sufficient. Every organization that seeks LGBT Equality has a responsibility to enhance our movement and not hurt it. Most of the comments I see about GetEQUAL have questioned its effectiveness. Perhaps mine are the most pointed because i don't believe it's okay to just go 'do anything" and I have no evidence that "demanding" is effective.

Jonathon Lewis sees things much differently than I do and from his comments in the Advocate article he has been most interested in slapping politicians that aren't moving fast enough. That's a subjective conclusion and the risk is alienating those that do support us. How he managed to determine that several activists should be paid $90,000 a year to be "disruptive" is hard to imagine.

I appreciate Bilerico taking a closer look at GetEqual. The conversation is helpful. It needs to include some rationale for their now infamous publicity stunts. At some point it needs to make sense.

Since they launched their "outbursts" I believe they have hurt the Movement and the Community. I think they have cast us as loose cannons and disrespectful. That doesn't help our cause.

I know others think the same because GetEQUAL have been largely ignored by our community (no participation) and the media has stopped covering them, except to provide comic relief, as was the case when Obama schooled $90,000 Activist Kip Williams for "not reading the newspapers" and "being in the wrong room." The audience laughed. We don't need to be laughed at, we need to be listened to.

Dr. Jillian Weiss deserves $90,000 a year (or more) because of all the thoughtful advocating she does. Paying children the same amount to stomp their feet or whine for attention just doesn't add up. Fools have always been "free."

Andrew you sorry ass. You occasionally make sense.

While I cut my teeth on ACT UP, I wonder if this method of civil disobedience can work some 20+ years later. But when you have people running the organization who also come from that time, I wonder if their thinking is stuck in that mode. What was effective 20+ years ago will most likely not be effective in today's climate.

Thanks for the series Bil. I had a feeling the org was a bit too good to be true, as far as grassroots activism goes.

Thanks Bil for writing this post. While I admire GetEqual's ambitious goals, I've shared similar concerns. It's great that they've gotten our community energized, but what exactly can they deliver except for rallies and more protests? How can they successfully lobby politicians for the bills we need when they've already alienated so many (especially those who've been traditionally our allies)?

I guess my questions is--and I hope you'll answer in your next installment in this series--what are their deliverables? More rallies? Draft legislation? Why do they deserve my support and hard earned money over organizations who've done the heavy lifting these past few decades?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 2, 2010 8:33 PM

Lobbying is a failure.

Lobbying and direct actions are occasionally useful as an adjunct to mass actions, lobbying much less so than direct action.

HRC and similar groups haven't done any heavy lifting. They're a front for the Democrats. They've accomplished nothing of importance and usually retard the movement.

Michael @ | June 1, 2010 9:59 PM

Sorry, Bil, this dog won't hunt. With respect, I see nothing in your article that justifies its title or its thrust, either philosophically or financially, and, frankly, I'm disappointed to see you try to build the case.

HRC exists almost entirely on donations from members; some large; most relatively small...but from thousands of different donors. In fact, the most consistent criticism of them I've seen is that, to many, their raison d'etre seems to have become raising money to perpetuate their existence rather than to effect change; that they keep asking US, the LGBT community, to keep giving them money, many of us do, and have seen damn little to show for what I'd guess amounts to something like half a BILLION dollars in donations from the community since their first fundraising letter went out in 1981. Think about what we've gotten in those 29 years, even assuming HRC could take all the credit.

And the pitch never stops, even when an event is supposed to be all about change...and not the type in your pocket. Gay veterans who traveled to Washington at their own expense last month remember the contretemps about whether or not HRC was refusing to pay for a bus to get them around DC?] to lobby Congress re DADT were welcomed with HRC "gift bags." They contained a Voices of Honor t-shirt, an HRC logo sticker, an HRC lapel pin, an HRC membership form, and a coupon for 20% off anything in the HRC store.

While technically the same could be said of HRC's thousands of donors, I think it much more fitting to say of the current situation with GetEqual in which they primarily function through the generosity of a few well-heeled donors what those donors would probably say: it's none of your business....or mine...what they do with their money.....not the community's but THEIR money....unless YOU have contributed to them and are, thus, owed some accountability.

I GENUINELY do not mean to be snarky by writing this, but shall we ask someone to follow Bilerico's money? I have no idea if any of your official contributors are paid, nor care, even if it were any of my business which it's not.

But I do know it's unlikely that people would be paying you for Bilerico-related/LGBT Movement-related "speaking gigs," and providing the plane ticket and covering the hotel, as you recently noted, without the traffic stats and viral promotion that we your readers and commenters create. Whom do we send a bill?

In short, where does one draw the line?

And, currently it's a stretch that could dislocate the shoulder of anyone trying to draw a line between GetEqual and HRC.

Before reading the HRC $$$ figures below that prove comparing the two is like comparing a mountain with a mole hill, consider this. Even Michael Petrelis, who loves to hate HRC, has said, at least in the past, that their expenses....which I personally find CRIMINAL in the sense of social responsibility crimes...aren't unreasonable.

Except for the lunatic fringe who expect ashes and sackcloth of everyone but themselves, no one really started to object to these stratospheric numbers until they began to realize how little we were getting in return for them.

Though again, given its source, it's none of my business but I think it fair to say that GetEqual has accomplished more in a few months with a few hundred thousand dollars than HRC has over several YEARS with HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS.

So now to x-ray HRC's piggy bank a bit:

GetEqual "grand total for salaries for the year": $370,000. That's probably roughly the equivalent of JOE's salary and benefits for a year.

HRC's "rand total for salaries for the year": $9.5 MILLION.

According to a recent post on another blog, as of March last year, according to HRC's IRS filing that Petrelis found (fiscal year ending 3-21-09)


HRC had $5.4 MILLION in the bank (and, per earlier trends, expectations of income of roughly $30 MILLION between then and now).

Though more have been let go since, about this time last year, after a few got laid off and Joe took a slight pay cut, they still had 134 full-time salaried workers out of 309 total, and Joe still made over $300k a year (and some claim he makes tons more through their foundation). Again, altogether, according to their IRS filing, it costs them $9.5 MILLION in salaries JUST TO OPEN THEIR DOORS EVERY DAY. Over $2 MILLION of that goes to JUST 14 HRC employees. (see below, though not all are still there).

AND GET THIS: Under “Fees for services (non-employees), a mysterious $5.7 MILLION went to “Other.”

THAT would be some interesting money to "follow."

Cathy Nelson

David Smith $206,753. Some say he’s really the one who tells Joe what to do and say he was allegedly furious when Joe, under pressure from Chris Matthews, called for a freeze on discharges on Matthews' show last summer. “As vice president of programs, David M. Smith directs the policy and strategy of the Human Rights Campaign as well as the public education programs of the HRC Foundation. He oversees efforts related to federal and state legislative goals, political action and electoral strategy, grassroots outreach, media relations and polling research.”

Martin Rouse

Susanne Salkind

Alison Herwitt

James Rinefierd

Robert Falk

Christopher Speron

Elizabeth Pursell

Andrea Green

Kevin Layton

Ann Crowley

Halcyon Mathis

Total: $2.3 MILLION out of $9.5 MILLION in SALARIES alone.

When a radical and very purposefully irritating group begins to attack our friends and supporters (and we can debate how genuine those friendships are) they are risking many years/decades of work. They are jeopardizing the efforts of dozens of organizations and thousands of individual efforts.

GetEQUAL has received a tremendous amount of criticism by the LGBT Community. They don't have any results to prove their effectiveness. It's not enough to be anti-HRC. It's not enough to be angry. It's not enough to seek attention at all costs. They have to prove they are somehow effective or helpful. They haven't done that.

I agree with you that HRC hasn't proven their effectiveness either. The $550 million they've spent "lobbying Congress" for the last 29 hasn't resulted in a single changed vote. Not one.

I am hoping the effort here isn't to compare two organizations, but rather to seek an understanding about strategies and plans. I think HRC is a waste of money, but I don't see them as a risk. GetEQUAL has become a huge risk for our community. Their ill-conceived stunts may be alienating political friends and casting us as "nut jobs." I preferred it when just the Religious Right owned that description.

We can do better than imitating the enemy. We're better than that. Much better.

GetEQUAL and HRC (along with Gay Inc.) share one thing - none of them have a strategy or a Plan. Doing anything without a strategy is just as insane as the GetEQUAL stunts or the amount of money HRC spends.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 2, 2010 8:21 PM

AndrewW, unlike most of us, has a friend in the White House.

A Fierce and Powerful Defender. Best not to irritate AndrewW or his Powerful Friend with rude demands.

If you do offend, the penalty is that AndrewW won't shut up and that Fierce Defender will pat us on the back again - and follow up with a knife.

Come on Bill, you're better than that. Explain how "demanding" creates results. GetEQUAL is a half-dozen, half-baked (paid) activists. How does this work? More volume? More stunts?

This GetEQUAL lunacy has lead to Dan Choi promising to take his own life if his "demands" are not met. Must they be "near death" demands? Is it the volume of demands or the number of demands?

Explain this strategy of demanding. Tell us how it works. We are all willing and able to make demands, please show us how this leads to victory. Please.

(Anytime now you can call Bil an Obot, too.)

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 3, 2010 8:52 PM

I've called him worse than that. I called him a Democrat.

Funny. Get Equal is effective? Maybe at PR stunts, which certainly have a place in our movement. But I've still not seen any of our bills passed, so really, Get Equal is no more effective than our institutional activist orgs.

There is absolutely no excuse for HRC's piss poor track record of supporting the trans community. I learned that HRC didn't care in the mid 90's when I became a campus organizer and was told transpeople weren't their issue. My wife was told that by Elizabeth Birch who told my wife that the trans community should just hook up with NOW to fight for our equality. Nor when she cornered Solmonese at a fundraiser to tell him why the T cannot remain silent. She may as well have been talking to a brick wall, that time. And frankly, I still cannot forgive their actions in 2007.

I have no problems with outside / inside strategies, they can sometimes work. What has always been my most pressing issue with Get Equal is their hypocrisy.

During Signorile's town hall event, Robin took to the mic to call out HRC. She directly asked Joe S. if DADT was not repealed this year- who would hold him accountable, would he resign?

I remember thinking at the time, well who will hold Robin accountable? To know she was pulling in $90,000 a year and is beginning to form a hand-picked board as she made that statement reeks of hypocrisy.

When Get Equal held the protest at the White House a couple of weekends ago - I was really curious how many people would show up. I thought they would have at least a thousand, maybe more. It was a beautiful weekend day in Washington- perfect weather. Even with all their publicity / viral marketing - 100 people showed up. Their own numbers, 100.

After all the email addresses they have from the Equality March and the ability to get a wealthy donor to fund busloads of people to the White House- I still wonder, what gives, seriously, a 100 people?

I don't even want to know the cost per protester that would be.

Ultimately their funders will pay them what they wish, and I don't begrudge them that.

My hope is the Advocate article is the beginning of the community really asking the question to Get Equal that they love to throw at other groups so much, "how do we hold you accountable?"

But if it just gets people to quit with the anointing of them as the new MLK, Cesar Chavez, Gandhi, or Malcom X, well that would be a start.

Organizers and Activists advocating for a larger community, whether they are being paid or not, need to be accountable and transparent to that larger community. There needs also needs to be some kind of decision-making process whereby views and perspectives of the larger community are reflected in a group's actions. It has been my experience, direct and indirect, that Get Equal has endeavored, not always perfectly, towards these goals.

After co-founding a grassroots group, Equality Network, after the passage of Prop 8 and being in the trenches, living and breathing organizing 24 hours a day, it is readily apparent to me that grassroots organizers need financial support. The LGBT community and organizations such as HRC and Equality California, provide very little, if any, financial, logistical and moral support to grassroots organizers.

You have to thank Jonathan Lewis for at least supporting two of the most dedicated activists and providing a spark to grassroots organizing. Without financial support, grassroots organizers can accomplish very limited objectives and get burned out. I know I have and basically had to throw in the towel. It is too difficult to balance full-time work and full-time activism over an extended amount of time. So if the LGBT community and organizers want to see continued activists, they would do well to support grassroots organizations and nurture them. Otherwise, all we will have are ossified and incompetent organizations like HRC and Equality California, whose values and actions are linked to their organizational survival

What is the GetEQUAL strategy?

Organizations need money, but they also need a purpose. They need to provide some rationale for their existence. How do they help us? How do they change minds? Or, do they?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 2, 2010 6:57 AM

"polls before Prop 8 campaign in Cali... pretty much reflected electoral results..."

Not at all.

Release #2287 Thursday, September 18, 2008 55% OF VOTERS OPPOSE PROPOSITION 8, THE INITIATIVE TO BAN SAME-SEX MARRIAGES IN CALIFORNIA. By Mark DiCamillo and Mervin Field

During the past two months, voter opposition has increased toward Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment on the November election ballot which would ban same-sex marriages.

At present, just 38% of likely voters are backing the initiative, while 55% are intending to vote No. This compares to a 42% Yes and 51% No distribution of preferences in July.

The California Field Poll and others placed us well ahead until Obama went on MTV and the debate at Rick Warrens bigotfest to declare that it was OK to vote for Prop 8 because 'gawd's in the mix."

To be sure ECQA and HRC misled the anti-8 effort primarily by running a Eurocentric campaign in a state where minorities combined are the majority. Nevertheless we still could've won if Obama hadn't stabbed us in the back.

As far as strategy, you would have to ask Get Equal. I thought a lot about strategy when I was actively organizing and some of the conclusions I came to were that (1) trying to change hearts and minds one-at-a-time by canvassing (going door-to-door) is simply too logistically difficult (not enough canvassers and too many doors to make a difference) and fundamentally flawed (people are more prone to be receptive to LGBT people's issues, but only if they personally know them; (2) traditional campaigning techniques (media-buys, rallies, canvassing, phone-banking) for LGBT issues do not seem to work very well (polls before Prop 8 campaign in Cali and Prop 8 campaign in Maine pretty much reflected electoral results); (3) in order for people to drastically change their deeply held views, they have experience an epiphany and/or become involved in advocating for the view opposite to that they held before (a strident hawk becomes a strident dove); (4) you have to preach to choir to keep them singing (marches and rallies are only effective to energize your base.

Therefore, I also came to the conclusion almost a year ago, that nonviolent direct action was one of the only ways to turn the tide. The Civil Rights movement used direct action very effectively because they were able to enlist mass participation (lots of people get involved in a lunch counter sit-in or a march) and they triggered a violent response from segregationists, which in turn enlisted empathy for the movement. In the LGBT movement, we cannot count on mass participation from an apathetic community (maybe from straight progressive allies), and violent acts of homophobia are typically singular, at least in the US. So that leaves very limited options for successful strategies and tactics. I would suggest dignified direct actions (picking targets wisely), coupled with traditional community organizing tactics such as formation of local action groups which lobby and pressure congresspeople and other legislators.

"I would suggest dignified direct actions (picking targets wisely), coupled with traditional community organizing tactics such as formation of local action groups which lobby and pressure congresspeople and other legislators."

What about encouraging all members of our community to go beyond "coming out" and actually lobbying friends, neighbors, co-workers and even strangers? We have no evidence that lobbying politicians works unless constituents change their minds.

In order to achieve our full equality (legal and social) we need people to join us and support equality. Only we can do that. To that end there is no evidence that "protesting" influences any one or changes any minds. Our community understands that reality and that's why we don't march, or protest.

The idea that "demanding" is an effective "strategy" is GetEQUAL's primary problem. They must provide some rationale or logic that confirms the effectiveness of demanding. I don't see it.

In 2010, we don't need stunts to get attention, we need efforts to enroll people. Demanding doesn't do that, no matter how rude or how loud or how embarrassing.

Well, that's an interesting idea, Andrew, if only it could be made to work. Well, I wrote last week about a new organization that aims to do just that:

I think this is pretty cool.

It's a start.

We need to ask people to stand with us. Asking, not demanding. Two-thirds of our fellow citizens WILL stand with us. That would represent a Majority for Equality.

Interesting, Dr. Weiss, but you can count on lots of hand wringing and know-it-all finger pointing and mud slinging from Democratic Party addicts that will kvetch at anyone that seeks to do work outside the two party political circus.

The machine doesn't like competition.

Cyndi Richards | August 20, 2010 2:42 PM

Many thanks for the FF "heads-up", Dr. Jillian.

I hope your optimism is well-placed, since I've always believed (much to the distress of some?) that the very best potential allies for trans-folk would come form "outside the bubble".

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I agree with a commenter above that salaries really don't bother me--I wish we could pay MORE activists MORE money to do these jobs. Especially when the Director/President salaries make up just a tiny chunk of the overall budget, I say good for you. That goes for all of the orgs--even HRC and NCLR, where Kate Kendall gets paid the largest percentage of an LGBT org's overall budget because she's worth it.

My problems, however, start with domineering messaging control and secrecy. Whether you're talking about GetEQUAL or HRC, censorship and secrecy do not sit well. With both organizations we hear "Don't worry, we have a plan, and its going to work, just trust us and everything is going to be OK." I don't like that.

This is my main complaint with ANY of our organizations. Not that they have private conversations, plans or strategies at all, but that in the LGBT movement we seem to ONLY have these secret plans all the time, and the rest of us are just supposed to give and support with blind faith.

I think they're all well-intentioned, Joe, Robin, Kip all of them. I think where we will see the difference is in egos. Will Robin and Kip separate themselves by keeping their egos in check, and continue to recognize that its not about their images or their organization's image, but about the whole community? Or will they get wrapped up in their own cult of personality like other leaders? Will they keep it real or will they forget we all sit down to shit?

All of our leaders must recognize that noone is more important than anyone else in this movement. All of our leaders must remember they are not perfect, and that they need to gracefully endure the criticism that will inevitably be hurled at them. Criticism is a time for growth.

I also think, Bil, you really could have expanded the "follow the money" a bit more. Many of us know there's a little bit more to this money trail here and that it ties in with some very personal agendas--but perhaps you're saving that for the next installment.

I'm sorry my comment was deleted in it's entirety.

AndrewW posts repeatedly here and all over the damn internet about GetEqual and he never once reveals who he is...or what his suggestions are for achieving justice for LGBT people.

Why is he allowed to malign and defame without being asked to explain himself - not just carp - but offer input.

Am I the only person that finds him exhausting and pointless?

He does exactly what he accuses GetEqual of doing.

If you did a simple search you will see numerous recommendations for our movement.

I have asked (and Bil's article begins to do the same) about GetEQUAL's rationale for these stunts. Simply picking historical (outdated) references isn't sufficient. These simple questions should be answered:

How does interrupting Chairman Miller's Committee meeting to "bring him markers" change any minds or votes?

How does heckling the President, especially when there is progress on DADT repeal, change any minds or votes?

How does refusing to leave Nancy Pelosi's office change any minds or votes?

How does handcuffing people to the White House fence change any minds or votes?

All of these "direct actions" are publicity stunts intended to get "attention." How does that attention change any minds or votes?

Sooner or later we need to change minds. That is the one thing we know is effective. So far, there is NO evidence that any of these stunts change ANY minds.

Many of us believe these high-profile displays of childish anger are actually counterproductive. They don't change any minds and they do begin to cast us as either "loose cannons" or "childish."

The accountability test for any tactic, method or strategy is whether or not is changes minds or garners any support for our efforts. If GetEQUAL's stunts do that please explain "how."

So the problem is that we haven't asked anybody for things?

We haven't asked for ENDA to be passed in 30 years?

We didn't ask that DADT be repealed?

We didn't ask for DOMA to be repealed?

I am asking GetEqual to keep applying the pressure they have begun applying by being disruptive and impatient and by getting more organized and increasing the number of people that participate in their actions.

When was the first appearance of GetEqual? March. March of 2010 - THREE months ago (rounding up).

THREE MONTHS. And some people have decided that their tactics are a failure...hahahahhaaaahhaaahahahahaaahhahaa

The problem is that we haven't asked...if only someone would have thought of that. I had no idea it was that simple.

Asking is free! Anyone can do it!! We don't even need these silly blogs.

Gee Patrick, how many people have YOU asked? We succeed by adding to our ranks not by applying faux pressure.

There are 260 million adults in America. How many support our full equality? If we wanted the majority of them to support us wouldn't you think it made sense to ask them? That isn't what any group in the LGBT movement is doing and sooner or later we need to.

The cultural conversation is almost fully responsible for "changed minds" and all the data suggests that by 2040 a majority of adults will support our equality. We can either wait until then OR speed up that progress.

The reliance on a "political solution" has been disappointing and frustrating. that frustration leads to silly "demanding" by GetEQUAL and others. Demands without a threat are childish.

We are NOT a threat ... unless we add to our ranks by enrolling people in our equality.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 2, 2010 5:57 AM

Money is only part of it. For the most part paid activists should be expected to make do with a minimal stipend. Most work should be voluntary. People who want to make a fortune off our struggle for equality are in the wrong business.

Money aside there are other questions that will have to be addressed and overcome before we'll make any real progress.

The first is organizational and revolves around the need for democratic institutions. Groups with self appointed leaders and boards are anti-democratic and can't be expected to lead well because there's no institutional correction when they screw up. A whole layer of bureaucratic minded overpaid, rightwing, self-appointed leaders has grown up in the last couple of decades and they're responsible for some of our worst defeats like Prop 8.

Their politics flow from their undemocratic nature. They're assimilationist, minimalist, dependent on and stooges for the Democrats and Republicans and opposed to mass action. Equality groups like EQCA and HRC personify this backward combination of undemocratic internal life and toadying to the Democrats(sic) and they have plenty of imitators.

Leaders and leading bodies should be elected in state and nationwide activist assemblies based on their ideas and not the wealth of their sponsors.

The kind of politics we need begins with distancing ourselves from the Democrats and Republicans. They have to be based on agenda priorities that represent the thinking and the will of the majority. They'll be far more successful if they're militant and emphasize mass and direct actions. Mass actions and direct actions are a constant source of extending activism and recruiting and training new layers of activists. Militancy is our best tool to advance ourselves and confront our enemies. Militant mass actions terrify them. Phone bands and lobbyists bore them and us.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 2, 2010 6:29 AM

Transparency and all the other catch phrases are not a viable alternative to democracy.

In the absence of actual votes at activist assemblies where competing strategies and leaders are voted up or down, transparency is meaningless.

Bill, I mostly respect your voice here, but having been neck-deep in the "democratic process" of the LGBT community here in California for the past two years, I'm not convinced that's what we need.

There is a middle ground, to be sure, between grassroots democracy and top-down dictatorship. But I can tell you that, even as an ardent grassroots activist, I'm tired of engaging the democratic process. Here's why: spending endless hours trying to create democratic structure, electing people, or engaging everyone in consensus decision making did absolutely nothing to ignite anyone's fire. What it did was sap the energy and vibrancy from everything we did. It made everything a chore. It made everything an argument. It made everything a battle of attrition, or a choice between two equally bad answers.

I'm NOT advocating that our best bet is to place blind faith in un-elected leaders and let them do their thing. But I am advocating for trust in leadership. Robin & Kip are in the position they're in now because they proved themselves to their funder. That doesn't mean that we have to follow them, but it does mean that they have shown their character and are now in a position of leadership. MLK was not elected to his position of leadership - he got there because he was an amazing orator and a natural leader. He had a pulpit and he used it.

Democracy and consensus building is an ideal, but in practice, I have not seen it result in cohesive conversation or movement building. What we need is simply trusted leadership. If Robin and Kip are trusted enough to be followed, then essentially it doesn't matter if you create a parallel structure of elected leaders, as EAA seems intent on doing - people will follow Robin & Kip because they trust them. And that's really the bottom line.

Comparing Kip and Robin to MLK?

Wow, you're quite the cheerleader Jordan. Maybe you'll allow your "leaders" to address the issues raised - we know your position.

It's not really my intention to draw a direct line between Kip & Robin and MLK, but moreso to make the point that elected movement leaders are not necessarily better than people who move into leadership positions because they prove themselves. I think that's the problem with the ideal of grassroots democracy: people believe if we elect our leadership, then at least they're "accountable" to us. But that's putting the cart before the horse. Allow leaders to evolve after they've proved themselves, not the other way around.

That's fair.

Would you agree that "participation by the Community" might be evidence of their "proving themselves?" Leaders get followers, right?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 3, 2010 8:37 PM

Jordan, let me propose a working solution to the problems you outlined. Next time, call for a vote.

Consensus building is a crock. Democracy is not the process of getting everyone to agree, it's the process of arriving at a decision that pleases the majority and electing a leadership based on that. There's no substitute for democracy in terms of motivating and educating activists and launching massive efforts to win equality.

Here are the two counterpoised strategies. On the one hand political independence from Republicans and Democrats, democracy, a mass action perspective and militancy go hand in hand. And on the other hand dependence on the Democrats, consensus building, endless discussion, and reliance on unelected leaders all have on goal - leading the movement away from confronting our enemies with the strength of a mass movement and back into the morass of the Democrat Party.

As for some of the emerging left and activist groups like Equality Across America and GetEQUAL we don't have to judge their internal workings to support their actions. EAAs March on Washington, the NEM, was an unqualified success in terms of movement building in spite of the fact that it was opposed by virtually all LGBT Democrats. They were terrified that it would become a mass anti-Obama rally, which, happily, is exactly what happened.

That's why so many Stonewallers are bitterly opposed to GetEQUAL - they're getting better at confronting Obama. (How long that will continue is a another question.)

If some group has a good idea you don't have to trust them to support them. Trust and consensus aren't important, left and activist politics are.

Calling a vote is not the problem. The problem, I repeat, is putting the cart before the horse. Perhaps we're just speaking past each other, but generally in my experience, what people demand is that the leadership be elected. I contend that the leadership should rise organically, and people will then follow. Again, I'm not trying to draw a parallel to Kip and Robin, but merely point out that none of the people in the civil rights movement were elected, Gandhi wasn't elected, and so on.

Leaders and leading bodies should be elected in state and nationwide activist assemblies based on their ideas and not the wealth of their sponsors.

Been there, and I respectfully beg to differ. All that leaves you with is a group of people who believe they're anointed to lead because they're the only ones who would step up to the plate. This is EXACTLY what we went through in California after Prop 8 passed.

That's not to say that Kip and Robin "deserve" wealthy sponsors, but the point is that it's not like the two of them walked off the street and were handed a check. They were trusted with money because they had already proved themselves as leaders, and proved that people would follow them. It's not a perfect system, but in my experience, a contrived democratic system does not create enthusiasm or leadership. It buries progress under procedure.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 4, 2010 12:13 AM

Rise organically and then get elected - fine. That's what happens in reality.

As long as they can be voted out if they're Democrats or otherwise incompetent.

"They were trusted with money because they had already proved themselves as leaders, and proved that people would follow them."

Jonathan Lewis recruited them. They didn't earn anyone's respect or gain a "following." Lewis was looking for a few radical activists to embarrass the democrats. They accepted "his" offer.

Don't rewrite history Jordan.

Their purpose isn't furthering the goals of the LGBT Community. They are furthering the goals of an angry, spiteful man - by his own admission. They were hired to embarrass politicians that Lewis concluded were deceiving us. Whether or not that is true, don't misunderstand the purpose of GetEQUAL.

Jonathan Lewis recruited them. They didn't earn anyone's respect or gain a "following." Lewis was looking for a few radical activists to embarrass the democrats. They accepted "his" offer.

Don't rewrite history Jordan.

As usual, Andrew, you know nothing about nothing and yet feel the need to comment on everything. The simple fact is that you're wrong.

Robin McGehee organized a 5,000+ person rally in Fresno, California, bringing people from all around the state into what is widely considered one of the most conservative districts. Even Hollywood gays drove over three hours for the event, when they normally can't be bothered to drive three minutes to their nearest advocacy meeting. The event was widely praised, and attended by a number of celebrities speaking on behalf of the LGBT community. Not to mention that it was pretty much the top story in Fresno for a few days. Through this, Robin gathered a mailing list of over 50,000 people.

Kip had a long history of direct action and civil disobedience experience in San Francisco, a lot of it with "One Struggle, One Fight" and was widely respected in both the SF and LA communities for his temperament and experience.

They both went on to be part of the organizing board of the National Equality March in D.C., which I'm sure you've heard of, as it was attended by over 100,000 people who came from all over the United States to attend what everyone assumed was going to be a complete failure, and yet defied all the critics.

Interestingly, I have not attended or participated in any of the Get Equal events (although, I did attend Meet in the Middle), and yet you continually put me into a situation to correct your abysmal record on "the truth" to defend them. I only know these things because I have known both of them through the activist community in California, since Proposition 8 passed.

So to say that neither has "earned anyone's respect" or "gained a following" is simply wrong. Please Andrew, get your facts straight before you open your mouth and insert your foot again. You're really losing all credibility with baseless attacks - it's beneath even you.

They had a achieved the same status as hundreds of LGBT Activists. Jonathan and Paul hired them to do their idea - embarrass Democrats into action."

GetEQUAL wasn't Kip and Robin's idea, it was their investors idea. They were hired. Johnathan and Paul got what they paid for - embarrassment.

HRC is out there getting arrested and having hunger strikes. They also calling out the President and other Democrats for not going beyond a trigger on DADT, failing to push ENDA, etc.

We all know that HRC engages in sit ins and heckles the President of the United States on a regular basis.

Certainly, HRC is calling for diversity, and including it by making sure to include everyone, including people of color and the trans community, etc.

If you haven't guessed, my problem with your post is that while it speaks of money, it doesn't really seem to be concerned with action or policies.

Given the fact that someone else's comment was censored, I am not going to say what I really feel about this post. I find it deeply offensive- not because you are wrong about transparency, but that you making an offensive comparison to do it. You could have made your point out trying to link GetEqual to HRC.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 2, 2010 1:00 PM

GetEqual is a breath of fresh air and part of a shakeup of LGBT politics in the context of a broad new radicalization in our communities.

How GetEqual will fare will depend on whether or not they keep up the momentum for mass actions like the NEM, if they become a democratic activist group with an elected leadership and program and if they can attract huge numbers of activists.

The GLBT left is going to grow and grow and when we develop a nationwide group that combines internal democracy, militancy and a mass action perspective we'll leave GOProud, the Stonewallers and the Log Cabineers in the dust.

Direct actions are good movement builders but they put a lot of wear and tear on activists and often lead to early burnout for those whose not committed for the long haul.

The money angle is a problem, although nothing like the problems presented by Democrat party front groups like HRC and ECQA. They pull the movement down and try to make it a subsidiary of the Democrat party.

Commenters here have been focusing on the money issue, but as Bil stated, the main point here is whether GetEqual is going to deliver the goods on direct action. Do they have the qualifications to get the job done, and are they going about it in a way designed to get the job done. That's why the money issue is an issue.

I like Kip Williams and Robin McGehee. I think they're brave souls who are trying something new and trying to make it effective. We see how ineffective our old methods have been. (Yes, I know the environment is a lot more LGBT friendly since HRC started up, but would most of that have happened anyway over the past 30 years? On that I'm not sure.)

But based on what I've seen over the past six months, I would not give a high grade on their effectiveness. Maybe they just need more time to get organized? Maybe they're building up to it?

Now, you could get angry at me for dissing Kip and Robin, though I mean no disrespect. But when you're on the field, and you miss the ball, it makes no sense to get mad at the coach for saying so. (Not that I'm qualified to be a coach in this game, but I do think the ball has so far been missed.)

What I think is missing, and I could be wrong about the importance of this, is community involvement in GetEqual actions. Yes, our LGBT community has learned to be passive recipients of advocacy, and that will require a lot of unlearning. But I am slowly coming around to the view that direct action means direct community action.

5 guys on the side of the road with signs as cars blow past is not the way to go.

If GetEqual can't figure out how to get community involvement in direct actions, then I think that, as brave as they are and as much as I like them, they are missing the ball.

Yes, there is room for small sit-ins and civil disobedience, and most people don't have the stomach for that.

But we need large rallies and petitions with millions of names to make the small civil disobedience actions into something representing a lot of people.

In the African American civil rights movement, there were small sit ins at lunch counters, but there were also marches with thousands of people.

Where are our marchers? We can do it, and we did it at the National Equality March. Kip and Robin led the charge there. I think they can do it again. I think they need to do it again.

As to measurables from Get Equal they are few and far between, but the few I have seen concern me.

I believe Dan Choi's actions have actually moved the ball forward on DADT. I think the hunger strike is silly, but his previous actions have helped keep the conversation going.

That said, the hundreds of citizen lobbyists SLDN, SU, and HRC brought in to lobby Congress obviously helped as well.

One place of concern- the recent Shareholder vote at Exxon about DP benefits. Last year, over 40% of shareholders voted to offer the benefits. This year that number was down to 22%.

What was the difference? Well Get Equal was outside protesting and yelling at Shareholders.

Just because their is correlation does not mean there is causation, but that said- I really cringe at the idea that the more we yell at people and "demand" things that will be our ticket to equality.

I know if people yell and demand at me personally, the first time I will stop and listen, if they continue my general response is, You need to treat me with the same respect as I do to you, and then finally, I just stop the conversation, ignore them, and move on.

Our community doesn't march, or rally or yell in the streets, because we know it doesn't work. We have grown up, but our tactics have not.

I find it difficult to call GetEQUAL's stunts "civil disobedience" when they are merely rude interruptions coupled with "demands." Demands without any threat are childish.

Much of this should have been explored prior to launching GetEQUAL. It should have included thoughtful consideration and planning. The only thing that seems to have been "figured out" were salaries.

I think if GetEQUAL was doing anything effective they would have inspired "followers." When they protested Exxon 8 people showed up. In DC, maybe 100. ALL of the Harvey Milk Weekend rallies - across the Country - attracted less than 2,000 people.

The "sleeping giant" are the millions of LGBT persons and our friends - probably 25 million. Nothing GetEQUAL has done has awakened them. In fairness, nothing HRC, NGLTF or numerous other organizations has inspired participation either. If we figure out how to inspire a real, sustainable movement - with dramatic participation - we will be able to finish the job. Until then, we're just wasting time, energy and money.

Dan Massey | June 2, 2010 11:41 AM

The Harvey Milk Day rallies were the brainchild of Equality Across America, the backers of the National Equality March, who sacked Kip and Robin the week after the march as the International Socialist Organization members took effective control of the EAA board, which wan't much of a surprise, given the composition of the board before the march.

As an independent activist who works with both EAA and GetEQUAL, I feel I understand both perspectives and that each has a place in the acceleration of the struggle for LGBT equality. I also feel that neither is sufficient to address the challenge, alone or in combination. In fact, it is clear to me that the entire union of all national and grassroots activities is currently insufficient.

The LGBT rights movement is trapped in a Zeno Paradox in which we spend more and more time arguing smaller and smaller points until we spend an infinite amount of effort accomplishing nothing.

This error of organization is directly attributable to a lot of personal fears and lack of interpersonal communication among activists that causes organizations to drive out their best people rather than listen to, evaluate fairly, and adopt new ideas. It happens in HRC and it also happens with just about everybody else, too.

Can we do better? We will have to. How can we do better? We need an overarching agenda that turns the present chaos into unified diversity--unity without uniformity. As an example, the polarization between ISO and non-ISO forces needs to be healed. ISO people have been, can be, and want to be tools for equality as anyone else, but all have to join the team in unified support to common visionary goals that command the attention of everyone. We have yet to discover these unifying ideals and they have not come from HRC or EAA or GetEQUAL or the hundreds of orgs in between.

Being more organized would be helpful. But being "unified" is what will lead to victory. That's why we need to determine what works and what doesn't work. We also need to find a clear path to victory. Only then will the 90% of our community that is not involved see a reason to participate or contribute.

Your comment raises an import question regarding EAA and GetEQUAL and it is simple: Does demanding work? The fact that our community has not responded to both EAA and GetEQUAL with their participation means something. In order to get participation we need to convince the LGBT Community that our tactics, methods and strategies will lead to victory. So far, we haven't done that.

Demanding is the primary strategy of the organizations that you have mentioned. If it works, please explain how. Explain how our "making demands" accomplishes anything.

Your idea of unified seems to be everyone agree with your perspective and tactics.

I think we'd make better progress if we could unify around GetEqual's message and goal: "Full Equality Now."

And that's where the divisions begin.

Partial equality now!

Full equality later!

You don't get away with that Scott. I didn't say anything about "my perspective." I asked you to provide some rationale about GetEQUAL's simple strategy of "demanding." You reference GetEQUAL's "goal" of "full equality now!" That's a slogan.

If you believe these crazy publicity stunts are helpful or that "demanding" is effective, please explain HOW. The community is NOT following GetEQUAL and maybe the reason is we can't see how it helps us win. If you know, please share.

Dan Massey | June 2, 2010 1:45 PM

The Harvey Milk Day rallies were the brainchild of Equality Across America, the backers of the National Equality March, who sacked Kip and Robin the week after the march as the International Socialist Organization members took effective control of the EAA board, which wan't much of a surprise, given the composition of the board before the march.

As an independent activist who works with both EAA and GetEQUAL, I feel I understand both perspectives and that each has a place in the acceleration of the struggle for LGBT equality. I also feel that neither is sufficient to address the challenge, alone or in combination. In fact, it is clear to me that the entire union of all national and grassroots activities is currently insufficient.

The LGBT rights movement is trapped in a Zeno Paradox in which we spend more and more time arguing smaller and smaller points until we spend an infinite amount of effort accomplishing nothing.

This error of organization is directly attributable to a lot of personal fears and lack of interpersonal communication among activists that causes organizations to drive out their best people rather than listen to, evaluate fairly, and adopt new ideas. It happens in HRC and it also happens with just about everybody else, too.

Can we do better? We will have to. How can we do better? We need an overarching agenda that turns the present chaos into unified diversity--unity without uniformity. As an example, the polarization between ISO and non-ISO forces needs to be healed. ISO people have been, can be, and want to be tools for equality as anyone else, but all have to join the team in unified support to common visionary goals that command the attention of everyone. We have yet to discover these unifying ideals and they have not come from HRC or EAA or GetEQUAL or the hundreds of orgs in between.

EqualityAcrossAmerica and Robin and Kip were all about the National Equality March and how effective that would be. March around DC and "make demands." Marches, even big ones don't work.

It has been four years since more than 3 million people marched in some 160 cities and towns for immigration reform. The politicians in Washington seem to have forgotten those were perhaps the largest street protests in the nation's history. They had NO effect.

Why does anyone think that Marching makes a difference? Why?

Get equal started in or around Dec 2009 from what I gather from reading The Advocate article.

You want results 6 months later? You already have 1 with DADT.

I believe in accountability, but please be realistic with what you are requesting. I really am questioning the motive behind some of the comments here.


The blog entry and all the posts, especially Jillian's comment hit smack on the issue of how are we, and how can we involve the grassroots in a more meaningful and affective way.

I stopped going to the HRC monthly coctail events in South Florida because I just don't believe in "cocktail advocacy", unless you're having cocktails with a policymaker and helping them understand why exactly they need to take a certain action.

Someone needs to smack our community to wake them up.

Hrm... I didn't have a problem with the numbers you wrote about. I've worked in nonprofits for more than a decade now and it's just not possible to have a program (say, HIV testing alone with a goal of finding just 2 HIV+ people) for less than 65,000.

"For the most part paid activists should be expected to make do with a minimal stipend. Most work should be voluntary. People who want to make a fortune off our struggle for equality are in the wrong business."

I just don't understand this comment. Why should the community ship off all it's talent to the corporate world? I'd much prefer to have an army of well-paid activists working hard on issues rather than having them burn out and abandon their work to invest their time and attention in the corporate world so they can buy a home, have a new car, have insurance, have kids, etc.

Why does our community value the idea that one should live in hardship if one decides to engage in GLBT work? Believe me, the corporate and right-wing world understands that this model just doesn't work. They understand that talent needs to be retained and they ensure that their activists are able to afford an existence that's better than hand-to-mouth. Their approach seems to have been arguably successful, IMHO.

While I'm not for greed, I do understand that talent that can convince people to be willingly arrested, that is, willingly acquire a criminal record, is a talent that's kinda special. I understand that the ability to organize massive national campaigns is a talent that's kinda special. I'd rather have that type of talent working in service of our goals rather than the goals of some oil company, law office, etc.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 2, 2010 12:33 PM

Did you imagine I was speaking about medical and Para-medical workers? If so you're wrong. I was speaking about political operatives.

So now that that's cleared up, what do you think of this comment: "A whole layer of bureaucratic minded overpaid, rightwing, self-appointed leaders has grown up in the last couple of decades and they're responsible for some of our worst defeats like Prop 8."

The movement should pay what it can, but not enough to make people rich. In any case no more than the average national wage. I don't believe that the people who get a hundred grand a year to five hundred grand a year are talented leaders, they're talented con artists.

"The average amounts of wages calculated directly from the SSA data were $38,760.95 and $39,652.61 for 2007 and 2008, respectively."

And does it really cost $32,500.00 to detect each person with HIV-AIDS. Maybe I don't understand your comment.

"And does it really cost $32,500.00 to detect each person with HIV-AIDS." Sometimes, yes. Even if it cost 2 or 3 times that, it's still far cheaper than having someone not know their status and infecting others. Each new infection can cost around $700,000 over their lifetime. In that $32,500 per test is staff pay, staff insurance, staff training, organization insurance, various certifications, HIV test kits, lab equipment, admin costs, payroll taxes, audits, case management costs, communication costs, etc, etc, etc... When you think about it, it's a wonder that costs are that low. For some populations, you might do 75 tests to turn up 1 positive. It adds up very quickly.

"The average amounts of wages calculated directly from the SSA data were $38,760.95 and $39,652.61..." Apparently I get paid several way under the national average! Ugh!

Anyway, but that's the wage of everyone... from toilet scrubbers to the CEO of Exxon, right? What's the average pay for a CEO of a national organization?

Again, my background is mostly in HIV. Most of the little HIV prevention, testing and care *local* organization CEOs get more than 100K a year. Why? Because they have the talent to bring in the cash, grow the organization, do the networking, is PR savvy, has specialized knowledge, etc. Remember, most of these organizations started off as grassroots activist efforts. Most of the (older) people I know in the HIV field got into it through their activism. I know I did.

I don't begrudge these local leaders their due. I don't begrudge national leaders their due either. Having said that, I would probably raise an eyebrow at the 300K you quoted, but I'd withhold judgement until I understood what that 300k is buying.

"The movement should pay what it can, but not enough to make people rich." I think this is a statement of purpose. I agree that we want people in this fight for reasons of the heart and not just the pocketbook. However, I don't have any evidence to support a notion that leaders can't do both. I don't know why someone can't be motivated out of noble values while also being very happy about their compensation. I agree that people will put up with a lot and do the work of 10 people for little (compared to others who do the same amount and kind of work) or even no pay, but that isn't a model that's sustainable. On the flip-side, neither is a model that's based upon greed.

I want to know if what their being paid is comparable to what others get who do similar jobs. If their compensation is out of line, then I'd say that something needs to be done about it.

Chitown Kev | June 2, 2010 11:17 AM

The jury as far as GetEqual is still out as far as I am concerned but I think AndrewWs talk is silly.

He acts as if other movements that involved a variety of tactics including direct action were successful overnight; in actuality, those successes of the black civil rights movement, the women's movement, labor unions, etc. took DECADES (and those movements still aren't completed).

Yet he thinks that GetEqual's accomplishments and "moving the ball" foraward and all of this "winning" that he talks about should happen in a matter of months.

Even this reaching out to other allies which he refers to (and I am not opposed to that) is something that needs to take place over a period of time; it won't yield instant results.

I'm glad you joined the conversation Kevin. WE are the JURY. We are discussing the tactics of GetEQUAL and I have not only questioned their effectiveness, I have suggested they are counterproductive.

We are not "the Black Civil Rights Movement." We are not "a labor union." We are not "women" at the turn of the Century. We are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members of this society. Our situation is unique and we live in a different world. It is lazy to simply pick "historical references" as tactics.

The LGBT Community is easily the most creative group in the world. We can do better than simply using tactics from other (very different) struggles. To suggest it's all the "same" denies the ability to find solutions to OUR struggle.

I've never said anything about "a matter of months." The amount of time it takes for us to create our equality is directly related to the amount of participation we are able to achieve. If you want ALL of us to participate you better be prepared to show us HOW we can WIN. Your historical bag of tactics isn't inspiring anyone anymore.

It's 2010 and "the jury" needs to figure out how to win.

Chitown Kev | June 2, 2010 2:39 PM

But Andrew, you completely ignore the history that direct action efforts are almost always unpopular.

And you forget, too, that those "historical methods" and references that you call "stunts" actually worked in varying degrees. And even ACT UP, say what you will about their methods, was effective.

And, of course, DA doesn't work as a stand alone method.

Now I do think that GetEqual does need to be held accountable for the effectiveness of their particular form of activism but that has to be considered in the broader spectrum of everything else that is going on (lobbying efforts, convincing others, etc.)

I really don't care if "direct actions" are "unpopular," I want to know if they are effective. That's an important question.

Simply using historical references - from different times, different circumstances and very different issues - lazily refuses to fully understand our struggle and it's many dynamics in the present.

Chitown Kev | June 2, 2010 5:20 PM

Yeah, and it took over a year of black folks boycotting buses in Montgomery, Alabama to prove the effectiveness of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

A year.

The way you talk, you would have considered the (then) new methods being practiced in the South as ineffective after two weeks. (And for me, gay civil rights history and black civil rights history are not mutually exclusive)

GetEqual has not even been in existence for that length of time.

What do you want, AndrewW, instant gratification. NO group has ever had their equality demands instantly gratified?

And you believe that because we're GLBT, "our shit doen't stink" as far as the majority is concerned.

(Having said that, as far as the accountability question, we do agree.)

AndrewW would surely have had some awful words for that immature and ineffective child Frederick Douglass: "Power concedes nothing without a demand."

Imagine, the nerve of him, demanding the end of slavery and women the right to vote!

We're not "slaves" and that was 1863.

We're not "women" and that was 1920.

Do you have any more historical references?

I think the role GetEqual played in forcing a vote on DADT this year, contrary to the expressed wishes of the White House is self-evident.

There are those who will credit Joe Solomnese and all the polite politicos who've been asking nicely for decades for the vote.

We won't know what really happened until the insider biographies are written in 10 years.

And then we still won't know.

It is silly to suggest that GetEQUAL had a role in anything or that HRC didn't have a role. If you believe they forced action on DADT - please connect the dots.

The so-called "compromise deal" we have now began in February, before GetEQUAL's stunts. It involved the "study" in order to garner enough Conservative Democrat votes. The deal was to "wait until after the midterms" to determine the fate of DADT and that is exactly what has happened.

Thanks for calling my perspective silly. Always nice to hear from you and participate in one of your oh, so polite and civilized debates.

You said you believed GetEQUAL helped force the issue on DADT. I asked "how?"

Not answering is "silly."

Re: Arm Chair Quarterbacking

I just visited the GetEqual website to prove to myself that what I remembered about it was, in fact, true. And it was. Nowhere that I could find does it ask you to give money. Yes, there is a store selling t-shirts, but there's no web page dedicated to the abject fawning we associate with out friends at the HRC. In other words, GetEqual isn't asking for your approval because they're not asking for your money. So, "follow the money" all you want but, for the moment anyway, it's someone else's money you're following.

I say this because, after reading about five of the comments attached to this rather jaded posting, I found myself exhausted. I'm cautiously confident that GetEqual isn't wasting it's time reading them, but is instead looking for other ways of drawing the public's attention to our collective cause. It's role isn't to convince anyone. It's to announce the fact that we're here, waiting patiently for action, something that I've found a lot of our would-be allies don't realize. They think the war is won. It's up to us to remind them that that isn't so. So, presence can be said to be GetEqual's strategy, I'd argue, which is something we rarely see from our other "advocates." (I will confess that GetEqual hasn't actually confided its strategy to me, but that hasn't led me to jump to the conclusion that they don't have one, as it apparently has many of you. Football teams don't, in my experience, announce their strategy before a game. I don't see why we'd expect GetEqual to do so.)

So, hang in there. Keep those armchairs warm, and those keyboards humming. Keep talking to yourself. Me? I'm gonna see if I can't help out by volunteering my time to let our straight friends know that I am still not treated equally in the country of my birth, and that that fact irritates me.

Visit the website again. You really can't miss the Donate Bucket - it's front and center.

Plus, you will see their basic strategy:

"We demand equality now for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and we will not accept excuses or delays. Join with others who are ready to take bold action for equality for all."

Since you appear to support their efforts, please explain the "demanding" and how that actually gets people to change their mind about us or to join us in this struggle. Please.

Toddlers demand. Adults think and reason.

I get the desire to place a skeptical eye on anything that is surrounded by hype. My biggest gripe with this piece is the frame. It's way to soon to use a frame of casting it as the new HRC which borders on a slur. HRC's crimes against our community run far deeper than outsized salaries. And Michael did an excellent job reality checking any comparisons.

I understand their tactics may ruffle feathers. But many who object suffer from the delusion that thoughtful and reasonable arguments (such as Jillian Weiss') are capable of winning this war by their power to persuade alone.

Unfortunately--as we've seen time and again--our "friends" cave to bigotry the instant some fundie shouts, "think about the children!" Or "Gays checking out our troops in the shower room!"

Suddenly all the polite, thoughtful, well-reasoned arguments are out the window and we're called upon to accept compromises, like we did on the DADT bill.

GetEqual is providing an equally visceral counter balance. They are not the only method. And I would argue they should not be. But they are a valuable left flank that empowers our more civilized advocates to play "good cop" to their "bad cop."

And for all AndrewW's and others indignant cries for accountability I'd point out, GetEqual is not obliged to be accountable to anyone but the people who have sent them money.

Sorry Scott. GetEQUAL must be held accountable especially considering many of believe their crazy stunts are counterproductive.

You have suggested that we imitate our foes - the crazy Religious Right. We, too should be crazy. I'm sorry but I don't see the benefit of acting crazy. The majority of Americans (62%) dismiss the religious fanatics. Do you want them to dismiss us, too?

Numerous organizations and millions of people have contributed and participated in our struggle for equality. GetEQUAL should respect those contributions and they should make damn sure they're not jeopardizing the progress we've made. Otherwise, they're crazier than even I thought they were.

You didn't bother to explain how "playing the fool" and "making demands" leads to changed minds or garners any support. Providing some rationale for these tactics is accountability. If they are effective you should be able to make a compelling case for their use. Give it a shot. We ALL become rabid demanders if you can show us how it helps.

Actually I did explain how GetEqual's tactics work in conjunction with lobbying. You just ignored, dismissed or didn't comprehend it.

Yeah, by imitating Westboro Baptist. Sorry, but the LGBT Movement doesn't have to resort to lunacy. This is exactly why GetEQUAL is jeopardizing decades of work by thoughtful advocates and activists.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 2, 2010 9:44 PM

Thanks, Andy. You just nailed yourself - to a cross. Better dust off those aliases.

"Imitating Westboro Baptist is not an acceptable strategy."

"Yeah, by imitating Westboro Baptist."

These unbelievably over the line anti-GLBT comments are now saved in a special file along with other accusations against movement activists, like the un-deleted ones claiming that Patrick is a racist because he's critical of Obama.

I think you've gone overboard, Bill. I ask you simple questions and you go all postal. My comment was about GetEQUAL imitating the antics of Westboro Baptist.

I have no idea what your response means. I think you're confused.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 2, 2010 10:45 PM

Thanks, another nail.

"My comment was about GetEQUAL imitating the antics of Westboro Baptist."

Please explain. Which antics would those be? The 'antics' at graveside services for military victims of Obama's oil wars? Or maybe you're referring to their 'antics' at the funeral of Matthew Shepard? Or their 'antics' advocating violence against GLBT folks?

Have fun backtracking, it won't do you a bit of good. All these nails must be getting painful.

Yes. All bad, rude, useless "crazy shenanigans" to use Heather Cronk's description of GetEQUAL. We could argue the degree of "crazy," but it's all the same.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 3, 2010 8:31 PM

Enjoy your time on the cross, andy.

GetEQUAL must be held accountable especially considering many of believe their crazy stunts are counterproductive.
Wait, what?! You believe their crazy stunts are counterproductive, and this means that they have to be accountable to you? When did you become the arbiter of right/wrong and what's allowed in our movement?
Jeffrey Taylor | June 2, 2010 12:54 PM

I am saddened, disillusioned and disappointed not just by this post, but how it demonstrates some serious problems we have in our community.

In an already well-established/professionalized LGBT movement RIFE with corruption, cronyism and dastardly figures who continue to keep their clout after PROVEN misdeeds, you construct straw men about THIS fledgling effort? It's one thing to write a post explaining your concerns and worrying that Get Equal may take the same professionalized course as other groups, but it's quite another to rattle off a laundry list of tabloid-like accusations and draw your own conclusions without having the patience to speak to the source extensively. Yellow 'journalism', through and through, and even if it was the right idea, it was the wrong target.

I can't help but suspect there is an ulterior motive or a group/class you are attempting to pander to here. Clear bias is demonstrated by your inability to garner direct, extensive and current quotes from the folks at GetEqual, and/or to be patient enough to get them. Any start-up is rife with the chaos that makes days go by like hours and weeks go by like days, and any effort in transparency takes time while weighing legal liability issues.

You have insinuated/leveled some very heavy accusations, and have made many assumptions about where these folks are coming from. I wonder if you underestimate the seriousness of what you've done here, leaving readers in the position to walk away from reading this post believing your speculation is truth. This post is not light, inconsequential fare like celebrity gossip. This post could have far-reaching consequences and could cause setbacks for people fighting for our rights. Greater care should have been taken here, and you've got to get it right when posts like this are published.

And the movement continually wonders why people are so reticent to participate actively in the fight for our rights? And the movement continually wonders why the results of our efforts and projects almost never live up to the stereotype that LGBT's are some of the most razor-sharp, get-it-done-well professionals around? Who in their right mind would want to be subjected to such second-by-second scrutiny, the continual striking down of straw men like yours and misplaced suspicion and mistrust? If anything, I respect the heck out of the Get Equal folks, who I know are intelligent enough to know they would be subjected to this undeserved crap.

Most disturbing of all, Bil, is that you shat upon the notion of a living wage for a resident of San Francisco and a mother of two children in California. I find that reprehensible when they haven't even had enough time to prove their effectiveness in their positions. There are MUCH better targets for this kind of criticism, paid handsomely after YEARS of not producing results.

After my taste of this environment while working on a Repeal of Prop 8, I've vowed to stay out of LGBT politics and focus my activism on our own mental, physical and emotional wellness. You have done nothing here but steel me further in this position and have me distance myself even further from the political side of our movement. I have heard from many others - some very talented people - who would love to contribute to the LGBT political movement on a full-time basis, but feel the same as I do. Too much chattering and self-sabotage, not enough doing and communicating powerfully. Too much pursuit of attention and fabulousness, not enough recruiting of the best we have in the private sector to come and work for their own community. And that's just the beginning.

We need to do much work on ourselves if we're ever going to cease eating our own like this, if we're ever going to have trusted figures, organizations and press and if we're ever going to achieve full equality. We need to think carefully before we air our reservations and speculations in the public sphere and we must be mindful of the consequences for our LGBT brothers and sisters. We must choose our timing and our targets carefully, and this post clearly failed to do that.

polargirl360 | June 2, 2010 1:58 PM

I don't know much about any of these organizations but it seems like Get Equal is an Act-UP / HRC hybrid.

This may not be a bad thing if they do attention stunts without too much ailenating offense like Act-Up did or too much expensive gala partying with too little results to justify it like HRC still does, it might actually have some success.

I'm mostly disappointed with a lot of these comments. It'd be one thing to say: "Bil, I disagree, here's where you're wrong." Instead, a lot of people are approaching this from: "OMG, Bil! You're not allowed to question GetEqual! How dare you!" That's not productive.

One thing I had hoped LGBT people learned from the Prop 8 debacle in 2008 was that these orgs need to be questioned constantly. They need to be accountable and transparent and we need to be skeptical. The other side of this is that we need to be ready to help out genuine efforts we think will succeed. But just telling people who ask questions to STFU doesn't help anyone.

At least Bil has not been called an Obot yet.

I think I was clear, that I agreed with being skeptical of the hype. But there's very thin evidence they are "the new HRC," most of which rests on the supposition they will become HRC.

HRC's greatest fault, imo, lies not in their bloated infrastruction, but in their readiness to compromise.

Example: Had they, and SLDN walked away from the deal on Monday, it would have been very hard for Obama and the Democrats to have told the compromise bill as being acceptable to the LGBT community.

I'm not saying, I recommend they should have done that, just demonstrating one of many, many examples that HRC has spoken on behalf of our community and been less than a fierce advocate.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 2, 2010 9:02 PM

Questioning is very good. It'll help clarify the roles of different groups.

That's not the point. What's abundantly clear so far is the GetEqual doesn't have the same politics as discredited Democrat front groups HRC and ECQA. Unlike those groups GetEqual is not in the business of selling us out by hustling for Obama and the Congressional Democrats.

If Bil wants to raise the question of overripe salaries and their tendency to corrupt that's good. We'll all wait developments. If the intent though is to compare the politics of sellouts like HRC to the militant stand of GetEqual then it's way, way off base.

And nobody is telling Bil to STFU? Where did that come from?

Jeffrey Taylor | June 2, 2010 2:51 PM

Skepticism is indeed healthy, and Get Equal should certainly not be immune. I'm a huge fan of people like Michael Petrelis, who dig deeper into our movement via public record and transparency, asking tough questions and leveling sound criticis. I thought what Michael asked of Kip last week was totally above-board and healthy for our community (Sometimes, Michael does go too far and overdoes it, and I've told him this face-to-face.).

This post, however, is disproportionate, undeserved and plays into the hands of portions of our community who would like the painfully ineffective status quo to remain unchanged. Jumping to conclusions that took our community *decades* to make about the likes of HRC - this early in Get Equal's existence - is very worrying indeed. Get Equal does not have sizable enough of a track record to criticize/speculate this severely, and there is not enough development in their operations for them to be deserving of a piece like this.

I understand that Bil may have had trouble having the Get Equal leaders to respond, and he should have just said so and outlined the steps he took to get their side of the story. I would have applauded him for that. Instead, it seems to me (and I could be wrong here) like he took his frustrations out on them and made this post much more harsh than it should have been. Questions are one thing, but the tenor of this post is quite another.

Do you honestly believe this post will make our movement more effective, cohesive and results-driven? Do you honestly believe this post will encourage people to step through their fear and reservations, participating and taking action on their ideas that will bring equality and the fulfillment of our potential to the LGBT populace? We find ourselves in a situation in which we must try new things, and I fear that so many of them will not be tried because of posts like this.

Above all, I fear for an LGBT populace that doesn't allow ourselves to be human beings, imperfections and all, who make mistakes and have weaknesses. I also fear for an LGBT populace who doesn't have leadership who can agree to disagree about strategy and tactics powerfully and openly and STILL work together. We're building more walled gardens here, and this is not an innovative form of reporting, activism or relating to each other. We can do better.

What is GetEQUAL's strategy?

That would be a good start? Bil's effort seems to be hoping GetEQUAL will enlighten us. That's fair because many of us have very real concerns about the crazy publicity stunts and how it makes us look.

Imitating Westboro Baptist is not an acceptable strategy.

There is no shame in activists earning salaries; I earn an activist salary myself, tho only a decent fraction of Kip's and Robin's. If they have found deep pockets to fund their work and pay them for it, power to them. I am glad to give them a bit of time/room to pull their organization together, build a communications infrastructure, and create capacity to bring more than 100 people to a rally to repeal DADT. But really, I have organized rallies that have pulled 100 people and, while disappointed, I did not necessarily mark those up as categorical failures based only on disappointing turnout. Organizing in LGBT communities is never simple or easy. Heather Cronk says that GetEqual does not aspire to permanence, but given their mission statement, they will need to commit most of the years of their lives to achieve their mission, which begs for some programmatic specificity. The same is true of most social change organizations...and GetEqual is now an organization, not a grassroots movement. As an organization, GetEqual's leaders are obliged to communicate clearly and frequently to...(members? activist lists? donors? board members? supporters? all of the above!)...their goals, their progress towards those goals, the actions/tactics that others may join to similarly support those goals, any changes or adjustments they make to their stated goals, and, through filings of tax reports, where their money comes from, and through reports to their Board members, how they spend it. As an organization, GetEqual's staff will be accountable to their Board members as regards fulfilling their mission, expressed through programmatic priorities. I don't know any of the folks involved in GetEqual, but I speculate that they quickly realized that staff, offices w/ phones and email access, smart PR consultants, and a committed board of directors were important, even mission critical, to their work. Bil, I learned much from your post and look forward to more information about this new organization on the LGBT block. Thanks for writing.

The holder of the purse strings defines the agenda and the actions whether they do it subtly or with brute force. Groups with a mix of donors large and small have greater accountability than groups funded out of a few mega checkbooks.

The question isn't only who holds the staff of this nascent organization accountable, but who holds the donor/s accountable in our movement.

Five very wealthy, white, older gay men fund key organizations across the country and those who aren't funded by this small elite crew hope to someday be. They are the 800 pound gorilla that most of the rank and file never even know exist.
Who holds them accountable? Where is their transparency? No one and no where.

This isn't the first faux grassroots organization they have funded in its entirety. They are the shot callers no matter how much they demure. These same unaccountable wealthy donors (and more specifically their donor advisors) were the invisible hand in the Prop 8 fight forcing their vendors and their consultants into the mix by leveraging their dollars and promises of more dollar. But where are they when it is time to stand before the community and defend strategy: no where.

The fact that Democrats are the only target and the funding is guided by a couple who sued the Democratic Party is a piece of the story that has to be told. It is time to hold donors accountable for their actions.

Direct action and civil disobedience are not necessarily the same. Don't invoke Rosa Parks when embarking on a strategy that is the antithesis of her quiet dignity and moral authority.

I'm happy to hold GE to the same standard they wish to hold other organizations. Show me the measure of how effective you have been. Self-righteous preening is not an accomplishment.

We achieved a major breakthrough in ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I'm just thankful that GE was not strong enough to derail the good work of groups who have been working day in and day out, when the prospects seemed slim to bring us to this day.

I'll reserve my respect and my dollars for groups more concerned with the unglamorous work of achieving our goals and less with 11th hour stunts that claim credit where it hasn't been earned.

This comment has been deleted for violation of the Terms of Service.

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"A half a million to a million dollars is a large amount of money. That's not chump change any longer and it's strips GetEQual of the "struggling activists with hearts of gold" mystique they've been capitalizing on lately."

I'm sorry, but with 9,000,000 LBBTQABCDEFGWXY&Z Americans, (AKA queerz) that's less than 6 cents per one of we who are not equal and less than 18 cents per one of us who will not be equal once Barney Frank is done. Yeah, that right there, that's small time. And yeah, that's not getting Lady Gaga to say she's for equality, except for those trannies, who she'll gleefully exploit with a prostetic penis. (i.e. -HOW DARE YOU ASSERT I'M NOT CISSEXUAL?!?!?!?!?!?! That must be combatted as opposed to rumors about my gynophilia/androphilia, since I'm fine with those just don't call me a tranny.

*Cross-posted to blog to lend it more legitimacy if censored.*

After leaving quite awhile ago because of your tawdry agenda, i feel i have to comment after reading your comments on a different blog. You are so adamant with your continuous politically correct blogging bullshit that you and whatever you say has always been and remains TRITE. Put a lid on it Bill. Nobody gives a fuck if you don't agree. Goodbye AGAIN. Hopefully for the last time unless of course you raise your ugly head with more divisiveness that escapes your webpage.

Andrew is right. It is silly to believe GetEQUAL has anything to do with DADT vote. Hell, the folks outside of us barely knows who they are.

To most people they are hecklers.

Better believe that the congresspeople working on DADT know who they are.

Can you prove they're NOT the reason that DADT is included in the defense appropriations bill? I'd love to see your evidence that they had nothing to do with it.

Check out Marriage Equality USA, a national non-profit, volunteer driven organization founded in 2001 that held the first national marriage equality march in Washington, DC on October 11, 2004, national marriage equality bridge walks in NY and SF for 5 years in a row, started the marriage license counter demonstrations, and has worked to educate and advocate for marriage equality in local communities across the US for almost ten years now with almost no help from the other national pay to play organizations and sometimes active efforts to stop our grassroots organizing because we've been able to have incredible success on a shoe string budget. Go to to find out more. We have chapters across the country.

I'm happy to see someone today refernce and know who Bayard Rustin is. Just sayin'.