Gucci Gays v. Goodwill Gays:
There are two Gay Americas, divided primarily over economic issues, with separate agendas.
The latest stark example of these two Gay Americas is the matter of the $350 per-ticket price for Equality California's gala dinner at San Francisco's City Hall tonight, featuring this year's Amanda Bearse, remember her?, Wanda Sykes as the emcee.
To digress for a moment, I am amazed that the group's nincompoop chief, Geoff Kors, who royally botched the No on 8 campaign, has the gall to price his tickets so high and on top of that, Gucci Gays, are shelling out the bucks to be at the gala.
On the other side of Gay America, where Goodwill Gays reside, $350 is considered a lot of dough and not best spent on a single night's entertainment, with the proceeds going to an incompetent advocacy organization that rarely focuses on economic issues.
That $350 amount was the figure of what the California's annual renters reimbursement program gave back to senior citizens, the blind and disabled persons who are low-economic status and rent their housing.
In October of last year, when the state legislature and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger finally cobbled together a long-overdue crisis-driven budget, the reimbursement program was eliminated. This cut directly affected thousands of gay seniors and disabled citizens, including persons with AIDS.
From the Franchise Tax Board's web site:
The state budget approved for the 2008/2009 fiscal year deleted funding for the Homeowner and Renter Assistance Program. Since there is no funding in the state budget for this program, 2008 claims cannot be paid or processed.
Of course, not a peep of protest from Kors or EQCA, a group that sends out a release at the drop of hat to keep themselves in the news and relevant. No part of the EQCA machinery was activated on behalf of gay Californians who lost the yearly reimbursement, to many one month's rent, even to express concern for gay housing rights.
Fortunately, longtime queer progressive and tenant's rights advocate Tommi Avicolli Mecca, and his allies, banded together to oppose the cut. The Bay Area Reporter, which was the only news outlet to cover this story, brought much-needed attention to the cut and how it hit some gay people:
The rebate gave $150 million to the elderly and the disabled across the state, including people living with AIDS, to defray housing costs. Housing advocates fear more drastic cuts in the next round of budget negotiations.
A rally is planned for next week. ...
The cut concerns the LGBT community, as people living with AIDS will see a series of small reductions in their incomes this year, including Medicaid cuts and no cost of living increase, said Tommi Avicolli Mecca, director of counseling services at the Housing Rights Committee.
"We are looking at people who need every cent they can get to keep alive," Avicolli Mecca said.
The cuts in the renter's rebate will also affect LGBT seniors, who are "just as poor as any senior," Avicolli Mecca noted.
James Nykolay, 60, who's living with AIDS and has been living on disability since 1998, told the Bay Area Reporter that even the smallest cut has a dramatic impact on his fixed budget. The renters rebate gave Nykolay an extra $350 a year. ...
When he got the letter informing him that his renter's rebate was cut, Nykolay immediately stopped buying the vitamin supplements he'd been using throughout his cancer treatments, which he credits with bolstering his immune system. He's trying to save all of the money he can in preparation for further cuts. ...
"We cross all lines," Avicolli Mecca said. "A lot of issues that don't seem to be gay issues are." ...
Kors wasn't quoted in the story, but I'm sure the BAR would have included something from him, if EQCA had issued a statement, but the cut simply didn't impact him or the Gucci Gays who keep him in business.
If a Gucci Gay leader is paying that much to own his home, it's don't difficult to understand the reasons why he isn't concerned with the housing needs and economic pressures of gay renters.
In these hard times, let's not forget the Goodwill Gays, their needs and admirable advocates for them/us, especially Tommi Avicolli Mecca.