LGBT Give Out Day | Give and Don’t Give

By Melanie Nathan, May 08, 2013.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 5.21.37 PMThere are many organizations vying for your dollars on Give OUT Day to be held on May 9th, 2013 –  as one group’s e-mail plea noted:-

“On May 9, hundreds of LGBTQ organizations and thousands of individuals will be participating in Give OUT Day — an effort to not only support the work of the organizations you think are having the biggest impact on LGBTQ equality, but also to tell your friends about that support in a public way. We hope that, by participating in this national effort, folks across the country who may have never given to our organization before might be inspired to do so!”

AND another noted:

“The first-ever national day of giving for LGBTQ organizations around the country. What does that mean? It means that thousands of LGBTQ youth, adults and straight allies will collectively show their support for “our movement” and raise awareness of the work that we all do every day to carry the LGBTQ movement forward.”

And what does that all really mean?

Well, let us talk about the LGBT movement -funny they are all asking for money as if a unified whole – that’s nice- but do we have a movement and is it a unified whole?

To my way of thinking a unified whole means one simple truth – a call by ALL for FULL EQUALITY! But that is not how this has come down.

Well maybe to some extent with the odd beneficial coalition here and there over the years and a momentary march that has led ….where – ah to the steps of SCOTUS for a marriage centric shot at some equality? Really!

But taking an honest look, despite recent gains, it has failed to set the ultimate and critical benchmark for Full Equality. A one stop goal FULL EQUALITY! I know the excuse for the decades of backdoor approach:-  “We would never have succeeded – the climate was not right..blah…blah.”  But imagine if Martin Luther King Jr. or Nelson Mandela would have said that about their movements?

They set their benchmark at times when they too knew the odds of success were so stacked against them.  Yet they went after it regardless of outcome. That is the true measure of a movement and what a movement needs is true leadership.  Leaders who can bring everyone together for the ultimate benchmark. A piece of legislation that says no one can ever discriminate, anywhere, anyhow against anyone gay, lesbian, bi or transgender! But alas that has yet to happen for the LGBT movement and our backdoor approach has marginalized our chances of it, sending us into the clutches of the religious right who have led all of America to believe that it is ALL about marriage. And we bought into our own marginalization.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 2.58.13 PMI believe we made the critical mistake back in the 70’s- not to set that FULL EQUALITY benchmark, because had we done so when we had a movement, we would not be running around micro focused on marriage, struggling for marriage, state by state, and job legislation with screwy religious exemption clauses and immigration equality with our binationals as pawns in the religious right’s war-games – no we would not.

But we did not have the leadership. We did not have the unity and we still don’t.

Had we established that critical goal, we would have possibly been looking at a Federal Civil Rights Bill by the time we had an Obama President, ready to swing that pen during that 2010 ‘Lame Duck Session’ with the support of a very full Democratic Congress. But we were not ready at the right time because we did not ask for it to start with. Now THAT would have been a movement! What a shame!

And now you are being asked to provide that industry which failed us with your pink dollars on GIVE OUT DAY.

But please this is not all negative so read on….. like my late mother used to say, “If my aunty had balls she would be uncle” and so we are saddled with what my grandma used to say “what was was and what is is!”

“Oh no how can she say that – we have made so much progress?”

Yes we have 11 states with marriage – and a little bit of this and a little bit of that! But look at how many states that have Bills which institutionalize discrimination, not to mention the 30 states which have constitutional bans on marriage equality.

By the way a Full Civil Equality Bill would have meant that every single State would be compelled to allow same-sex marriage. Marriage,  jobs, immigration and everything else, would have flowed with equality everywhere had we set it as our goal and fought in a unified fashion to attain such a civil rights bill. Marriage and all the rest of it would have flowed by outcome of law and legal necessity – not religious warfare.

But alas, instead the movement has crafted itself around the pioneering ‘entrepreneurship’ of individual groups, often failing in transparency and disinterest in unified strategy. Many feel the leadership is more involved in fund raising to ensure those high salaries – an industry to say the least on the backs of our rights. Some call it GAY INC. and others call is EQUALITY INC.

They have established themselves as the individual gate-keepers of our rights, each right carved out into piecemeal quests for legislation – a costly assault on our real lives –  jobs, health, marriage, immigration, etc.  And so our individual organizations that ask for your pink dollar on this GIVE OUT DAY each subscribed to one or more advocacy realms, often ride the fundraising crest on the backs of  a favorite piece of legislation or some other in the moment call to action.

Yet we need them – they are our voice – as we have done nothing to make it any different and so we conform to what we are told and at the very least we start to show we will no longer be duped by less than – we have to hold these organizations accountable for their benchmarking and their work and we can do it by showing we will  be very careful when we dole out our pink bucks. We will ask questions, insist on seeing the IRS 990’s, look at who is earning what, how much of the budget is spent on unnecessary staffing, how much is spent on mere fundraising and how much is spent on the work itself, what are the goals, who is talking to who, is there a unifying strategy, see who is transparent, who respects the grass roots, who is celebrity centric and non responsive about the real world – and finally ask:donts2

WHAT ABOUT FULL EQUALITY – do you support the idea? And if they say errr, duh or huh – you know you are donating to the wrong group:-

That all said here are our recommendations for your GIVE OUT DAY and we support a select few:

DO NOT :

Our list of WHO TO NOT NOT give to is:

HRC.org
ALLOUT.org – no transparency- numerous e-mails unanswered to fundraising questions.
Immigration Equality.org (2011 IRS 990 Over $1,200,000 in salaries of a $1,700,000 budget)
(More information as to why not read here at – http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2012/12/21/melanie-nathans-annual-do-donate-and-do-not-donate-2012/)

DO:

WHO we recommend you DO GIVE to is:

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 5.38.28 PMGay U.S.A. the Movie – The film delivers the message for FULL EQUALITY – your pink dollar will help fund completion of this imperative film, which to date has for the most part been self-funded.  see www.gayusathemovie.com/about . (Caveat – I am a co-producer of this film). DONATE

GetEQUAL – One of the few groups that does not pay huge salaries, is grass root centric, takes risks to be heard and demands FULL EQUALITY. Even though GetEQUAL speaks of Full Equality, they have yest to set a tangible basis for such, by for example working toward legislation that can embody such. However out of all the groups they are the only ones who seem to be calling for it: “Our mission is to empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and our allies to take bold action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way.” “GetEQUAL is a national grassroots social justice organization fighting for full federal LGBT equality through an intersectional lens.” DONATE

NCLR – “The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.” They work hard for your rights. Hands on!  DONATE

Lost N Found Youth – Lost-n-Found Youth, Inc. is Atlanta’s only nonprofit agency actively working to take homeless LGBT youth off the street accepting NO state or federal money relying completely on the gay community and allies for support.  Our OBLOGDEE piece on them here.  DONATE

Ali Forney Center – The quintessential homeless youth center in New York City who service queer youth coming from every corner of the US, recently devastated by Hurricane Sandy, who OBLOGDEE has covered here and here.  DONATE

by Melanie Nathan, nathan@privatecourts.com; and
Cathy Kristofferson helped with the recommendations for homeless youth centers and would like to second the notion that all donations in any desired category be given to groups actually doing the work not large corporate foundations with huge overhead. (Caveat Cathy is an all volunteer State Lead for GetEQUAL MA)

2014 UPDATED:

Well now we have 17 marriage States and a bunch of stays and appeals – great strides but still at the expense of FULL EQUALITY –

We have SCOTUS win for the demise of DOMA and so we have Federal marriage equality via The Edie Windsor case which is resulting in the wins in other States-  by random law firms and some organizations.

We have a HRC spending millions of dollars on and ENDA which is so fraught with religious exemptions that it is hardly worth passing, for fear that it will be the new DADT or DOMA for our next generation – via institutionalized discrimination – that is if it succeeds in its current form that passed the Senate. We also have HRC bragging about $3million dollars to spend on global equality- a concept so far fetched and foreign to the 76 countries which criminalize homosexuality. In fact all this brag does is buy into the binary that we the West are paying Africa to be gay.

We should not be bragging and that money should be used to house, feed, and do all we can to relocate LGBT people who are exiled, in camps, detained, and running for cover from mobs trying to kill them. The ignorance to be talking equality when old penal codes still hamper their survival and existence defies all logic. Not one cent has flowed from HRC to a single African person living in hiding and starving, as we speak. The CEO of HRC makes around $350,000 pa and the execs all earn from $160,000 pa to over $200,000 per annum and there are a good few of them. Check out the 990’s.

SO who are my 2014 picks:

THE BIG NO GOES TO:

HRC – stealing the work of others in quest for donations…. and ridiculous strategies and programs.

ALLOUT as in 2013 – doing not much more than encouraging signatures on petitions and raising money for those fat salaries. And a little noise from comfy armchairs-  not to mention those large salaries on the backs of victims of hate and crime.

Immigration Equality – NOTHING AT ALL – seriously nothing – cannot even return phone calls or e-mails to desperate LGBt people in immigration trauma – have asylees waiting up to 8 months for return calls. Ignoring pleas for help where they can help. Sending out work to pro bono attorneys and then pretending they did the work. A glorified referral service. Not to mention the mess up they made with your dollars when they sold us down the river on UAFA. Thank G-d for Edie Windsor and DOMA! But they probably hate her for making them irrelevant!

THE BIG YES GOES TO:

1) RESCUE FUND 2  (not tax deductible) at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/lgbt-africa-rescue-fund-2/x/532915#home (Caveat I run this fund and 100% of proceeds – after bank fees and Indiegogo fees – go to the people needing housing and food- no salaries.)


No job, no community, no home, no money… this campaign will provide direct help for food and shelter.

Ugandan lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people are living in exile in their own country, as a direct result of:

1. The Anti-Homosexuality Act, effective in March 2014, criminalizes same sex relations, imposing sentences of 14 years to life in prison. It outlaws so called “promotion” of homosexuality – which has already shut down major HIV/AIDS medical clinics;

2. The public outings of LGBTI Ugandans in the Ugandan Tabloids, and police parading of LGBTI people in public, effectively call for lynchings, witch hunts and mob vengeance;

3. A major public march of 10,000 people was led and supported by Ugandan Church leaders, soldiers and police in uniform; even the President of Uganda was there to praise the new law which institutionalizes the persecution of LGBTI Ugandans.;

4. Mothers, fathers, siblings, friends, neighbors and village elders banishing LGBTI Ugandans from their villages, landlords evicting them, employers firing them, universities and schools revoking scholarships and expelling students, threats and assaults, arrests and more….

These are modern day Ann Franks and it is happening on our watch – did we say never again? DONATE HERE https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/lgbt-africa-rescue-fund-2/x/532915#home

2) Gay U.S.A. the Movie – The film delivers the message for FULL EQUALITY – your pink dollar will help fund completion of this imperative film, which to date has for the most part been self-funded.   The film is about the anti-gay movement and the Republican history of using gays as a political wedge -the first film of its kind, covering all the decades. Four years of research with one more to go, To deliver its punch before the 2016 election.  see www.gayusathemovie.com/about . (Caveat – I am a co-producer of this film). DONATE

3) NCLR – “The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.” They work hard for your rights. Hands on!  DONATE

4) Lost N Found Youth – Lost-n-Found Youth, Inc. is Atlanta’s only nonprofit agency actively working to take homeless LGBT youth off the street accepting NO state or federal money relying completely on the gay community and allies for support.  Our OBLOGDEE piece on them here.  DONATE

Ali Forney Center – The quintessential homeless youth center in New York City who service queer youth coming from every corner of the US, recently devastated by Hurricane Sandy, who OBLOGDEE has covered here and here.  DONATE

 


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