Friday, December 26, 2008

It’s Not The Left, Not Transgender or Bisexual, Not POC – It’s Gay & Lesbian, Period.

For the record, it needs to be stated: this brouhaha over Pastor Rick Warren is not a strategic protest from “the left.” To say this is a concerted effort by the whole of the liberal or democratic wing is false.

For the record, this is also not the creation of the entire GLBT. That’s also false. The transgender community is mortified that the candidate we busted butt to get elected is being blasted for the choice of Pastor Warren. We’re worried about staying alive – uh, employment?!? This low-level issue is a tempest in a teapot. And the bisexual and gay / lesbian people of color are also not uniformly lock-stepping into this criticism of President Elect Barack Obama over the invocation selection.

There are so many more important issues to be raising our voices over that this isn’t even remotely funny!

It seems that every gay and lesbian activist leader from every org, former and current, has been parading through every media outlet, taking swipes at President Elect Obama’s choice. Alarmingly, it seems the echo chamber they’ve been working has succeeded in making the convenient perception be that the entire “left” as it were, is actively protesting Obama’s selection of Warren.

On MSNBC’s Hardball, gay activist Mike Rogers describing how “diverse” the gay community is had this to say: “I actually use the gay community as a way to unite and bring everybody together.” That was a shocker. Certainly the trans community’s history has been anything but feeling “included” beyond the “T” slapped onto missions and speeches (something which Rogers, to his credit, didn’t patronize – preferring to use the more accurate descriptor, “gay community”).

“We have seen for centuries, certainly for decades, of how gay people have led the way” on uniting. Centuries, hmm?

But I do think Rogers has a point to be made, as he continued. “For example, it was Barack Obama who brought in Pastor Warren, and it was the gay community that stood up and said this was wrong…. Pastor Warren said “I need to change. Something about the language I’ve been using is not inclusive. It’s divisive. I’m going to recognize that.”” In essence, this garbage about holding our tongue and being “tempered and measured” (gee, where have we heard that before?) is doomed to fail. You make change be doing exactly what HRC, NGLTF, Rogers and all the others plastered on media have done the past couple weeks – point taken.

“So strong, I can't let it pass.
I gotta tell you all about it.
I gotta scream and shout it!” — Uncontrollable Urge, Devo

That said, in typical fashion these parties have gone forth without bothering to ask whether anyone else thought this a worthy expenditure of time, political capital and issue prioritizing. Big GLBT (or “the gay community” as Rogers would put it) owns this issue entirely while the rest of us are being accused by association.

Attention media! This is purely the product of leaders in the gay and lesbian community and their lead organizations. It allows great face time on media. It allows wonderful PR to their own and the rest of the world in showing “Hey! Look at us! We’ve got political muscle!”

It’s also (most importantly) a great leveraging tool to pry out more fundraising from the wealth that support causes du “GLBT” (in quotation because in reality, as everyone knows, it’s GL ………….. b … t)

Yes folks, funding makes the activist world go round. This type of media massaging creates a conveniently useful straw man to then waylay the crap out of – it makes great mainstream media theatre. It then draws a blizzard of greenbacks on same-sex marriage (the money button).

Demonstrating power and collecting money, that’s what’s behind this. NOT the left, not the other subsequent groups within this PC GLBT concoction. Mainstream Gay. Mainstream Lesbian. Mainstream power!

So attention media, please get the story accurate! Gay outrage, strategy, protest – much more accurate. But left (or liberal), or GLBT strategy, outrage, protests? No. We aren’t even in that vehicle. We aren’t going there.


Jennifer Elisabeth Mendez-Trinidad said...


You've hit it right on the head and I have to agree that many of the TG community are left out. I feel apauld when they do this. But also, the Tg community does this to itself cause it allows gay and lesbian organizations to get involved and when we need to get involved the TG community is left out.

~ Jennifer

Tammie said...

I am a transsexual and I disagree with your view completely. For one you do not speak for all of us, like it seams you allege.

I for one am outraged also by Obama's pick of Warren.

Maybe if more of us would become active in the community, just maybe we would not feel left out.

HRC Watch said...

Hey Vanessa,
That's your problem, you need to get more involved. Stop that lobbying and wasting your time doing things like being a delegate and go hold someone's hand. Geez!

Thanks for the post! Educating people like Warren was a great idea. Too bad none of those who are "outraged" thought of it.

Speaking for ourselves instead of continuing to allow the gay and lesbian community do it for us, what a concept, hey Ness? (wink)
You've been saying that for years and only now are people starting to wake up. Our issues will never be first with any LGBt organization. It's their politics and their agenda.

The screaming the gay orgs are doing reminds me of spoiled freakin' brats who didn't get their own way so now they're going to eat some worms. Boo-freakin-hoo. Grow up, get a grip and move on and stop dragging the rest of us down because you feel entitled. How dare our President elect...I'd laugh if it wasn't so pathetic.

Jennifer Elisabeth Mendez-Trinidad said...

The matter of the issue is not whether Vanessa is either right or wrong about Warren. At issue is that there are so many of us that a lot of us sit on the fence or just continues to please ourselves by keeping our heads in the sand. of us just do nothing

Vanessa is doing the right thing by being involved in precinct and delegate party work while many of us just sit and do nothing while expecting different results with rights being granted and such. We all need to get to work no matter how it gets done and lets stop complaining and bitching at various others for keeping their heads out there. Keep up the good work Nessa!

~ Jennifer