Gabriel Arana

Gabriel Arana is a senior editor at The American Prospect. His articles on gay rights, immigration, and media have appeared in publications including The New Republic, The Nation, Salon, The Advocate, and The Daily Beast.

Connect with Gabe:


Recent Articles

I Love You, Man

Dueling "ex-gay" and gay-rights conferences have more in common than the attendees would like to believe.

The irony of having an ex-gay conference at a popular gay vacation destination was lost on few in West Palm Beach, Florida, where the National Association for the Research & Therapy of Homosexuality held its annual get-together in November. There was another twist: In a hotel less than a mile from the NARTH reunion, a handful of gay-rights organizations -- -Soulforce, Box Turtle Bulletin, the National Black Justice Coalition -- put together the first Anti-Heterosexism Conference, populated mostly by ex-ex gays -- those who had been in therapy but "relapsed." It was a setup ripe for satire, and that's just how it played out in the local media. "Whether you're gay and looking for a 'cure,' or gay and want to stay that way, West Palm Beach will be the place for you this weekend," advertised the local NBC affiliate. The Miami Herald referred to West Palm Beach as a battleground for "dueling conferences" headquartered at the Marriott and Crowne Plaza hotels. The casual observer might...

Hispanic Higher-Ed Policy Misses the Mark.

In higher-ed policy circles, it is well established that Hispanics trail other minority groups in getting post-secondary degrees: But a new report from Excelencia in Education notes that too often policies aimed at closing the gap have relied on a false picture of the Hispanic population, one which reduces all members of the group to "immigrants, high school dropouts, and English language learners." This is actually a small minority of the Hispanic school-age population: The majority of Hispanic K-12 students are native-born (87 percent) and native English speakers (80 percent). So while programs that focus on immigrants and stress language learning are important, they miss the mark when it comes to most of the Hispanic community. Where these students need help, the report argues, is in gaining access to higher ed -- and in completing their degrees once they're in. Here, Hispanics share many of the problems of first-generation college students (58 percent of Hispanics are the first in...

There Are No Gold Medals in the Oppression Olympics.

This slipped under my radar, but David Kaufman at HuffPo has a stinging diatribe against Andrew Sullivan for suggesting that the fight for marriage rights is equivalent to the Civil Rights Movement. Part of me agrees that it's somewhat problematic that the "separate but equal" analogy has become a gay-rights orthodoxy. I have argued vigorously that the marriage issue does not compare in scale to segregation, where blacks were barred from attending certain schools, restaurants, etc. -- not just the institution of marriage. But Kaufman's takedown is often contradictory and borderline distasteful. First, while the analogies might be hyperbolic, the statement itself is fairly straightforward: Having separate marriage institutions is an affront to equality, just like miscegenation laws were. In the push to win equal rights -- not just marriage rights -- for their constituents , the gay and black civil-rights movements are similar. Members of both groups have been victims of violence and...

A Decade of 'Progress' for LGBT Rights

Today, the Movement Advancement Project, a think tank funded by major LGBT donors, released a progress report that tracks various indicators of LGBT rights over the last decade. As one might expect, the results are mixed. Since 2000, 26 states have banned marriage through a statewide vote; two more states have banned gay adoptions (bringing the total to 6); murders against LGB people have about doubled; more LGB students report being harassed at school; and HIV infection rates for gay men are up 10 percent. But it's not all grim -- gay-rights issues continue to gain public support: The numbers, of course, are not where we progressives would like them to be (marriage and adoption rights for gay couples are far from having majority support), but they're trending in the right direction. And while the Obama administration has dragged its feet on openly gay military service, workplace protections for LGBT folk have kept pace with changing attitudes: A few observations: There is an obvious...

Reviving the Education Beat.

The Brookings Institution recently released a study on education coverage that found reporting on the issue accounted for only 1.4 percent of all news. It's a paltry figure, and while the report provides some suggestions for how schools can make themselves more newsworthy, a lot of the blame falls on reporters: Reporting should become more proactive and less reactive. Much of coverage today is episodic and driven by events. Focusing on long-term trends would help to inform communities about the content of education and ways schools are seeking to move forward. One of the things that keeps many outlets from reporting more comprehensively on education is the imperative that every story have a time-sensitive "hook," or be absolutely singular. Journalism's penchant for the curio tends to overlook education, where policies are enacted gradually and continually. This is why most of the reporting you see in the mainstream press is about rankings, the flu, or Princeton using its applicants'...