Thursday, December 16, 2010

BAR: GetEQUAL = Amateur Hour

(Heather Cronk, GetEQUAL's co-founder and co-director.)

The editorial page in the Bay Area Reporter today slams the Astroturf group GetEQUAL, for a number of problems:

[A DADT-related] release, issued by managing director Heather Cronk, [started] out with the sentence: "I have to be honest – I just vomited a little inside my mouth."

At that point, we stopped reading – and we're likely not the only ones who did. Thankfully, we had not just eaten.

Aside from the unlikely honesty of Cronk's statement (and even if it was true, announcing it to the world is too much information), what is the point? Does her opener draw in supporters of repealing DADT? No. Does it show that GetEqual is a major player in the LGBT civil rights movement? No. What it does show is that Get Equal, which has been in existence for almost a year, is not ready for prime time. [...]

And lest you think this is much ado about nothing, consider this: GetEqual's e-mails go out to thousands of people. GetEqual leaders have met with political figures, including administration officials. In other words, it's important that they are seen as professional and committed activists; but the statement from Cronk fell short. GetEqual has also started asking for financial donations from the community. If it expects to raise sufficient funds to continue operating in 2011, it must adopt a more mature press operation. No one wants to throw money away on an inarticulate, immature organization, not when so many deserving groups are hurting for funds. [...]

Good of the BAR to take GetEQUAL to task about their press operation and fundraising efforts, but something is missing from the editorial. What measurable outcomes were achieved by the GetEQUAL crew? I'm not sure what they accomplished with an estimated $700,000 or so in donations.

At the same time, I question what the NGLTF or HRC accomplished this year with their much larger budgets, and the BAR might address this matter in a future editorial.

Finally, speaking about no one wants to throw gay dollars at an immature group, that is a legitimate concern, but such thinking about effective use of money shouldn't be a question only when discussing GetEQUAL. We should all be wondering why so many gay community dollars are wasted on more mature organizations that comprise Gay Inc.

1 comment:

AndrewW said...

I'm glad the LGBT media is finally seeing GetEQUAL for what they are - ineffective self-promoters.

It is imperative that we ALL hold every tactic, method, strategy and organization accountable. There are simply too many ineffective LGBT-advocacy (and paid activist) organization that are more interested in their own survival than our equality.

I have been a critic of GetEQUAL and most other LGBT non-profits because NONE of them have a STRATEGY to actually WIN. Unfortunately, not enough people in our own community can see them as "businesses" and WE are their "customers." If we did that, we wouldn't continue to pay for bad service and a complete lack of direction.

2011 will be the year we demand a strategy to actually win and not simply keep self-described advocates and activists in business. GetEQUAL wasted $1 million this year and accomplished nothing but a few childish publicity stunts. The whole "Dan-Choi-paid-activist" lunacy and GetEQUAL's unanswered calls for "attention" have been counterproductive.

The honest and objective way to determine if a tactic, method, strategy or organization is effective is whether or not it changes minds or garners any support for our movement. A pie-in-the-face mentality or this idea that we can embarrass, humiliate, shock or irritate people into submission needs to end. It's childish and stupid.

We must learn to invest in educating, enlightening and enrolling people and their support. People will join us if they understand and we ask them - they don't need to be shocked or threatened.

It's time for our Movement (and our self-appointed leaders) to grow up.