I’ve had just about enough of the term “elite gays”

I’ve written a good deal lately about the growing problem of bias in the gay community.  And I’m not talking about white gays who don’t like black gays, I’m talking about this interesting notion that somehow white gay men – and more generally “gay elites” – are somehow responsible for all of our community’s woes.

The most recent example – but by no means the only example – crept up in this blog post yesterday, that lambasted  the supposed “gay elites” at the ACLU and Lambda Legal (which is basically the gay ACLU) for advising against a lawsuit against legislation, and a state constitutional am amendment, banning gay marriage in Virginia.  Here’s what the post said:

It seems that some of what many of us living in “red states” view as the self-anointed “gay elite” are displeased that the plaintiffs proceeded to file their lawsuit rather than wait for permission, if you will, from Lambda Legal, the ACLU and others. These the “gay elites” primarily sit safely in gay friendly jurisdictions like New York and Washington, D.C., and lecture those faced with no rights or legal protections, give them a pat on the head and then tell Virginians and others “be patient, we know best.”

One must not forget that when the Hollingsworth v. Perry suit was filed, these same elites argued against the case being brought. Ted Olsen and David Boies proved them wrong.

Photo by ©John Aravosis.

Photo by ©John Aravosis.

It’s a familiar problem.  And as the post notes, we went through the same disagreement over the Prop 8 case, that the national gay legal groups and experts advised against filing.  In the end, the Prop 8 suit ended fine – we didn’t exactly “win,” but the entire challenge against the federal court decision striking down Prop 8 was thrown out, with the practical effect that gay marriage was re-legalized in California.

So in the end, the Prop 8 case worked out fine.  That doesn’t mean, however, that the lawyers at the ACLU and Lambda Legal, who have devoted their lives to fighting for our civil rights, are somehow evil, nefarious gays who are so spoiled on living in the “big city” – whatever that means, by the way, we get far more of our worst members of Congress from red-state backwaters than we do the big city, if we’re going to start counting – that somehow they’re no longer interested in fighting for our civil rights. I find that kind of depiction insulting and disrespectful.

I know this is difficult for some to understand – usually people who have not devoted their lives to the civil rights battle – but fighting for civil rights on the left is not exactly a winning scheme for getting rich quick.

Take me, for example.  I’d have been far wealthier taking that job as a corporate privacy counsel, offering $150k a year, back in the early 2000s, or had taking another friend up on an offer to find me a job with the UN in Rome around the same time.  I didn’t take either because I liked what I was doing in Washington – one of the evil “elite” cities, we’re always told – even though I loathe Washington, DC itself.  In part because I’ve never felt safe there – the crime rate has always been high – and in part because it’s a small town at heart, and I like big cities.

The only reason I stayed in DC was because I liked my ability to be involved in gay rights advocacy, and ultimately the blog it led to, and didn’t want to give them and my advocacy up.  I did not stay in DC because I looked forward to being violently mugged (which happened), having a dead body dumped in my backyard (which happened), and having to wait until I was in my 40s to buy my first home (a one-bedroom apartment) because it took 15 years to pay off horrific law school loans, and DC property costs twice as much per square foot than my parents’ home in a very nice suburb of Chicago.

My point isn’t to argue “woe is me.” My point is that this ongoing trope about how “elite” Washington, DC is, and how “evil” all of us “spoiled” gay activists are in NYC and DC, is a crock.  I don’t know anyone who got rich being a gay activist – and when a lot of us got started it took some major balls to come out as gay to the world on network television (where most of us are not paid for our appearances, by the way – that’s another “big elite” myth) or in the New York Times.  And you’d better believe that the lawyers at the ACLU and Lambda Legal could earn a hell of a lot more money in DC, and especially NYC, by working for an actual “evil” law firm.

And none of that is to suggest that the lawyers at the ACLU, and the attorneys at Lambda Legal, don’t sometimes make a good-faith bad call.  We all do.  But to question their integrity by suggesting that they’re some kind of “big city blue state elite,” and that’s why they thought the Prop 8 decision was the wrong case at the wrong time, is obnoxious, naive, and rather bitchy to boot.  A lot of us could have been rich at this point, like a lot of our law school colleagues.  But we chose instead to advocate for our community because we cared more about our civil rights than we did about our wallets.  Giving up the opportunity for lucrative careers in order to help people is the opposite of “elite.”

I’m not asking for a medal.  I am asking for a little respect.  Feel free to disagree with someone.  But don’t suggest they’re sell-outs for giving up far more than you to advocate for all of our rights.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • dcinsider

    You can be assured, dude, that in no universe do you know way more than me about any topic.

    That being said, glad you support gay rights.

  • Butch1

    No need to apologize.

  • Butch1

    Would you kindly put away your red correction pencil? No one is interested in having their comments corrected here.

  • Butch1

    Bush was born on third, I think it was said by the late Gov. Anne Richards and thought he hit a triple or something to that effect. Those who are born of privilege expect those things that naturally occur around them to just happen. They do not get it that the rest of us do not get the very same things happening around us. I think when they become a certain age they become aware of it or if they really are that obtuse, their parents set them down and show them the difference between them and how “special” they are compared to the common people and that they need to remember that they are better than the rest of us.

    Money does strange things to some people. There is a difference between the “old rich” and the families that recently acquire their money. It seems as though the old rich families like to blend in and not be noticed with the common folks and they have the most fun in that respect. They would rather go to a pub and have a beer and spend the evening talking with a few folks ( at least the men folk would ) that the new rich do. They like to show it off and flash around in more expensive cars and be seen by others. Established families look at them like they will destroy the neighborhood. ;-)

    ( I guess you’re wondering how I know this but, without revealing it, I would just say that I am great at observation. )

  • Butch1

    It’s an old tire you’re dragging up; best cut bait and row away. ;-)

  • Butch1

    Empathy; try some.

  • Butch1

    I answered above and didn’t see that you had two responses that were the same.

  • Butch1

    Thank you for your support, Gary; we can never have enough support from straight allies and we always welcome comments and input as long as it is the type that really understands where we have been and where we are going.

    Many gays fight about that so it is understandable that you might be questioning about why at times should you continue your support when it feels that we are being thankless and not wanting it. Not true, though it may feel that way. You are just experiencing a living and breathing movement happening. And like all movements it has different ideas and it encompasses liberals to conservatives in our own gay movement who want to take us in different directions. Many of our own disagree about even marriage and should we have even gone this far “imitating” straight people! Those, thank goodness are a fringe in our gay society but, we have them nevertheless.

    It may seem like we are one issue because we have been stuck being “nice homosexuals” for too long. It didn’t get us anywhere and this government and former ones did not take us seriously. We were told by this Democratic Party behind closed doors that they really supported us and they wanted us to continue giving them tons of money and they would do all that they could to push through our rights whenever they could only to spinelessly put their tails between their legs in front of the cameras and vote against us when the had a chance to do anything.

    We had to force and embarrass this President to push Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in 2011 or he would have done nothing! We embarrassed him into it and even then he tried to gut it by devising that infamous questionnaire to hand out to the troops AND even their spouses who have nothing to do with the gay troops. He did his best to sink our hopes. It backfired in his face. He even divided his power between Sec. of Defence, Joint Chief of Staff and himself to sign off on the “training of the troops” who obviously didn’t need any orientation to serve with gays but they devised this to delay getting rid of it of course to drag it out. The Brass needed the orientation training not the troops! Finally, he couldn’t drag it out any further and signed off on it. This is our “Fearless Advocate.” Those are his words to describe how he would stand with us; there not mine.

    So, you can see what we have had to deal with and all their devious games. The court system hasn’t made it any easier for us as well when we have at least four homophobic justices and one who isn’t sure at times on the Supreme Court in my opinion. The lower courts are full of Republican appointed judges and justices because those are the only ones that can be appointed. President Obama is NOT a Democrat if you haven’t guessed. Most of his appointments for cabinet positions and others are Republicans. Evidently, there are no Democrats qualified for the positions. His banking positions and the Federal choices are a perfect example. The man is a moderate Republican but further right than Richard Nixon, himself.

    We haven’t had a real Democrat in the White House since Jimmy Carter. Clinton was a Centrist that leaned to the right. Socially, he brought us DADT and DOMA. He ruined unions with his trade agreements. Wall Street loved him but, not as much as they do Obama.

    Back to us. Our one issue is Equality. Until we force this government to go further and recognize ALL our citizens as equal, none of us really are. It looks as though it’s going to have to be the court system that finally decides our fate again. Once any gay couple brings a discrimination suit through a state system that discriminates against them getting married we shall see where this all goes especially since our marriages are recognized on the Federal level. What is the state going to do, “un-recognize” it? ;-)

  • Gary

    You go fuck yourself you little pimple on the ass cheek of history. I have watched the interviews, read the accounts, and so I can see the rewriting of history that you wan to make. You can blame anyone you want. ENDA has not passed because of people like you who think that Trans people should not be included all you want. That was a nice excuse for politicians to vote against it, but has it passed since without trans inclusion? Fuck no!

    They stole your movement? WHAAAA poor baby. I am sick of this whining. I try to help in many organizations and I have to say that I find the back stabbing, the infighting and silliness that I see here is way worse than any org I have ever worked for or with.

    So because a name did not exist at a point in time, does that mean that those who would have been that had it existed at the time, just not important?

    You lack of logic stuns me. Because at some point gay meant something else, you are not gay, and weren’t before it was used? The level of ignorance you have is stunning to me.

  • Gary

    Sorry you need to watch some of the documentaries made about this. There are lots of interviews with people who did not support Stonewall, that comment of the Transgendered folks that were there.

    While drag queens are not all transgendered, some are. They are queens on their way to full makeover. You need to get over your bigoted ways dude. Hell I as a straight dude know more than you do. All the facts are there, in books, documentaries and all.

  • Gary

    I absolutely agree with the comment that there are enough enemies out there. I also agree with dula below. Stonewall was drag queens and hustles and other so-called undesirables. I seen a documentary a few years ago about this. The “elite” of the time thought that Stonewall was horrible. The interviewed many who said that Stonewall would be the end of gay liberation. Instead those “experts” were wrong. I can’t understand how a straight man can know all this, and the gay community doesn’t?

    Maybe I should just give up and move on to other causes. I just don’t know. I have such respect for the friends I have made, who happen to be LGBT, that it saddens me to see all this infighting.

  • Gary

    Okay, the level of we know better than you, in this comment is amazing. If that attitude were widely accepted, then there would not be equal marriage in IA, MA, or CA. No national group that that those lawsuits were a good idea. Not only that, but having looked back, Lawrence V Texas was supported by the national groups either. The comment below:

    “Well, that’s because in some states, you are just going to lose. And if
    you lose, it might very well set back the cause for marriage equality
    for a long time. There is a lot of impatience people feel, and it’s
    quite understandable. But you cannot substitute impatience for
    pragmatic goals.”

    Is part and parcel why people are upset. The idea that a lawsuit is going to damage the movement for a long time is stupid. If there is another right wing nut case added to the Court, then it may make sense to hold off. But at this moment there is a court that is likely to allow rights everywhere if they are presented the right case. In giving that as many cases as are possible the movement is giving them the best chance to overturn DOMA completely and issuing a Loving type decision.

  • Gary

    Thank you!! There is a role for every one, why does the gay community have to blast people who, in their own way, are trying to help. Are they always successful? NO, are some really not doing the most they could? YES.

    In my region, there are a lot of people, straight, gay, bi and of all colors and creed, who are involved. They should all be praised, not condemned because you don’t agree with them 100% of the time. If you don’t agree with a group, then by all means give or volunteer somewhere else.

  • Gary

    Gay white males are not the only people that support gay rights. People like me who are straight white males do too. I know that gay folks have been treated horribly by society and white males in particular, but things are changing. I came to this movement via one gay male, who was white, taking part in one of the things I believed in. We became friends, through him I met more LGBT people, and made more friends. Now I am involved and have read and seen the horrible way you all have been treated. I think that broadening out to other groups, small and large is better than complaining about one group or ten groups, find one or twelve you can get behind and help.

  • Gary

    Just one question, why can’t both tracks be used? Seriously we have seen grass roots efforts in several states be able to get SSM passed . The courts are not the ONLY way to get change. I understand what you mean, I just wish that all approaches could be equally tried and appreciated.

  • Gary

    I think that the separate point is what I have been talking about. You have people like Skeptical Cicada who think that only gay issues are important, and what he says are gay issues are very limited. Class is a real gay issue, most gay folks are not rich, white, and connected. He also think that people like me who are straight have not say.

    If that is true, then no states would have equal marriage except those who have had courts rule in favor of gay marriage. Those would be MA, IA, CA. If you folks don’t want straight help, so be it, you will never get marriage equality! The SCOTUS would not have ruled to strike down DOMA if gay marriage was not becoming more main stream.

    The court realized that they got to far ahead of the people with Roe. I do not think that they would have made that same mistake with equal marriage.

    Over and over I have watched the gay community get divided over this stuff. Each and every group has a place, If you do not like one, move on to another. Broad coalitions work for other groups, why not for LGBT groups? Economic issues, jobs, fair labor, fair housing are all part of things that I think everyone should be concerned about, if you lost your job for being gay, it sure would be important to you all of a sudden.

  • Gary

    Thank you for a reasoned response. I think if you look at what I wrote, you will see that I think ALL approaches are important. There are HRC offices for my region 2 in fact. It would do very little to have an office or a group in my tiny town. I completely understand your point.

    Yes the HRC and other big groups could maybe do more that they are, but they do not have the cash to do so. The Anti-gay forces had millions upon millions to spend. I know that they do not have that much now, and we have no office around me because of that.

    Having talking points is overrated, they would no more work here than communism. Talking points need to be local. Canvasing door needs to be local. Please look and the recent election in Maine, the local folks got out and talked to regular folks. Let me STRESS that it was not just LGBT folks out there, it was straight allies, it was families and all. Broad groups seem to be best at making change!!

    On the ground politicking is best done by local people and not national level groups. National level groups should be helping with money and other support, maybe phone lines and all. There is a place for it all.

  • Gary

    I think those that are talking about gay elite are talking about what others have said like why should I care about you and your life. The big groups seem to not care about the rank and file, simply because of comments that I have seen here, and also because they can’t do everything at once, but try to tell other groups not to file lawsuits or what have you. There are a lot of groups out there, maybe sharing the burden would be better, but there are those here on this thread who said that you do not need or want straight allies. Divide and conquer is a good strategy for the status quo.

  • Gary

    That is why I have been saying broad coalitions are a way around this. So what if suicide is not important to you, you may find allies in that movement and they may bring others along with them.

  • Gary

    this is not english class
    if i want an english class i will go back to skool. lol

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    The anti-gay groups had chapters all over the country. We could do that. HRC could have a chapter in your area, even if it only had three people who met in someone’s living room once a month. In NY State there were Republican state legislators who were convinced to vote for marriage because couples from their own district (not a lobbyist from DC) met with them and explained the reality of being in a committed relationship with no legal status. Things like that can make a difference. It can’t all happen from NYC, LA or DC. Those big groups can be helpful because they can raise money and provide legal counsel and help with messaging. (A few talking points don’t hurt when you go to talk to your state senator!) But we’ve never really done that and it shows. There’s very little on the ground local politicking (my apologies to the people doing such things but we all know that it needs to be more and better organized). I don’t know why some of those big gay rights groups don’t seem to get that. BTW, I’m not saying anything that people haven’t been saying for 20+years.

  • Gary

    I have to agree with you. I think all groups have a seat at the table and they should do as much as they funding for. Others can take up the slack. I agree that there needs to be a no holds barred approach as well and a slow and easy approach. Good advice is a good thing, maybe the advice is to cautious, maybe it isn’t. At this moment I think more court challenges are good, before there is another right-wing nut put on the court.

  • Gary

    I agree with throwing caution to the wind, but I also see the slow and easy approach as well. The great thing is that we can all have both and everything in between!! If fighting between each of these groups or ideas, I really think that much more would have been accomplished.

  • Gary

    You guys are hilarious. Thanks I needed a laugh today.

  • Gary

    I do not know if HRC and GLAAD are good or bad, I can’t say. Given that I live in Southern Indiana and only know about 20 folks in DC, I can’t say. I do know that any rights org. that wants to really be an agent of change must have input from all areas of the country. I say that because anytime a group is isolated, they become unresponsive to regular people.

    That has happened to the Dems and 2010 is a result. Dean tried to open the party and retook the house. It is important that all views are heard and really listened to.

    The HRC or GLAAD or any other group including ACLU and Lambda should listen to members and activist from around the country. The last two groups, I know only have so much money to fight for rights. They can’t do it all and as a consequence of that plan strategy based on what they think will advance rights. I don’t agree with them all the time, and I would not expect everyone else to agree either.

    Other groups have stepped up to file lawsuits in states that the big groups can’t. That said, the big groups need to shut up about those suits. Other things like getting marriage on the ballot or lobbying to get it on the ballot or pass a law can be a combination of all kinds of groups. There is room for all of these people and groups if the infighting would just die off much more could be accomplished!!

  • Gary

    There have been a lot invited to the White House, but that really does not matter, what you said that is really true and accurate is start your own group, become involved in a different group, be your own activist. In Maine, regular gay folks and straight folks worked together to get out the vote and convince people to vote for gay marriage, and it worked.

  • Gary

    Fuck you! If it were not for straight support you would not have the right to marry anywhere but Iowa and Massachusetts. Not one person here that I have seen so far has presumed to speak for gay people, they have spoken for themselves.

    I can tell you that your attitude is atrocious, and will help ensure that you have no rights, if more were like you. I have spoken politely and so have most of the other commenter’s , you however have attacked each and every person who has suggested that anything that is not gay marriage is not something you want to hear about.

    I have enormous respect for most gay folks, but you have shown that you have no respect for anyone who does not agree with you exactly. Are you sure you are not a Republican? You sure seem to have that attitude. I try not to attack people, but you attacked everyone. If you want respect you have to show it as well.

  • Gary

    Clevelandchick, I too am straight and a very strong supporter of gay rights, including marriage, and I see what you mean. 2010 cost the Democrats the house and seats in the senate, and it was just this type of attitude towards us who wanted to keep the Dean 50 state strategy, but the party in Washington didn’t do it, and we see what happened. We see it again coming in the senate and we are going to lose that house as well.

    If the party does not support candidates in red areas, they will never turn blue. By the same notion, if you only support gay marriage and not other things that matter as well, then you may be able to marry but be unable to get housing in many places in the country, the same with a good job. I know that marriage is important and that is why I support it.

    Never if a million years did I think at some point in my life I would be supporting gay rights. As I said it is because of one gay dude who cared about my issues, and joined in. I got to know him and then a bunch of his friends and got to know his issues, then I read a lot, seen the horrible abuse and the damage religion has done, I have seen and read about the suicides and the bashing, and murder. There are a lot of things that really make me sick about the treatment of gay folks. It is not right and it is not fair and infighting is not helpful. Work together on the things you agree on and work on other things with others who agree with you, you can do both!!

  • Gary

    Okay I do not think that destruction of the environment can be a non-gay issue. nor can the surveillance state. Both of those will touch gay people just as they will me. To be honest the surveillance state should worry gay folks a hell of a lot.

    I mean if you can not come out at work because there is no work place protection for you, then they government that is able to share all that information with anyone they want would scare me if I were in that situation.

  • Gary

    I think you may be right here, at least in part. Being straight and looking from the outside in, leads me to some interesting views. I seem to be writing a lot for the first time here on this blog, but it is because of this split in the movement.

    One issue politics is a bad idea. There are too many other things that people can and some people do fight for. You pointed a few out, HIV, employment discrimination, housing discrimination, suicide, and a host of other issues just within gay rights. Then you listed other things that we could/should be concerned about. All of these can and should be something that we all straight or gay involved in.

    I use involved in as a way to get people to think about other issues. One does not have to give money to all of these issues, but they can get involved in a myriad of other ways.

    I have heard some gays do not want to marry and think that is selling out to the mainstream culture. Ok that is fine, I am not sure I understand that, but I am straight and it does not have to be something I understand. The reason I point this one thing out is, that I can support both ideas. I guess I am trying to say, poorly, that if you do not want to get married don’t, but you can still join the movement and maybe gain some allies for things you are concerned about like maybe HIV, or housing or employment issues. I just don’t see the need to fight each other over these things. They are all important.

  • Gary

    JF, I don’t have a lot of money to fight for all the things I support, but I figure that since there are a lot of gay folks fighting for causes I believe in, I can do no less than to fight for them. It is easy to do so since I have made a lot of friends in the gay rights movement, all because they were involved in my causes.

    I know that not everyone can take time off to go to a protest about things, or can take time off to canvas for elections. etc. What I do think that most of us have time for is to sign petitions, make phone calls, write letters, and talk to friends about these causes. Some people can do more and that is wonderful if the can, but it does not preclude each of us from taking a few minutes to do a little something for many causes.

  • Gary

    This kind of post is exactly why you turn away so many straight folks who could or would be allies to your causes. Open, honest, polite, reasoned discussion can lead to more help from others. Spouting off will turn away possible allies and every cause can use all the allies if can get.

  • Gary

    I understand the problem here, but I don’t see how things can change without calmly and rationally talking about these things and you seem to have tried to do that somewhat.

    As I said above I am white, but not elite and not gay, but I will fight as hard as I can for your rights and it all started because a gay man joined in a cause I believed in and became a friend.

    I sometimes think that some in the gay community do not want straight allies, but others do. It can be a problem when you don’t seem to appreciate the help from us.

  • Gary

    I can understand your activism is in clean water, but why can’t you do both? I can not understand this one issue kind of activism. You gain allies in your cause and help in other causes to gain even more allies and you help get things accomplished in many areas.

    Not all people who want to ensure you guys are treated equally in marriage, tax issues, etc. are elite white gays. I am white, but certainly not the other two, elite or gay!

  • Gary

    That is not what he said or was talking about. But since you brought it up, there is not reason why the activists in the gay community can’t join in other movements, by joining forces with other activists you can bring in that many more people who will be willing to support your cause if you support theirs.

    It seems to me that in reading many different news items, blogs and such, that you have one issue activists that don’t understand the need to be involved in other things as well, and then you have to activists who want to form coalitions with other activists.

    I actually care about this issue because some time back, one of my acquaintances got involved in an issue that I cared about and as a consequence of that we became good friends. Having become friends with him, I met other gay friends and soon became involved in your causes as well as mine. You gained not only me as an ally, but many of my other friends as well.

    I am just saying that becoming involved with other causes can gain you more voices speaking out on your behalf.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Sorry, “Homosexual,” but “class struggle” isn’t a gay issue. So sorry that we aren’t ending all work on actual gay issues and joining in your vintage ’70s pining for a Marxist revolution between tokes.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    I haven’t heard any significant amount of that idiocy in years and years. You’re beating the ghost of a dead horse with that parade whining. If that’s the best you can come up with, you don’t have much.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Your ranting has become incoherent. My penis pretty much excludes me from being a lesbian anything.
    You’re apparently not even bright enough to figure out which side of an argument to stay on. I was criticizing the complaint that Lambda and ACLU aren’t bringing MORE marriage challenges. So you just posted a comment that sided with people wanting more challenges.
    You need to spend less time spitting hot bile in peoples faces and more time reducing your own stupidity.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Neither of which I have ever denied, little one.
    Commenter John is maintaining that issues unrelated to anti-gay discrimination must all be addressed by gay groups.
    By focusing only on issues that involve anti-gay discrimination, you obviously agree with me and not his absurd expansion of gay issues to include everything.
    Dear, if he has his way, all efforts for gay rights law addressing your two issues would be ended and redirected to non-gay issues. Damn, you people are stupid.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Please quote any language in which I have denied that any of those issues, when they involve anti-gay discrimination, are not gay issues. You will not, little one, that I was responding to a comment that went on to rant about a laundry list of non-gay issues, such as environmental destruction and security surveillance.
    But since your goal is just to make yourself feel better by spewing hot bile at people, I don’t imagine you have any interest in what I was actually talking about, if you even have the critical capacity to do more than recite canned ideological tropes.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Yawn. People who believe their ideological opposition to gay marriage is to be shoved down the throats of all gay people and want it imposed on them by law are left-wing totalitarians who are entitled to no more consideration than right-wing fascists who want the same thing.

    If gays aren’t buying your simple-minded 1970s Marxism, that’s your problem.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    You don’t even understand the argument.
    The left-wing nuts he’s criticizing are demanding that all activism on actual gay issues end immediately and that all our efforts be diverted to their pet non-gay projects. The fact that lots of us already happen to support their pet projects isn’t enough. They want every last effort now expended on gay issues hijacked an diverted.

  • NoBigGovDuh

    You don’t understand that you have nothing without us. Your perspective if skewed.

    We make the alliance with other groups because we care about them genuinely.

    Next time you feel maligned, write about LGBT youth poverty.

  • Snow Leopard

    You don’t represent me or my interests in the world. Stop talking like you do.

  • Snow Leopard

    And your anti-classist canard is just one of your rhetorical tantrums, which mens something different socially becaue you occupy a privileged place in culture relative to Chris (it wounds like)..

    By “it wouldn’t make any difference,” you mean that people who would critique the assimilationist notion of marriage don’t have to be considered in your political calculus.

    Yuck.

  • friday jones

    “The term ‘gay elite’ smacks of a subtle homophobic connotation.”

    Actually, it’s pointing out the self-hating homophobia of the gay elites who have mainstreamed to the point where they are complaining about how the non-mainstreamed LGBT folks are harming the movement by being too queer. You know the types, the ones who complain about gay sexuality on display during the Pride parades because “people bring their families to those now!”

  • friday jones

    And “you” managed all of that while still being a lesbian separatist a-hole pretty much 100% of the time? Gosh, “you” are really really good at taking credit for stuff, you MUST be one of them there gay elites, in your own mind.

  • friday jones

    Because some people still get fired or never hired in the first place because of their perceived sexual orientation, you are a childish idiotic fool. Because some people get denied public accommodations because of their perceived sexual orientation, you are a witless dummy with an infantile weak mind.

  • friday jones

    Job discrimination, housing discrimination, HIV/AIDS, STDs, drug abuse, physical abuse, and suicide ARE gay rights problems, unless you’ve forgotten that there are gay people who face specific challenges in those areas because they are the gay people who don’t get to live in the nice neighborhoods in the liberal cities. Why, rumor has it that some gay people aren’t even white, and face racism that is specifically anti-gay racism. Imagine that. No, really, try to imagine that. Try to imagine gay people who don’t share your privileges.

  • friday jones

    So you’re saying that you’re not one of the “gay elite” because you had a choice between a career with a vast income and one with a moderately high income but loads of political influence regarding the gay rights movement, and you chose the path with more political influence instead of the one that made more money? Well, consider our preconceptions corrected, Boss!

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Lap up that straight privilege, ram it down your throat with your husband’s cock, and gorge yourself to death on it, you breeder bigot.

    The agenda of the gay rights movement is not now and never will be any of your goddamn business. Don’t ever prance in here and presume to speak for gays again.

  • Clevelandchick

    You’ll never learn. But keep it up, that pompous self righteous attitude is how the Democrats lost the House in 2010. BTW, I’m straight, I’m already married and if I wanted to I could get married every day again and twice on Sunday. I’m not disgruntled honey.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    I understand perfectly the infantile “argument” you’re making.
    - Because some of the people who get parking tickets happen to be gay, parking tickets are a gay issue.
    - Because some of the people who receive disaster relief happen to be gay, disaster relief is a gay issue.
    - Because some of the people who visit national parks happen to be gay, national parks are a gay issue.
    - Because some of the people who pay taxes happen to be gay, tax cuts are a gay issue.
    - Because some of the people who want to carry concealed weapons happen to be gay, conceal-carry is a gay issue.
    - Because some of the people who work for a living happen to be gay, every issue of monetary and fiscal policy is a gay issue.
    - Because some of the people who own stock happen to be gay, securities regulation is a gay issue.
    That’s right, dear. The idiocy you’re hawking makes *everything* a gay issue because gays happen to exist. Your “argument” has been discussed, dissected, debunked, and repeatedly rejected around here.
    I look forward to you pushing for more tax cuts for the wealthy because some of the people who are wealthy happen to be gay.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    I actually don’t think that would make any difference. The objection is that we aren’t dropping gay rights and redirecting all our energies to the non-gay pet issues of the various complainers. The classism canard is just one their rhetorical tantrums.

  • Butch1

    Whose maligning you? Privileged? Many of us who comment here juggle other issues as well as gay ones. I am totally against Mountain top mining in Appalachia and what it does to the water of which you speak. I actually remember what the water used to look like from regular mining in W.Va. back in the 1950s and 60s before the environmental laws were first implemented. The streams were yellow with sulfur runoff and one could smell them for miles. Nothing could live in those streams as well. I remember it well. Now, because of the fracking and mountain top mining there is soil erosion and other problems ruining the land. Why? The people in those areas continue to vote Republican, that’s why. Republicans protect the mining industry and the people who work in these jobs. Those who own any land in the area suffer if they drink from those wells on their land. They have been poisoned.

    You aren’t the only person who pays attention to the plight of other issues here. We all can multitask. This is John’s Blog and he is welcomed to his opinions. We are welcomed to add ours in the comment section just as you are. You do NOT get to tell anyone to keep their opinions to themselves. There would be no Blog. Try and calm down.

  • John

    Hear, hear. But I think the marriage equality movement could be much better about making a case for marriage’s benefits to other groups besides the cliched “white rich guys.” If it could argue this more compellingly there would not be such a vociferous reaction from many who feel ostracized by its recent successes, or who feel they/their communities do not benefit. The movement sometimes seems over-saturated in NYT wedding announcements and other banalities.

  • John

    Please, don’t call me a child out of spite: that’s just plain offensive. And inaccurate!

    I do not think you are understanding what I’m saying: job discrimination, income equality, racial issues, healthcare, cost of housing, etc., *ARE* — wait for it — gay rights. They are not part of some “non-gay agenda.” They should be PART AND PARCEL OF the gay agenda, since these politicized issues impact the lives of gay people! Your definition of marriage equality as the be-all end-all of equal rights is grossly ignorant and out-of-touch.

    I’m a committed advocate
    of gay marriage. But I think it is one of an array of issues, and focusing solely on it hijacks politics for the most narrow-minded view of what gay rights is and should be. Why can’t other important issues (those you assume here are “non-gay”) be part of the debate? If the answer is there are other groups for that, fine, but then there will always be criticisms of elite bias among groups and activists that are solely fighting for marriage equality.

    And to clear the record, marriage is classist: working poor communities have far lower marriage rates and higher divorce rates. The reasons behind this, or how it relates to gay marriage, may certainly be open to interpretation but just because some wealthy couples will not face gain tax benefits doesn’t mean the category does not intersect with class.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    What a disappointing non-response. I expected better of you.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    The rank and file were cheering and celebrating marriage victories. You speak for you and your disgruntled little corner with mouths far louder than your numbers. You don’t speak for the whole rank and file.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    We already have groups addressing every non-gay issue you’ve raised. The gay rights movement is focused on–wait for it–gay rights. Sorry it isn’t being hijacked and diverted to your non-gay agenda. Get over it.

    This talking point that marriage is classist displays gross ignorance about who benefits most from it. Dear child, those wealthy gay couples probably see a tax INCREASE when they marry. Cut the mindless rhetoric.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Then go form a movement to take on that non-gay issue. No one is stopping you, and no one is making you give a fuck about gay rights. But what you aren’t doing is trying to make it a gay issue. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out of the gay rights movement.

  • Jim

    You’re using the wrong metaphor, Blanche.
    Thinking, a useful thing.

  • ronbo

    Read the post again without that chip on your shoulder, please.

  • jf brady

    Chris, move to the mountains and help or go to one of the state capitals and get involved or move to DC and do the same. You can also fight Monsanto; they’re evil. Labor needs strong advocates. Marriage equality needs strong advocates too. It doesn’t just help rich white guys. Ever hear of survivor benefits for social security or all the help that a military spouse can receive? These aren’t the same fights. Frankly, I’m looking for the fight for LGBT equality to be finished so that those of us who like to be involved can move on to fighting other fights. I don’t have the time or money to fight everything.

  • Chris Dohse

    And I’ve had just about enough of wealthy mainstream white gays whining about being maligned by us Queer Faerie AIDS-poxed weirdos. Please stop with these posts and keep your privileged opinions to yourself. Yes it is more important in my worldview to get clean drinking water for the children in Appalachia than for wealthy white mainstream gays to get tax breaks.

  • dcinsider

    Guilty of making a negative comment about transgendered people. The sentence: forever deemed horribly anti-T (see Dan Savage), and told I’m awful.

    I object to people trying to rewrite history and to expecting the rest of us to be quiet or we will get pummeled by the the angry pro-T forces. Well, fuck you. Gay men led the charge on our civil rights, we largely and solely fought for many years. Lesbians stepped up to the plate and joined forces. After we won many hard earned battles, along come the T folks, dropping their anchor on our boat, with the expectation that the entire gay and lesbian community should fall at their feet and welcome them to the party.

    Listen, I’m fine with transgendered people, and I believe that all of us are entitled to our rights, to be treated with respect, and to be able to live our lives exactly who we are. What bothers me is the indignation, and utterly obnoxious and selfish way that transgendered people have hijacked the gay and lesbian civil rights movement into one about gender identity. I know my goddamn gender, and so does my partner, and so do our friends. My being gay has NOTHING to do with my gender identity.

    I get that being transgendered is also about society’s hetero-normative roles for each gender, and trying to release us from that grip. I get how those societal pressures are also related to the struggle that gays and lesbians face each day. I understand that we share some common interests. However, I do not accept that transgendered people have the right to steal our history, or to demand that gays and lesbians do what is in their best interests, even if that hurts our own opportunities for equality. Demanding that ENDA be transgender inclusive killed the bill. Thanks for that.

    So pardon me if I don’t agree to be a mealy mouthed little faggot and tremble in fear as the transgender police decide what can and cannot be said.

    Go fuck yourselves.

  • So so tired of Bill Perdue

    Sweetie, let’s be honest. You don’t like anybody.

  • racehustlers

    There is a great deal of prejudice and sniping within the gay community as well. Go to a party with gays and listen to their talk regarding lesbians, or a lesbian party and listen to the talk about gays. It is often witty buy no less hurtful.

  • John

    The criticism does not revolve around your income per se. The criticism is that you push for marriage equality without addressing the array of issues that are perhaps more significant for more people: these might include job discrimination, housing discrimination, racism, HIV/AIDS, STDs, drug abuse, physical abuse, suicide, etc. And, of course, so many other issues that are plainly more significant than identity politics: income inequality, our discriminatory penal system, environmental destruction, corporate interests polluting politics, the burgeoning surveillance state, etc., etc. Marriage has become the essence of equality when it is not the rubric or standard many people want to measure their equality against. It’s ignorant of a large swath of social issues, especially ones that do not cater to the desires (or tax interests, or lifestyle privileges) of culturally and economically middle class and upper class Americans. Marriage equality as the single issue for gay rights activism assumes that people are in a position to reap its rewards–rather than advocating on behalf of those who are not in a position to benefit. In this way it truly does become depolitiized and blind to others. I do care deeply about marriage equality, and I’ll probably marry; but I don’t see why one can’t embrace that position while also advocating for a model of politics that would benefit those less fortunate, less able to be activists, less able to participate–that is, those for whom marriage would not be priority. Elites should advocate for those who do not have a voice and cannot speak, rather than only speaking for their own class, social, political, and personal interests. That’s the point of politics, and that’s the problem with marriage equality movement right now.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    lol!!!!

  • Bill_Perdue

    I like GLBT Democrats and Republicans.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    :-O

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    You would be probably amazed how often I give you up arrows.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Misogyny is thuggish.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I’m Irish. It’s genetic. But thank you Ms Manners. I’ll bear that in mind.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    If it were possible to reach through the ether I would throttle you spamhole. Stop, humping my comments!

  • mejumaxuturi

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kkEj

    We need broad coalitions. Thanks
    to John’s ‘elitism’ and others, we have some voice in the power centers
    that otherwise would totally dismiss our concerns or worse, deny us
    civil rights. It is an extremely difficult job and I should imagine, not
    easy to resist the sirens of the beltway. Not everyone can be a
    freelance Dan Savage, but we can all aspire in our own way.

  • jf brady

    Uh, oh. More work done by elite gays and inside-the-beltwayers. I believe in taking to the streets but we also need to take to the halls of Congress, the White House, and the Courts. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/25/arcadia-transgender-teen-settlement-school-district-_n_3653126.html

  • Randy

    Amen to that. I’ve had it up to hear with conversations with people who say we should have our rights NOW, and they are tired of waiting. They seem to think that all our rights are just waiting in a warehouse somewhere, and all we have to do is walk over there and take them.
    They dont’ understand that when courts are involved, it will take years for a resolution, that there are huge lobbying organizations that rake in millions dedicated to taking away our rights, and the a popular vote takes an enormous amount of time, money and organization to succeed. It’s an uphill battle all the way.

    We can all disagree with the paths to the goal, but we all agree on the goals. Some organizations are better than others, of course, but to actually get change, you have to work within the system. There is no alternative.

    Sure, it’s all romantic to think that all you have to do is take to the streets and hold demostrations, and protest in front of buildings and that will get you something. It really doesn’t. If it were that easy, we would have had all our rights by now. But street protests don’t convince a judge that the constitutions supports our rights, and it doesn’t convince a politician to introduce a bill to protect our rights. It gets media coverage, for sure, and might make you feel good. But the business of getting laws changed is slow and frustrating. That’s just how it is.

    I understand some people are impatient with that. So am I. But I can’t think of any other way to make progress. But one thing I AM sure about — bitching and moaning about the gay elite isn’t going to get any anything at all.

  • jf brady

    Inside the beltway. Where do you think it came from when Obama ordered hospitals taking Medicaid/Medicare to offer visitation rights and medical decisions to LGBT partners? HRC played a big part in that and it’s the kind of thing that a President can do without Congressional (Republican) obstruction.

  • Randy

    The only court case Log Cabin filed was to repeal DADT. Where there others?

  • Randy

    And you have the nerve to call others rude and self righteous.

  • Randy

    That happens to a lot of institutions. And as I’ve said, I think HRC is among the worst organizations for gay rights — always late to the party but eager to take credit for all successes, always blaming others for failures, and raking in huge amounts of money. I was really really pissed at some of the leaders who actually refused to engage the homophobes on tv and tried to talk about health care instead. Unbelieveable!

    But the HRC isn’t the only game in town, and there are many, many people who work the ranks and are really trying to advance marriage equality and employment discrimination, and convince corporations to sign on to our agenda, and meet with politicians who are on the fence about supporting us. That all takes time and money. overall, they are doing a good job. Could it be better? Sure. And if you have ideas on how to do it better, please advance them. Better yet, start your own organization.

  • Randy

    I personally know a lot of people here in Washington who are considered by you as the “gay elite” Not a one of them has ever been invited to the White House really wouldn’t care. They work hard and they do a lot of good work, both locally and nationally. That’s the reality, Ronbo, whether you agree with it or not.

    No, they are not the HRC, and I dislike the HRC for a variety of reasons. But not all gay activists are part of the HRC.

    Not everyone agrees with what all the “gay elite” says or does. And believe it or not, there is no general agreement among them on all the issues either. It’s a very diverse group of people, and everyone has their own take on matters. But for the most part they are intelligent, hardworking, and really do care about advancing gay rights. Are there failures? Sure there are. But I don’t see complainers coming up with alternative measures that actually work, and then doing the hard work to make them succeed.

    And again, there is nothing at all stopping you from forming your organization with your own agenda and pushing it.

  • Indigo

    The high end of my luggage is a Timbuk2 backpack.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    As long as that soapbox ain’t a Louie Vuitton carry-on, Indigo.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Oh, but it is so much fun to criticize the stunt baby and those parasite royals.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Oh, opps. I was back in the sixties and had an Owsley moment.

  • cole3244

    humor, i like that.

  • emjayay

    What about sentencalism?

  • emjayay

    Google never heard of them. It does know about Michael Kors, and he’s an elite gay guy.

  • ronbo

    HRC worked hard, very hard, to keep the status-quo – so that they remaind “involved”. I don’t agree that they “give a fuck”. HRC encouraged Clinton to pass DOMA and DADT, for God’s sake. Randy, you seem confused to reality. Nicho is 100% accurate.

  • cole3244

    there is usually a glass ceiling for those that actually started at the bottom and that’s the problem.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Sure, some do, but some also worked hard to get there. Recognizing those people who are the difference is important.

  • PeteWa

    This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.”
    MLK, 16 April 1963

  • cole3244

    those that work the system start on third and think they hit a triple to get there.

  • cole3244

    sorry, i don’t like capitalism.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    But ya are Blanche.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Get off the cross honey, we’re building an ark and need the nails and wood.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Troll fishing on a relaxing Summer’s day is so enjoyable, until snagging a bottom feeder.

  • Jim

    criticism is not a synonym for bitterness.
    might want to invest is a dictionary.

  • Jim

    I don’t usually.
    Your reply is what I would expect of a christian.

  • Jim

    If he doesn’t draw on his own experience. . .
    how about drawing on verifiable data, you know, like a reporter does.
    why couldn’t you think of that; what’s up your ass?

  • Jim

    should have been, as a whiny, former elite emeritus, now blah, blah, blah

  • Clevelandchick

    Well, to ignore there isn’t some hierarchy or that there isn’t some of the ‘we know what’s best for you’ attitude isn’t helpful either. There isn’t a group out there that doesn’t have that kind of power structure and condescending attitude of the rank & file. If you don’t like being called elite, which I believe they mean as in power ranking, not necessarily income level, then there should be a little less tone deafness and a little more outreach. The rank and file isn’t happy. You can’t blame them.

  • ComradeRutherford

    “I am asking for a little respect.”

    But, John, you’ve been elevated to the ‘gay elite’ status by the redneck crowd! That is a huge sign on respect. And you’ve single-handedly forced Teh Gay Agenda on Virginia by just existing! Congratulations!

  • Indigo

    I would happily live on St. Thomas but, yes, St. John’s is the fashionable one.

  • fritzrth

    Solmonese and his Ann Demeulemeester, Billy Reid, and Dolce and Gabbana.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yep

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Gay elites wouldn’t have been caught dead in that dive. Good god it was a dump. You are absolutely correct Dula the GLTBQ revolution at Stonewall was a ground up, true grassroots movement. In a cause and effect mindset we can thank drag queens, street hustlers, homeless gays, a pinch of lesbians and one very great Trans woman for marriage equality today.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Same

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    There were trolls though!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    yes, and by all means wear a suit/tie or dress and heels to look respectable. GAAAA

  • http://heimaey.us/ jim morrissey

    Perhaps it is an elitist assumption, but it’s also the reality. Time is just as important as money but when you talk about money, well white people are still the wealthiest demographic in this country, so it’s pretty logical to assume that most of the money comes from them.

    That said, it wasn’t a white dude who started the Stonewall riots, and it isn’t a white dude who I see working when I go to a gay men’s health clinic in Manhattan. I think a lot of people may be equating money with superiority in this instance and certainly money does play a big role in funding research and litigation, but it is not everything. It would be a mistake to think of the white man as the backbone of gay rights, but it would also be naive to think the demographic may not be the biggest fiscal contributor.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Brush up on your Marx sweet pea. A lesson in the class*ics would help.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Must be a slow day over at JMG or Brietbart.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “sorely missing from any “gay” organizations is HIV/AIDS advocacy.” BINGO! Excellent comment D.

  • Randy

    The number of gay activists who have ever been invited to the White House is vanishingly small. The rest are very hard working individuals who actually do give a fuck.

    But hey, if you don’t like what they do, then become your own gay activitist.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Gucci Gays

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I can completely relate to your experience. I had similar difficulties advocating for GLTBQ individuals who suffered from a number of outrageous civil rights violations by police in one case, to find absolutely no interest from Lambda, GLAD or the ACLU. But one individual did listen and acted and that lawyer is now the Attorney General of California, Kamala Harris.

  • mirror

    You’ve got to the heart of what I would like to be able to say on this subject, but can’t seem to say outside of attack mode. Thanks.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    As to those last observations, I too am overwhelmed by the beauty of poignancy in the acts of the everyday. Only age can bring that.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    As an antique advocate I say: Never forget the Larry Kramer rule—shout it out, get in face, and shout it out some more.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    ;-)

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Brilliant Indigo! Well done.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    The subject is so touchy Upstairs that your snark has been taken seriously.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    St’ John’s?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “It’s much more complex than that.” Indeed, the fact that ‘white males have funded large parts of the rights movement,” Is in itself an ‘elitist’ assumption (however true) if it doesn’t factor in millions of ‘volunteer’ hours, whose time is a ‘commodity’ seldom mentioned by , yes, the elite analysts.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    True, it’s not relative. When I go on vacation I just move my cardboard Frig box from under the freeway to creek side. But, I know its not a condo in Tahoe.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yes!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    That is so true of AIDS organizations too. Six figure salaries and luxurious lobbying.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    He didn’t miss it Mirror, he is just a rude, self righteous troll.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Thank you O condescending one. Having a slow day over at JMG?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Thanks dear.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    You are soooo bad NP!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    We need broad coalitions. Thanks to John’s ‘elitism’ and others, we have some voice in the power centers that otherwise would totally dismiss our concerns or worse, deny us civil rights. It is an extremely difficult job and I should imagine, not easy to resist the sirens of the beltway. Not everyone can be a freelance Dan Savage, but we can all aspire in our own way.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    When you are good, you are good! Great comment!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    They were the stars of a famous flea circus, who failed in Las Vegas.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    The problem with most of the gay rights groups is that they haven’t had much success and part of that is the top-down inside-the-beltway-only approach they have adopted. I celebrate success. What I can’t abide is people congratulating themselves for failure with lavish parties.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Speaking as a former elite emeritus, now living on Social Security, I offer this wisdom: pppppffffftttt !! Go play your tiny pity violin over at JMG.

  • nicho

    Elite isn’t about money or location. “Elite gays” are those who become part of the system. The “system” is the problem. It’s not Democrats, Republicans, Liberals, Conservatives, gays, straights, whatever. It’s the “system.” And the system co-opts those who oppose it by drawing them in. When you start worrying whether you’re still on the invite list for the White House holiday party, then you’re been co-opted. Because in one little portion of your brain, you check what you say — and sometimes what you think — because you don’t want your name scratched off the invite list. The same for the Easter Egg roll, or a press conference, or a kind word, or a smile. At that point you’ve been sucked into the system and you’re now “elite.” “Oooooh, you can’t say that. That’s going to turn people off.” When I was a working journalist, I never went to the parties the pols threw unless I was on assignment. I didn’t want to be beholden to them. I could afford to buy my own booze and peanuts. And I didn’t want to hang around them for fun because they weren’t very much fun. Some people liked basking in the glow of rubbing elbows with power — but that’s just whoring yourself out.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    I have a lot of criticism for many of our gay rights groups. ACLU and Lambda Legal are not among those I commonly complain about like HRC or GLAAD. And yes, too much of the gay rights movement seems focused inside the Beltway. It’s been a real problem especially since the laws that affect gay people the most are state laws, not federal ones. It is elitist when a groups like HRC and GLAAD exist primarily to throw lavish parties, feel like insiders and then year after year accomplish nothing productive on behalf of gay Americans. There are gay groups that do a lot and they are to be commended. Too many are incestuous (board members romantically involved with executives on the payroll of the organization!) and yes “elitist”. It’s not a word I like but it fits.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I couldn’t agree more.

  • nicho

    I think he just said all he has to say. Nothing worth reading — just bitterness.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Capitalization is the difference between “helping your Uncle Jack off a horse” and “helping your uncle jack off a horse”.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    When the term elite is thrown around, it’s often meant to imply wealth, sometimes education or intelligence, but more frequently, and in this case I think, it is simply pointing out that someone has easy access to “the system”. Working within certain circles of influence, not accessible to all. Be they political, economic, or simply social cliques. When people start to feel excluded from those circles, they start to wonder if those within have the best interests of those outside in mind.

  • ttoddb

    If he doesn’t draw on his own experience, I wouldn’t bother to read his blog. What’s up your ass?

  • caphillprof

    “We” did no such thing.

  • Randy

    I have no patience with your friends in Utah. None whatsoever.

    Of course I don’t understand what’s like to be a gay person in rural Utah. I don’t understand what it’s like to live ANY body’s life! If they want sympathy, they should either get a dog, a best friend or seek therapy.

    What the so-called gay elites are fighting for are basic rights — right to marry, right to be free of discrimination the work place and in housing, right to be served in a restaurant, a bar, or buy a cake, and the right to BE gay without worrying about jail time.

    If they think there are other rights that Utah rural gays need, they should speak up. Perhaps gays in rural Utah can’t own a gun, but everyone else can. if so, then I agree, that should be a lawsuit.

    But if they are just complaining because their neighbors don’t like them, or it’s hard to make ends meet financially, or they can’t find another willing participant for a threesome, then boo-freakin’-hoo. No one said that the major gay groups are there to make your life like a tv movie. And they can’t cure that baldness or make you slim either.

    So I really don’t care what it’s like to live in Utah, any more than what’s it’s like to live in New York, or the moon. We aren’t here to make your life fine and dandy — that’s YOUR job. The so-called gay elites have enough work just to get you the right to marry or be safe in your employment. If you really need more than that, you are free to start up your own organization and raise the money and do the hard work it takes to make your neighbor like you even though you are a sinful creature in their eyes.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    I’m afraid i have to disagree with you this time. WE, the gay community, established these legal groups and have supported them generously for decades precisely because we wanted our movement to develop the deep, gay-specific expertise to formulate a national litigation strategy and to make these tough calls. Chaos is not a litigation strategy. The decisions are not about disliking anybody. They are about what is the best way to advance the overall movement.

  • mirror

    I can’t help but think you missed the point of lilyannerose’s comment, that lilyanne agrees with you more than disagrees…

  • dula

    It’s good they are well heeled and well connected enough to get there but bad when they sell out in order to have cocktails with the president. Also, there are problems with having only white, wealthy, gay men (and a few women) as the face of the LGBT rights movement. In terms of class struggle, it makes us appear separate from the rest of the left because the “gay elite” aren’t necessarily to the left on those issues. Are we just a fabulous one trick pony or do we wanna show our full socioeconomic diversity and break bread with the little people?

  • http://heimaey.us/ jim morrissey

    Specifically it agrees that gay white males are not worthy of derision. They have largely (but not entirely) funded large parts of the rights movement, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that minorities should not be focused on as well. I think we also fail to mention that while the vast majority of money may come from whites, the number of participants in the gay rights movement is of many many different colors. Still, white gay males are not the enemy. It’s much more complex than that.

  • emjayay

    To me it’s maybe partly about people working at the top of organizations headquartered naturally in DC who collect a lot of money but spend a lot of it on themselves, the organization, and cocktails and naturally become isolated there in the bubble. And one way they do control things is how they direct the money that’s left.

  • jomicur

    “Gay establishment” works for me. And “A-list gays.”

  • PeteWa

    you’re ridiculous.
    Sylvia did exist at the time.
    the fact that there wasn’t a commonly accepted term for what her reality is and was is complete and utter nonsense.
    It’s like claiming that there were no gays before 1938.
    that being said, I’m sure you will continue to grasp at straws and play semantics.

  • emjayay

    That sort of sounds both good and bad.

  • dula

    You were there?

  • Randy

    So the gay elites want to divide and conquer? To maintain a power structure and control? Over what, your life? And why would the gay elite really care about your life so much that they want to keep you from getting married?

    Sorry, but that’s pretty idiotic and totally ignorant of the real world.

  • dcinsider

    On that we can both agree wholeheartedly!

  • emjayay

    I only sorta vaguely remember. Capitol Hill area? John, link to story(s)?

    And speaking of elites and dirt, have you read This Town?

  • dula

    I stand by my point that the uptown gay elite were nowhere near Stonewall because their career$ were too precious for them to fight publicly. Courageous working class gays kicked off the gay rights movement at Stonewall.

  • Indigo

    That works too but when I get up on my soapbox, sometimes I call the the “Apha-Queers.”

  • Indigo

    LOL! Kauai’i or bust?

  • Randy

    You mean, like how we oppressed fight and actually won for our rights?

    The fact is that the strategies in New York, Maryland, Iowa and other places actually worked. We’ve had success with repealing DADT and striking down DOMA, which affects gays in EVERY states.

    That doesn’t mean they will work in every place. We’ve had defeats, like in S. Carolina, and in 33 other states. But it does mean that people have built up experience, trust, and money (yes, money is needed to win victories), and they shouldn’t be so casually dismissed.

    If you have a better strategy for winning in your state, and you don’t need the advice from people who have actually won rights in other state, then by all means, go at it. Raise your money, win your allies and get to work. It isn’t easy, but I gaurantee that at the end of the day, you with either win or your lose. And if you win, you get to be called a “gay elite!”

  • dcinsider

    None. The term “transgender” did not exist until 20 years after Stonewall.

  • Indigo

    I like what you’re saying here.

  • dula

    If the concept of the transgendered didn’t exist in 1969, how many of those “drag queens” were actually transgendered?

  • dcinsider

    Again, one person does not a movement make. I stand by the correct historical context of Stonewall, which were gay men, including drag queens, and some lesbians. Not a single transgender person.

  • dcinsider

    “In many ways, Sylvia was the Rosa Parks of the modern transgender movement, a term that was not even coined until two decades after Stonewall.”

    Village Voice, February 26, 2002

    One cannot be present at an event of one did not exist at the time of it’s occurrence. One person who clams to have been at Stonewall later identified as transgender, and this entitles transgender people to hijack a movement that occurred before transgender even existed.

  • Randy

    So why do you read John’s blog? Sounds like you should start one of your own.

  • dula

    “Today, July 2nd, is LGBT pioneer Sylvia Rivera’s birthday. Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Transsexual & Transgender People (MAGNET) and many LGBT people honor this heroic transgender woman, who is credited by historians as being the person who “threw the first heel” in the Stonewall Inn that fateful night in 1969, when the LGBT community decided to fight back against police brutality. Rivera and many other trans and gender non-conforming people of color at the inn that night were “guilty” of having “gender inappropriate” clothing, which is the excuse the police used to exercise their prejudice with violence. The police were surprised when the guests at the bar decided to fight back! This riot catapulted the modern LGBT movement, and Rivera and other trans people were responsible for kicking things off.

    Rivera continued to advocate for LGBT equality, particularly for those disenfranchised and homeless. Sadly, after the gay establishment was done using her to get publicity to raise money, she was abandoned by the gay community, and actually died impoverished. They expressed that “transgender issues are too extreme”. The lesbian separatist “radical feminist” community would exclude her from women’s conferences, and she was even one time escorted out of a queer women’s conference by transphobic lesbians. She was banned from the New York Gay Center for publicly, and aggressively, asking them to take better care of homeless queer youth. When Rivera used her voice to call out the oppression of trans, poor and/or people of color from Gay Inc, she was blacklisted from many organizations, media outlets and social circles. Though the Gay Male Media Mafia tried to silence her truth telling, shortly before she died she foretold the future saying,

    One of our main goals now is to destroy the Human Rights Campaign because I’m tired of sitting on the back of the bumper. It’s not even the back of the bus anymore — it’s the back of the bumper.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ashley-love/on-stonewall-riot-initiat_b_634115.html

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I don’t remember the dead body story, but John’s written several times about the violent mugging he endured — and the blithe indifference from the police afterwards when he tried to report it.

  • randy

    Huh? Sorry, but if all you can do is bitch and complain, then why are you reading John’s blog?

  • emjayay

    But it’s four of them unless one person bothers to have multiple online identities. I have two Yahoo accounts and somehow the internets know I am one person.

  • caphillprof

    Nobody elected or authorized the ACLU or Lambda Legal to be in charge of the one and only strategy for achieving gay equality. Red State folk are free to do whatever. However, they are no more in charge of the ACLU or Lambda Legal than the ACLU or Lambda Legal is in charge of them.

  • Indigo

    The Downpatrol Troll is back. :-)

  • emjayay

    Caps. Also, sentences.

  • Randy

    Yes, exactly. But so what is your point? We still have to fight in many states. If you have a better strategy to get rights in Virginia, please bring it forth. And when you do, you need to do the heavy lifting of convincing people that it really IS the better strategy. Once you do that, then you need to raise money to get your strategy off the ground.

    Even then, it’s going to take a lot of time. But is’ guess it’s easier to just complain.

  • Indigo

    That’s fair. We seem to imagine ourselves living in an instant turn-around world. It puts me in mind of a Simson’s rerun I saw on TV just last night where Marge was fixing a meatloaf in the microwave and told Homer it would be ready in 8 seconds. “I can’t wait 8 second,” Homer exclaimed, “Why are microwaves so slow?” The biggest challenge before us might very well be to help that instant turn-around mentality learn to appreciate how the flow of time works.

    Since I live in Orlando, Florida, just 20 miles south of Sanford where the infamous Zimmerman trial just recently took place, I have a keen awareness of the futility of legal processes that backfire. I wonder about folks who want favorable results right now. Don’t they have poems to write, songs to sing, quilts to sew, meals to cook, homes to clean, sunsets to watch? What do they do all day? I wonder.

  • Rambie

    John, I agree in Indigo above. I know you’ve done great work for LGBT causes and have also been critical of the HRC and others when they’ve sat on their hands. Like Indigo, I stopped giving donations to HRC and instead donate to my local Utah Pride Center.

    I think the rage in the blog you’re speaking of is mostly pointed at the HRC and like groups than to you, John. Frankly, I can relate to the anger in the blog though, now that the HRC, etc has patted themselves on the back for the recent SC decisions they seem –once again– to be reluctant to continue to push and advocate LGBT rights in all 50 states. In other words, they seem ready to declare victory and go back to sleep, while those of us in red states are ready to continue the fight. Again, I know you aren’t that way John.

  • PeteWa

    so, Sylvia Rivera was just lying all that time?

  • emjayay

    Speaking of individuals, who are the Kors and Kendall who fucked up?

  • dcinsider

    There was not a single transgender person at Stonewall. This ridiculous myth needs to be debunked. Drag queens are NOT transgender for god’s sake.

    Can we stop perpetuating this idiotic, historically inaccurate attempt by the transgender community to hijack this historic event and totally rewrite history? When is someone going to tell the T that they need to stop doing this? Are we all so afraid of being attacked in our own community we cannot stand up to a subset that perpetuates this lie?

    John, if your sick of “gay elite” I can tell you I’m sick to death of this transgender nonsense at Stonewall.

    Next thing we will hear about is how transgender people stormed the Bastille.

  • emjayay

    OK I know, not exactly your point John, but have you ever written about being mugged or even better (c’mon, how can anyone not want to hear the story) the story of The Body in the Backyard? I used to live there (although not exactly in the This Town circles) and may be back, so I want all five W’s and the H.

    And are you sure your apartment only cost twice as much a square foot as your parent’s house? If my small apartment in the cheapest non-murderous and totally unfashionable part of Brooklyn in the far reaches of the subway system went condo, it would cost three times today’s price of the four bedroom brick house with of course back yard and garage I grew up in, in a suburb of Buffalo.

  • dcinsider

    Not sure how this comment agrees with mine. Again, white male gays are not the enemy. The media also loves to focus on Kate and William, who I think we can all agree are not the representative heterosexual couple. Criticize the media, not the subjects of the media attention.

  • Jim

    You just can’t stop talking about yourself, can you.
    It is so annoying.
    This was about elite gays. You had to insert your “sacrifice” discussing what you’d make in the private sector.

    For fuck sake, quit acting like a persecuted, whiny gay elite. When writing something, don’t use yoursef as an example because then the article beomes about you.

    And, often, gay elites fuck up. Kors did, kendall did, and you do too.
    Nothing more contemptible than a narcissistic pity party.

  • Randy

    I agree with everything you said. however, my nuance, if you will, is that the commentator was complaining that a lawsuit isn’t filed in a red state to achieve marriage equality.

    Well, that’s because in some states, you are just going to lose. And if you lose, it might very well set back the cause for marriage equality for a long time. There is a lot of impatience people feel, and it’s quite understandable. But you cannot substitute impatience for pragmatic goals.

    Some people think we should have all our rights right NOW. I agree, we should. But the fact is that we don’t. It takes time to get them, time to fine allies, money to fight for them, and good strategies to achieve the best and quickest outcome. Some people don’t want to hear that — they think all you have to do is file a lawsuit and bang! we our rights.

    It doesn’t work that way. Sometimes you lose. And lawsuits take a very long time to resolve in any case. It’s easy to demand action, but that doesn’t mean it results in a favorable outcome.

  • Whitewitch

    Caution is a word I never use, neither in personal life, nor in my political beliefs. And albeit I am often wrong not to go cautiously into that dark night, I find life more fulfilling and sometimes surprising when throwing caution to the wind actually works. I say fight the good fight always and fight it valiantly without concern for safe platitudes.

    And for you John, I hope someday you get out of DC. I have been “out” for 1 and 1/2 years now and find life so much more fulfilling and full of Peace. Travel safely my brother.

  • dula

    The gay elite are the ones who get invited to the White House as spokespeople for the entire LGBT community.

  • emjayay

    Three down votes?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The term ‘gay elite’ smacks of a subtle homophobic connotation. Personally, I prefer the term ‘concern troll.’ Or in the case of those who advise against fighting for our rights in every peaceful, non-violent avenue available to us, ‘professional concern trolls.’

    Losing a case, even losing it decisively doesn’t “set us back years, if not decades,” as the usual argument goes. Same deal with legislation and ballot props when we’re on the losing side.

    What it does is draw the line of injustice all the more clearly, so that ordinary folks not otherwise involved in the matter can see it. For instance, in the aftermath of DOMA’s Section 3 overturn and Prop 8 being reset back to the original Federal court ruling, a great many counseled us to ease back, don’t encourage an anti-equality backlash. Unfortunately, one factor left out of the equation was that after June’s SCOTUS rulings, you wouldn’t believe how often I read or heard from people who thought, for instance, this meant same-sex marriage was the law throughout America. It is not. And now all the follow-on cases need to be filed and actions taken.

    A county in Pennsylvania deciding to try to issue licenses. A couple in Ohio challenging their very strict state-DOMA so that a husband can be listed on the death certificate of his spouse as being legally married to his husband. Cases here in New Mexico challenging our de facto ban.

    I do value the advice of legal experts and civil rights strategists. I very, very much value the work of activists like yourself, John. However, I’ve been around long enough and likely have fewer years on this mortal coil ahead of me than behind. That’s why my reflexive answer when someone counsels caution and (to use my own pejorative language) timidity in attempting to advance civil rights is “No. Waiting serves only the status quo.”

  • emjayay

    But only the fashionable islands.

  • http://www.oneutah.org Glenden Brown

    I believe the dynamic you’ve identified replays itself all over in all sorts of ways.

    A few years ago, I was visiting the small Utah town in which I grew up (I now live in Salt Lake which has nondiscrimination ordinances and a partnership registry); a gay couple who lives in that town (friends of the family), used the opportunity to tell me all the ways that those of us living in the city are a disconnected elite who don’t understand understand what it’s like to be gay in a small town and our priorities and strategies are all wrong. I even had to hear how educated professional gay men, like me, couldn’t possibly be aware of the concerns of working class gay folk. I was in trouble for having gone to a fundraising dinner for Equality Utah – I was told how that’s just another sign of how disconnected and elite I am even though Equality Utah has gone to small towns to help gay folk in those small towns. The details of the complaint may differ but the basic theme feels the same.

    These complaints seem to me reflective of the broader political and cultural divide that shows up as rural resentment directed at urban dwellers, Southern anger at Northerners. As an educated, employed, professional gay white man, I know that I have privilege. I also know I took myself to the state legislature, to the mayor’s office, to city hall, to the county council and I figured out how to work with elected officials to pass hate crimes protections, to persuade Salt Lake city to pass nondiscrimination ordinances, and to establish a partnership registry. If I’m not working on nondiscrimination in Duchesne or Rich counties it’s not because I don’t care and my priorites are wrong, it’s because I did that work in my county. I’ll teach you how I did it, but I’m not going to do it for you and not going to stop working on marriage equality because you don’t have housing nondiscrimination yet in the town of Vernal.

    It also seems to me to accept the basic conservative notion that college professors and educated professional are the elite but billionaires who own casinos and WalMart and oil companies aren’t the elite. Somehow, those of us who pursued education and professional careers are more elite than the people who sit on the boards of directors of America’s multinational conglomerates and who ship jobs to China. I think it’s also connected to your earlier posts about Urvashi Vaid and gay rights groups being criticized for not prioritizing working against poverty – similar themes of frustration with an identified elite who are somehow the problem.

  • emjayay

    Well, you can be an anti-gay but actually gay yourself activist and then when convenient and times are changing suddenly change sides sort of and move to a multimillion dollar apartment in a high rise in Chelsea and continue to make more money than 99.99 per cent of us.

  • cole3244

    i associate elite with wealth but to me even more with intelligence, therefore i don’t consider many of the con rw to be elite except for their wealth because although many on the right have intellect they don’t use it in an intelligent way but in a malicious way, but that’s just my prejudice against the right raising its ugly head and justifiably so.

  • mirror

    Elite is a relative term.

  • lilyannerose

    From the outside it appears to me to be another manifestation of the unconscious participation in the ‘divide and conquer’ which enables the power structure to maintain control and direct affairs in the way which seems best. Simplistic I know, however, in the end isn’t it what is all boils down to? As long as factions are separated and everyone is made to feel that their needs are different from those of others the populace remains split which enables those in power to maintain that power.

  • mirror

    I think you have misunderstood what the critics mean by elite. I don’t think they are talking about money. I think they are talking about status, hierarchy, and influence.

  • BrandySpears

    An oldie but goodie – Sam Harris In Defense of Elitism

    http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/in-defense-of-elitism

  • chris10858

    In reading this article, oh John… it’s exactly what an elite gay would say. LOL *wink, wink*

    Seriously though, I know myself and many other regular readers do appreciate the hard work you and others have devoted to progressive/liberal causes over the years.

    I have somewhat mixed emotions on the various issues such as marriage equality, ENDA, DADT, etc. Several years ago, I thought it was more important to promote ENDA as it benefited a lot more LGBT folks than say repeal of DADT. Nevertheless, in retrospect, I think for Americans to see openly gay and lesbian soldiers serving openly has really helped to promote other civil rights for the LGBT community.

    When the attorneys went to court to fight prop 8, I agreed with their actions and disagreed with groups such as Lamda Legal. Nevertheless, I think Lambda Legal and the ACLU are awesome advocates of our community. One group who I WOULD refer to as the gay elites are some of the folks who lead the HRC. It seems all they ever get accomplished is to secure themselves positions in the Obama Administration. Until the HRC changes the way they do business, I’d never give them a nickel of my money.

  • dula

    The gay elite were nowhere near Stonewall. The riots were accomplished by drag queens, hustlers, and the transgendered. It’s ironic that many of the gay elite wish to distance themselves from the transgendered community…the ones who kicked (or bricked) off the entire gay rights movement.

  • kmcdevitt

    I don’t like using the term “elites,” and I don’t think that the condescension is universal by any means, but I have noticed some pundits and activists, who live in progressive jurisdictions such as NY, DC or MA suggest that those living in less progressive places should try to avoid judicial solutions to such issues as SSM, because a “populist” or legislative solution to these inequities is somehow inherently more legitimate than a judicial one. That particular tack truly infuriates me. For one thing, it rather breezily ignores the appropriate function of the judicial branch, but more directly, it is unbelievably patronizing and unsympathetic to preach to less fortunate people about what should be the more appropriate solution to their civil inequality. Makes me absolutely crazy…

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    In this country it can and often is used as a slur. America has an odd love-hate relationship with success.

  • Bill_Perdue

    ” I don’t know anyone who got rich being a gay activist …” Solmonese may not have gotten rich off the half a million and change he got from HRC every year be he certainly got more comfortable and 99.99% of us can ever hope to be. Of course maybe the question revolves around whether or not to describe him as an activist.

  • Bill_Perdue

    There is an ‘elite’ in our communities and it’s composed of the rich and the influential. No surprises – there are elites in many communities and in society as a whole.

    That said, the dichotomy is not between an elite and everyone else, but between competing political perspectives. There have always been two in our communities and they’ve hardened as a result of the initial upsurge around Stonewall and the period when we were decimated by the plague.

    One of those currents, and the one currently dominating the movement, is a reformist, accommodationist and incrementalist wing that emphasizes working within the Democrat and Republican parties, is largely self appointed and values, for the most part, lobbying over demonstrations and building long term activist groups.

    The second current, anti-reformist with a politically independent perspective, emphasizing activist groups, a militant agenda and direct and mass actions will probably not appear until the radicalization deepens. As the social struggle heats up it’ll create mass movements and demonstrations to oppose austerity, union busting and the new upsurge of racism and sexism, and when that will happen is anyone’s guess, but it is likely to happen sooner than later as Obama and Congress execute increasingly sharp right turns.

    There’s no question that the Stonewall movement grew out of the radicalization of the 1960′s and 70′s and that the lessons learned in the antiwar and student/youth movements and the emergent feminist movement were precursors to not just the Stonewall anti-police actions but the growth, almost overnight of a full blown gay movement. It’s a repeat of that upsurge after demoralizing events like the plague and defeats at the hands of the Democrats and Republicans that we’re impatiently waiting for.

  • keirmeister

    To John’s point, the person that wrote that blog post is confusing liberal and right-wing advocacy. I work with a DC-based “liberal” organization (if you can call upholding the Constitution “liberal”), and it’s very disheartening comparing a “liberal” organization’s operating budget to those well-financed right-wing ones.

    It is definitely not what I would call “elite” by any stretch.

  • voltronforce

    My friend pointed out that during the Prop 8 decision reading the HRC was passing out their flags to supporters to wave despite that fact that they refuses to play a role in the case and thought it was a bad idea. Quick to take credit

  • Denguyfl

    Exactly! Marriage is far down the road in the South.There is no state in the South where you can’t be fired for being gay (a few municipalities are exceptions). I was against Chad leading HRC because we knew where he is coming from. We need more of the Arkansas boy he grew up as than the “privileged ” (your word) California one he turned into,

    Also sorely missing from any “gay” organizations is HIV/AIDS advocacy. It is missing from here as well. It is still very much a “gay” disease.

    From a HIV+ Southern Fag.

  • Julien Pierre

    What’s with the word “elite” ?

    Being considered “elite” doesn’t imply that one didn’t make sacrifices, John.
    People at the top of their field tend to make many of them, in fact.

    You can never make everybody happy when you are a public figure, regardless of what you do.

    As HAL 9000 said in “2001″, “I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.”

  • http://heimaey.us/ jim morrissey

    I agree. HRC is a bit…well…HRC, but the gay elite thing is off target. I do think media portrays too may gay elite on TV, etc. I don’t see much interest in gays of color or poverty, just rich white men who can adopt, own houses, have once source of income, and go on vacations to Hawaii.

  • courseir

    this is repulsive and reeks of privilege

  • dcinsider

    I don’t see John defending HRC or Lambda Legal so much as expressing his frustration with the notion that fellow gay people are our problem, and that gay white males specifically are worthy of derision. Gay white males have, for better or worse, funded the gay rights movement from the start. And if not for the AIDS pandemic, would have continued to do so. Gay white males are not the enemy.

    And there are no “gay elites.” There are the idiots at HRC, of course, but I would never refer to that crop of nitwits as elite.

    Let’s cut John a break here. His point, in my mind, is well taken.

  • joeinoklahoma

    the problem is, while Lambda Legal, HRC and others told everyone to wait, the Log Cabin Repubs were pressing on in the courts. for a left Dem like myself, that was embarrassing.

  • JefferyK

    Apparently, the elite gays are feeling uncomfortable and are trying to shame the rest of us back into line.

  • Indigo

    The issue you raise is far more nuanced than you present. Your decision to forgo the higher range of income options was, at least, an option for you. That’s not always the case in our community. You’re right to expect respect but respect rarely flows to those who imagine it to be a commodity that they somehow earned. It’s a free gift . . . like the grace of the gods . . . and arises from others, not from the will of the recipient, at least not outside the magical world of mythological South American dictators.

    I prefer to speak of “limousine liberals” rather than the “gay elite” since those in the gay community I’ve known over the past 50, yes fifty!, years have defined a continuum of opinion from overt Nazi to flashy queen to rugged Colt model narcissists and beyond into the more recent politically devout that sometimes help but also sometimes hinder with ideological repertoires that stagger the everyday pocketbook. I will not, for example, endow one single penny to the HRC for their cocktail parties. No. Their presentations are styled in a form of demand that is unacceptable. And that’s whom I consider the self-selected “gay elite.”

    I do not owe them respect, I am no Hobbesian social philosopher like John Roberts who imagines that wealth must be venerated. What’s more, I reject the notion that just because statistical distributions inventory me among the elderly new poor that I should doff my cap to the limousine liberals or give my pennies to their self-defined worthy causes.

    Don’t bark up that tree, John. It demeans your very good work over the past decade.

  • bill

    As a successful GLBT activist who made a difference i can testify that progress within the community does not begin with large, state or national organizations (who often join in later when progress is happening), but with individuals. In my case i was informed that where i lived did not represent a place where progress would be noted and attention would go elsewhere. A possible court case was turned down by LAMBDA because a similar court case would be a better PR move in another, bigger city. That case lost, and the judge said it would have been different had the case involved….and then described my very case. Locally I got no backing from the “elite” GLBT organization (the A-List Gays) because it was not their issue.
    I went on my own, slowly getting grassroots support and made things better for GLBT students in my district. Now the very organization who waited until the work was done, jumped in claiming they had been supportive all along, and have since taken credit for what they had not done.
    I have seen the elite thing first hand, and there is justification for the complaints.
    Oh, even as each group i approached for help turned me down, the had no hesitation putting me on their mailing lists and asking for donations.

  • http://www.theangryfag.com/ TheAngryFag

    I would replace the term “gay elite” with “professional homosexuals”, which is how I view organizations like the HRC, and then the criticism would be more apt.

  • Irresponsible

    Here’s an alternative: let the people who are still being oppressed fight for their rights as they see fit. Support them, don’t condescend to them and tell them “we’re the experts, we know best, just wait for your rights” then get all pissy when they have a problem with that.

  • Alias Undercover

    TomFGP: Hear, hear!

  • TomFGP

    You’re completely misrepresenting their argument by focusing on how you could have taken a high-paying job but didn’t thus…thus what exactly? That doesn’t by virtue mean they should have to do as told. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly very good of you to have decided to not take the job and work on making people’s lives better, that certainly deserves respect.

    That said, the argument they were making – as I understood it – is that these are LGBTQ people in safe blue states that already have employment protections and marriage who are just lecturing those in red states or states that still do not have equal rights that they should wait and do nothing, despite the fact that when you do not have the benefits of those protections it’s galling to be told by people in NYC or MA or the like to just ‘be patient’, knowing that those people aren’t exactly going to be affected anyway. Whether it’s over LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, or racial discrimination, that will always smack of an elite in their comfortable, safe places telling the ‘little people’ who are still suffering from what those ‘elites’ are safe from, that -they- know what’s best, so please be quiet, grin and bear it, we’ll just be over here, safe from it all anyway. That’s what they mean by spoiled, they don’t mean rich, they mean legally protected and telling those that aren’t to ‘just wait’, despite the fact it’s not them suffering.

    Ignoring that and instead grumbling that you could have been rich but aren’t so they have no right to complain does not help that view, if anything it makes it worse. We do not measure how much we should listen to people depending on how much they -could have- been earning, but aren’t, that stinks of ignoring the issue and focusing on how you specifically are inconvenienced.

  • S1AMER

    The most logical reason for anyone striking out against another’s “status” is jealousy. Not principle. Not reasoned argument. Just jealousy, plain old fashioned jealousy.

    There are quite a number of commenters on this blog who hate everyone and everything connected with those they term the “gay elite.” Do they offer an alternative? Do they offer anything in the way of constructive criticism? Or do they only seek to destroy?

  • Alias Undercover

    “when experts are telling you it’s best, you follow their advice.”

    Powerfully reminiscent of the “responsible Negro” arguments of the civil rights era. Plus ca chose…

  • Alias Undercover

    Seems to me it’s not so much a rich vs. poor thing as a blue northern state vs. red southern state thing, and frankly, you do come off as spoiled and condescending. Misrepresenting the other side’s position, as you did here, doesn’t help your argument.

    What are you giving up? Money? Money’s not the point. “You need to do what I say and be nice to me because I could be making more money not doing this?” Please.

    You’ve got what people in Virginia are still having to fight for.

  • Payback’s a B!tch

    Well, I, for one, am thankful for all you do. You should be too. It’s hard to here “wait” when you are being oppressed, I get it… but when experts are telling you it’s best, you follow their advice. Keep up the good work and let the armchair lawyers believe what they will.

  • kingstonbears

    Don’t forget that it was a lot of us older so called “gay elite” that were around when the fight for equal rights started with Stonewall. It has taken decades to reach where we are today and, unfortunately, it will probably take a couple of more before there is total equality across the map. But the bickering and divisional attitudes have to stop. There are enough enemies out there without turning on each other.

  • tcwaters

    Nice post John, although I want to raise a few other ideas.

    You say that “Prop 8 worked out fine.” This may on the surface be true, but it isn’t the whole picture. In some regards, while the Prop 8 case was good for California, look at the cost associated with the case, and in the end, can we really say that it was all money well spent? Maybe, but maybe not.

    I’d say hooray for California same-sex couples, but in reality, the case was not executed perfectly or at the right time to get the most bang for the buck.Too much work was needed and I’m not sure that ending up with marriage in one (albeit huge) state was really worth it. Of course the fact we didn’t lose in the Prop 8 case is good and the result sets the stage for more work to happen. But in the end, the win in the Windsor case was by far a huge victory which will have huge impact on the future. It is an example of a case that really got the biggest bang for the amount it cost to execute.

    The problem I have with the “gay elites” argument is that it is so similar to the Tea Party BS. It comes from people who may have a point, but they are unwilling to do the really hard work and as well, fail to see the bigger picture. They are so caught up in a victim mentality, and they want someone to do something because they feel they have it so bad.

    Those in deep red states fail to grasp that a sole judiciary settlement or even a legislative settlement alone won’t end the problems. Yes, action at both the judicial and legislative arenas are needed, but at the same time, cultural change must come and that comes from everyday people doing that change- bringing it into being. In other words, there is no easy, quick solution and we need all to be willing to play whatever part we can, rather than blame others for what might be rational and valuable work or ideas.

    With such an enormous push, especially judicial, for marriage rights, we are setting the stage for a modern day version of segregation where businesses and individuals are allowed to treat GLBTQ persons as separate but not equal. Great! A couple can marry, but if they can be denied employment, how far ahead are they? And judicial cases are happening that set the stage for businesses to claim religious liberty as their justification for discrimination. I’ve been writing about this on thomascwaters.com.

    Those who seek to blame the “gay elite” want an easy fix for which one doesn’t exist, and they don’t want to do the really hard work to create change at the local, regional and state level in red states. If they stopped complaining and put that same time and energy in to change in their local and state level, it would actually accomplish something.

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