By Tara Cavanaugh
OUT magazine, a popular LGBT publication, recently released its annual OUT Power 50, a list of the most influential LGBTs in the country. That list immediately sparked controversy for its lack of diversity, and on May 3 the magazine released another list called the Hidden 105, which was submitted by three OUT readers.
The Hidden 105 is a diverse list of LGBT activists, and four on the list are from Michigan.
Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh was recognized for his political engagement; the Rev. Hank Millbourne was recognized for leading the fight to eradicate HIV/AIDS; Michelle E. Brown, on the board of directors of Michigan Equality, was recognized for LGBT community leadership; and Julie Nemecek was recognized for her “power of courage” for speaking out against being fired from Spring Arbor University because she was transgender.
Millbourne said he was “quite surprised and honored” when he found out he was listed, especially because “a lot of those folks on the list are certainly heroes to me.
“I think the people who are included on the Hidden 105 are people who probably should have been on the list to begin with,” continued Millbourne, who is also the associate executive director of AIDS Partnership Michigan.
When the OUT editors released the Hidden 105 list, they explained that their annual Power 50 is meant to show influence, not necessarily worth or valor. They also pointedly added that many on the Hidden 105 have been featured in OUT and are “perhaps not so ‘hidden,’ after all.”
“I don’t even know how to respond to that,” Millborune said. “I do think they missed a lot of people who really are important particularly to the LGBT community, and to the work that happens in our community. I’m glad the second list came out.”
The authors of the Hidden 105 list – Mandy Carter, Diego Sanchez and Roberta Sklar – describe themselves as longtime LGBT activists. In their submission to OUT, they wrote that they hoped their list showed “the diversity that is inherent in the power of the LGBT rainbow.”