Anyone bothered by the concept of lesbians with money organizing for political purposes may have spent yesterday cowering under the covers, as influential women like Jane Lynch and Billie Jean King supported the launch of LPAC, the first-ever lesbian political action committee, or Super PAC.
The rest of us threw the covers off the bed and said "Yes. This is so great. SO GREAT." And if you were anything like me, wished for some spare thousands of dollars lying around to throw in LPAC's general direction for this crucial election cycle.
May 1 2012, LA Jane Lynch at a special screening of Glee at the Television Academy on May 1 2012 in Los Angeles (Credit Image: © Sharkpixs/ZUMAPRESS.com)
Quotes from Board Chair Sarah Schmidt, Lynch, and King in the organization's initial press release Wednesdayindicated that they were ready to leverage the social, political, and financial power of the lesbian community in response to a climate that is increasingly hostile towards women. What they call a "values-based" committee will focus on ending discriminatory treatment of LGBT individuals and their families, protect access to reproductive freedom and quality healthcare, and further social, racial, and economic justice for all Americans.
"This year we have seen politicians repeatedly support policies that harm women. It is important to me to elect leaders who care about issues that impact women and their families. That’s why I support LPAC."
Schmidt expressed "shock" at political and social developments over the past year:
Lesbians could no longer stand by and witness continued attacks on reproductive freedoms, marriage equality, and be immersed in a political sphere where women are not given a meaningful voice in politics
LPAC describes itself as "a political action committee dedicated to one goal: giving lesbians a real seat at the table in politics." This means supporting lesbian and pro-lesbian candidates, and building a network of donors that connects those in the LGBTQ community who want to contribute but may not know how to connect. According to The Advocate, the group has $200,000 in pledges so far, and hope to raise $1 million this cycle.
Credit Image: LPAC
Among the influential faces and voices on the PAC is Laura Ricketts, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs (making her the first openly gay Major League Baseball owner), co-chair of the DNC’s LGBT Leadership Council and a fundraising bundler for Barack Obama. Her dad (and TD Ameritrade founder) Joe Ricketts just happens to speak financial truth on behalf of the anti-Obama power and is still putting his clout behind beating the Jeremiah Davis drum. Snooze. He also founded the conservative Ending Spending Action Fund. Meanwhile, Laura told the Washington Post:
Being a woman and being gay is really a unique position in our society. I know in my experience of activism, oftentimes it makes a difference if something is women-focused. It’s likely to get the attention of women much more easily.
Women-focused and led, in this case. Other women in LPAC leadership roles are gay rights activist Urvashi Vaid and Alix Ritchie, former publisher of the Provincetown Banner. Vaid said in a statement:
I'm involved in starting LPAC because I want to create a fresh politics, one in which the lives of ordinary working women and men, LGBT people and people of color matter, and because I believe lesbians must step up and lead in solving our country's challenges.
Autostraddle's coverage is typically expansive, and includes a comprehensive look at the board members, as well as what PACs and Super PACs are and can do (long story short: they can raise unlimited funds for "resources" that support candidates, but cannot give money to candidates directly. Also? Not a lot of fundraising rules.) Rachel writes:
This series of court decisions has created "super PACs," which can't donate directly to the candidates they support nor "coordinate" with them, but can still pour tons of money into resources to help get them elected. For the most part, this system tends to reward those people with the most privilege (and money) with political agency. Which is why it's fascinating that LPAC has been formed to combat marginalization, and try to give some political agency back to queer women.
Money. Connection. Empowerment. Equality. Win. Give me a pyramid and a great big shoutout to Coach Sylvester, Cheerios, because here. we. go
(Sorry, I think I'm a little giddy about this. Who said Wednesdays were boring?)
If you're interested in tracking LPAC's fundraising and advocacy action, you can like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter, too. Meanwhile I'm taking friendly bets on how long it takes them to get to a million bucks -- and way beyond.