Thursday, October 9, 2014

Gay turf jockeying in NE; after HRC announces Nebraska field office, National LGBTQ Task Force
buys time on Omaha's KMTV to raise its profile

In today's episode (watch here), of KMTV's version of The Morning Blend (motto: what we show you between commercials are more ads!) Executive Director Rae Carey explains why the former National Gay and Lesbian Task changed its name to the National LGBTQ Task Force (aka The Task Force).
     On September 19th, AKSARBENT blogged the announcement that the nation's biggest gay rights advocacy group, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) would open a Nebraska field office.
     Our post praised HRC and welcomed it but included sharp criticism of the organization from some detractors in the gay community.
     That post elicited a spirited and anonymous defense of HRC in the comments, including the following swipe at what we can only assume was the National LGBTQ Task Force:
If you want to write about a scandalously incompetent and useless national group, why don't you do a post about the so-called "Task Force" which hasn't accomplished any identifiable goal in years even as it rakes in big money and doles out lavish pay? I doubt you'll be seeing any commitment from the "Task Force" to Nebraska or Alabama or anywhere else.
     We checked GuideStar, a charity watchdog organization, to see what it had to say about the National LGBTQ Task Force; it revealed that the NLGBTQTF took in nearly $8 million (presumably in 2013) and since The Task Force did not provide an impact statement, Guidestar published one from Philanthropia, which generally approved of the organization's efforts — comments about The Task Force included these, as well as some criticism:
  • They aren't as extractive as some large organizations about taking money from communities. They seem to work with local leaders in a non-exploitative or overbearing way. They are about cultivation of local leaders and tailoring their agenda to local needs. They do hold THE national queer conference. While I have critiques of it, it is absolutely necessary and can benefit a very broad and diverse set of attendees.
  • They created the 50-state Equality Network, whereby we have state level LGBT justice and advocacy organizations in all states. Through their "Creating Change" conference, they train, equip, mobilize, and identify core leaders at the community and regional levels.
  • NGLTF is committed to increasing the capacity of local organizations through its organizing and training team. Additionally, they have a dedicated staffer to aging issues who is singular in the field of LGBT liberation at a national level. Finally, they are the only group to convene a national movement-building conference each year.
The National LGBTQ Task Force evidently loves to hold conferences:
The Task Force also serves a vital and unique convening role in the LGBT movement, a role that reflects the respect the organization enjoys among national, state and local organizations, leaders and activists. Currently the Task Force convenes the National Religious Leadership Roundtable (a network of pro-LGBT faith based leaders and civil rights allies), the National Policy Roundtable (a semi-annual meeting of the leaders of all national LGBT policy-oriented groups), and our annual Creating Change Conference (the LGBT movement's national conference, gathering more than 2,000 people each year). The Institute for Welcoming Resources, an ecumenical group supporting the welcoming and affirming movement within seven Protestant denominations, became a Task Force program in February 2006 and will include organizing the every-few-years "Witness our Welcome" national conference, which attracts 1,200 people.

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