Wednesday, May 04, 2011

SF Weekly: Gay Pride is One Big Mess

If you haven't already checked out the excellent and comprehensive cover story "Brokeback Festival" that runs five-pages, and was penned by Joe Eskenazi, in the latest edition of the SF Weekly about the myriad problems plaguing SF Pride, click here to start reading it.

Readers of the Bay Area Reporter are well aware of their extensive coverage last year and frequent updates of SF Pride's troubles in 2011, and Eksenazi gives the gay paper proper credit for their reporting. Nice to see one publication acknowledge the work of another local media outlet.

Even if you, like me, are familiar with the BAR's reporting, the SF Weekly still demands to be read because the alternative weekly summarizes past troubles and present dilemma for SF Pride. Many sides and voices of the controversies surrounding the issues that led the parade committee into their current seriously decline are included, except of course the most recent executive director.

That would be the woefully under-qualified Amy Andre, who has been steadfast in her refusal to speak to the press and never held a public forum with the gay community to explain what went so terribly wrong, and how we could learn from her tremendous mistakes.

From the SF Weekly:

If Pride's board isn't monitoring finances, fundraising, or providing governance, what exactly is it doing? A number of former board members said their primary responsibility was to "represent the community." For an organization with roots in the gay liberation movement that has morphed into a massive, corporate-sponsored fiesta, this is not a misplaced concern — someone's gotta keep it real. But in Pride's case, this led to the deification of diversity and a fervent drive to include and cater to every imaginable delineation of the community, save one — people who can do math.

"When they put the board together, the priorities are really about diversity — are there enough people of color? Is every single community represented?" says Cecilia Chung, a former board chair and member from 1998 to 2005. "To professionalize the board is not one of the priorities. Looking for specific skill sets around financial literacy and the ability to read budgets — those might not be some of the things they consider." Adds Nikki Calma, a 10-year board member who resigned in frustration as cochair in March — she cited health concerns — "The board plays a big role in bringing in diversity. But also an aspect I think was overlooked is, you've got to run an organization here. You want to make sure you're in compliance with all the different rules and regulations and make sure you don't go into the red."

In recent years, it seems, no one was doing this. ....

That, dear queer reader, is the understatement of the week!

It would be no great loss if the whole parade and party on the last Sunday of June to mark the Stonewall Riots were canceled entirely. The day is dedicated to making money for nonprofits, vendors selling useless trinkets, tables staffed by worthless gay Democratic Party groups Equality California and the Human Rights Campaign putting stickers on people, and keeping the festivities safe for politicians running for office.

SF Pride. It used to be about liberation, a point many forget.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wondering, Michael, whether anybody's got good reporting on other big city Pride scenarios to do a comparison, much less as a means of finding "best practices" to be shared by the successful organizations w/ the ones (SF and, no doubt, others too!) struggling to keep afloat. Isn't there an annual national confab of Pride org EDs for this very purpose? Is there a bigger national story here?