February 28, 2009

GLBT News & Political Roundup 3/1/09

In keeping up with some news items specific to the GLBT community so you don't have to:

o James Dobson has resigned as Chairman of the Board of Focus on the Family, but don't rejoice yet, he'll still be on the radio and will be an outspoken opponent of GLBT rights.

o If you think the Republican party will supporting civil unions anytime soon, new RNC Chairman Michael Steele thinks you're crazy. That's not an interpretation or reading between the lines. Click here to listen to him say that on a radio interview. At The Bilerico Project, the initial optimism H. Alexander Robinson had after Steele's appointment has been "quickly and emphatically dashed."

o The NAACP, however, has announced its support for a repeal of California's Proposition 8. "The NAACP's mission is to help create a society where all Americans have equal protection and opportunity under the law," wrote NAACP CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.

o The Washington Post published a piece about how gay bloggers are growing in their political influence. I'm happy to say that most of the blogs and website mentioned in this article are linked up with this blog.

Just as the liberal Net-roots and the conservative "rightroots" movements have affected traditional party structures, the still relatively small gay political presence online is rebooting the gay rights movement in a decentralized, spontaneous, bottom-up way. It's spreading news via blogs, Facebook and Twitter.

"What happened after Proposition 8 caught the national gay groups completely off guard. I think it surprised them. I think it really showed them that when it comes to harnessing grass-roots energy, they need to get online," says Kevin Naff, editor of the Washington Blade, a gay newspaper. "What happened online came together overnight for little or no money, and the protests were covered by the mainstream press. If national groups wanted to coordinate the kind of mass protests we saw, they would spend $1 million and take six months to do it."

o Speaking of Kevin Naff, he has a very interesting editorial in the Blade titled "The Urge to Merge."

Just as the nation continues a dialogue about what’s worth saving (maybe letting a car company or two go under would inspire survivors to better compete with foreign manufacturers), the gay rights movement should use this moment as an opportunity to regroup, reorganize and, yes, consolidate.

Bottom line: There are too many groups doing too many similar things. That point was underscored last month at HRC’s Out for Equality ball, when Joe Solmonese introduced leaders of the gay rights movement. One by one, the activists filed out, filling the ample stage in the Mayflower Hotel and prompting some attendees to wonder aloud, “Do we really need all these different organizations?”

I wrote here a few weeks ago that we didn't need any more GLBT advocacy organizations. I strongly agree with Naff's point here, maybe we actually need fewer, stronger, more focused ones.

o The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has released a study showing just how difficult it is for a GLBT minority student in school:

The report found that across all groups, sexual orientation and gender expression were the most common reasons LGBT students of color reported feeling unsafe in school. More than four out of five students, within each racial/ethnic group, reported verbal harassment in school because of sexual orientation and about two-thirds because of gender expression. At least a third of each group reported physical violence in school because of sexual orientation.

No comments:

Post a Comment