NEM organizer Mark Reed cancels plane ticket he'd given to QL founder Blake Wilkinson

Posted on 25 Sep 2009 at 2:02pm

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National Equality March executive committee member Mark Reed (shown above), a successful Dallas business owner, says he’s given away about 12 airline vouchers so that others from the local LGBT community can attend the event Oct. 10 and 11 in Washington, D.C. One of those airline vouchers had gone to Blake Wilkinson, founder of Queer LiberAction. But according to e-mails I received today from both Reed and Wilkinson, Reed has canceled Wilkinson’s voucher over comments critical of the march that were posted on QL’s Web site. QL, along with the Gay Liberation Network in Chicago, has been trying to organize a protest outside the White House during the first day of the march. According to a “Call for a pro-LGBT picket of the White House” on the front page of the QL site:

“The organizers of the Sunday, October 11th March on Washington have placed almost their entire focus on Congress (which will be out of town) and almost none on the President. Indeed, rather than making demands of the President, the official march Web site goes out of its way to praise ‘Obama’s Mobile Messaging Team (for) Donating Services To The National Equality March!’

“By targeting congressional districts and lobbying Congress in an effort to win legal equality, the organizers’ strategy looks suspiciously like a drive to elect and re-elect Democrats in the 2010 bi-elections, rather than make uncompromising demands on this President and his Congress.”

Here are portions of an e-mail Reed sent to Wilkinson yesterday in response to the above comments:

“I am canceling your free ticket to Washington and informing you in time so you can still make affordable plans.

“Although I was tempted to wait [until] one day before the march, that is not my style … and [would be] fostered out of anger that unlike you, I have learned how to control.”

In response to the first paragraph from the QL Web site above, Reed wrote, “LIE. We didn’t praise Obama with this message. We were pointing the credibility of the group that has volunteered for this effort.” In response to the second paragraph, Reed wrote, “LIE. You obviously haven’t read anything about our strategy and I do not have time to explain it to you.” Reed then goes on to say:

“As someone that has been working extremely hard to help promote the march, I am very disappointed that you have not done jack shit to help. Instead, you are posting lies on your Web site and Facebook page about the organizers of this event.

“Dante & I have tried to be a support to you and your efforts. No more. We are now starting to believe what many of your enemies have written about you. So sad.”

And here’s Wilkinson’s response to Reed:

“I find it interesting that you’re canceling my ticket because of a difference of political opinion. What it boils down to is it my way or the highway, literally. I’m so disappointed with you and Dante. I would have thought that you would have tried to understand where we are coming from with QL. I have tried over the months, but I guess I have failed.

“As I said on the phone, and have said a million times over, if there is misinformation or differences of opinion I’m always happy to meet. I offered to meet your co-organizer to go over this stuff but she preferred to send me an email with corrected information. Yours is the only e-mail I have received.

“If you don’t like dialog or criticism then get out of politics. Just because you have gotten inspired to do something, which is great, it’s disappointing that because we disagree you’re using the only thing you have to try to squelch the fire, money. I, we, can’t be bought.

“So, as always, the phone is always on and I’m happy to meet. I’ll be eagerly waiting for your call and you and Dante’s generous support once again.”

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