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Philanthropy Book Club | Gay, Inc.: The Nonprofitization of Queer Politics By Myrl Beam
Friday, June 04, 2021, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM PST
Category: Book Club

The LGBT movement, at least a significant and significantly mobilized part of it, was explicitly leftist, anti-capitalist, critical of police violence, and was invested in resisting norms around sexuality. The idea of settling down, getting married and buying a house in the ‘burbs was anathema to them! So what happened to shift the movement so dramatically that now upholding norms around sexuality (like marriage, for instance) is the central goal? We now have a movement that is relentlessly corporate, cares more about inclusion in the military than what the military does, and is laser-focused on discrete policy wins to the exclusion of all else.

“Gay, Inc.” explores the why of this shift. What happened to shift the politics of the movement so dramatically? How could a movement that was so anti-assimilationist now have assimilation as its most central goal? The book argues that the institutionalization of the movement into the nonprofit system was a major driver of this shift. Incorporation into the nonprofit form means that organizations are reliant on individual donors, government grants or private philanthropy. And as the movement has become more and more reliant on a small number of wealthy donors, as well as corporations and private philanthropy, the goals of the movement began to shift to be more in line with what those funders would prioritize. So, why marriage? Because rich people wanted it, ultimately, and they drove the agenda of the movement with their donations.

And this dynamic isn’t limited to the LGBT movement. It is something that all social-justice movements housed in the nonprofit form have to contend with. It’s hard to transform society when you rely on funding from those who benefit from society exactly as it is. Ultimately, this organizational form has been devastating to the progressive left in the U.S. as social justice movements are pressured into prioritizing the goals of people for whom the status quo largely works.

Join us this Pride Month as we unpack Gay, Inc: The Nonprofitization of Queer Politics. Purchase your copy today here or your local book seller.

We look forward to seeing you on June 4th.

While reading the book is highly recommended, we encourage all to participate and join in on the conversation. Please do not let not reading the book leave you out on these thoughtful and engaging discussions.

Click here to register.

This is a free event for AFP members.