Sunday, February 14, 2010

Guide: GLAAD = Toothless Watchdog

The latest issue of the Guide, a monthly publication based in Boston, contains excoriating editorial penned by Mark Sullivan ripping into GLAAD. He has nothing positive to say about this org. From Sullivan's column:

If gay people cheer when one of their national organizations is revealed to be powerless, it's clear there's something wrong.

But that's exactly what happened recently when the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation issued a sharp rebuke to Comedy Central for airing what it called a "well-intentioned" but "harmful" episode of South Park. [...]

It was a very funny episode, but GLAAD didn't seem to get the joke. [...]

GLAAD stepped in it again more recently, when it commented on a television network's blackballing of out gay singer Adam Lambert. [...]

After much public outcry, GLAAD issued two clarifications within the next 24 hours trying to get out of the hole it had dug itself. [...]

[GLAAD's executive director Jarrett] Barrios, who was named to his position late in 2009, says he accepts full responsibility for the organization's gaffes. He says that rather than just responding to events, he wants GLAAD to help shape them. [...]

So far, Barrios has revealed little of what he plans for GLAAD. It's great that he sees that change is needed. But he has a lot to do to convince the community that GLAAD is anything but a toothless watchdog.

Not only has Barrios kept his plans for his org private, he's also not revealed what his salary is. I bring up this subject, which was not addressed by the Guide, because I believe GLAAD is not fully transparent with the community, regarding its agenda for change and stewardship of gay dollars.

I further want to suggest that GLAAD's leaders begin holding town hall meetings, on a regular basis, that take advantage of new technology that would allow gays anywhere in the country to participate via the web.

As with the Human Rights Campaign, another component to Gay Inc in need of providing more accountability and better community engagement, GLAAD must do more to communicate with ordinary gays. It's simply not politically wise to operate from ivory towers, and expect support from a wide segment of the community.

Let's make 2010 the year in which GLAAD, HRC and other orgs begin a series of public forums, where the community can directly dialogue with the orgs' executives. Queer Question Time with these orgs would go far to advance a robust gay agenda.

1 comment:

AndrewW said...

GLAAD is irrelevant. HRC is clueless. NGLTF is tired.

It's time to refocus our movement on winning. We have too many ineffective, self-serving non-profits that are not interested in winning, they are just interested in surviving.