In today’s horrific employment climate, there is one important job that needs to be filled. The LGBT movement for equality is in need of a national leader. Applicants should simultaneously command the respect and admiration of both the gay community and the mainstream American public. Job duties include serving as the face of the gay civil rights movement, dedicating life to equality, and not having an illegal or embarrassing impending scandal. Women, people of color and transgender individuals are encouraged to apply.
I am not saying we need to put all of our hopes on one person to try and be our Dr. Martin Luther King. It remains vital that we advance on all fronts and try to achieve equality from every possible angle, but I do believe it is important that our movement develop a figure who is above all of the in-fighting and the drama and someone who can serve as the trusted voice and face of our issues.
Here are three of my favorite candidates:
Lieutenant Dan Choi is by far and away the most exciting contender. He is kind of like LeBron James in high school or the first season of Project Runway in that Choi is beaming with potential to be something truly special. His military career is impenetrable -– West Point graduate, Arabic linguist, Lieutenant, etc. This gives him automatic street-cred with several hard-to-reach demographics for the LGBT equality message. He is a good orator, he is attractive and he has exquisite political instincts. Perhaps the most important question to ask when searching for a leader is whether people will follow, and based off of everything I know of and everything I have seen in Lt. Choi, I will loyally follow him wherever he goes –- and I don’t believe I am alone. I believe Lt. Choi could pick an office anywhere in America that he wants to run for and we will make sure that he wins. Even better, after his epic actions last week in chaining himself to the White House, it appears clear that he wants the job.
In 2004, I attended my first GLAAD Media Awards and I had the distinct opportunity to hear former GLAAD executive director Joan Garry speak. Within minutes, I was ready to buy whatever she wanted to sell me. A brilliant speaker, respected leader and monumentally intelligent person with a proven track record, Garry has everything it takes to fill the position of national gay voice… except perhaps the desire. Shortly after that legendary 2004 speech, Joan retired from GLAAD to spend time with her wife and children (which makes her even more of an attractive candidate). Perhaps after her children are grown, she won’t mind re-entering the public life and taking reigns of our movement.
Keith Boykin has also been out of the public eye for a little while, but it is time to bring him back. Boykin first gained national prominence as a trusted special assistant to President Bill Clinton. With the ear of the President, he was perhaps the most powerful gay man in the world at the time. After his stint in the White House, he was one of the founders of the National Black Justice Coalition, which continues to be one of the most important LGBT organizations in this country. Keith showed his political abilities as a contestant on the 2004 Showtime series “The American Candidate.” He is a prominent speaker, writer and intellectual trendsetter. Since he has kept a low profile recently, I am not sure that he wants the job of national gay leader, but he warrants consideration regardless.
Who do you think should be the top leader in the LGBT civil rights movement? Let us know in the comments section.
Photo credit: Paul Schreiber