Sunday, August 23, 2009

White House Specialty Media Czar Meets
Gay Leaders; Obama Endorsing March?

[UPDATE: See the very bottom of this post for the denial from the White House. -michael]

[This was sent today via email.]

Dear Mr. Shin Inouye,

I see from photos posted by the editor of the site on Flickr that you recently met with the director of National Equality March, Mr. Kip Williams, at the White House and also gave him a tour of the building.

In your capacity as White House director for specialty media, and as an openly gay man, I'm sure you had much to discuss with Williams, and his two colleagues, Bil Browning and Jerame Davis, editor and publisher respectively of My curiosity was piqued by the photos and I now request answers to the following concerns:

1) What items were on the agenda when you met with the gay leaders and will you share the agenda with me?

2) Did you offer Williams, as head of the October 11 LGBT march on Washington, an endorsement from President Barack Obama for the goals of the march?

3) Will the president speak at the October 11 gay event or tape a pre-recorded message to be played at the rally that day?

4) Is the White House offering any substantive or symbolic support to the march in October, and the hundreds of people who are expected to be there?

5) The many photos of you with Williams, Browning and Davis at the White House, or of them without you, show you all in different part of the building. Where exactly did the meeting with them take place?

As you may know, Browning at the site wrote this about his time back east last week:

Jerame, Kip and I ran off to New York City for less than 24 hours and then dashed down to Washington DC for a couple of days. It was a great working trip full of meetings.

I believe one of the meetings Browning writes about is the one he had with you at the White House.

Last week, the Dallas Voice printed an interview with the Oscar-winning gay screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who wrote "Milk," and he spoke about the potential for the president to be involved in the march:

Q: How important is it that Obama acknowledge or appear at the march?

A: I think it’s incredibly important that Obama is invited to speak. Cleve [Jones, march leader] is in contact with the White House, and if Obama does show up and speak I think that says a lot. And if he doesn’t, that also speaks volumes. I’m all for him being given the only VIP invite to speak.

I'm interested in learning if the leader of the October 11 march, Cleve Jones, is in contact with you about having the president address the assembled crowd that day. Let me know if you and Jones are in discussion regarding this matter, or if he's not in touch with you, the name of the person who is coordinating contact between Jones and the president's staff.

The Obama White House is committed to providing unprecedented transparency to the American public and the gay community, and I laud the president for this vital democratic commitment to sunshine. In my world, transparency means not just making the political process abundantly clear, but doing so in a timely fashion.

As a blogger covering national LGBT issues and politics, I hope to receive a rapid reply from you concerning my questions.

Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA

P.S. - More photos of the gay leaders' meeting at the White House:

Kip Williams, Bil Browning, Jerame Davis in the First Lady's Reception Room

Browning and Davis, holding hands, in front of Jackie Kennedy's portrait

Williams, in the Red Room, behind the velvet rope, and two unidentified White House employees

Davis and Browning, in the Dining Room

Davis, Browning and Williams, sitting down in
the Blue Room


I received this reply today from Shin Inouye and stand corrected about the meeting I thought that took place. I made a mistake, based on erroneous info I read at the Bilerico site. Mr. Inouye corrects me:

Mr. Williams was simply at the White House to take a tour. There was no meeting or discussion about any issues.


Anonymous said...

i'm sure this is how the health care industry and other constituencies hold their meetings with the WH and press their demands.

God and Mary above help us.

Anonymous said...

If they really were on site for a meeting, couldn't they have put on some appropriate clothing? They're dressed for a walk in the park, not any sort of meeting where they suppose to speak for the GLBT community.

Anonymous said...

"See the very bottom of this post for the denial from the White House"

I think you meant to say response, not denial. You make it sound like they were lying.

And all the time you took to put together your accusatorial list of questions and then publish it without contacting one of the tourists. Would you have taken their word on the purpose of their trip anyway?

Joey7777 said...

Anon. 3:49 : I like Bil Browninng, but I had to wonder about their choice of clothing too. It looks so strange walking around that grand setting dressed like that.