Alex Blaze

DADT repeal is "done," so what next? Reactions in straight media

Filed By Alex Blaze | December 20, 2010 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: David Brock, Don't Ask Don't Tell, Kerry Eleveld, Mainstream media, marriage, military, newspapers, WBC

Hate crimes, DADT, now... marriage? I've ready a half a dozen "What will the gays do next?" articles in mainstream media sources, and the gays with big media access are hmc_Eleveld3000810.jpgtelling them the next goal is marriage, even though it hasn't been waiting patiently for DADT repeal to get passed. The Washington Post doesn't mention ENDA until the third-to-last paragraph in this two-page article, the Wall Street Journal gives it one sentence.... Otherwise, we are to assume that federal LGBT legislation is finished because DOMA repeal isn't happening for a while and marriage will happen either in the courts or the states.

That isn't a criticism of the gays, just an acknowledgement that straight "support" of gay people, especially straight people who see themselves as completely cut off from questions of sexuality and gender, is generally focused on getting rid of the most obvious markers of discrimination, chiding the few monsters like the WBC that make asses of themselves, and sweeping everything else under the rug. Quality of life issues, things that take money and time and have little to no glamor involved, as well as fighting against subtler forms of homophobia, transphobia, and sexual and gender policing, are things that actual LGBT people will have to push for.

Anyway, something that's being reported on in the rubric of "What next?" is the formation of an LGBT subsidiary of Media Matters, which will be called Equality Matters. The NY Times refers to marriage as the "holy grail" in the article and discusses at length (but it does give part of a sentence to ENDA!), which is interesting considering they only found one gay person who was willing to say that marriage was all that mattered, David Brock of Media Matters.

In fact, Brock pretty much says what we already knew, that "full equality" is just code for same-sex marriage:

"We know that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' will be a news hook," Mr. Brock said. "But we believe the big battle is full equality, which is gay marriage."

Well, at least he finally gave a straight answer for what "full equality" means, something that other professional "full equality" proponents are rarely able to do.

Kerry Eleveld of The Advocate will be running Equality Matters:

It will be run by Richard Socarides, a former domestic policy adviser to President Bill Clinton who has been deeply critical of President Obama's record on gay rights. A well-known gay journalist, Kerry Eleveld, the Washington correspondent for The Advocate, will leave that newspaper in January to edit the new group's Web site,, which is to go online Monday morning.[...]

The organizers of Equality Matters say that is their intent. Mr. Socarides and the founder of Media Matters, David Brock, said they began planning Equality Matters several months ago. They quickly persuaded Ms. Eleveld, who covered the Obama campaign and has covered Washington for the last two years, to join them.

"I've spent the past two years with a front-row seat to history, and the longer I sat there the more I felt drawn to participating," Ms. Eleveld said in an interview.

It's sad to see her go from The Advocate, because she was the only decent columnist they had and her reporting was useful.

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Angela Brightfeather | December 20, 2010 1:59 PM

When United ENDA was formed and pushing for the ENDA legislation, it was no secret in DC or outside the beltline, that those who determined that ENDA would be better of without Transgender inclusion, would just write of the Transgender community. I thik the way I heard it stated was "screw them, we don't need their BS in our agenda."

Oh yes, some attention and lip service would be given to United ENDA and a half hearted attempt to get it up for a vote would be attempted, with of course that failing because of things like "straw polls", but more to the point, gays and lesbians aren't getting fired from their jobs that much any more, so let the Trans people sit out there on the limb and learn a bit about humility.

I just want those GLB movers and shakers to know that it wasn't a secret and that many of us have been aware of the overall plan all along, and some of us even condescendingly agree with you.

But moving SSM ahead of ENDA on the legislative agenda due to the inclusion of Trans people in ENDA and their cheekiness in trying to force the issue with United ENDA serves as the slap in the face that we knew was coming. But please, don't treat us like idiots who aren't aware of what the influencial in the GLB community are doing. It's very simple. You have the numbers and we do not and that means that we wait. You don't need a Wikileak to figure that one out.

In all fairness, the ENDA debacle isn't anything new. It's a product of over 50 years of marginalization of the transgender and intersex community by gay rights activists.

Even the Stonewall Riots, was first incited by two transgender activists. However, following the historic uprising, the Gay Liberation Movement was quick to denounce transgender people as "an embarassment to gay rights". In order to maintain the GLM's political foothold (i.e. "the gay agenda", as it would eventually come to be known) and to prevent transgender inclusion, the principal Stonewall instigator and co-founder of the GLM, Sylvia Rivera, was effectively erased from the history books.

Despite being key players in political activism, transgender people are rarely if ever properly remembered nor credited for sparking the first national LGBT political movements in the United States. Instead, the public is taught that transgender rights are a novel concept and that transgender people have always followed on the coattails of gay people and that transgender rights have always been of secondary importance to gay rights. I am always impressed by how much progress we make in American civil rights.

It's now 2010, half a CENTURY later, and not surprisingly the gay agenda hasn't really changed: "If you aren't with gay, then you are out."


I still don't understand why marraige is more important that enda. Nor do I understand why we haven't taken advantage of public support for civil unions. And Now Brock says that full equlity equalls gay marraige.
I think Hollywood has helped in the pr war, with queer shows putting us in the spotlight. But I wish they would do more to help in the fight for enda. I'm thinking documentaries and dramatizations of gay soldiers, suburban gay couples, and innocent people fired for being gay. On the other hand, looks like if gay leadership has their way, there'll be no fight for enda.
I also think the uncompromising demand for marraige is going waste time and resources, and will probably cause a backlash against our allies.

It is simple. DADT affects a few thousand, Gay marriage affects tens of thousands maybe more. ENDA affects millions and the entire business community.

I expect a non inclusive ENDA might be achievable in the new congress.

Bi marriage likely effects even more people, statistically speaking that is.

Personally, my top wish would be more effort directed toward young ppl, above ENDA (trans-inclusive or not), same-sex marriage, and any of that.

Yes, I want all those other things and feel they are needed and are elements of a just society. And in terms of direness, yes, ENDA would have an impact on a lot of ppl who lose the ability to support themselves.

I wonder, though, how much more able queer folks would be to deal with all the discrimination and abuse, if they at least got a good start in life, not to mention the changes in society it makes to have out kids. At least adults who cannot find a job *are* adults, and have more options than teenagers who have been kicked out or who have had to leave home.

And even those who stay face so much pain, and lose connections with other ppl that are so important to growing up and making your way in the world. I can tell you from experience, I was always different, and always an outsider, and spent literally decades trying to understand and accept myself, and this wreaked havoc on my life and that of those close to me. I spent most of those decades thinking about suicide constantly, and the thought of having that escape route was all that kept me going a lot of the time.

I like the 'It Gets Better' campaign in a lot of ways, most especially that it helps groups that support queer and questioning youth. I smile when I see the President, the Secretary of State, however sincerely or not, tell young ppl that they are ok, that the problem isn't them, and that there is hope. I love to see celebrities, esp those who really have nothing to gain, speak out about their outrage at how these young ppl are treated (I am not a big Mellencamp fan, but I like that he used to show up with 'Fuck Racism' on his guitar).

On the other hand, based on my personal experience, words of encourage don't help that much on a day-to-day basis. I remember thinking with a few well-meaning adults, "Well, it's great you feel sorry for me, but what are you going to do to really help me get out of my situation?" Which was nothing...

So in my opinion, repeal of DADT is fucking awesome in so many ways! It makes me less embarrassed about my country, it validates not just the lives of ppl who actually want to join the services, but all gay ppl (even if we are trans, as far as I am concerned). It makes us a better society, and as we saw with integrating ppl of African descent, which led to more rights for them in civil society, I feel it will help the acceptance of all the rest of us queers, also. But for the next step, I'd love to see the focus be on the next generation of gay folks, and their str8 peers who will go through life with them.

Like it or not I suspect even now there is a plan to redo ENDA with out the Transfolks in it. The new movers aint the HRC etc but the LCR so get them on board for a nontrans ENDA and see it pass and we Transfolk will be shafted yet again. As far as marrige goes forget it folks this is a state issue unless we get it though the military so yes DADT is a backdoor for the end of marraige for some but not everyone.

With same-gender marriage still likely to crawl along for years and year, unless the Supreme Court issues a definitive ruling, why aren't gay advocates doing more to seek GLBT equality within the Social Security system? This bias, which doesn't let gay spouses get enhanced benefits or survivor's benefits from their partner's work record, costs elderly gay couples millions every year. I recognize that some gay people don't like anything that gives couples a better financial deal than singles. But since Congress is highly unlikely to strip hetero couples of enhanced benefits, GLBT couples should get their equal share, too.

Probably. Although I don't particularly want anyone to touch Social Security in the next few years, that will be discusses in the SOTU in Obama's austerity measures. There's a way to get it in, I guess.

Now that Equality Matters has found the mission that GLAAD has struggled to find lately, how do you think this will affect GLAAD? They should be shaking in their boots right now.

Sadly, with Kerry leaving, it'll be the end of the Advocate.