Queerty.com goes by the slogan, “No agenda. Except that gay one.” But really, that’s a little questionable.
On Thursday, the blog ran a post entitled, “SHOCK: National Equality March Will Not Demand Marriage Equality, DADT Repeal,” referring to the National Equality March planned for Oct. 11 in D.C. You can see it here, but be warned there are more holes than facts.
It’s one thing to post your opinion about how you feel about something, but this is being presented with no writer’s name attached, so we’re left to assume the entire organization is throwing out some pretty powerful accusations. Therefore, Queerty is claiming that organizer and activist Cleve Jones has gone back on his word regarding plans for the march, including canceling an AIDS vigil, demanding marriage equality and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and DOMA.
The piece takes a snarky tone, essentially claiming that there are a whole lot of cooks in this kitchen and your participation as a marcher is useless. Possibly even worse than the blog itself are the dozens of comments that follow, with mud being slung and emotions flaring—drawing a huge divide in the community.
So, my first question in reading the original blog posting was where are they getting this info from? Apparently not from Cleve Jones, whom Queerty is accusing. So, we reached out to Cleve Jones and the organizers of the March to find some clarity. Tanner Efinger, Cleve’s unpaid assistant (he is accused of being a paid assistant by the blog comments) and an organizer for the March, was given permission by Cleve to speak on his behalf:
Tanner: Queerty did not reach out to anyone. They created drama for drama's sake— ignoring the fact that as "media," they stand to influence this movement and our community. What they did was lie and twist the truth and the consequence, of which, is hurting this movement. Hurting the support of grassroots organizers and hurting our chance for full federal equality. In my opinion—that is worse then those who do not wish LGBT people to have their full federal equality. Queerty is intent on poising us from the inside. Lying about our leaders. It is VERY easy to report accurately about this march as we have a policy of complete transparency.
Instinct: To address some of the specific accusations, did Cleve drop plans for an AIDS vigil?
Tanner: Cleve had nothing to do with the AIDS vigil. I am the liaison for the HIV/AIDS committee. With funding being drained from HIV/AIDS Budgets across the country there were growing concerns within their organizing about spending funds that are needed elsewhere. We have been in talk about making it a less costly event and are still in those talks. We have a good relationship with this groups and continue to work together to have HIV/AIDS representation at the National Equality March. Queerty got this one all wrong.
Instinct: Will there be no demands for repeal of DADT, marriage equality or the repeal of DOMA?
Tanner: In terms of our demands, we will be demanding one thing: Equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states. This is inclusive of DADT, Marriage Equality, hate crimes legislation, ENDA, anti-bullying act for schools. There will be representation and movement on all of those specific things. As a community we no longer need to settle for "some equality." It is time we ask for all of it. As equal partners in this society and world - LGBT people deserve nothing less. To that end, we have an organized structure in place to actually create that. I'd be happy to talk about our Congressional District Action Teams and the on going organizing.
Tanner: As someone who works tireless and completely unpaid for this movement and for our rights it crushes me to read articles like that. But perhaps that is why they write it. They like the drama and the lies. They don't care about the consequences.
Regardless of whether or not you're for the march, Queerty should have had enough foresight to recognize that power of the press is in fact a powerful thing. Sensationalism was obviously more of a concern that the fact that their blog could be helping shape people's ideas by using fallacies (or unconfirmed accusations). The last thing we, as the community, need is to look divided.
Maybe Queerty has good reason for writing and posting a piece like this. We'd welcome that information and would love to see a discussion come of all this. We should absolutely challenge one another and question rumors, but that doesn’t appear to be the road Queerty took here. Hopefully their error in judgement has not caused great damage.
This March is meant to be a community effort, and early commentators have shown that there are a lot of questions from the community regarding the whos and whys of this effort. If you have questions for the organizers of the March, leave 'em below in the comments section and Instinct will do its best to get answers for you guys.