CommunityPam's House Blend

NGLTF Response to "Transparency and the gAyTM in Action – NGLTF FAIL"

Blender Gray Coyote wrote to the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force regarding the Transparency and the gAyTM in Action – NGLTF FAIL subsection of the Pam’s House Blend diary What you missed over the weekend at PHB – accountability and the gAyTM.

Excerpt from the original PHB diary:

In related news that confirms that activity by our orgs inside the Beltway is sometimes at odds with actual equality goals and actions to hold this Administration accountable, Act On Principles picked up on my recent post about The Task Force and its curious New Beginning Initiative that pulled together 20 national and local organizations to create a list of policy recommendations that was given to the Obama transition team.

At first it set up a web page with the very long list of action items, calling for readers to follow the checklist as items were accomplished and checked off. At some point, someone decided that the long list was a problem politically, and so it ddisappeared, along with the accountability language, replaced with only items that have been accomplished.

There’s not a good reason to have done this other than to provide cover for the Administration. Features like a checklist are about accountability and transparency. I wasn’t the only one to find this activity onerous. Blender David Phillips sent this letter to the Task Force.

From: David Phillips

Date: Sun, Jul 11, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Subject: terminate my monthly contributions immediately



I have been proud to be a Task Force supporter over the last 20-plus years. However, in the interest of transparency within the movement, I must cease being a donor due to the misrepresentations made on the NBI scorecard online at

We all know that far more work remains to gain full equality for LGBTQ Americans under the law. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is still the law, as is DOMA; and ENDA seems like a pipe dream. Further, The Task Force’s website touts attention to HIV/AIDS; yet, we know that No Promo Homo remains substantially intact in the U.S. Code, limiting the ability of federally-funded HIV prevention programs to communicate frankly and explicitly with Queermen. As a 28-year survivor with HIV, I can no longer support organizations that in any way gloss over the current force of the Helms Amendment.

Please update me on the status of my recurring donation from Visa ending **** as soon as possible.

To equality and transparency,

David Phillips

David noted to me that “The Victory Fund is now the only LGBT political organization which I support with unrestricted giving.”

Accountability…through the management of the gAyTM.

You can view a cache of the old scoresheet (with many unchecked boxes) for the New Begining Initiative — as of June 30th, 2010 0500 GMT — here, and a cache of the scoresheet as of today — July 13, 2010 at 1400 PDT — here.

When Gray Coyote wrote and asked NGLTF about this, he received the following response (Gray Coyote‘s real name redacted):

[Below the fold: Response letter from NGLTF  to the Gray Coyote.]

Dear _________,

Thank you for your email asking for an explanation regarding changes to the New Beginning Initiative website over the past few months.  As someone who is engaged in the struggle for full equality, you may know that the Task Force has worked hard to train activists and build strong coalitions that will fight for LGBT rights.  

We did find the recent postings on the New Beginning Initiative unfair and inaccurate.  The Task Force responded to Mr. Hitchcock and Pam’s House Blend yesterday.  In case you missed the response, I’m pasting it below for your reading.  I would ask that you read it in full.  Again, thank you for staying engaged, reaching out, and asking for an explanation.



Posted Response:

We are writing in response to postings here and elsewhere that have questioned the changes made on the New Beginning Initiative coalition website. In the interest of continued transparency, the Task Force did change the New Beginning Initiative (NBI) website ( back in May for a couple of reasons.  

First, over the course of the last year, the NBI coalition has discussed whether or not to keep all of the policies up and decided to list the recommended policy changes as they are achieved. Some of the policy areas highlighted on the original web page were starting to get traction and attention from conservative and right-wing groups (this has most recently shown up in an editorial in the Washington Times titled “Obama’s War on the Traditional Family” Our opposition knows we are making progress. The coalition decided the best option was to take the detailed list down to ensure that the coalition and individual organizations are able to continue our determined and methodical work on specific policies and lessen the possibility that the opposition will wage campaigns against those policies. The website continues to track successfully achieved federal agency policy changes that benefit the lives of LGBT people (we note those of the NBI, its members, other organizations and efforts led by the federal government itself).

Second, since our initial inventory of the federal agencies, NBI coalition members have also identified additional policies that should be changed and that were not reflected on the original website. When the NBI coalition members developed this list nearly three years ago, we knew it was not exhaustive and would continue to evolve. There are many policies that must be changed and the coalition continues to push for these changes. We will continue to post to the website and send out press releases about the policy changes as they are secured in order to keep the community informed.

The Task Force and coalition organizations have spoken publicly about the work, what we are seeking to achieve, and the policies that we’ve been successful in getting changed. We have put out press releases, spoken about the initiative in front of conferences and convenings, as well as to the media. This project has been anything but cloaked in darkness.

And finally, the progress that the NBI, its members, allied organizations and the government have made for LGBT people and their families is not inconsequential: the elderly and aging who can benefit from programs at the Administration on Aging; the federal employees who can now use sick time to care for partners; LGBT parents who can take time off work to care for their children; transgender people who can now change the gender marker on their passport without having to undergo sex-reassignment surgery; and, the low-income families that will have access to housing programs like Section 8 Vouchers and have recourse if they experience discrimination. To the people and families these changes help, the progress is anything but “princess crumbs” or piecemeal progress, as some have described it. The Task Force and our hard-working coalition organizations remain steadfast in changing policies that benefit all LGBT people, and in particular, those who are often overlooked, underrepresented or underserved by the government, the private sector and, sadly, sometimes our very own LGBT community.

For readers of this and other posts and outlets, we hope you will continue to let your voice be heard and partner with the 20 coalition organizations to make sure that this government – to whom we pay taxes – gives LGBT people our fair share of the services that support us and our families. We have a lot more to get done together.

My best,

Rea Carey

Executive Director

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Brad Jacklin

Program Manager

The Task Force

I checked the PHB diary in question, and as my writing of this diary (Tuesday, July 13, 2010 1400PDT), the posted response cited by Brad Jacklin in his e-letter to Gray Coyote was actually not posted as a comment to What you missed over the weekend at PHB – accountability and the gAyTM , nor was it posted as a stand alone diary at PHB. I also looked on the front page of NGLTF’s website and didn’t find the posted response — or a link to the response — by Rea Carey and Brad Jacklin posted. And looking at the two current New Beginning Initiative webpages {here (cache) and here (cache)}, I didn’t see the posted response posted there either. Basically, I’m not sure where they posted their posted response, assuming they posted their posted response.


UPDATE: Where NGLTF posted their response:

The direct link to the NGLTF comment:

The comment was posted on Tuesday Jul 13, 2010 at 08:49:17 AM PDT, in the comment thread for the PHB diary A look at The Pink Beltway’s alternate universe view of the Obama admin’s LGBT ‘accomplishments’.

H/t to HunterC for informing me what PHB user name the NGLTF comment was posted under — from there I found their comment, and now PHB has linked to it in this PHB diary.


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