Sunday, November 27, 2011

Got $1,500? 
EQCA Will Give You Inside Gay Dope

If you're among the gay 1%, you can afford the prices Equality California and its chief strategy consultant (translation: interim executive director) Joan Garry (pictured) are charging to attend two early December Southern California fundraisers to learn about the group's agenda and plans for this state's LGBT community.

Prices start at $50 for non-Capitol Club members, and climb as high as $1,500 for new or renewing club members, and at that four-figure cost you'll get four-tickets to both parties with Garry, who once served as the executive director of GLAAD. Besides being led by Garry however briefly, GLAAD and EQCA also share something else in common: lack of democratic engagement with ordinary gays.

During her years at GLAAD, Garry couldn't be bothered with pesky matters like free, regular town hall meetings or direct community input in the group's agenda and board decisions. One could always donate big bucks and enjoy the illusion of access to gay power brokers (ha!), but the tiered donor approach employed by GLAAD was nothing more than an empty status ranking for wealthy gays.

That same approach is EQCA and Garry's. Heck, it is the methodology of all Gay Inc organizations, but I digress.

EQCA has announced its Seasons of Giving parties featuring Garry at the private homes of EQCA's wealthy donors, and the locations are hush-hush, divulged only when money is coughed up. Every aspect of this effort reeks of elitism and the biggest prize dangled in front of potential donors is insider dope about the group's agenda in the coming year.

That information should be shared with all LGBT Californians, if Garry and her crew are serious about doing business differently with the larger community. She and whatever staffers remain, along with board members should make themselves available to all folks in the community regardless of income levels.

The underlying message of the fundraising invitations is clear. EQCA will do only one kind of outreach - the kind that brings in money. Cost-free public discussions where the location can be announced in advance and for-profit cocktail parties? Do two approaches at the same time? That appears to beyond the capabilities of Garry and whomever is running EQCA these days.

The fundraisers on December 2 and 3 may rake in some decent dough, but money alone will not make EQCA magically relevant to the 99% of LGBT folks in California who are struggling financially and/or over EQCA.

Here's a radical idea for Garry and EQCA to think over. If you won't dismantle the group and close up shop, please at least officially become a Democratic Party group for A-gays with nothing more on your agenda other than monitoring governmental affairs in Sacramento.

No comments: