Plenty of leaders in the GLBTIQ rights movement — if you look

My letter to the writer of the NY Times article: “Why the Gay Rights Movement Has No National Leader”

Dear Mr Peters:
Contrary to the impression one might get reading your article, there have been gay writers and activists and leaders speaking out, indeed for decades, against homophobic hatred and naming their oppressors, but that is due to its longterm exclusion from access to the media, not because  there isn’t leadership in the GLBTIQ (gay lesbian bi transgender intersex and queer) community.
That the article continually refers to the GLBTIQ movement as the “gay movement” making scant reference to lesbians, and without making reference whatsoever to bisexual men and women, transgender, intersex, and queer-identified persons, who exist in numbers greater than homosexuals, reveals that you are not speaking from inside the GLBTIQ leadership or know much about the current state of the movement.
Further, in my view, that the article considers no more than one or two names of the national leadership indicates little interest in investigating and analyzing the subject, which would require actually contacting GLBTIQ activists and asking them who their leaders are.
If I had been asked, as a GLBTIQ activist, to name a national leader in the sexual minority civil rights movement, I would have named dozens of people, not one, because I believe that a movement needs many leaders, not just one figurehead.

A movement needs many leaders, not just a figurehead.
A movement needs many leaders, not just a lone figurehead.

The article fails to appreciate the nature of sexual minorities and the communities in which GLBTIQ persons actually live. These communities all have leaders, but to say that none have come to national prominence is not fact but opinion.
Gay lesbian bisexual and transgender voices are only expressed in mainstream media in the most disparaging terms, usually substituting conjecture for depth. We don’t need heterosexuals talking about GLBTIQ issues, we need gays lesbians bis, and transgender folks relating their own experience.
Until the national media start to proactively seek leaders in the sexual minorities civil rights movement to share their experience and grant them comparable, if not equal, access to discuss their issues, I wouldn’t expect a GLBTIQ leader to rise to national prominence any time soon.

Ron J Suresha
New London, CT

Author: Ron Suresha

Ron Jackson Suresha is an editor, anthologist, and writer. He is considered an authority on emergent queer masculinities, in particular the subcultures of gay and bi male Bears and of male bisexuality. For Ron's service to the bear community, he was named "Bear of the Year" 2008. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Suresha attended the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, 1976-8), where he studied creative writing, and Vista College (Berkeley, Cal., 1989-92), where he studied American Sign Language. For more than two decades, he has worked as a freelance proofreader for trade book publishers such as Shambhala Publications. He was married in October 2004 to Rocco Russo. He is also a licensed Justice of the Peace in Connecticut, an ordained minister, ULC, and a member of the New London Green Party. Nonfiction works include Bears on Bears: Interviews & Discussions; Bi Men: Coming Out (coeditor, with Pete Chvany); Bisexual Perspectives on the Life and Work of Alfred C. Kinsey (editor). His latest book is The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, jests, and donkey tales of the beloved Persian folk hero, published by Lethe Press.