by Mark Segal
One item you will rarely see in this column is something about New York – simply because the mainstream media is headquartered there and believe that anything that happens in New York is somehow important to you and me everywhere else. And, of course, they want to remind themselves that they, as they like to say, live in the best city in the world. Sorry, New York, far from it. But that is another column. This column is about something happening in New York that also takes place around the country.
It’s about killing our own, or how the LGBT community keeps itself down. In this case, it’s Christine Quinn, who happens to be the out president of the New York City Council and a buddy to Mayor Michael Bloomberg – as well as the frontrunner in the coming mayoral election. From my friends in New York, there is much grumbling about her candidacy among those not supporting her – who are saying everything from she’s a crony to Bloomberg, to she doesn’t know the issues, to she doesn’t treat our community well.
First, no politician is universally loved. But, unless you can show me something unethical – a campaign based on a lie or some personality trait that would keep her from obtaining that position – it is in the LGBT community’s best interest to stand tall with her.
If you’ve made it to the position of heading City Council, you most likely understand politics and know how to maneuver. And if, by this time in her career, there are no scandals, then your opinion on her may likely be based on her political positions – how right or left she is or who her political bedfellows are. This is one overriding issue that really should make you see that your philosophical positions should be put to the side.
Quinn would be the first out mayor of one of the nation’s top media markets. The media love to broadcast almost anything New York-related. Translation: Quinn will get lots of national exposure, which translates into LGBT exposure around the nation, especially in places where they do not see LGBT issues often. And, more importantly, she can and will be a role model for lesbian women.
My theory on LGBT equality has been based on media since the 1970s. Yes, you read that right. It has been my career to appreciate how media can help us gain equality. Quinn is now part of that equation. Having a person from the LGBT community not at the table but at the head of the table is a major step forward, especially in a high-profiled media market important for this community nationwide, similar to the experience of Tammy Baldwin’s election to the U.S. Senate.
One major point of any civil-rights movements is that people have a place at the table. Those opposed to the LGBT community gaining power need to read history.
Jump onboard or stay in the ghetto.