Local gay spitfire Michael Petrelis has this to say about Pride Magazine, a publication that highlights news and Pride events all over this whole gay country: “It’s so white, the glare may blind LGBT readers.” And what he’s saying is half-true. (The other half — sorry, Michael — is bullshit.) Michael’s observation is correct — check it out yourself, and you’ll find few photos of minorities in the article and in the ads. Oh, white people, why do you have to ruin everything by existing all over the place?

Michael blames one guy — Joe — for this. That’s where the bullshit comes in, and we’ll get to that in just a minute.

Let’s talk about demographics first: it’s definitely a problem, not just in this magazine, but everywhere. Communities of color and gay communities do frequent harm to themselves when they fail to acknowledge their Venn Diagram overlap. This is bad for gays; it’s bad for people of color; and it’s a fucking tragedy when gay people of color feel their own identity torn between two fractious communities that ought to be harmonious.

Eighty percent of success is showing up; but did minorities fail to show up for us, or did we fail to show up for them?But! We’re lucky enough to have a bunch of local activists hard at work introducing minority communities to each other. Check out this amaaaaaaaazing fiery speech from Rev. Amos Brown, a minister who bellows, “though I am a Baptist, I refuse to be a bigot!” And then there’s enthusiastic Rev. Roland Stringfellow, and tireless Andrea Shorter. They are awesome, and they get results. Not all is lost. Yet.

So what happened with this Pride Magazine? Whose fault is all this whiteness? Petrelis suggests that it’s all due to one guy, Joe from JoeMyGod, who served as the magazine’s advertising director. He writes: “Couldn’t JoeMyGod and his colleagues find any living African Americans to put in the mag … on the editorial side or in the ads?” This is the bullshit part, where Petrelis just complains on his blog instead of asking the actual people involved.

We emailed Joe, and he explained, “We do happen to feature mostly white/anglo models, but not for any lack of trying to find NYC-based models-of-color or trans folk. As my many hundreds of Facebook ‘friends’ will attest, I posted numerous pleas for trans and non-white couples to appear for our photo shoot for 2009 – to no avail. … We did have two nonwhite couples scheduled, but purely by coincidence both couples begged off the day before.”

We’ve experienced the exact same problem ourselves when producing videos about Prop 8. Our casting calls were answered almost exclusively by white couples. Why is this? Maybe it reflects the demographics of the internet; or at least, the demographics of the part of the internet that we (as whites) tend to use. Eighty percent of success is showing up; but did minorities fail to show up for us, or did we fail to show up for them?

Michael’s touched on a serious problem, though he misplaced blame on a symptom (whites in a magazine) rather than the cause (disconnect between potential allies). So, what’s the solution? Seriously. We’re asking. What now?

Matt Baume is the creator of Stop8.org, and does a bunch of behind-the-scenes marriage-equality organizing.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!