Norm Kent: The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce strikes out

Last week the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce announced a historic partnership with major league baseball.

I was thrilled. Except for one detail.

They gave the exclusive to Fortune Magazine, a very mainstream and very straight publication. This is a bad thing. In fact, it is moronic. Sadly though, it is typical of many gay organizations trying to earn brownie points with mainstream forums.

Had the NGLCC come to the National Gay Media Association (NGMA), which represents the most credible and conscientious LGBT newspapers in the nation, they could have received notoriety, attention and publicity in many papers all at once.

Had the NGLCC come to the NGMA, we would have rightfully gotten the recognition we were entitled to for being the voices of the national LGBT community, and breaking a story that had social impact.

The NGMA not only encompasses the South Florida Gay News, but the Washington Blade in D.C., the Dallas Voice, the Bay Area Reporter in San Francisco, LA’s new Pride magazine, Between the Lines in Detroit, and Bay Windows in Boston.

Our association also represents the Windy City Times in Chicago, Gay City News in New York, Watermark in Orlando, the Georgia Voice and the Philadelphia Gay News. We are talking about reaching close to 500,000 readers weekly and more importantly, the heart and soul of our nation’s LGBT community.

Ironically, our organization actively supports the NGLCC. We hosted parties and publicized their national conference here on the Fort Lauderdale beach last summer. We highlighted their speakers and featured them on our news pages. Suzie Orman, who was their keynote speaker, was on the cover of SFGN.

You would think they might do the same for us. Help out the people who help you.

Like the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force, the Human Rights Campaign, and too many other organizations seeking social approval, sometimes these champions forget their roots.

If they have someone to praise, a story to share, or an idea to promote, look inward first, outward later. We are not an afterthought; we are the reason you are here.

So to the leadership of the NGLCC, looking for sponsorships, publicity, and ink, here’s a secret. You don’t give exclusives to Fortune and Wall Street. You think about the people who are helping make you your fortune. You think about the people who embrace your organization and give its work life and vitality.

The same goes for other national groups who swoop into town and pilfer local dollars for national causes. There is room for everybody within our circle. We are supposed to be representatives of inclusion. While you are rounding the bases, don’t forget home plate. Don’t forget who gave you the uniform and put you in the game in the first place.

Norm Kent is the founder and publisher of South Florida Gay News.