1. What is a gay rights organization doing weighing in on a phone company merger? I have an AT&T; iPhone and the coverage sucks and is getting worse, so hey, I’m all for AT&T; improving the quality of their service. But my sexual orientation has exactly zero to do with my phone service. Well, that’s not entirely true…
2. AT&T; was one of the companies whose local representatives sits on the board of directors of the Tennessee chamber of commerce. You remember them, the group that endorsed and actively lobbied for the measure repealing gay and trans rights ordinances in the state, mandating it so that no trans person can ever change their birth certificate gender in the future, and banning any future civil rights ordinances for anyone in the future. That AT&T.; The AT&T; that weighed in early with a statement, when we asked the 13 companies to disavow the legislation and call on the governor to veto, but then whose statement pretty much didn’t say anything. The AT&T; then that emailed me multiple additional statements AFTER the governor signed the hateful bill into law.
So why exactly is GLAAD, now, one week after we get screwed in Tennessee, in part by AT&T;’s own employee who was warned about this bill a good month ago and did nothing, writing public letters to the Obama administration on behalf of AT&T;, on an issue that has nothing to do with gay or trans rights, for a company that outright refused to sign a joint letter to the governor of Tennessee calling for a veto of some of the most hateful anti-gay and anti-trans legislation of our time?
There’s a lot of talk already that this is happening because AT&T; underwrites the GLAAD awards, because the company has made monetary grants to GLAAD, and has a member on GLAAD’s board. It certainly looks that way. How else to explain why our community is using up its limited political capital to weigh in on an issue that has nothing to do with the gay or trans communities, on behalf of a company that just recently did a lot of harm to both communities.
If AT&T; wants our help, they should have thought about that when they outright refused to sign a simple letter to the governor of Tennessee one week ago, helping to guarantee that gay and trans civil rights were repealed in that state just days ago.
PS Do read GLAAD’s letter trying to explain how cell phones are now gay (or maybe they’re just questioning). The purported linkage between expanding 4g coverage and gay rights is one of the most contorted, and bizarre, things I’ve ever read. It looks like AT&T; bought GLAAD off. It’s hard to reach any other conclusion.