Yawn, another upscale fundraiser for MassEquality

I love MassEquality and totally support their mission, don't get me wrong. But really, I'm getting sick of how they seem to only know how to hold fundraisers and/or do activism by holding expensive parties at either posh nightclubs or super-expensive restaurants. Here's the latest:

Clear your calendar Monday, June 19th from 6:00-8:00.

Why? We're throwing the hottest party of the year at "twentyeight degrees," 1 Appleton Street in Boston's South End. Twentyeight degrees is one of Boston's newest and chicest night spots. The owners, Carl Christian and Bill Emery, are throwing this amazing party to kick-off our state-wide media campaign.

I understand that their activism takes place mainly through having a ton of money, and that one strategy for doing this is to only hold fundraisers that cater toward a crowd of people with a lot of money. But a lot of other charities also do the majority of their activism through money rather than volunteer hours, and they still manage to hold walks, fairs, and other events that don't scream "young white urban wealthy socialites only."

Even if it might (or might not!) bring in less revenue per event, I really wish they'd hold an event that would appeal more to families, working-class people, people of color, older people, and so forth. It doesn't even have to be a fundraiser -- they could hold their next political victory celebration or award presentation at a neighborhood bar and grill instead of a downtown hotspot. They're a very vocal and financially powerful presence in the queer/ally community, and I wish they'd also use their power to make our community more welcoming to a more diverse group of people.


Anonymous said...

MassEquality is a mainstream organization that seeks to present the gay community as upstanding and respectable. Their messaging and way of structuring themselves is corporate, mainstream, and predominately white. MassEquality is a single issue focused organization that will never create broad coalitions to create change that actually benefits the queer community they claim to represent. Gay Equality is not the same as Queer Liberation. It is no mistake that their logo is red white and blue - it is all about assimilation which ultimately marginalizes even further those of us who do not assimilate: the drag queens, the queer people of color, the transgendered youth, etc.

eeka said...

Yep, that sounds about right. It actually seems to me to be kind of counterproductive even in terms of presenting the queer community in a positive light to the average taxpayer and voter. Some of the hotspots where they have their events have reputations among outsiders as being big giant orgies. Some of the places ARE total hook-up spots. Not to judge anyone's mutually consentual behavior yanno, but if they are going to go with one "model queer" image, why go with the nightclub types? A lot of conservative people equate the clubbing scene (gay and straight!) with promiscuity and the super-young set who don't know who they are and what they want anyway. Honestly, most of the friends of mine who spend a lot of times as those clubs are not looking at marriage any time soon.

Why not choose a "representative" image that's more along the lines of the queer couple next door who you see out mowing their lawn and who offer to bring in your paper while you're away?

Mark D. Snyder said...

We really need to be building coalitions with women's rights groups, anti-war groups, and health care groups, etc. in order to support each other and create change. We can't, for example, send our money and time to groups like the HRC who endorse pro-war, anti-choice, republicans who are "pro gay" because how much does that really help us or our society in the long run?

Anonymous said...

You have very valid points about the world's perspective of the gay community and what MassEquality is doing regarding image. However, one thing that needs to be taken into account - MEQ is not an activist group (although they like to let people believe that). They are a lobbyist group, which means that they need to bring in as much money as possible to fund its lobby efforts. I personally don't mind if MEQ is focusing on the venue that will bring in the most amount of money - but if you want true activism you need to look to other groups. Activism has always been a threat to lobby groups such as MEQ - and their public condemnation of it (such as what happened with knowthyneighbor.org) much more damaging than they image problems of which you speak. We of the GLBT community need to understand and to educate ourselves that it is important to have our legal, our lobbyist groups, and also our activist groups and unfortunately there is a war going on now between the first two and the latter. MEQ does good work on a lobby end – but we are foolish to continue to give them millions annually unless we understand and know where this money is going. Writing a check to MEQ is not a replacement for going out and telling your stories to your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, &c on a very personal level. When individuals lobby for themselves and for their equal rights, then they, we, you, and I become activists.