In 2017, the organizers of Queerbomb in Austin TX failed in their mission to uphold the Queerbomb Manifesto and provide a space to celebrate each and every member of our community.
A Sham – Queerbomb Austin 2017 was poorly-attended compared to previous years. Poorly promoted, ineptly managed. This event, which was intended to celebrate Pride, was shamefully poisoned by pride of another kind – by a small group who selfishly placed their appetite for attention and fame over democracy, diversity and individuality! It was an insult to the LGBTQIA communities they claimed to serve.
In the Fall of 2016, Queerbomb had formally adopted leadership titles and roles which would be filled by democratic election. Then, in January of 2017, the last of the original organizers met publicly to cut ties, say farewell, and leave control to whomever remained.
The Clique – A small clique of sophomore members assumed all duties and honors, refusing to hold elections, and making all decisions among themselves in private. Ads for the public meetings promised; “you won’t have to do any work”. Indeed, all that the public was wanted for was their adoring entourage, and to rubber-stamp decisions prepared by the clique for voting. Each meeting had numerous new attendees who never returned.
The Dynasty – Other organizers who did research and made proposals were blocked by the clique on the pretense that this would run counter to the vision of past organizers. The explanation given was that there were actually no “ex-members”, even if they didn’t come to meetings any more. And that these members must be respected by placing their alleged wishes above any directions which new members might want to take the organization. It was like the clique, at will, cast votes on behalf of absent people, without even having been asked or empowered to do so.
With the clique blocking any actions and ideas which did not come from themselves, they denied new members the right to pour themselves into Queerbomb and make it a true reflection of it’s current diverse membership.
Petty Power Struggles – New member’s proposals actually weren’t controversial. Clearly, the irrational excuses which the clique provided hid unstated reasons for opposing them.
- “It would be best if we investigate more than just the *one* potential venue you’re moving forward with” (vetoed because one clique member feared sunburn).
- “Radio stations will give us free PSAs and perhaps even interview us if we reach out to them” (vetoed because one clique member alleged that 97.5 Pride Austin is homophobic).
- “We have thousands of contact names and emails from previous year’s donors, volunteers and dignitaries. We should reach out to them again” (vetoed because “they’re certainly all out of date”).
- “Former organizers should hand custody of established email accounts to the website admin” (vetoed because those Queerbomb Gmail accounts contained evidence that a former organizer was diverting Indegogo donations from Queerbomb to other project fundraisers).
Let me repeat that: with the tacit support of his friends inside, a former Queerbomb organizer was stealing 2016’s donations to fund his own projects!
Hypocrisy – The explanation for refusing to hold elections however, was that the organizers at that Fall 2016 Queerbomb meeting were no longer involved, so their decisions didn’t matter!
The Purge – The day before The Ides of March, the clique installed an authoritarian “Code of Conduct”, applied it retroactively, and expelled organizers who had ruffled their domineering leadership. As they had done the previous year, they also purged the collaborative Basecamp website of any audacious posts, and the people who made them.
When the clique learned that new members were friends of former organizers who had been thrust out under duress the previous year, they considered these members guilty by association.
Fraud – Queerbomb fell far short in fundraising, even after lowering their Generosity fundraising goals substantially from $15K to $10K. After paying insurance and what few permits hadn’t been waived, they were still unable to pay their deeply discounted venue rental fee. They discussed this, and made the decision to defraud Fair Market by promising to settle their debt afterward, knowing they had no ability to do so! At the last moment, The North Door agreed to pay the rest of the deposit and fees, and provide the PA equipment, in order to rescue their own financial stake to serve alcohol at the after-party.
It’s time to stand together and reclaim Queerbomb from the charlatans who have seized it. Who have placed rules on what you can and can’t do or think. It’s time to hand it back to our diverse and expressive community. No apologies. No excuses.