August 30, 2007

Fired For Being Straight?

That's the claim being made by Jeffrey Shapiro, who is suing two HIV/AIDS non-profit organizations that fired him. Here's the report from The Advocate.

This touches on something that I have wondered for a while since I've gotten involved in GLBT rights advocacy. How far can a straight man like me go with it?

Here is a story of how a straight woman has become the head of a local chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans, so it does happen that straight people can lead GLBT organizations, but will it work?

How much of that will be perceived as a welcome contribution from a straight ally, and how much will be perceived as a straight person horning in on a GLBT organization. How much leadership will be accepted by the GLBT members of a gay advocacy group from a straight person who can not directly relate to the issues they face. Have strong empathy, sure, but not being able to directly identify with the inability to marry, potential job discrimination because of sexual orientation, etc.

Personally, I've been totally accepted in my church, which is made up of a strong majority of GLBT people. I'm on the board of directors and currently a deacon candidate. I've even been given the opportunity to preach from the pulpit--no issues there.

How much impact could I have in a political organization working for GLBT advocacy?

I'd really be interested in receiving feedback on that question from my GLBT readers.

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