Break out the matching silverware -- the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is joining you for Thanksgiving dinner.
GLAAD launched a campaign last week urging LGBT people to "let Aunt Betty feel awkward this Thanksgiving." GLAAD's official statement assures LGBT people that speaking openly about our relationships is essential for political progress. Apparently, progress goes well with gravy.
Drawing on the legacy of Harvey Milk, GLAAD reminds us that "... putting down that forkful of stuffing for a minute and just talking about yourself (if you're able to) this Thanksgiving can make a huge difference."
Sure, we know that the "come out, come out, wherever you are" method works. But GLAAD doesn't mention that coming out has consequences for some LGBT people.
GLAAD says that discussing LGBT politics with our families "doesn't just put a human face to an otherwise politically charged issue. It puts YOUR face on the issue. And to people who care about you, that really matters."
GLAAD is right -- it does matter. Unfortunately, sometimes it matters so much that our relatives disown us. For many LGBT people, going home for the holidays is difficult enough without an extra helping of homoguilt.
GLAAD also ignores that many LGBT people don't even have the option of joining their families for Thanksgiving. These are the people who made Aunt Betty "feel awkward" once already and were told they could never come back.
To avoid rejection, some LGBT people don't speak openly about our identities with our families. But GLAAD doesn't hesitate to shame those of us who choose not to come out.
"The fact is, while you're scarfing down mashed potatoes and staying silent while everyone else at the table is freely speaking their minds, you're missing a golden opportunity to make real, honest progress by talking about your life, and the things you care about."
Along with counting our carbs, GLAAD insinuates that those of us who don't use Thanksgiving as a "golden opportunity" for LGBT progress are cowards. Double ouch.
In wake of GLAAD's recent blunders, forget Aunt Betty -- LGBT people are the ones who feel awkward taking GLAAD's advice.
This past May, GLAAD sent a letter to the FCC endorsing the AT&T/T-Mobile merger after accepting a $50,000 donation from AT&T. The LGBT community was outraged at GLAAD's moral transgression. Yet GLAAD's statement about the "Aunt Betty" campaign is chock-full of moral prescriptions.
GLAAD's mission is to monitor representations of LGBT people in the media. When GLAAD prescribes how we represent ourselves to our families, the organization takes its role as the community's "watchdog" a little too seriously.
GLAAD's campaign leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Aunt Betty, please pass the cranberry sauce.