Bil Browning

Indiana Equality, Lambda Consulting, The Word and my work history

Filed By Bil Browning | July 07, 2009 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Living

I was dismayed to read Alex's post yesterday about The Indiana Word's scurrilous references to me in three different columns of this month's issue. Especially disturbing was the official editorial from publisher Ted Fleischaker. While two-thirds of the editorial was devoted to his criticism of Indianapolis and Louisville Pride events, the last third was nothing more than a personal attack on my character.

As the state's largest LGBT print publication, The Word has a responsibility to report on our local community's news and issues. Instead, the paper skips the real topic of that particular post (Indiana Equality's controversial history) or the national condemnation of IE's decision to oppose federal employment protections for the LGBT community in favor of attacking my professional integrity. Fleischaker is upset that I quoted from his editorial in the Word's February 2007 issue. The last paragraph, however, goes one step too far.

That said, will we always question authority and will we always be on guard to see how we are represented? Absolutely! But we can also say that right now, in the present climate and political landscape we are getti1`ng [sic] one hell of a great job from the IE folks. It is a job The Word feels few could or would do with as much finesse and expertise as is being shown. To the blogger (who was, it should be noted in all fairness discharged from a paying job with IE some time back) all we can say is the grapes you are spewing are sour, indeed and we don't appreciate your quoting something so out of date and which is no longer true. You owe a lot of folks an apology!

I'd like to address Fleischaker's incorrect information about my work history. While a little bit of journalism or even a simple Google search could have given him the truth, Fleischaker didn't bother to call or e-mail about any of my relevant articles, my work history or the implications of IE's stance. Instead of defending IE's decision, he decided to attack the messenger.

So let's set the record straight...

My Employment History

I have never worked for Indiana Equality, Indiana Equality Action, IE PAC or any of their earlier incarnations.

I worked for Lambda Consulting, the consulting firm that IE pays to do "organizational management" and lobby the Indiana legislature on LGBT issues. I was primarily assigned to assist Indiana Equality with fundraising, event coordination and administrative duties.

I resigned my position on February 21, 2007 after Mark St. John, a principal partner of Lambda Consulting, grabbed me and tried to physically restrain me in front of a Channel 6 television camera during a LGBT rights rally because I didn't tell him in advance that an impromptu protest would happen. I was not at the Statehouse in any work capacity, but as the President of the now defunct Indiana Action Network.

The incident was covered on local blogs at the time and a clip was uploaded to YouTube. In my resignation letter I expressed my mortification that his disrespectful actions had spread to television reports and online coverage and that I felt his physical restraint was completely inappropriate.

Since I worked closely with IE, I also sent a farewell e-mail to the board of Indiana Equality with an attached copy of my resignation letter from Lambda Consulting. As part of an e-mail reply, IE leaders Jon Keep and Randy Studt sent, "Recognizing that this is between you and Lambda and not with IE, we wish you well in your employment endeavors."

Another Lambda Consulting principal partner, John Joanette, who has functioned as Indiana Equality's Administrative Agent for the past few years, just published a resignation letter on the Indiana Equality website. The release isn't clear whether or not Joanette has also resigned from Lambda Consulting or why he left. The consulting firm has my permission to release my resignation letter at any time if they'd like to weigh in and help correct the record.

A Logical Fallacy Is Not Questioning Authority

While Fleischaker is demanding I apologize for quoting from a published editorial he wrote, I wonder if he'll apologize for substandard reporting and printing malicious gossip intended to damage my reputation? Instead of engaging on the subject of IE's opposition to the most important piece of federal LGBT rights legislation, Fleischaker resorted to the last resource of an intellectual coward - the ad hominem attack.

The newspaper puts up .pdf versions of the publication instead of utilizing a regular web structure; the February 2007 issue I quoted from has now been taken down.

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Oh, Bil, I think that we should start doing a column over on TBP written from the perspective of cats. I think that would lend a voice of credibility that's missing from this site. There's nothing like writing in non-LOLcats to get people to start critically examining issues.

I'd imagine we could write something like this: "Do people REALLY trust The Word to get it right? Not we cats. MEOW!"

Anyway, it's always funny that the civil discourse crowd is so obsessed with calling out other people's uncivil discourse that they forget to check themselves and go straight for the personal. People who are actually polite don't need to scold others about it, and the rest of us will continue middle of the road as always.