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 Op-ed: Don’t Waste Your Money on Money-Wasters

 Op-ed: Don’t Waste Your Money on Money-Wasters


One of the great things about our community is our collective ethic of charitable giving. The generosity we've shown when it comes to AIDS and our civil rights is legendary.

But some of the most well-known gay organizations that are funded by our donations are worthless, self-serving money pits. 60 Minutes made a major splash with its expose on Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson, and his never-built schools in Afghanistan. I imagine there are more than a few "gay leaders" who also run their organizations like "private ATMs" to fund their own decadent social lives.

Among the ones I'm referring to, of course, is the biggest boondoggle of them all -- the Human Rights Campaign. They're total pros when it comes to getting gays to feel proud of themselves for putting on a tux for one of their gala dinners. The one in New York each year is thrown at the Waldorf Astoria.

Whatever money is left over from their dog-and-pony show goes into promoting themselves, and maintaining a mammoth D.C. headquarters building. Joe Salmonella, I mean Solmonese, their executive director, is too afraid to lose his invitation to the White House Christmas party to ever actually ask anything of the president. Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was achieved despite Solmonese giving the White House a pass on the issue. It was thanks to other groups raising hell and forcing Barack Obama to keep his campaign promise that this law got passed.

Would you believe the HRC has already endorsed Obama's reelection bid? This is inexcusable. What kind of organization endorses a candidate before it even knows who the opponent will be? What leverage do they have now with the president? How do they expect to get Obama to come out for marriage rights for gay people and fight to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act when he already knows he has the support of the gay "leadership"? This organization is a rip off that benefits no one except Solmonese and his cronies.

One thing you can count on HRC to do is be the first organization to give an award to any B-list celebrity who comes out of the closet. They call it the "visibility" award. I'm not making this up! Even ice skater Johnny Weir has gotten one. Well, he's visible alright.

There's also GLAAD.

Positive representations of gays in the media is good and all, but do we really need a national organization that does little else besides host a painfully boring awards show, and fire off a few angry press releases? They'll pretty much give an award to any celebrity who agrees to show at their event and walk the red carpet. Jennifer Aniston got some inexplicable, phony award last year.

But if you really want to throw your money away, write a check to NGLTF. I think that stands for National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. What their task is and whom they're forcing to do what, I'm not entirely sure. They're about as politically ineffective as they come -- spending all their time and money preaching to the far left Democratic choir. Recently they had their D.C. "Pink & Purple" weekend featuring "rousing performances by the DC Gurly show and local lesbian DJs." Damn, can't believe I missed it!

It's a shame these organizations are still in business when the money that goes to them could be much better spent by groups like Lambda Legal, The Trevor Project, and GMHC, just to name a few. Lambda Legal employees talented lawyers who take cases on pro bono to help gay people who are victims of discrimination, and to create positive legal precedents.

I also support Stonewall Democrats for having the balls to fight for our rights at the local level and take on the most nasty religious-right bigots on their own turf.

I'm also a fan of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, whose funds go directly to supporting openly gay political candidates.

I must not also forget to mention Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The sexiest boys of Broadway do an annual must-see strip tease event called Broadway Bares that makes it hot to give generously!

Michael Lucas created Lucas Entertainment, one of the largest studios producing all-male erotica, in 1998. He lives in New York City. This article is the opinion of the writer and not The Advocate.

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