Guest Blogger

My business philosophy: straight allies are a good investment

Filed By Guest Blogger | May 06, 2010 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Adam Bink, fundraiser, Mitchell Gold,, straight allies

Editors' Note: Guest blogger Mitchell Gold is the co-founder of the successful and innovative furniture design and manufacturing company Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. The Advocate magazine recognized Mitchell as a Person of the Year in 2006, calling him a Bridge Builder for the work of his non-profit, Faith in America.

Hello, everyone. I'm Mitchell Gold. This is my second time posting here and I was honored to be featured in Betty Greene Salwak's interview mitchell_headshot.jpgearly last month (here and here), so you may have read about me there.

If you didn't, let me tell you what I'm about and why I'm here today. You may know me for my furniture manufacturing and retail stores, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, but I have also spent the last several years working on combating religious-based hostility and prejudice to LGBT people through my organization, Faith in America and my book, Crisis, which focuses on the harm that religion-based bigotry does to gay people and particularly youth. That work takes me and my colleagues principally into straight communities where we work to distribute my book in middle schools and high schools, hold events in places like a Baptist church in Charlotte, NC, and communicate our message.

Many LGBT activists organize with an eye towards getting LGBT people active. In my line of work, I focus on getting straight people active. And that's why I'm writing today.

I don't believe we will ever win our fights- at the church or school level, the state level, or the national level- without straight allies. We are still just "one in ten", after all. That's something I never forget- it takes a broad-based coalition of straight allies. When someone comes out of the closet like country singer Chely Wright this week, some folks think it's not as important as someone with a bigger name or a gay following. I think it's every bit as important- Chely is talking to exactly the folks we need to be talking to. Our straight allies- and formerly straight allies- are how we're going to win.

I'm telling you about all this because as Bil posted this week, my friend and TBP contributor Adam Bink needs some help to keep writing at his blog, OpenLeft. If you don't read OpenLeft, it's primarily a straight audience where Adam covers the LGBT beat, and I have watched as he's done some tremendous strategy writing and action campaigns at OpenLeft- raising awareness and driving action in straight communities on the No On 1 campaign in Maine, repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and ENDA. I think he brings a valuable perspective to the table and want to enable him to continue.

That's why I'm proud to announce that I will match every contribution dollar-for-dollar up to $500 to help Adam keep the lights on at OpenLeft. Every dollar you give will be doubled. I'm proud to do this because I know how important it is to penetrate straight communities, and that's what Adam is doing. Take it from me- I'm a businessman, and straight allies are a sound investment.

I hope you'll join me and chip in to build our network of straight allies. Together, we will strengthen the LGBT movement. Chip in today and I'll match you.

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I agree with you 100% and I'm not sure how "straight" some of our allies are! But that is all good....

Excellent. Thank-you Mitchell.

Until we understand that we need people to join us and to support us, we'll keep fighting in circles.

Thanks for helping to push the OpenLeft funder, Mitchell. They do damn good work over there.