Wednesday, April 21, 2010

MIA at ENDA Hearing?

A House committee hearing was disrupted today by members of GetEqual, who demanded action on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which was not on the official agenda for the Congressional representatives. Click here to read the Dallas Voice coverage, including the news release from GetEqual, along with pics and a vid.

Missing in action at the hearing? The usual Gay Inc suspects: GLAAD, HRC and NGLTF.

The handsomely compensated executive directors, along with their staffers, could honestly say that since ENDA was not part of the hearing's agenda, there was no reason to be there. I would disagree.

As we see with GetEqual's recent zap of President Obama and six gay military vets arrested at the White House fence, a little bit of noise and proud uppity-ness can put our gay issues on the political and media agenda, when our issues were not expected to come up. It's called good leadership when members of a minority community, after decades of empty promises from Democratic Party pols, force our issues to be addressed and reported on.

Now, I'm not saying the A-gays running the show at Gay Inc orgs need to act up along with the GetEqual activists at every Congressional hearing where ENDA and its markup should be on the agenda, but I would occasionally like to see executives and staffers from GLAAD, HRC and NGLTF at least pressing the flesh, in a nice way, with the representative.

Why can't these orgs, which boast of employing an array of diverse tactics on behalf of gays, find a creative way to put ENDA on the agenda, whether the pols like it or not? Sure, we need the diplomatic A-gay approach of Gay Inc, but that shouldn't be the only tool in their lobbying toolbox. I would like to see Gay Inc staffers showing up at Congressional hearings such as today's, and at least bearing witness to the non-addressing of ENDA.

Asking these orgs to get creative in order to win some legislative equality is probably too much to ask for, but how about GLAAD, HRC and NGLTF, using their vast media resources and contacts to at minimum inform as many people as possible about the activism of GetEqual?

If there is one thing I know for certain, when Gay Inc cranks up their p.r. machines, they can generate a lot of attention from Democrats and the mainstream media. We need them to use their media and political lists to get the word out about the part of the gay community that is proud to act up.

Yesterday we didn't hear a peep of acknowledgment from Gay Inc over the zap of Obama and the White House civil disobedience. Sadly, the silence over those actions is compounded by today's silence from GLAAD, HRC, and NGLTF about the hearing disruption.

What are the orgs touting today? For HRC, it's that Miss Indiana supports repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell. At GLAAD, they're reporting that "America's Next Top Model" is on TV tonight. That is more important to tell people about, instead of how real activists are push a gay agenda forward in DC?

And the NGLTF actually has posted something today about ENDA. It's a letter to Congress, signed by more than 200 gay executives and others, and it contains one sentence:"Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act NOW." And not one word is said about today's disruption.

What is the reason for the mute approach of Gay Inc regarding the activism of GetEqual? Are the orgs embarrassed by the activism? Do they fear loss of access to the White House and Democratic Party leaders, if they even acknowledge the anger and the activism of GetEqual? Could the silence be because they are scared A-gays will stop donating and attending Gay Inc galas?

The impossible dream is that GLAAD, HRC and NGLTF become the fierce advocates we need them to be.

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