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.

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Recent Articles

Does the Civil Rights Act Protect Gay Employees? The Court Will Decide.

And the conservative justices will have to choose between their self-proclaimed allegiance to what a law says and their social biases.

Few people who are fired for being gay are ever fired because they are gay. This was the case with Donald Zarda, who in 2010 worked as an instructor at Altitude Express, a skydiving company that operated a “drop zone” in Suffolk County, New York. Zarda made no secret of his sexual orientation at work, which his boss, Ray Maynard, grudgingly tolerated for a while. But Maynard’s underlying assumptions about how men should act surfaced occasionally. “That looks gay,” Maynard told Zarda after he broke his ankle and showed up to work wearing a pink cast. “If you’re going to remain here for the day, you’re going to have to paint that black.” On another occasion, his boss made Zarda cover his painted toenails with socks. But it was only after a customer complained that Maynard had a pretext to fire him. Before jumping out of the plane, skydiving clients sit on the instructor’s lap, strapped together tightly at the waist and...

Faces of the Democratic Future

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
*/ Demographers and political prognosticators like to talk about the rising "Obama electorate." Majority-minority, more liberal on social and financial issues alike than their forebears, this young cohort stands poised to radically transform the country's politics in the decades to come. For the July/August issue of The American Prospect magazine, we asked rising progressive leaders what they think about the future of the Democratic Party—and how it needs to change. Svante Myrick, age 26 Mayor of Ithaca, New York Ithaca, New York I’d like to see the party elect a woman president. When Barack Obama was elected, I was a young mixed-race kid with a strange name, being raised by a white mother. It changed what I thought was possible for my life. After I was elected mayor here at 24, I remember a mother telling me the following story. She and her adopted son, who is black and around 15 years old, were coming to city hall. In the elevator, an elderly white woman looked at him...

Sorry, Right-Wing Media, Unionization Is Good for Liberal Publications

Credit Meg McLain/Matt Ortega
Meg McLain I can't tell if it's intellectual dishonesty or intellectual incompetence, but a number of conservative outlets have wildly misconstrued comments from The Nation 's Richard Kim in my recent piece on diversity at liberal publications. Here's what Kim said about diversity at the country's oldest liberal magazine: “The staff here is unionized, which means there is little job turnover,” says Richard Kim, executive editor at The Nation , who is Asian American and gay. “We only get to make a hire every four or five years.” And here is what the staff at the Washington Free Beacon took away : A top editor at one of the nation’s oldest liberal magazine says unionization has destroyed diversity in the newsroom. … Richard Kim, executive editor at the Nation , told the American Prospect that union restrictions on hiring and firing have made it impossible to bring more minorities on board. If this were written by a first-year college student, I'd ask...

The Unbearable Whiteness of Liberal Media

If left-leaning publications value diversity, why don't they have any?

Flickr/Sean Winters
*/ This article has been corrected. On the staff of The American Prospect , I’m the only member of an ethnic minority. That's not because I bring all the variety the magazine needs, or because the editors don't think diversity is valuable. Everyone on the masthead of this liberal publication is committed to being inclusive—not just of racial and ethnic minorities but of women; gays, lesbians, and transgender people; and the poor. It's not just the Prospect . Journalism upstarts like Vox Media and FiveThirtyEight have come under fire recently for lack of diversity in their hires, but that's largely because they are drawing from the milky-white pool of “existing talent.” In the corner of the publishing industry that caters to college-educated wonks—a slightly fuzzy designation, but I've included most of the publications my colleagues and I read on a daily basis—racial and ethnic diversity is abysmal. (Numbers include only editorial staff. Have updated...

Ezra Klein's Queer New Hire

Vox Media's decision to bring Brandon Ambrosino on board is click-bait contrarianism at its worst. 

AP Photo
An addendum to this piece was posted on Sunday, March 16. On Tuesday, former Washington Post pundit (and Prospect alum) Ezra Klein sent a shock wave through the gay community by announcing he had hired gay anti-gay apologist Brandon Ambrosino to join him at Vox Media, the much-hyped digital venture that's aiming to remake journalism for the Internet age. Liberal watchdog group Media Matters was the first to sound the alarm , but within a day, gay-rights supporters—from Mark Stern at Slate to John Aravosis at AmericaBlog —had joined the chorus of voices asking Klein: What were you thinking? The problem with hiring Ambrosino is not that Klein isn't entitled to bring someone on board whose views the gay community finds distasteful. It's that Ambrosino's quick rise to notoriety—and now, his ticket aboard the profession’s hottest new upstart—is an object lesson in the way new media equates click-bait contrarianism with serious thought and gives hacks a...

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