Saturday, March 28, 2009


In an article in the Washington Blade entitled, "How much do they make? A look at the compensation paid to leaders of the LGBT rights movement", the following is stated:

Craig Shniderman, executive director of Food & Friends, which provides meals and nutritional services for homebound people with HIV/AIDS in the Washington, D.C. area, had the highest salary among the heads of the nation’s most prominent LGBT advocacy groups and groups that provide AIDS-related services in Los Angeles, New York and D.C.

A survey of the compensation paid to heads of 30 LGBT and AIDS organizations, conducted by the Washington Blade, shows that Shniderman had a total salary and benefits package of $382,200 in 2008, the latest period for which the organizations’ salary and annual revenue data could be obtained for a completed fiscal year.

Shniderman’s earnings placed him ahead of Joe Solmonese, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT political advocacy group. Solmonese, who ranked second in the salary survey, received a total compensation package of $338,400 in 2008....

Geoff Kors, Equality California’s executive director, had a 2008 compensation of $171,000.

I don't know what criteria are used to determine or justify these exorbitant salaries of people who are deemed "activists" of one sort or another in regard to LGBT issues. However, those criteria should, and must, be made public so that people can see whether they are getting enough bang for the buck to justify what I consider to be outrageous salaries, particularly since we have hitherto seen very little accomplishment in the acquisition of full and equal Gay rights, and with the exception of the likely repeal of DADT, we are unlikely to see any further movement in equal rights for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps garnering these exorbitant salaries and perks occurs precisely because there has been such little accomplishment in acquiring equal rights for LGBT people; perhaps because rubbing elbows with politicos in Washington, D.C and elsewhere is helping to garner such salaries and perks when actually moving Gay rights forward in a meaningful way would offend those politicians and prevent such handsome remuneration of those corporate heads.

Perhaps if a lot of the money that goes into those salaries and perks were meaningfully spent in actually fighting for full and equal LGBT rights, much more in that area would have been accomplished by now.

Bureaucracies are self-perpetuating; bureaucrats are careerists who are usually far more interested in keeping and enhancing their careers than they are in achieving the goals they say they are interested in achieving. For, if they achieved their goals, they'd be without a job!

Sociologists call this phenomenon, "Goal Displacement," where the means by which the alleged goals are to be achieved become more important than the actual achievement of those goals. So, in this connection, it is possible that many "activists" who make "activism" a career might be far more interested in maintaining their positions, especially their well-paid positions, than they are in achieving the goals of equal rights that they say they are interested in achieving, and for which they are being ostensibly paid.

We don't know the answers to these questions, but it behooves people genuinely interested in full and equal civil rights for LGBT people to demand justification for granting this largesse to these and other corporate heads in the area of what is called "activism," and determine whether or not these salaries and perks are justified.
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genevieve said...

One of the sad facts about a number of these organizations is that they tend to focus on pet issues instead of the whole umbrella. Trangender people time after time hadbeen thrown under the bus by mainstream organizations. Many of the propositions failed because they were outworked and outsmarted by the opposition.

I want to see bang for my buck and some of these organizations fall short. Another area ignored is people of color. Not too many are involved in the decision making process.

Jerry Maneker said...

Amen, Genevieve! Focusing on one issue by a given organization is Ok, but there should be far more bang for the buck to justify such salaries, in my opinion. A lot or organizations were "outsmarted by the opposition" because our side wasn't well represented by very smart and/or aggressive people who are charged with representing the inherent dignity of LGBT people and the need for equal rights as afforded under the Constitution.

Regarding people of color, you might want to look at today's post entitled "Shine" on my friend Don Charles' blog, Christ, The Gay Martyr.