GetEQUAL, get real! Learn!

Let’s face it: GetEQUAL, which has gotten much LGBT media attention of late, needs to mature somewhat. It shows promise, but unfortunately the inexperience is beginning to show. They don’t see where the enemy lies, and the enemy is in plain view.

If you thought the political process of Washington, D.C., would change overnight with an Obama presidency, then it’s easy to blame the president for what some feel is a slow process on changes in federal policies, programs and laws regarding the LGBT community.

That is too simplistic and shows a lack of any political knowledge or understanding of U.S. governance or history.

Let’s point out the pitfalls of D.C. and, surprisingly enough, it’s the number-one complaint by GetEQUAL and others, who feel the administration and the Democratic National Committee wasted a majority in the Senate and Congress by not moving fast enough on LGBT issues.

As pointed out in this very column numerous times in the last two years. Obama has four years to prove his ability to bring change for the LGBT community, not one year and nine months. In November 2012, we will decide if he’s fulfilled the promises. But the minefields are numerous. Let’s look at everyone’s favorite: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

The administration has worked tirelessly in attempting to pull this one out of the bag. The problem? Blue-dog Democrats and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The answer? A compromised repeal, which all parties agreed to. What happened? The Joint Chiefs created a questionnaire and sent it out to 400,000 active servicemembers and reservists. In itself, the questionnaire is like a political push poll: It is geared to get a negative response. And it’s like something out of the 1950s. For example: “If ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is repealed and you are assigned to share a room, berth or field tent with someone you believe to be a gay or lesbian servicemember, which are you most likely to do?” Replace gay and lesbian with Jew, Irish, African American. But my favorite is this: “If ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is repealed and a gay or lesbian servicemember attended a military social function with a same-sex partner, which are you most likely to do?” Yes, protest by not having a martini at your local country club with your fellow reservists.

Underline this, please: The military is attempting to nuke this at every step. The Joint Chiefs have gone back on their agreement with the White House. Why? Homophobia is not the answer. Every administration does a dance with the Pentagon. It’s about budgets, personnel and, in this case, the wars themselves and the contracts they bring.

What better way to covertly fight the administration than to create obstacles to one of its core promises? It keeps the administration focused on the ban, while the Pentagon gets to concentrate on its own programs and contracts. That’s the inside-the-beltway game that’s being played, and we’re allowing them to play it. Oh, and that survey is costing you $4.5 million. Gee, another Pentagon contract.

What’s the best response? How about taking it to the Pentagon or recruiting stations rather than the fence of the White House? Let’s get creative, and maybe that media attention might find its way into more mainstream media than just the LGBT media.

And this is a two-partner dance, so we need to help the president change partners. What better time than sometime in the middle of November?

Mark Segal is PGN publisher. He can be reached at [email protected].

Newsletter Sign-up