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Outright USA Looks to the Future

Members of Outright USA recently held their first convention since announcing their intent to formally disaffiliate from the Libertarian Party. 

Outright USA previously operated under the name Outright Libertarians where it was the formal advocacy group for LGBTQ+ individuals in the Libertarian Party. Outright Libertarians was never a formal caucus, but rather a freely accessible entity open to all individuals who supported the organization as a “two­-way bridge between the Libertarian Party and those with differing sexual orientations or gender identities.”

In a June 2 statement, the Outright USA Board of Directors announced their name change and the intent to temporarily disaffiliate following the aftermath of the most recent Libertarian National Convention. The statement denounced the decision of LNC delegates to remove the bigotry plank from the party platform, as well as highlighted allegations of physical and verbal abuse aimed at members of Outright Libertarians by LNC attendees.

The convention met over Zoom and was sparsely attended, failing to achieve quorum. Enough board members were in attendance to still have a formal meeting leading to hours of debate about the organization’s future. Members deliberated at length over ways to make the organization more accessible, including the introduction of asynchronous voting for those unable to attend and the adoption of ranked-choice voting as an internal mechanism.

In a video leading up to the convention, outgoing Chair Ari Gabrek announced their decision to not seek reelection. With few other interested members in attendance, a challenge was created to the ability of Outright USA to remain a nonprofit in good standing. In response, Gabrek suggested dissolving Outright USA and allocating the remaining resources to other organizations chosen by the board that would be better able to accomplish the original mission. 

Member responses were mixed on the topic of dissolution. “I need a GSM presence”, said Kaelan Dryer, an Outright USA member. Dryer expressed further frustration with caucus infighting in the Libertarian Party but foresaw organizations like the Mises Caucus being susceptible to the same infighting, warranting a need for Outright USA. 

“I want to see this organization move forward but understand if dissolution is necessary”, echoed Jonathan Evans, another member of the board.

Tyler Smith, another board member, had stronger thoughts on the matter. “I am tired of the [stagnation]. I’m working on getting somebody housed in Indiana, I am working on other things,” Smith said. “At this rate, it just seems better to dissolve [Outright USA] and put the money toward other organizations better to do the work.” 

Smith shared a lot of the frustration felt by members like Dryer, attributing a “lack of motivation” to the current internal climate. “Most of it was the dick-swinging factional war,” Smith continued. “It killed a lot of us.”

As a discussion to dissolve was underway, former Outright members including Ashley Shade and Brianna Coyle made appearances at the convention. Shade, an elected city councilor in Massachusetts and former chair of Outright Libertarians, offered to help Outright USA as an advisor if they did not dissolve. Shade explained to Independent Political Report that she offered to help advise because she views Outright as a vehicle for positive change.

“I believe that Outright can continue to be that home for our community,” Shade explained, “and I truly believe that whether the organization works directly within or from outside the party, Outright can and will be a catalyst and a home for positive change and love.”

Coyle, who recently posted on social media a video of her burning her Libertarian Party membership card, also explained in a follow-up conversation with Independent Political Report why organizations like Outright matter even for people who are no longer in the party like herself.

“The Libertarian Party was the first “mainstream” political party to support legalizing gay & poly marriage as well as getting the government out of marriage altogether,” Coyle explained. “Just like [Republicans] have the Log Cabin Republicans, I expect some organized group to exist within the LP that advocates on behalf of LGBTQ individuals.”

Coyle additionally said that while she hopes to see the Libertarian Party grow into a “more welcoming organization for all marginalized communities”, she does not see herself coming back anytime soon. “I personally don’t see myself coming back to the party, but I would absolutely support any efforts to make LP spaces more inclusive for queer folx”, she explained, “Regardless of the direction in which the Libertarian Party takes, the libertarian movement as a whole will always encompass queer liberation.”

What comes next for Outright USA remains to be seen. With new leadership under Jeni Kadel agreeing to resume the difficult conversation of dissolution at a later date, members will have one more opportunity to decide the future. What is known, however, is that LGBTQ+ libertarians continue to have an organization advocating on their behalf for at least one more month.

About Post Author

Jordan Willow Evans

Jordan is the managing editor for Independent Political Report. She has appeared on ABC News, NBC Boston, Sky News, BNT 1, and numerous local outlets. She is a proponent of civic inclusion and awareness and was featured in Represent: The Woman’s Guide to Running for Office and Changing the World and the Worcester Historical Museum exhibit PRETTY POWERFUL: 100 Years of Voting & Style.

8 Comments

  1. Anastasia Beaverhausen Anastasia Beaverhausen August 2, 2022

    As a former board member of Outright (and having traveled to a “national convention” in Atlanta attended by a grand total of eight people), and speaking as someone who’s always been caucus-free in my party predilection, Outright always seemed to be all bark and no bite (or as they say in Texas, all hat and no cattle). It’s lovely to have a website and issue grandiose statements, but when it came to Outright, there’s never been any “there” there. It’s long past time for them to pack it in, but sadly, no one will notice.

  2. Matt Schutter Matt Schutter August 2, 2022

    As a gay Libertarian candidate i can say Outright is just having hissy fit because they didn’t get their way at Reno Grow a pair Outright!

  3. Couldn't matter less Couldn't matter less July 29, 2022

    I believe the statement in question was the former LP platform plank “We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant. Government should neither deny nor abridge any individual’s human right based upon sex, wealth, ethnicity, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference, or sexual orientation.” Note that race was not even mentioned, unless you count ethnicity and or national origin as a proxy for race. Regardless of the wisdom or lack thereof of Outright commenting on forms of bigotry involving wealth, ethnicity, creed, age, national origin, or political preference, it would seem well within their purview to simply state that “We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant,” would it not?

  4. George Phillies George Phillies July 27, 2022

    Outright has a specific topic on which it is focused. The topic when I was last in touch is not race. Resolutions on off-topic issues tend to be unfavorable for special interest groups, so I would not encourage them to do this. I support the statement on racism, but it should come from Libertarian groups in which race is a core issue.

  5. José C José C July 25, 2022

    Does anyone have an address (PO Box perhaps) where Outright USA can be contacted? I am renewing my membership but I see no address in the Outright USA website where to send dues.

    Also, I am going to send a letter suggesting Outright USA have an in person convention and also suggesting the membership produce a statement that racism and bigotry is wrong and that if a person is racist and bigoted that person is not wanted as a member of Outright USA. If the delegates at the Libertarian Party convention were afraid to say racism and bigotry is wrong then Outright USA should say racism and bigotry is wrong because racism is wrong and is evil.

  6. Bruce Majors Bruce Majors July 10, 2022

    I should add that, as a longtime libertarian writer, candidate, and candidate recruiter, and now chair of the Libertarian Party of DC, I have been watching the Mises Caucus for some time.

    I attended a conference they had at a Virginia hotel, or rather, I attended the very good stand up comedy event they had aferwards with Lou Perez and some other libertarian comics, when I got off of work. The Mises people do tend to be Ron Paul fans, and do tend to be big burly white men with beards. I imagine their visual presentation might make some of the LGBTQIAA+QWERTY peeps clutch their purses or murses, much as if they were a white woman in the 50s having to walk through a black part of town when her car broke down. I spent my time at the bar with Perez and several other CIS gender heterosexual men, where the topic of conversation did turn to how analingus was no longer just for the gays. I am not sure how that bawdy conversation indicates homophobia.

    I then attended the northern Virginia LP conventon, which the Misesians took over entirely (which I wrote about for the excellent and often small l libertarian Virginia blog, “Bacon’s Rebellion” https://www.baconsrebellion.com/wp/the-rise-of-the-mises-caucus/ ).

    Then I went to an LP happy hour a little farther out in northern Virginia. It was an LP happy hour, but in a jurisdiction the Misesians controlled. Lots of my friends from the closer in DC suburbs of Virginia were there. At the NoVa LP convention the Misesians who were elected included a woman, a middle eastern fellow, and an African American. Only at the happy hour, organized by the African American Mises Caucus guy, now a county vice chair, did I learn that he is also gay. I guess he did not get Outtights’s memo.

    I think what you should do is simply join the Gays and Lesbians of the Mises Caucus https://www.facebook.com/groups/1121438292047102

  7. Bruce Majors Bruce Majors July 10, 2022

    As a gay libertarian who has been openly gay in the libertarian movement since the late 70s, and openly libertarian to the gay community for the same length of time, I think this, and the other hand wringing and pearl clutching performances occasioned by the Mises Caucus are silly.

    They won 660 to 160. Where were you?

    What evidence is there that they are homophobes or bigots generally? They want to remove a platform plank whose presence suggests that the LP thinks government should define bigotry or that we must collectively agree on what it is and that it requires punishment. I don’t agree to any of that. The more moderate suggestion from Spike Cohen was extremely reasonable.

    The anti-Mises Caucus people have behaved like kooks, as wokesters seem to do in the wider world, smearing people because of the actions of other people or on the basis of unproven charges. Before the convention some once highly placed LP people told me all kinds of stories, including that Steve Bannon was orchestrating the Mises Caucus. (The LP would be lucky if he did give them advice.) I await the receipts.

  8. Jordan Willow Evans Jordan Willow Evans Post author | July 5, 2022

    Just for clarity, I use both GSM and LGBTQ+ in the article to refer to the gay and trans communities. GSM is shorthand for “Gender and Sexual Minorities”, which is the nomenclature of choice in Libertarian circles. I was apprehensive to use GSM as a blanket term as many other political parties and movements use the more commonly seen “LGBTQ+” acronym.

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