Net Neutrality and Local LGBTQ Leadership

The absolute fail of LGTBQ Leadership locally to keep our spaces safe.


Attorney Ajit Pai IS the head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). He is also a Trump appointee and a former lawyer for Verizon. He wants companies like Verizon and Comcast, who latter company that owes the state of Oregon almost $150 million dollars in back taxes, to have something they currently don't have: control of the internet from people like you.

Verizon and Comcast have been already lied to the government and investors about net neutrality, saying it has cost them millions. The fact if the matter is, not a single Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing has been submitted in two years stating this, which is a felony. Of course, it is a felony that has yet to be followed up by the Justice Department, the SEC or the FCC at all, which is not surprising given the current state of affairs in Washington D.C.

A vote to repeal net neutrality, which gives people like you control of the internet, will take place in three weeks.

If you like having all content streamed equally, paying an equal price for access and allowing you to visit any place in the net without interference and the ability to exercise your free speech as guaranteed to you by the First Amendment, then you are a supporter of net neutrality.

With the assistance of many other dedicated people, we have worked very diligently against companies like Comcast and Verizon publicly for the last several years. We got net neutrality passed in 2015, but are now facing and ever greater threat in 2017, where activists like myself believe that due to a majority of Republicans on the FCC board, they will vote in favor of repeal.

We have already seen how Republicans are willing to vote in an accused child molester just because he is a Republican in Alabama. So understand that we have little to no faith in that party's platform concerning the well being of anyone. Understand that we would like to be very wrong about the Grand Old Party choosing people over politics, as it did with the failed attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act earlier this year.

We also know that the FCC stopped programs from that assist low-income individuals in regards to internet access, which has become so entrenched in our lives that one can't seemingly do anything without it anymore. But time and time again, the LGBTQ community has sided with exploiters of the poor and non-whites for a long time while attempting to justify this hypocrisy with excuses concerning their statements about equality and fairness.

As a result, people like myself have refused to attend events that have been sponsored by these liars, crooks and scoundrel. This includes events like PDX Pride. This last one was especially hard for me, as I was on the board previously and have been associated with a number of LGBTQ orgs here locally for a very long time.

For those wondering why I don't get to come out to other events or have to be home near my computer, it is because I have been working non-stop, sometimes literally around the clock getting the word out, meeting with elected officials, answering questions in online forums, attending net neutrality stakeholder meetings and working with others, many of whom are regular working class folks without a whole lot of extra income or time to spend on this.

We have been outspent by companies that provide internet service, ignored by many in the mainstream as being not important enough and of course, sadly being shut out by the LGBTQ community for not wishing to be associated with exploiters. The irony is that this is the same LGBTQ community that goes on about "safe spaces". 

It was amazing that this last June, when we attempted to warn you about these organizations infiltrating our community, we were told, more often than not, that we "should not yuk someone's yum".

So yes, many of you decided to go and attempted to shame those of us who told you that these people were going to screw us over and we would not sell out our values or the protections of others for what was once considered a protest to those who wished to do us harm. Companies like Verizon and Comcast have wanted Net Neutrality repealed since Trump took office last November. This was no secret, but many of you chose to ignore this, allowing organizations like these exploiters into our safe spaces as long as they helped foot the bill. 

That time of the upcoming hearing will be in mid-December, 2017. Do you have anything you wish to say about it now that the repeal of net neutrality is all over the news because you can't seem to get away from the fact that you didn't know how serious it was? 

It's not that you didn't know, it's that you didn't care. Why yes, I feel safer already, thank you LGBTQ community and leadership. Don't you? 

You came up with a multitude of excuses for selling out your brothers and sisters, as you fondly call us only one weekend a year. We were sold wholesale down the river so you could have a party. Hell, many of you even ended up in the Advocate's coverage of it. 

Is this is the public visibility so many of you spoke of as being important? Because they only thing, in hindsight, you were making more visible is your allegiance to companies that have sided squarely with President Trump. 

I hope you had a good time. I hope you enjoyed your photo opportunity. Because if the FCC votes for repeal, please remember that you helped make this OK by standing with these organizations when we needed you to be visible against the Trump administration and their cronies. But because it came wrapped in a rainbow flag, somehow that made it OK. 

Then go cry to online about your first world problems while media companies already in bed with the First Amendment hating Trump administration find new ways to keep the truth from you, as they already have been for the last year to little avail because net neutrality kept the channels open so you had the opportunity to get to the facts.

Those that control the medium control the message. If you think it is bad now, just wait until net neutrality no longer exists. Part of the FCC's next series of moves is to keep states from instituting separate rules in order to protect citizens. Yes, this has also been publicly stated, but receives little to no coverage in LGBTQ media or even on social media feeds.

You see, taking a stand would require those of you who ignored the messages before to pay attention now and do something about it, and the fact of the matter is, you haven't done a damn thing about at all, except wonder what you were going to wear to said event. It would require real attention to detail and and some forward-thinking on your part, and honestly, an epic fail from you on that with this issue.

Remember that you chose a street party over your community the next time you open your mouth about your brothers and how important their safety and well-being are, even if at the expense of others. To those in the leather community who talk often about "Leather Leadership" but still associate with organizations that openly told us they wished to do us harm, you have once again proven you have absolutely no clue what that phrase actually means. 

Do the ends justify the means? You are all about to face a very harsh reality that exposes what happens to people who use this line of thinking. The kind of work I do since leaving the board of Pride NW isn't sexy: there are no titles, there are no salaries, there are no bar events, contests or awards. However, we have helped get the minimum wage raised, legalized marijuana, gotten net neutrality passed in 2015 and made police departments in Oregon test rape kits, and so much more, all with no alcohol-based fundraising, posturing or choosing vanity and glamour over doing the right thing because we made a promise that things like integrity, honesty and people mattered and came first. 

Capitalism has consequences. It is a system based upon the unequal distribution of wealth and power. And, as a community of people often thrown under the bus by capitalism, you show an incredible ignorance to what the system does to those who are easy targets because they were distracted by bright and shiny things.

If anyone here wishes to send thoughts and prayers, now would be the time to send them, because we are going to need a miracle in order to get bipartisan Congressional support to stop the repeal of net neutrality and hope that our friends at the ACLU can find a way to keep the LGBTQ community, and all dispossessed communities, from being thrown under the bus. Disgust and disappointment aren't strong enough words to describe how I feel about the true lack of vision in LGBTQ leadership and our community at the moment. To say that you can't be trusted is an understatement, because time and time again, you chose something more important than what you have plainly stated you are here to not give a damn at all.

Now would be the time for you to get up off your asses and prove me wrong by actually doing something to keep net neutrality something we can all take advantage of, before Trump and his cronies decide that the internet is theirs, and not yours. 

Love to you all.

Ben Brown Jr.

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