Letters to the
Ad Hoc Committee


May 9, 2000

Veterans Manipulated?

Dear Fellow GLBT Veterans, Members of the GLBT Communities and Friends:

I wish for all to know that I am NOT surprised at the dishonorable actions of the organizers of the Millennium March on Washington 2000, regarding the rude treatment they exhibited toward our country's GLBT military veterans during the March.

To this effect, a similar situation was played out in Boston some years ago, when the local HRC asked NEGLBV to provide a "Color Guard" for former Congressman and personal friend, Gerry Studds, who was to deliver a speech on the inhumane DA/DT/DP policy at Faneuil Hall, in Boston, MA.

The rift began when our members put up our banner on the front stage of the Hall, then left to change into our military uniforms. Upon our return, we were shell-shocked to see that the HRC had REMOVED OUR BANNER AND REPLACED it WITH THEIRS, for purposes of focusing media attention on the HRC to further their OWN agenda.

Furthermore, to add insult to injury, the HRC refused to permit me/other members of NEGLBV to speak, as was agreed upon during a previous meeting with an official of the HRC. Instead, they brought their own speakers and shut us out!

Needless to say, I had to talk the other members of the NEGLBV Color Guard from walking out on the ceremony, as they were furious. It was all very embarrassing, and this is one of the reasons-aside from believing the March to be a waste of resources, money and time-the NEGLBV Executive Board decided NOT to endorse the MMOW 2000, as HRC NEVER apologized...and we NEVER forgot!

But I digress. It appears that a leopard does not change its spots, and I had previously warned other GLBT veterans that they would probably be used as "window dressing" to make HRC/MMOW 2000 look good and to further their OWN agenda(s).

I have said it before, and I will say it again: The folks at the HRC are elitist and classist, as they do not actively seek to address the myriad of issues of many grass roots organizations, including. GLBT military veterans, bisexual and transgendered organizations, and other minority groups whose agenda's do not fit their political or social views. This statement is why NEGLBV was subsequently marginalized and blacklisted by the HRC and others, in the past.

However, as some veterans know, despite my own feelings of being betrayed and used by the HRC, I put aside the pain I felt and personally called Lisa Graybill, outreach coordinator for MMOW for the following reasons:

To help secure a "Color Guard"; a speaker, Marine Cpl. Edward Clayton, Natl. Pres. GLBVA ; the brutal murders of U.S. Army, PFC. Barry Winchell at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, on Monday, 5 July 1999, and Gay U.S. Navy Seaman Allen Schindler in Sasebo, Japan, on October 27, 1992; and because I perceived that some GLBT veterans may have felt that I had betrayed them and the veterans movement, by our Executive Board's decision NOT to participate nor endorse the MMOW 2000.

Having said this, I wish for all to know that I deeply care about the welfare of all my GLBT brother and sister veterans, and only tried to do what I deemed morally correct to advance the cause of the GLBT veterans movement, and to keep the spotlight on the military's inhumane DA/DT/DP/DH policy. An archaic and barbaric policy which is responsible for the murders of two beautiful men, the discharge of over 5,000 GLBT servicemembers, costing U.S. taxpayers approximately $200 million since its implementation in 1994.

Personally, I did not care if the MMOW organizer's used us in the larger picture as expected, but I did and do care about the very real possibility of another gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered servicemember being murdered in the military; and my aching conscience if I did not speak up to help our parent National Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans of America organization.

Thus, we GLBT veterans have once again been used as "Window Dressing," and our socially important issues put on the back burner by the HRC, et al., who just don't get it: coalition building begins from the bottom up-not from the top down!

With 300,OOO members and many millions of the gay community's dollars, the HRC apparently feels insulated enough to act snobbish and above being held accountable to many grass roots organizations-including GLBT veterans' organizations for their lack of inclusively.

Therefore, I say that from now on, WE GLBT VETERANS WILL SPEAK FOR OURSELVES, and we will not not be manipulated or used as "Window Dressing" to further the agenda(s) of others.

I remind the MMOW that many brave and patriotic GLBTH servicemembers fought and died on the battlefields of strange lands, in part, so that we as American citizens would be able to enjoy the "freedoms" of general assembly and free speech that so many in our beloved country take for granted!

As a former employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs, I would like all to know that I would be happy to take members of the MMOW Board on a tour of any VA hospital - just so they might see for themselves, the many veterans who have no legs or arms, are blinded, burned, disfigured and disabled.

These veterans-not athletes, celebrities, politicians or movie stars- are the true heroes of our country; and their physical and emotional injuries are a testament to the many sacrifices each made in defense of the concepts of freedom from oppression of the human spirit and the maintenance of a Democratic society.

Thus, the organizer's of the MMOW ought to be ashamed of themselves, for their collective, disrespectful, rude and dishonorable treatment which they displayed toward our country's GLBT veterans at the MMOW 2000.

And in closing, I leave the MMOW to ponder the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said:

"We can work together as brothers and sisters
or we will perish together as fools."

E Pluribus Unum

Cliff Arnesen
President
The New England Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans

The New England Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans is an incorporated, nonprofit, membership based organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered active duty, reserve and veteran members of the United States Armed Forces, their families, friends and supporters.




May 1, 2000

Viet Vet Speaks Out on MMOW

Dear Fellow Veterans and Friends:

I just returned from the Millennium March in Washington and can tell you it was an inspirational experience which I will explain in more detail when I see each of you. I am sending this e-mail because I wanted to report an incident that occurred and ask for your assistance.

Any of you who were present at the rally after the March realize that the military issue was placed on the back burner. The Gay Vet Honor Guard from the National Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans of America, and two other speakers who were scheduled to appear and speak at 5:45 pm, had just15 minutes before the expiration of the Park Service permit to do so.

It is unclear who established this schedule. Given the amount of activity related to this issue over the past year, including discussions by the presidential candidates, you would have thought that it would have been given a higher priority. Furthermore, I have learned that a survey conducted by the march organizers showed the military issue as the third most important issue to respondents.

The organizers of the rally allowed the program to run 90 minutes behind schedule, and as 5:00pm approached, they decided to cut some of the participants, including two extraordinary speakers-the mother of murdered soldier Barry Winchell, Ms. Pat Kutteles, and Major General Vance Coleman, a straight African American Army General.

At approximately 5:00pm, I was told by another major participating organization, that it appeared as though the organizers of MMOW did indeed intend on cutting Ms. Kutteles and General Coleman's presentation, as well as the Color Guard of Veterans from GLBVA.

The other major organization then asked for my assistance and we gained entry into the VIP area, where we very firmly suggested to the MMOW organizers that it would be inappropriate to cut the military issue from the program.

As you can imagine, the MMOW organizers were at wit's ends because there were many good causes which had been eliminated from the program because of their inability to keep the earlier acts to designated time limits.

Thanks to our collective insistence and the intervention of two Millennium Board members, our Vets and speakers were not cut from the program. However, they were instructed to drastically limit their speeches.

By 6:00pm the Veteran Color Guard and our speakers had been moved to an area outside the stage. We were now concerned that the Park Service would pull the plug on the permit precisely at 6:00pm.

Fortunately, (we believe it was because of the intervention of a Congressman) they allowed the rally to continue on until 6:30pm and the Color Guard and speakers were one of the last people to take the stage. Ms. Kuttles and General Coleman gave two excellent, though extremely brief, speeches to an audience that had dwindled to approximately ten percent of what it had been when the program began at approximately 1:00pm. This was a very close call.

Obviously, we were all extremely disappointed with the treatment the Vets and speakers were given by the MMOW organizers. It appears as though some people think that there is not much interest in our community regarding the ban and the present misguided policy of " Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue, Don't Harass."

I understand that the Washington Blade will be running a story on the march. It would be very helpful to have people from around the country comment on the treatment given to the military issue by the Millennium Parade organizers. I am asking each of you to take the time to e-mail the Blade and any other paper which you think might be interested in this story.

The e-mail for the Blade is forum@washblade.com. The fax is (202) 797-7025 and phone number is (202) 797-7000. The deadline for the story is tomorrow, Wednesday, May 3, so your timely distribution of this information and writing of an appropriate note or making a phone call to express your disappointment would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your continued support.

U.S. Veteran




May 3, 2000

Crack-Fueled Crowd Estimate?

I was up on the Capitol balcony around 3pm. There was no one behind the stage. Looking out on the Mall, there really weren't any people past 7th street (let alone 12th). When I left at 4:30, there were hardly any people past 4th. I was down near the stage from 3:30 to 4:30 and there was enough room for a guy with a shopping cart full of pretzels to be crossing the grass right in front of the stage. Even the March's own camera showed gaping holes during sweeps of the "crowd." I'm bad at estimates—and i was late—but I think even teh 125,000 figure is generous.

The Festival was empty on Saturday (rats in a maze had it easier than I did trying to find a way to get inside at 11:45AM—gates were supposed to open at 11). There were probably as many people in the Festival area as on the Mall on Sunday. I couldn't find anywhere to buy water on Sat.—beer, lemonade, sodas were everywhere. A volunteer at a check-in tent *gave* me a bottle of "MMOW" water.

The "Queer Moon Ball" Saturday night was hugely disappointing. I was very much looking forward to a nice "anti-Ciruit Party" setting. Instead, it was two hours late and there were only 80 people dancing for only two hours (instead of four). Since the Equality Rocks concert only had 40,000 people there, Dupont was empty, and nothing else seemed crowded, I'm not sure where the other 700,000 spent the evening.

Driving home last night, there was only a smattering of queer traffic back to NYC. It was very unlike the descriptions I heard from the highways before and after the '93 march (I was not out at that time, so I wasn't there).

Since I had low expectations and had many friends to visit in DC, I wasn't too disappointed. I am very much looking forward to the authentic FOURTH national MOW, whenever it occurs, whenever the GRASSROOTS decide one needs to happen.

Matt Brown
Brooklyn, NY




May 3, 2000

Doesn't Buy MMOW's 'Numbers'

I can personnally attest to the fact that having attended the first 3 LGBT Marches on Washington, that there were not nearly the crowds that I had seen previously. I also live within a block of 5 major hotels in downtown DC (with about 1500 rooms) and I never saw anything approaching significant numbers of our community people walking about that I have seen for previous conferences.

I also rode the subway (Metro) extensively during the weekend, and never ONCE saw a crowded car or train. Just small clumps of people together. I actually see larger crowds in DC when the Mid-Atlantic Men of Leather meet at these nearby hotels. Absolutely, there were fewer people than in any March since 1979. The announcement claiming 750,000 people is simply an outright lie.

In addition, Rev. Perry predicted 5,000 couples would attend the committment ceremony on Saturday; so large, that they moved it to the Lincoln Monument. The reality was that about 1,000 couples attended, fewer than the 3,000 in 1993; and the same as in 1987. Do I enjoy reporting this? HELL NO! It is a real tragedy that this has came to pass.

But to be honest, 98% of the people I saw were white and young. Of course, the were some people of color attending, but out of perhaps 1,000 people I passed in the street over the weekend that I could identify (by sight or gaydar), perhaps 10-20 were POC. That is a fact of my observation. Perhaps the truth to our community will come out when the financials are released, since all the profit projections, and potential disbursements were based on projections that were far higher than reality (but match their hyperbole).

Let us hope that out of all of this will come a new committment to inclusion, grassroots community input, and a process that will result in a real March that will bring a million people to DC to show our strenght of purpose and unity.

Irwin Rothenberg




April 30, 2000

MMOW Tokenism on Transgender Issues

I am not at the MMOW because other than a couple of tokens, TS issues and directions are not included in the agenda. Matt Shepard's mom is there, how about Brandon Teena's?

I find the planet out connection less offensive than the truly anti-trans HRC—"Leave us a lone until we have all of our stuff then we might work on rights for trans folks." Makes me want to barf.

Bea O'Connor




April 29, 2000

No 'G' Word in MMOW Title

When I first heard about this march being proposed, I was dismayed that it didn't identify us in its title.

We may be everywhere, and the media may make it plain who is marching, but I think there is a subtle message of self-denial in not using at least the "G" word in the title of the event.

I was even more dismayed that nobody else found this worth mentioning, much less discussing. I won't march in a parade that doesn't even say who we are.

Gene Bivins




April 27, 2000

Reflections on MMOW by
a Transgendered Woman of Color

As a national event, the Millenium March on Washington has provoked unprecedented controversy within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities.

I am currently active in the transgender community as well as in LGBT/queer Asian & Pacific Islander (API) communities, but here, I write in an individual capacity as an activist and a participant in the first national march on Washington in 1979, in order to share some of my concerns about the April 2000 Millenium March.

While I am writing as an individual, I am not alone here in New York in feeling some trepidation about this event. There is a decided lack of enthusiasm in this state for the MMOW, which is rather easily explicable in a community that was not consulted about the event in any meaningful way. I’m not aware of any New York-based LGBT organization that was asked for input at any stage in the planning process. The failure to consult with the Empire State Pride Agenda—which is not only the largest lesbian & gay political organization in the state, but also the largest statewide lesbian & gay political organization in the country—is a particularly glaring omission.

There was in particular no outreach to the transgender community here in the state or (as far as I know) anywhere else. The organization that I represent within the Federation of Statewide LGBT Organizations—the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA)—is well-known to the Human Rights Campaign, and HRC staff members known me personally; but at no time has anyone from either HRC or from the MMOW board approached NYAGRA about participation in the March.

Perhaps the MMOW board realized that outreach to transgender organizations would be difficult, given the Human Rights Campaign’s opposition to transgender inclusion in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the MMOW’s exclusion from its own mission statement of any concrete commitment to federal legislation that would protect people from hate crimes or discrimination based on gender identity or expression. In fact, NYAGRA has taken no official position on the March.

While we do not oppose it, we cannot support an event that does not reflect our mission to advocate on behalf of legislation that would protect people from discrimination or hate crimes based on gender identity or expression. I personally have the highest regard for Jamison Green and for Dana Rivers, who reportedly have been invited to speak at the March, and I fully respect their right to participate in the event; but I also have to wonder why the ‘inclusion’ of transgendered people was nothing more than an after-thought for the March organizers, apparently meant to appease those who had expressed concerns about the MMOW’s lack of diversity and inclusion.

There has also been no attempt to include people of color from New York in the MMOW decision-making process in any meaningful way. In addition to my transgender advocacy work, I am also very involved in the LGBT/queer Asian & Pacific Islander communities, but I am unaware of any queer API organizations in New York that were asked for their input by the MMOW board, which only approached queer API organizations in the last few months to encourage them to send members to the March and to make contributions to the MMOW board.

What I find disturbing is that small queer API (and other POC) groups that are almost all volunteer-run and without any external funding are being pressured to give money to an entity (the MMOW board) that has resisted calls for financial accountability to the community, for an event initiated by the wealthiest and most powerful gay organization in the country; such a transfer of funds—with no corresponding offer of genuine participation in the decision-making process of the MMOW board (which has taken place almost entirely behind closed doors) will have the effect of a significant redistribution of wealth from the least privileged to the most privileged in the LGBT community.

Here in New York, we are fortunate in having five openly lesbian or gay elected officials; but none of them were consulted in the planning process for this event, either. Four of them released a statement earlier this month announcing that they cannot support the Millenium March. (The fifth, Phil Reed, has indicated that he shares the concerns of his four colleagues who are signatories to the statement.)

Their concern is that the March will divert significant resources from state and local organizing efforts, the little ‘rebate’ from the MMOW proceeds notwithstanding. But even the claim that the MMOW will help us secure our rights is open to question; Barney Frank himself has said that marches like this have no impact on federal legislative efforts whatsoever. If a widely popular and unifying event such as the 1993 March on Washington did not move ENDA or any other federal legislation, it is all the more unlikely that a divisive event such as the Millenium March will have any positive impact on federal legislation.

The MMOW board’s new marketing campaign stresses the personal empowerment that a march on Washington may have on queer people outside the major cities with big LGBT populations; but no truly national movement can be created and directed from Washington, especially by those who do not understand the particular political context in which the LGBT movement operates in each state and locality. The comments that Dianne Hardy-Garcia (the March's executive director) made in an article that appeared in the Village Voice in the last week of April would seem to exemplify the MMOW board’s attitude towards the LGBT community here in New York.

"We don't have pride marches with 700,000 people, like you do in New York," Hardy-Garcia says. "I've been to marches where people had to wear bags over their heads. Even if you have rights in New York, we don't—and you have an obligation to provide a moment for us to feel we are not alone, so we can go back home to do some very dangerous work. You have a duty to support us." (Richard Goldstein, Culturati: A March On Washington Spawns a Major Movement Rift, Village Voice, 4.26.2000)

It will be difficult for LGBT New Yorkers to understand why they have a duty to support an event that they were not consulted about; and the assertion that local activists in New York have an obligation to take directions from Washington in the absence of any meaningful consultation may strike many here as insensitive if not arrogant. Readers of the Voice article may also take note of the MMOW executive director’s apparent lack of familiarity with the legal status of LGBT people here.

While sexual orientation is included in the New York City human rights ordinance, there is no statewide non-discrimination statute that includes sexual orientation and there is no state or local law here that protects transgendered or gender-variant people from discrimination or hate crimes. While asserting that New Yorkers have rights that Texans don’t, Dianne fails to acknowledge (and seems not even to be aware of) the fact that our hate crimes bill has been stalled in the New York state legislature for 11 years now, and that the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) has been blocked for more than twice as long.

Dianne cannot be unfamiliar with the controversy surrounding HRC’s endorsement of Al D’Amato’s re-election in 1998, made without any meaningful consultation with the LGBT community here in the state, and for which HRC has steadfastly refused to apologize. Given HRC’s leadership of the MMOW, many New Yorkers naturally associate the latter very closely with the former. An organization that endorses a candidate who fails to win even a quarter of the lesbian & gay vote is clearly one that is out of touch with the community that it claims to represent.

And an event run by that organization that does not seriously address issues of social justice that are inseparable from the pursuit of legal rights for LGBT/queer people of color will not elicit their enthusiastic support. LGBT New Yorkers still remember Elizabeth Birch’s public denunciation of those (including people of color such as Carmen Vazquez) critical of the D’Amato endorsement as "maggots in the bottom of a barrel of rice." As a transgendered woman of Asian birth, I was personally offended not only by what sounded to some like a racial slur, but by her feeble explanation of the expression as a reflection of her own appreciation for Buddhist philosophy.

At the Creating Change conference in Pittsburgh in November 1998, I was struck by the MMOW board’s unwillingness to respond even to the simplest and friendliest questions concerning diversity, financial accountability, decision-making processes, and other important issues.

It seemed to me that the March represented an attempt by the most privileged elements in the community to reassert their hegemony over the movement and to dictate an agenda that would further marginalize the most marginalized in our community, especially transgendered people and people of color. Nothing that the March organizers have done since then has addressed those concerns; instead, effort seems to have been put primarily into creating an image of a movement toward diversity and inclusion rather than working toward genuine diversity and inclusion in our movement.

After having read all this, it may not surprise you to learn that I have no plans to attend the Millenium March. However, I recognize that there are many people who have done a lot of hard work on the March, and I hope that they find the event to be a fulfilling one. Above all, I hope that those involved in this March, if they participate in the planning for any future such events, take seriously the need to include the transgender community and communities of color as well as local and statewide LGBT organizations in the decision-making process in a meaningful way so that future events enhance our appreciation of inclusion and diversity as well as the importance of state and local organizing efforts rather than undermining them.

Pauline Park

Pauline Park co-founded the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (the first statewide transgender political organization in New York) in 1998 and is the NYAGRA representative to the Federation of Statewide LGBT Organizations. She also co-founded Gay Asians & Pacific Islanders of Chicago in 1994 and Iban/Queer Koreans of New York in 1997, as well as Queens Pride House (a Center for the LGBT Communities in Queens) in 1997. She served on the steering committee of the Gay Asian & Pacific Islander Men of New York (GAPIMNY) in 1998-99. And she served on the planning committees for both TransWorld I & II (the first conferences specifically by and for transgendered people of color). The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of any of the organizations with which she is associated.




April 25, 2000

MMOW Sponsors not Gay Friendly

My girlfriend and I were appalled by the overwhelming existence of corporate sponsorship for the Millenium March.

We spent a good hour trying to find an email address so we could contact the creators of the march to ask them why they had chosen to allow corporations who do not give their employees domestic partner benefits, to sign on and have their names advertised as specifically gay friendly.

Do you have a way that we could contact them and let them know why we will not be supporting the march this weekend?

Thank you,

Kali and Kate




April 13, 2000

LLEGO and MMOW

Dear Friends,

I respectfully sent a letter to the National Latina/o Lesbian & Gay Organization (LLEGO) many months ago, addressing the importance of the controversy surrounding the MMOW. My letter recounted what I consider LLEGO’s most significant contributions to the GLBT Latina/o community in USA, and my involvement with LLEGO since it forced NIH and Anthony Fauci to address issues of specific concern around HIV/AIDS in Latina/o communities for the first time.

In my letter, I asked LLEGO to reconsider its endorsement of the Millennium March on Washington (MMOW). My point is that in the face of so many specific issues, accusations, controversies and denunciations, the decision of participating in MMOW had become greater than LLEGO’s Board of Directors. I suggested to the board that they should consult their membership and listen to them/us and how we felt. I also made some suggestions about how to consult and/or listen to their member organizations and individuals.

After I sent that letter, the opposition to the March kept growing. Grassroots support kept diminishing (there was never much to begin with) and the accusations of racism tokenism, conflicts of interests and politics of exclusion kept coming forward among failure to disclose public economic information and more board resignations. I patiently waited for months in silence for a response that would at least acknowledge my letter. A response that would at least explain why are the members of LLEGO being excluded by the only national organization from the healthy opportunity of having such a debate.

In NY four of our most active and distinguished openly lesbian/gay elected officials decided that they would not go to the March the national attention on the controversy forced them to take a stance and express their position. Kerry Lobel also resigned from the board. The National Association of Black and White Men Together (NABWMT), voted unanimously NOT to endorse the Millennium March on Washington. Most organizations politely citing the needed focus on local politics have refused to endorse the March. Philadelphian Michael Williams has resigned from the board of the Millennium March on Washington (MMOW) citing difficulties in obtaining information from the board and the staff.

LLEGO's response to my letter seems to be the mass of official propaganda I received today (April 12, 2000) in my e-mail address. These e-mails are an obvious, clear and unequivocal support of the MMOW. My request for an open discussion, for at least a discussion or debate with the member organizations and with individual members, went unheard and unanswered. Seems, LLEGO rather endorses what to many GLBT latinas/os seems a classist, exclusionary top down process, as the MMOW proven to be, than to consult the membership that gives them the very reason for its existence.

LLEGO's silence, in what has been a national controversy, shows a lack of the leadership and initiative we all should expect from a National Latina/o GLBT organization. LLEGO's resistance to reconsider what seemed to be a quick unfortunate initial endorsement (that cried for revision in the face of the diverse grassroots opposition to the march) is disappointing.

We all know how oppressive the word "familia" can be when it is used to enforce traditional values and demand solidarity to a very repressive institution. LLEGO's call to join the "familia" at the MMOW when the "familia" has been excluded from the table, is just as oppressive. There is still a white (pun intended) elephant in the room.

I ask from LLEGO to please cancel both my e-mail subscription and my membership.

Jorge Irizarry-Vizcarrondo

P.S. My original letter to LLEGO is available upon request (only in English) to: yoryie@earthlink.net




April 8, 2000

Bringing in the Sheep?

OK, folks . . .

If my particular bias isn't clear, I have not been a fan of the MMOW-2000 the whole way thru, since I have seen no substantive change in the process of organizing it -- beyond the "damage control" methods that the original organizers (the HRC and the MCC) have employed in order to massage gay popular opinion the subject.

I have additional misgivings about it, but most of those are being/have been discussed all over the country.

One of the few arguments that the self-selected organizers offered that I could at least see some reason with, was that activists in sone rural states might garner some energy and motivation by networking with other activists in some (oh-so-central) meeting place. And I have heard this from some folks out on the plains as well. By now, however, I find that an argument of weakness.

Below is a list of the Mid-U.S. organizations that have, thus far, endorsed the MMOW. (This comes from the "horse's mouth," so to speak -- the MMOW web page -- which seems to be a painted pony, riding round-about on a carosel, in my opinion: step-right-up!)

[ MMOW Endorsers List ]

One thing is pretty clear to me. Anyone knowing the political landscape of this thing knows that this event is contentious within "the GLBT... community" -- it's being portrayed as such in everything from the Conservative News to Phred Phloops' (how do U spell 'devil'?) crapola. And, yep, for Gay Democrats and Log Cabiners too.

Anyway, have a look at the Mid-Con' roster for yourself. The list is impressive, not . . .

Sean M V Foley

( Note: If you go to check out the 'Official MMOW Endorsers List," the MCC chapter in 'Other Sheep' Missouri is definitely and positively for real. — Ad Hoc Committee )




March 30, 2000

Sitting Out MMOW

I want to let you know that I support the Ad Hoc Committee for an Open Process, and think that the work you are doing is wonderful. If I hadn't happened onto your website, I would never have made the firm decision not to go to the March, and wouldn't have been telling everyone I know to do the same.

I was wondering if the Ad Hoc Committe for an Open Process had a stance on the recent letter that Elizabeth Birch that was forwarded to the Washington Post in response to an article the Post ran on 3/29/00, on the first page of the Metro section (Page B1).

Erin McCarthy
Co-President,
Rainbow Alliance
State University of New York at Oswego
Oswego, New York


The Ad Hoc Committee Responds

The Elizabeth Birch quote in the original Washington Post article speaks for itself:

". . . There's a long history of marches on Washington. Anybody can call a march, and either people will come or they won't."

Read the Full March 29 Article

Ticker Tape News Commentary


March 27. 2000

MMOW Doesn't Speak For Me

Dear People,

Thanks for your informative page; I have been unaware of the basis for this march until now. Also did not know that the MCC had such a role, and as not a member of any Judeo-Christian religion (and there are thousands of Buddhist, Neo-Pagans, Goddess-centered, and others in the LGBT community) I would not want such a closed and prejudiced group speaking for me.

THANKS AGAIN,

David Hatfield Sparks

Alameda, CA


February 4, 2000

Bravo!

I just read the MMOW three page memo and cover letter.

Bravo.

Sean Kosofsky
Director of Policy and Victim Services,
Triangle Foundation
Detroit, MI


February 3, 2000

Prefers Audit

MMOW financial secrecy brothers and sisters . . . . an audit, not budget, would answer the questions.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone.

Rita Addessa
Executive Director,
Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Task Force


February 2, 2000

Further evidence of MMOW being about $$$$$?

As further evidence for the thesis that the MMOW is purely a marketing/money-making hype, consider that the "new" MMOW/Planet OUT website attempts to stuff about 8 cookies—half expiring "this session" and half expiring in year 2033 (I think it was), considerably after April's event—attempting to access the "www.mmow.org" website.

Cheers,

Warren Potas



January 19, 2000

Too Late for MMOW Ticket Refund?

Well, thanx for the insight on your webpage. Though it is a little too late . . . I wish I would have known about this before. Plane tickets and other arrangements are already made and no refund is possible.

It's very disheartening to hear all of this. I thought it quite suspicious too, that there was not much publicity in Chicago that I have seen. It sounds like an incredible experience . . . from what they show . . . and after watching Before and After Stonewall yesterday . . . I have been pumped up to go.

Today I somehow stumble on your website and really feel angry with what seems to be just a ploy to lure the gay population into something that is probably not what we want it to be. I have sent many emails to them asking about specific questions and nothing back or they send their newsletter which is quite irritating.

I have not been able to read all of your website . . . but will do when time permits. Thanx again for the giving me a little insight . . . and good luck to you. You might actually see my name on your list.

MO



October 29, 1999

MMOW Should be Postponed

Hello,

I just received my current issue of the Advocate. After reading the article about how badly the 2000 March on DC is being planned, I feel that the March should be postponed. I was hoping to attend but because of the lack of information being provided and certain sense that things are not being well run, when I had to provide my supervisor with my spring/summer vacation requests, I did not request the time off due to all the uncertainty.

At this point, with only 7 months left before the proposed March, I feel that many Gays and Lesbians will not be able to attend due to the minimal advance notice. What could happen is that there will be a very poor turn out and this would look bad for the Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement. The Fundamentalists would just love to be able to show "documented" evidence that our numbers are not that big.

Ian Roy Phillips, Cleveland, OH



October 13, 1999

Former HRC Director of Development Speaks Out

We live in a Democracy, folks, and the HRC and MCC seem to have forgotten that!

Dear Friends,

Thanks to everyone for all their hard work to keep the pressure on for fairness and inclusiveness with regard to decision-making in our community. The time has long since past when large, 1950s civil rights actions such as the ill-conceived HRC/MCC fascist MMOW 2000 have proven effective in a legislative sense. We are no longer an invisible minority. We are a hugely powerful voting block, but we must organize at the local, county and state levels to elect our representatives in order to maximize our political power.

Yet one more MOW is the poorest example which could be conceived to advance our cause. It is a terrible waste of time, physical energy and financial resources. Plus, it's boring and predictable! BEEN THERE. DONE THAT. BOUGHT THE T-SHIRT. DID THE DRUGS. DANCED MY ASS OFF. ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING. Think of the progress we could make if we put these resources into developing viable candidates for public office and making certain they get elected.

Once representatives of the American people reach Washington, they are already constituency-driven . . . they have their marching orders with regard to our issues and all the rich, white, HRC lobbying inside the beltway is not going to get us anywhere! Just a lot more hot air, putting "new" spins on old issues. No one listens anymore . . . if they ever did. I should know, I was Director of Development for HRC. What a nightmare of elitism, arrogance and egocentricity!

The last thing we need is another vanity platform for Elizabeth Birch of the Human Rights Campaign and Troy Perry of the Federation of the Metropolitan Community Churches. Their so-called "centrist" views (read wimpy, watered-down and corporate butt-kissing) do NOT represent the vast majority of the beliefs and needs of the gay community at large. Plus, their arrogant, self-annointed leadership status has done nothing for our community except to sell us out on the primary needs and motivations of our community.

We live in a Democracy, folks, and the HRC and MCC seem to have forgotten that!

Edward Ditterline, Key West, FL



October 19, 1999

Supports PlanetOut! Sponsorship

I have read your article re: slick marketing and I disagree. You asked for comment and I am responding.

I guess I just don't feel that there is anything wrong with a queer corporation (planet out) being a sponsor for a queer march.

In fact, I would argue that this is progress. It used to be that there was no such thing as a queer corporation. Anyway, thought you should know that I disagree with your position, since you asked for it.

Tom Swift

The Ad Hoc Committee Replies

Thank you Tom for your feedback. Actually, we agree with you as a matter of general principle and, as expressed in the article in question, did not object to businesses supporting an LGBT event, including PlaneOut!

What we did express were our deep concerns about MMOW being much more about making money for its business sponsors that being a national LGBT march which represents the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of our community.

We argued in the article that, when you look over the MMOW web site and read their sign up form, you get a distinct impression that it's all about getting marketing profiles to sell products and services, and not about building our movement.

In fact, based on recent developments as reported in an article by the Gay and Lesbian Times of San Diego, our concerns about MMOW's finances were completely warranted.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

Respectfully

Mike Castellano for the Ad Hoc Committee



October 12, 1999

Hyper-Cheesy-ness?

Thank you for keeping me informed of the hyper-cheesy-ness of this generically titled "march."

Please keep me posted on this and let me know how I can help your cause.

All the best,

Dean Vandemotter



August 5, 1999

Supports Open Process, Prefers Rally to a Parade

I hope you all can exert some influence over the process. As a Washingtonian of over thirty years, I have seen many marches. I have attended other gay marches, also. I strongly recommend that we assemble this time rather than parade. We speak through numbers more than decorative costumes. Put everyone on the mall from one end to the other and let the Million Man March eat our dust. During the last gay march, I got to the mall after all the speakers and crowd estimates.

This time, I'd like to make a real statement. The crowd estimates during the last march did not take into account that most of the spectators were also GBLT people.

May you live all the days of your life.

All the best,

Jonathan Swift



October 15, 1999

Maybe the Ad Hoc Committee
for an Open Process was Right

Maybe the Committee for an Open Process was right. Recent reports from New Orleans indicate that the Millennium March Organizing Committee is in danger of falling apart. As the result of a board meeting in late September, co-producer Ginny Foat has resigned, while threats of legal action against the board have come from co-producer Robin Tyler, who pitched the event first at the 1997 Creating Change Conference, then sold it to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC).

From the moment they announced the event, some observers worried that HRC and MCC had decided to go through with the Millennium March more because they saw an opportunity to reap a profit of money and publicity than because it was really the best thing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons to spend time, energy, and money on during what may prove to be the most important election season for a very long time.

HRC and MCC have both since distanced themselves from the event, but the criticisms have persisted, especially from a group called the Ad Hoc Committee for an Open Process. This Committee consists, among others, of persons who organized previous marches on Washington in 1979, 1987, and 1993. Their voices carried instant credibility in many circles because of their experience and their demonstrated commitment to equality for all persons.

Ad Hoc Committee members noted that previous marches had resulted from a very democratic, grass roots process in which organizers deliberately sought out representation from many different quarters, especially persons of color and persons with relatively little money. The Millennium March, by contrast, had all the markings of a top-down, corporate spectacle in which Washington lobbyists strove to control the images that the event produced in the hope of proving how respectable queers really are.

The problem, as any good activist knows, is that democracy is messy business. In small, tightly knit communities, it can be relatively easy and efficient to allow all, or most, members to have significant input into decisions. But that works because in such communities most people already agree with each other on most things.

Even if queers constitute a community in any meaningful sense - a doubtful proposition - we are by no means small and tightly knit. We are as varied as the rest of the American population. If we allow open meetings, then people who are not very articulate, not very well educated, not very respectable, not very prosperous, will speak up and try to influence the proceedings.

They will bring issues that are not directly related to their sexual orientation, because only relatively prosperous, white gay men can make their sexual orientation the sole focus of their civil rights demands. For women, for persons of color, for poor persons, being queer is just one source of prejudice and discrimination added on to the others.

Efficiency alone, then, might dictate a more executive approach, in which those persons who perceive themselves as "community leaders," and who command the resources necessary to represent themselves as such, will make the decisions for the rest of us.

The actual outcome of the Millennium March organizing process remains to be seen. Perhaps they'll pull off just the event that queers need right now. But with six months left to go, I gather I'm not alone in wondering if the last eighteen months might not have been better spent in long, tedious open meetings where ordinary queers could voice their concerns, rather than doing whatever the organizers of the Millennium March have been doing all that time. In other words,

I can't help but think that the Ad Hoc Committee for an Open Process was right all along.

May you live all the days of your life.

All the best,

Dr. Bill Turner

Dr. Turner is a Ph.D. history professor at Middle Tennessee State University, a writer, activist, and a native Oklahoman.



October 12, 1999

HRC Should Be Disbanded

Dear Bill,

While I agree with your letter, I also feel it fails to go to the root of the problem. The Human Rights Campaign Fund should disband itself or at minimum completely restructure itself so it can represent a diverse community -- something it clearly has never done (the MMOW being only one example of a costly misjudgment). Another example of this are decisions about providing funds for candidates in local congressional elections without any voting representing from the affected local communities or states is necessary.

Presently they do not even have a formal mechanism or requirement for comment/input into such decisions. This has resulted in the idiocy of support Bill Green and Alphonso D'amato in New York and equally bad judgments elsewhere. Stopping the March on Washington is necessary but we can't allow this unrepresentative organization to go on making useless decisions and wasting the money given by unsuspecting gays and lesbians around the nation.

Jim Levin, New York, New York


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