By Stephanie Donald
I frequently talk with my friend, Brody Levesque, the Washington Bureau Chief of LGBTQ-Nation regarding the subject of editorial neutrality and making our news the simple reporting of facts, as we were taught to do when we were in school.
Brody is a strong believer that “we don’t publish ‘pink’ or ‘gay’ news. We simply publish ‘the news’ and it happens to cater to the LGBT community.”
My feeling is that his statement is just twisting things around so that he can justify the horse pulling the cart instead of the other way around.
My take on this is that by our serving a specific audience, we can’t help but slant the news we’re carrying, even if we express absolutely no opinions in the body of the news.
Brody also doesn’t like activists who try to run magazines and news outlets and of course, I am an activist who tries to run both a news outlet and give intelligent editorial essays from some of the best minds in the LGBT activist, historical, cultural, satirical and gay pioneer world.
I tried to make LGBT-Today survive for two years on those editorials alone until I realized that intellect in our community was the minority and “give-me-the-short-take” on the news was the majority of our community.
When I first began, a little over two years ago, I swore that I wouldn’t publish anything that wasn’t original to LGBT-Today. It took me a while to figure out that just wasn’t working and our overall community either wasn’t capable of reading more than 140 characters (the average length of a Tweet) or just plain refused to do it.
So in March, I started utilizing my media partnership with Brody and LGBTQ Nation and Right Wing Watch and several other publications and for the first time in years, I began to write short, choppy-style news articles myself based on news alerts I got from multiple sources in my email.
Now my readership has begun to rival the publications that have been around for years and while I’m happy, I do feel like a whore for compromising my original vision.
However, I felt if I had the opportunity to bitch in editorials like this, it would make me feel better, so that’s okay.
I do feel very thankful for my media partners and hope that they might take advantage of some our editorials from time-to-time. I would like to see people like Dr. Robert Minor, Rodger Streitmatter, Dr. James T. Sears and Sister Grammy Bell as well as other not so regular columnists, get published in other venues. What they have to say is important, poignant, timely and much more verbally adept than I am, although I get lucky every now and then.
I think the main point that Brody wanted to make was the same thing that Hal Call stood for so many years ago when the original Mattachine leaders in the early 1950s resigned due to the famous “witch hunt” for communists of Senator Joseph McCarthy (many of the original gay pioneers were in fact communists, like Harry Hay and Chuck Rowland).
Hal Call and many of the non-communists wanted to take the Mattachine out of secrecy and into the public view to show everyone that other than their object of sexual affection, they were no different than anyone else. They wanted to purge the Mattachine of all communists in order to do this so Call welcomed the resignations.
Many of the gay movement didn’t like Call’s approach of “assimilation”, or taking the gay rights movement into the “bedroom” communities (what they called suburbs back then).
Another gay pioneer who was not for Call’s assimilationist approach was Jim Kepner. He said of what Call was doing, “The second Mattachine movement took a conformist, assimilationist approach to our issues. They hoped to persuade influential hetero friends that homosexuals were all respectable citizens in two-button roll suits, and that the few embarrassing queens, dikes [sic], and hustlers would disappear once legal persecution ended. They sought researchers to find out what had gone wrong with us.” (Rough New—Daring Views)
I suppose that even 60 years later nothing has really changed.
I love Brody as a friend but he seems to be Hal Call and I appear to be Jim Kepner and we’re still arguing the same set of circumstances of whether the LGBT movement should stop being “fabulous”, as Brody puts it, or whether we continue to be the flamboyant individuals we want to be even if we get everything want.
And we’re certainly a lot closer to getting to what we want now so it’s our community that must make these decisions.
Are you “fabulous”, or are you just another homosexual that wants to live in the burbs?
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