Do GLBTIQ Power lists actually reflect reality, or are they a lucky chaotic dip based on column inches?
There are many lists published annually and some concentrate on the perceived power and influence of gay, transgender, lesbian and bisexual people.
Of late, transgender people have been effectively shoe-horned into to the top spots.
It began with the Independent’s ‘Pink List’ and Paris Lees. And today, with Laverne Cox who has made the ‘Guardian’s top GLBT equivalent ‘Careers list’. But in reality, power is a very different animal to popularity which can be fleeting a upsetting fall suffered by Nadia Almada when her ‘transgender currency’ ran out a few years later live on UK television.
Maybe when Laverne has a few $20million block buster movies under her belt this will make more sense. But to be brutally honest she has a somewhat small part in a Netflix series. We gave Laverne the best dramatic role for a transperson on television for last year see: http://www.TransgenderTelevisionAwards.com . That was for series one of ‘Orange is the New Black‘. However, in series two, it’s a blink and you’ll miss her affair. This I find odd, as she was on the front cover of Time Magazine. But again, is this a tokenistic gesture? I am beginning the feel it is.
I want transgender people to warrant roles, and merit their place in society by hard work and positive role-model status, not to get there ‘for being trans’ or for some salacious back story that is soon exhausted. I have seen so many transgender ‘celebrities’ come and go. Our media archives that date back decades are full of transgender people who once used up were dumped for the next big thing. They come, they burn bright, they are popular, and then in a few years you think, “wonder what happened to…[Enter Name]?”
Power, Real power, is the people who call the shots, not the people who work for the people who call the shots, as they have to do as they are told. So when I see actors on ‘power lists’ that have to kiss studio mogal’s butts or be overlooked for a part, or some pop singer dependent on their record deal praying in the corridor out side the office of a record label head – they have no power. Donny Osmond was big in the 70s, does he actually affect you today? That was a joke btw. What about Boy George? Underlings, unless they happen to be some sadistic spin doctor for the Prime Minister, are powerless.
But of course there are POWERFUL GLB and yes ‘T’ people out there, but oddly they are forgotten or left off these lists. So we have to look at a real power list to see who they are, and that’s the Forbes list – more on that later.
So lets look ate the contradictions in these lists.
The Pink List (The Independent)
Initially this appears to be a list of the great and the good GLBT people.
You scan through it and you see some familiar UK faces.
I know a lot of them, and they do work hard, and many have gone unrewarded until they get listed, so that’s a lovely thing – everyone wants to be appreciated. I certainly am not going to dismiss their places they are so proud of! That’s cruel.
What I am doing is comparing the actual POWER of the people on the lists, be they GLB or T.
Paris Lees was top of the recent Independent Pink List of course, unless you have been living under a bridge somewhere and never heard about it, Transwoman Christine Burns MBE was a judge on that, and some suggest this was helpful. Paris has made the most of this in the short term, and continually reminds interviewers she was top of the Pink List. It gave her an opportunity to go onto ‘Question Time‘ (BBC). And has the opportunity to ‘do’ the speaking circuit and some radio as the transperson of the moment. This is a well-trodden path by many before her. So, in this instance, the placement gave her some short term influence, rather than being listed as influential – if you see what I mean.
World Pride Power List 2014 (The Guardian)
This week The Guardian have just published their next GLBT list. They call theirs ‘The Careers list’.
Paris in not on it at all, there are 100 people of note, but she is not there. Yet she beat Graham Norton and many others in the Independent’s. Antony Cotton, and minor TV presenters are on it. How can Paris not be in the top 100? I mean even Sherry Conway, flight lieutenant, RAF is on their list. So this is either a spoiler or it is actually the reality of the situation we may not want to face! One might ask why trans activist Kate Craig-Wood is not listed? She is the millionaire business woman and Memset boss – and Gires philanthropist. But again, glaring omissions from people who really have no idea about these things to be honest.
“Go and do a list of famous gay people!”
Personally I think THIS IS how the UK Pink List in reality should have looked, the names, their order, their power and influence, is very accurate (from a UK POV) in this list. My only concern was Laverne Cox is placed at Number 1. Now that may sound odd coming from a champion of trans rights, but we have to be acutely aware of tokenism. This is inaccurate. She, I think, should be around the top 25, but forcing her into the top spot, especially when Janet Mock is equally well known, is strange (Janet Mock is not listed yet RuPaul and drag artist Conchita Wurst for singing a song is?). However, as you look down their list you kinda see it is, on the whole, more accurate.
It pains me to say so. But it shows that, in reality we need a Trans Stephen Fry (we nearly had one with Prof Stephen Whittle OBE) and not a transperson who may appear once in a selfie with him. Also there is a one in, one out, issue with transgender people I think. One is enough for the media, and who is that going to be this year? I mean Eddie Izzard is nowhere to be seen on any of them, but is a millionaire, world famous, a ‘national treasure (like Stephen Fry) Charity runner extraordinaire ( raising millions), and does sell-out stadium gigs – and has always identified as trans!
Forbes – Meet The World’s LGBT Billionaires
Now we are talking! From Gay Senators to Movie studio bosses. These are the powerful! These are the often rarely spoken about in tabloids. These people speak about you they control your lives, yet you may not even realise it, they are the people who buy the Oscars to give to others. They pay the salaries of the glbt people above. They hire and fire, and are feared and respected. This is why they need little publicity – they don’t need it. The Queen does not need to tell anyone she is the Queen! She just is! These below are GLBT people of course from the Forbes list, Forbes has the Rich Lists and they are astounding!
If we look at the Forbes top GLBT list by comparison to those above we see who at the top? Laverne Cox? Nope! We see the Gay Billionnaire Buisnessman and media mogul David Geffen (not a pretty as Laverne I guess but so what?) who is also a producer, film studio executive, and philanthropist.
he is worth $6 billion. So he may well be employing her some time – if she is lucky?
Or their Number 2 on their list the Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel who is worth 9 billion.
But this is all very well, but where are the transgender people then eh???!!!
Well they are there, I cannot fathom why perhaps the richest transgender woman on earth is not in the Independent or Guardian but hey ho? Not heard of her? Well she is Jennifer Pritzker (pictured) worth 1.6 Billion.
Formerly known as James, the retired Army lieutenant colonel founded the Pritzker Military Library in Chicago in 2003, and through her Tawani Foundation works to preserve American military history. She is CEO of private wealth management firm Tawani Enterprises in Chicago. Jennifer is one of 11 billionaire members of the extended Pritzker family, who sold a controlling stake in industrial conglomerate Marmon Holdings to Warren Buffett’s [an insanely wealthy and philanthropic man] Berkshire Hathaway for $4.5 billion in 2007. (wiki).
GLBT power lists are very haphazard, none of them agree with each other, and some are clearly more accurate than others. Depending on your stance.
They are a bit of fun to fill a page, in a paper, once a year. And create controversy and website hits for the list’s hosts.
For some, it helps give them a leg up for a while. But logically, if someone is super famous or powerful, and are number 1 on the list, shouldn’t they always be number 1 on the list? As their power/and/or influence is likely to have increased by being on the listing alone?
Maybe ‘Gay people you may of have heard of list!‘ Maybe a better name for most of these. As that’s what it comes down to in the end for the general public. For GLBTIQ there is a lot of preaching to the converted (or preaching to the choir as most outside of it do not really care). There is a huge difference between power over you and ‘popular culture’ based on how much tat they can sell you with their name on it.