“This should be a wake-up call for the out-of-touch so-called leadership of Gay Inc. in Washington D.C. which has become little more than a subsidiary of the Democratic Party,” said Jimmy LaSalvia, Executive Director of GOProud.
I’m afraid the gay left isn’t the only group in need of a wake-up call that’s out-of-touch with the majority of the LGBT base. In fact, as member of the LGBT community of color often left out, under represented, and overtly neglected, I find it quite hilarious that GOProud is trying to publicly make the case between the gay out-of-touch left and gay nondiverse right. Why try to delineate yourself from Gay Inc.? “Newsflash, you guys are Gay Inc.!” As a middle-class lesbian, I find it utterly ridiculous reading the Washington Post article “Post Partisan – GOP: Gay Old Party” and extremely offensive that GOProud would use inaccurate poll numbers to make it appear like more LGBT voters voted for Republicans. In the article, John Cohen, Polling Director, warned the group from using the small sample as accurate voting trends. But the group wants to use LGBT anger toward Democrats to further their big business agenda. As a result, there were additional articles in the Huffington Post and several other media outlets referencing the group’s misleading LGBT voter analysis.
GOProud’s board of directors has no minority representation. The group “doesn’t have a position” on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and I think I know why…because they are in desperate need of some diversity themselves. I’m not going to beat around the bush so I’m assuming their Gay Inc. reference is directed at the Human Rights Campaign or GLAAD.
I’m not going to pretend to be a huge fan of those organizations either because they ignore a majority of the socioeconomic issues impacting LGBT communities of color. Many multi-million dollar LGBT organizations are light in the diversity department but I must give them some credit for trying to stay true to basic equality principles. They appear to be sympathetic to some lesbian, transgender, transsexual and minority issues but could do more to develop leadership in those communities. But, to support candidates that have no intention of publicly supporting LGBT equality and to openly try to deceive the general public with eschewed unsubstantiated poll numbers is simply deceptive. So, go ahead and continue to hold exclusive ridiculously expensive fundraising dinners excluding anyone in the LGBT community that can’t afford your pay-to-play entrance fees but don’t you dare have the audacity to speak for the community at large.
According to the UCLA’s Gay Community Demographic study in 2003, almost 30% of the gay community identify as Black, Hispanic or Asian. I believe those numbers have significantly increased with the massive attendance numbers of Black pride celebrations across the country. In a study conducted by Queers for Economic Justice, Black LGBT people are three times more likely to live in poverty than their White same-sex counterparts or Black heterosexual couples. The report also states that 12% of Black LGBT people have an annual household income of less than 15 thousand dollars. There are no champagne wishes or caviar dreams for the LGBT community of color. My hope is we must attack injustice as a community of people instead of a group of well funded activists. My simple request of your organization is to add some diverse voices and to unilaterally support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.