Few things reflect how shallow national LGBT organizations can be other than the revelation that the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is going to coronate Adam Lambert with a national media award in San Francisco next month.
When my business partner and I started the South Florida Gay News four years ago, we promised each other we were going to publish a newspaper that focused on illuminating the lives and dimensions of America’s emerging LGBT community.
We were unified in mind and spirit that there were local and national newsmakers working towards LGBT equality, fighting for your rights, and standing up for all of us, who you would want to read about.
Neither of us thinks Adam Lambert is such a person. Good, he can sing. Good, he became a national star on American Idol. As obvious as it was that he was gay, he also remained in the closet during his meteoric rise to stardom while on the TV show.
Now that he is open and out, everyone wants to play off his celebrity. Fresh off being crowned the Queen of Gay Pride in Miami Beach, he is now headed to Pittsburgh in June to play the Grand Madame in their parade.
He is a rising young gay star whose career is just beginning, and maybe someday he will take his fame and fortune and advance the cause of LGBT equality. But he has not yet done so.
Therefore, seeing him on the cover of our newspaper a few weeks ago made my partner and me puke. In fact, for all intents and purposes, consider Pier Guidugli the co-author of this column. We are 100 percent on the same page about this issue.
As I have been on leave, the staff has been running the show. You hire good people and you trust them to do the job. My business partner trusts me to make sure we get the job done. Both of us went ballistic that Lambert was on our cover. Other than feature new makeup every day, what has this kid done to warrant a cover story?
While Pier and I were fuming over the cover in the evening, our Associate Publisher, Jason Parsley, was setting up an exclusive follow up interview with Lambert for the next morning. During the interview, Lambert revealed to Parsley that he had recently broken up with his boyfriend. Parsley is the first to get the story.
Sensing the newsworthiness of this shocking revelation, Parsley goes online with it immediately.
Thanks to Adam Lambert and Jason Parsley, our SFGN website crashed. Why? Because after Parsley’s story on Lambert’s boy breakup went online at SFGN.com, it was picked up first by Lambert’s groupies and within hours a slew of entertainment and gossip sites had picked up the story and linked back to us. Our servers could not handle the traffic.
Because Adam Lambert has become a national obsession, the story went viral, from coast to coast and into Europe. It may as well have gone galactic. My business partner and I were blown away.
Four years of publishing the Express Gay News, and four years into South Florida Gay News, and the story that takes down our website is Adam Lambert’s breakup with his boyfriend? This is unreal. How shallow have we become?
The award that Lambert is getting from GLAAD is its highest honor. It’s presented to “an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting gay rights.”
Give me a break. This award is presented to whoever can fill the seats and make money for GLAAD at its annual fundraising dinner.
“Adam Lambert's continued success as one of the world's best-selling pop stars shows LGBT people that they can be themselves and make it in a mainstream industry that many feel unfairly rejects them,” GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz said in a statement.
Save it, please. Struggling to find anything that Lambert has ever done for gay rights, the group noted that he spoke out for a referendum in Maryland last year upholding a gay marriage law. Oh, he also wore a purple shirt on Spirit Day last year.
Adam Lambert has become an openly gay world-class performer and is a remarkably talented singer and songwriter. In truth, there is really no legitimate reason he should not be on our cover. We have featured entertainers before, and he was the grand marshal of Miami Beach pride. There was a local angle to feature him in South Florida.
Still, folks, let’s marshal our senses. Adam Lambert may be a Grammy nominee, a Billboard 200 artist, and he may sleep with other men, but he has not made a career promoting gay rights. He has made a career promoting himself, his music, and his albums.
GLAAD is sucking off that publicity and fame to line their own pockets, instead of choosing someone worthy of that award. GLAAD needs to get its priorities straight. Stop awarding celebrities and acknowledge the unheralded champions of justice that fight the good fight for LGBT justice everyday. There are many out there.
Meanwhile, thanks Adam. Because of you our website got more hits and a spike we had never received anything like ever before. Break up more often, and when you do give Mr. Parsley a call. Norm Kent