Thursday, October 8, 2009

Who's who in LGBT organizations

The dramatis personae of LGBT organizations tend to look like this. The categories are not necesarily mutually exclusive.
  • The President got that position by sleeping with the right people and by coming up with one idea that sounded good over cocktails.
  • The Strong-Armer is always right; if you don't believe me, ask the Strong-Armer. The Strong-Armer has the force of will or other resources to bend everything to her/his wishes, which are often disastrously misguided, and is never there to pick up the pieces.
  • The Apostle of Ideological Rectification would be the Strong-Armer if she/he could be. Instead, the Apostle rebukes everyone else for heresy by thought, heresy by word, and heresy by deed and simply vanishes when the work needs to be done.
  • The Critic stands around criticizing what the productive people are doing. When invited to help, the Critic suddenly remembers a conflicting appointment. Most Apostles are also Critics, although the reverse is not necessarily true.
  • The Troublemaker fastens her/himself like a limpet onto organizations whose goals are clearly antithetical to her/his own. The Troublemaker fancies her/himself to be the Queen's Loyal Opposition, when in fact she/he is simply an attention hound. Things get interesting when, as sometimes happens, the Troublemaker is also a Strong-Armer.
  • The Babbler cannot differentiate between having to say something and having something to say. To the Babbler, the organization's one goal is to act as a group-therapy session.
  • The Monomaniac is consumed by a single issue and thinks that everyone else should be, too. The Monomaniac's understanding of that issue may be based on a single article in the mainstream press, but the Monomaniac is still convinced that she/he understands that issue better than do people who have worked on it their entire adult lives. When the Monomaniac shows signs of becoming an Apostle or, worse, a Strong-Armer, be afraid; be very afraid. It is best to try to keep the Monomaniac at Babbler level.
  • The Super-Volunteer shows up and then instantly involves her/himself in all aspects of the organization. Even worse, the Super-Volunteer tends to get things right, much to the annoyance of the other group members. At best, the other group members simply assume that the Super-Volunteer's work is mystically doing itself. Absent proper care and feeding, which the Super-Volunteer almost never gets, she/he tends to burn out quickly. LGBT organizations often collapse when their Super-Volunteers either quit or are driven out.

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