National Gay and Lesbian CoC should have given LGBT newspapers the scoop on their deal with MLB



Norm Kent
Special Contribtor

The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce recently announced an 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 includes Dallas Voice, South Florida Gay News, Washington Blade in D.C., the Bay Area Reporter in San Francisco, L.A.’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 owner and publisher of South Florida Gay News.


A NGLCC member responds

Wendy Fahle
Special contributor

As a proud certified LGBT-owned business through the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, I’ve seen first hand how this organization is advancing LGBT economic opportunities in our community. I, like most LGBT Americans, am a firm believer that to have full equality we also need economic equality.

I’m thrilled to see this partnership with Major League Baseball capture national attention. Without NGLCC opening up doors for LGBT-owned businesses through its supplier diversity certification program, I would never have been recognized by the some of the biggest Fortune 500 corporations for contracting opportunities.

This has real-world effects on small businesses like mine, and that lifts up our entire community.  It’s not a stretch to believe that the 150-plus corporations that are looking for LGBT companies to become diverse suppliers did not join NGLCC or commit to bringing parity to corporate supplier diversity practices because they read about it in a local community publication, no matter the quality of those outlets.

The news about the agreement with MLB appearing in a mainstream publication is not only good for attracting more LGBT-friendly corporations to the table to create more opportunities for LGBT businesses, it also helps give the LGBT business community the clout to be sought out and featured by the business world at large. This exposure — both mainstream and local — helps LGBT people grow our businesses, employ more people, and be a bigger part of our local, state and national economies.

Imagine it: Major corporations buying products and services right here in Dallas — and investing in the LGBT community like they do other diverse communities. The more visible our successful businesses are in the media and to the market, the more these corporations will seek us out.

This is the real work of NGLCC and the strategy behind getting this amazing story out in front of the most eyes possible. I sure hope to see big stories like this become a regular occurrence, whether in Fortune Magazine or right here at home in Dallas Voice.

I think all good news for the LGBT community — regardless of who gets to break it — makes us stronger. In this instance, Norm Kent’s editorial was a swing and a miss.

Wendy Fahle is owner of W.M. Martin Advertising, a Dallas-based NGLCC-certified LGBT business enterprise.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 25, 2016.