Mike Rogers Hub
Towleroad at Netroots Nation 2011: 'LGBT Netroots Connect' Brings Together Bloggers, Activists, and Organizations
Jason Haas is a digital media consultant and LGBT equal rights advocate. He's held positions with Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and Obama for America. The Advocate named Jason a "young gay hero" for his leadership in the LGBT equal rights movement. Jason will be providing updates and stories throughout the Netroots Nation 2011 conference. You can follow him on Twitter at @JasonLHaas.
Netroots Nation LGBT Netroots Connect, directed by Michael Rogers (who speaks in the video below), convened over 100 participants on the eve of the sixth Annual Netroots Nation conference, to discuss the most pressing issues facing the LGBT movement.
Bloggers from more than 35 national and local organizations joined online activists and organizers at the Minneapolis Hilton for a full day of training and discussion led by: Michael Crawford, Director of Online Programs at Freedom to Marry; Heather Cronk, Managing Director at GetEQUAL; and Barbara McCullough-Jones, Executive Director at the Q Center, Portland's LGBT Community Center.
In the video below, Rogers introduces the session and Cronk initiates an introduction of some of the bloggers and organizations in the room:
The stage was set for the workshop with the question: "What on-the-ground issues are going on in your world? How are they being covered – or not? What support is needed?"
The responses ran the gamut, including concerns for trans youth, generational divides, health care, and states that some fear are considered "throw-aways" because their residents or political systems lack pro-LGBT plurality.
Session I was a small-group exercise that tasked folks with identifying key gaps in the movement as well as effective ways to engage and communicate with groups across cultural or identity lines (e.g., age, race/ethnicity, faith/non-faith). Each group recorded its findings on gigantic 'Post-Its' that were later affixed to the meeting room walls so people could revisit them throughout the day.
At lunch, we networked and caught up with friends and colleagues. Afterwards, we split into two large groups, one of which examined the relationships between bloggers and organizations that share objectives.
A GLAAD staffer said the criticism his organization receives for not doing enough on certain legislation is unwarranted given limitations set by the organization's 501(c)3 tax-filing status. The other group's discussion sought to elicit ideas for sustaining blogger initiatives through foundation funding. There, someone opined that big budget organizations perhaps do so much that they monopolize opportunities smaller (albeit effective) advocacy groups need to thrive.
In Session III, a panel of queer immigrant activists offered poignant personal recounts of the struggle they or other undocumented immigrants face in the United States. Panelists included Tania A. Unzueta (Immigrant Youth Justice League and Association of Latino Men for Action), Reyna Wences (Immigrant Youth Justice League), Juan Rodriguez (Students Working for Equal Rights), and Felipe Matos (Presente.org and Students Working for Equal Rights). Check out Carlos in DC for more about what transpired in this session as well as a collection of photos and video from Netroots Nation LGBT Netroots Connect.
A lively exchange of opinions a marked the last session of the day; entitled, "Is Fighting for Marriage Equality Strategic?"
Jason Haas is a digital media consultant and LGBT equal rights advocate. In 1996, his landmark case — represented by the Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) — won critical resources for LGBTQ students in the Boston Public School System. Jason has held positions with Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and Obama for America, as well as volunteer leadership with Rock the Vote, the New York LGBT Community Center, and the 2009 National Equality March in Washington, D.C. The Advocate named Jason a "young gay hero" for his leadership in the LGBT equal rights movement.
I'm super jazzed to be covering this year's Netroots Nation conference for Towleroad after being rewarded a full-expense-paid scholarship through Michael Rogers and supporters of the LGBT National Blogger and Citizen Journalist Initiative.
Netroots is in its sixth year:
Netroots (formerly known as the YearlyKos Convention) will be held June 16-19 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, MN. Netroots Nation 2011 will include panels led by national and international experts; identity, issue and regional caucuses; prominent political, issue and policy-oriented speakers; a progressive film screening series; and the most concentrated gathering of progressive bloggers to date."
Last year, President Obama addressed conference-goers and the repeal of DADT via telecast.
Netroots 2011 headliners will be Sen. Al Franken, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Van Jones, Former Governor Howard Dean, AFT president Randi Weingarten, and more. Check the website for a full list of this year's presenters and events. There's even a Netroots mobile app.
You can follow Netroots and LGBT goings-on in real-time on Twitter using hashtag #NN11 and #NN11LGBT.
More to come!
On last night's Ed Show, GOProud's Christopher Barron tries (but fails) to argue that conservatives had a big hand in the 'DADT' repeal victory. Activist and blogger Mike Rogers calls Barron out for his group's support of Bush, and John McCain.
Barron tries to defend McCain, claiming that he isn't the horrible bigoted pig we've seen over the last week and that this was McCain's "Terri Schiavo moment."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Cenk Uygur of The Ed Show talks to blogger Mike Rogers, who really pushed this story out earlier than I think was planned, on Ken Mehlman's coming out. Uygur also talks to radio host Stephanie Miller, who recently came out herself.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Mike Rogers, the blogger behind Blogactive who was featured prominently in the Kirby Dick documentary 'Outrage' for his role in outing closeted hypocritical politicians, has found a new target, Illinois Republican congressman Mark Kirk, whose "no" vote on the recent "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal compromise is one hypocritical step too many in the wrong direction.
It's not as if Kirk's sexuality has not been discussed up to this point. Kirk is running against Democrat Alexi Giannoulias in the Illinois senate race for Barack Obama's old seat. In the Republican primary in December, Kirk was the target of a radio ad from his primary opponent Andy Martin which alleged that he had a "solid rumor" that Kirk is gay.
Responding to that ad, Kirk publicly denied he is gay in early January — video HERE.
Rogers digs a bit deeper and brings out a few additional items, saying that Kirk basically outed himself to Rogers at a party, expressing interest in another gentleman who was there:
Within hours of the DADT repeal vote I was contacted by two people who knew Kirk from his college days.
"In law school in DC everyone knew Mark was gay," the first source told me. I explained that the information was intriguing, it would not be enough to go on. He continued, "But I had sex with him a number of times." Well, now we're onto something I thought. "Could someone verify for me that you knew Kirk and went to school with him?" I asked. "Yes" was the swift reply. "Could you recall personal details about Kirk that others may not know?" "Yes," he said.
And he did.
The next source claimed to have gone to undergraduate school with Kirk. I asked for proof that he and Kirk were in school together and once that was shared with me, I met with the source. The source introduced me to a man whom had also been friends with Kirk college. They both shared with me their interactions with Kirk, including one sexual in nature. The source who claimed to have sex with Kirk described personal details about the House, um, er, "member." The description was the same as the first source.
And in DC, Kirk wasn't all THAT closeted. You see Mark Kirk told me he was gay. Before I had BlogActive, I had a life in Washington. As a fundraiser I raised major gifts from $5,000 to over $1,000,000... You don't do that kind of work at a keyboard, you do it at events with attended by people with money. The movers and shakers and their friends.
It was early 2004 when I was at a social gathering on Capitol Hill. I'm guessing there were 35-40 people present, including the guy who brought me as his guest. While the party was no means a "gay" party, I'd guess that of the men at least 75% were overtly gay. The others present were either straight men or their women friends.
It was at that party that I met Mark Kirk. I was introduced to him by the person I came with and at the time did not realize he was a member of the House. As my friend walked away, Kirk asked me if the man who introduced us was "single or attached." When I said that he had a partner Kirk replied disappointingly, "oh, well." At the end of that interaction I walked away and didn't think much of it at the time.
Why did Rogers choose to go after Kirk now? "Now, for the first time in his congressional career, Mark Kirk really had the chance to stand up and do what is right with the power of a vote. When I heard that five GOPers voted to lift the Don't Ask Don't Tell ban I instinctively though Kirk would be one of them."Read Rogers' whole post here.
"The Republican candidate for President Obama's old Senate seat inaccurately claimed to have received the U.S. Navy's Intelligence Officer of the Year award for service during NATO's conflict with Serbia in the late 1990s. Rep. Mark Kirk, a Navy reservist elected to Congress in 2001, acknowledged the error in his official biography after The Washington Post began looking into whether he had received the prestigious award, which is given by top Navy officials to a single individual annually. The Post's inquiries were sparked by complaints from a representative of state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Kirk's Democratic opponent in the Illinois Senate race."
Kirk, in the past has been lauded by the Human Rights Campaign as a sort of gay-friendly Republican, receiving a 75% rating from them in their latest report. However, folllowing Kirk's vote on DADT on Friday, HRC went ahead and endorsed his opponent, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias.
Said HRC President Joe Solmonese: "Alexi Giannoulias is the progressive leader Illinois needs," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "He will be a strong advocate in the U.S. Senate to ensure that all of his constituents are accepted and welcomed as part of the American family."
You may recall that Towleroad ran a video interview with Giannoulias in which Corey Johnson asked Giannoulias if he felt that a candidate's sexuality is fair game.
Said Giannoulias: "Here's someone who has said he is against the repeal of DADT, is against the repeal of DOMA, and he doesn't believe in same-sex marriage and I just believe that flies in the face of what our important issues are...it doesn't make sense to me.
Watch our interview with Giannoulias here.