Activists Celebrate Successful Protest of HRC Dinner

October 29, 2008

Activists Celebrate Successful Protest of HRC Dinner

50 Protesters Call on Supporters to Stop Giving Money to HRC

Boston – Fifty transgender and queer activists from throughout New England protested the Human RIghts Campaign (HRC) Annual Dinner in Boston on October 25th. The protest was organized by the “blogavists” of and supported by several area organizations including the local Transgender Veterans Association (TAVA). Queers Without Borders brought twelve spirited activists from Connecticut who provided bullhorns, signs, and logistical support.

Protesters marched and chanted outside the Sheraton, and several activists conducted “flyer drops” inside the event. “We’re ecstatic about the success of this protest,” said local organizer Trevor Wright, “We came out in solidarity to call on donors to give to local organizations instead of HRC.”

The protest was called in response to HRC’s support for a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that did not include protections based on gender identity and expression, and their endorsements of conservative candidates over more progressive ones. Over 300 organizations including PFLAG and NGLTF continue to support the United ENDA document at


Queer activists believe HRC’s conservative endorsements divide the progressive coalition we need to enact broad human rights reforms. HRC endorsed Joe Lieberman, a staunch supporter of John McCain over his pro-marriage equality opponent Ned Lamont. HRC also endorsed Republican Susan Collins, dividing Maine’s LGBT community after Equality Maine endorsed her more progressive opponent Democrat Tom Allen. HRC endorsed Mary Bono who has received shamefully low scores from every major civil rights organization except HRC, and Al D’Amato a pro-life Reagan supporting Republican. Although HRC criticizes John McACain, they continue to give thousands of dollars to the Log Cabin Republicans.

Nationwide Protests
Protesters have been greeting HRC dinners for two years now. In New York City elected LGBT official boycotted the dinner. In San Francisco the keynote speaker, the may or of Los Angeles, declined to attend due to protests by queer organized labor activists. HRC has also been met by protesters in Washington D.C., and many other cities across the nation, including Kansas City.

No one Left Out at Debut of Minnesota Gender Advocates

September 20, 2008

Congrats to Minnesota Gender Advocates

Left Out Party – Sept, 13th 2008
No one Left Out at Debut of Minnesota Gender Advocates
Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008

Close to a hundred people attended the Left Out Party organized by Minnesota Gender Advocates at Pi Bar, in Minneapolis to celebrate inclusiveness and community. The event was organized to show the Twin Cities support of a fully gender inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The ENDA passed in 2007, by the National House of Representatives, is legislation designed to protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Minnesota Gender Advocates, along with hundreds of other organizations across the country is working for an ENDA that also includes protections for gender identity and expression.

On this night, while the Human Rights Campaign held their annual dinner across town, attendees showed their support for a fully inclusive ENDA by signing over 75 letters to members of Minnesota’s federal congressional delegation. One of the highlights of the evening was a visit by Representative Keith Ellison (5th Congressional District) who shared his support for a fully inclusive ENDA. Among community leaders attending, Raquel (Rocki) Simões from the GLBT Host Home Program, Avenues For Homeless Youth, attended to show her program’s commitment to expanding protections to people of all gender identities.

Minnesota Gender Advocates is a new group working for visibility and equality for all Trans, Intersex, gender Queer and gender Questioning (TIQQ) Minnesotans. Our Mission is to raise awareness of issues affecting TIQQ communities, promote equality, and advocate for legal and policy changes that affect our civil rights.

HRC Gave $10K to ‘Republicans Who Care’

September 4, 2008

Cross Posted with permission from San Franciso, advocate Michael Petrelis reports

HRC Gave $10K to ‘Republicans Who Care’

Funny, I don’t recall a press release from the Human Rights Campaign or seeing anything on their blog about how their 527 organization, HRC Equality Votes, contributed a nice five-figure donation to the moderate Republicans Who Care group.

I would think a $10,000 donation from America’s supposed bi-partisan gay political organization, would be something to shout about because it shows, to a very small degree, how it isn’t totally beholden to the Democratic Party. But I can’t expect the P.R. department at HRC to keep the gay community informed about every little donation they make to GOP groups in a tight election year, right?

Thanks to the records at, I now know that HRC Equality Votes not only made the $10,000 donation to the Republican group, but I also have learned, through this page that the donation was made on March 25, 2008.

Now what about the following the money and paper trail on Republicans Who Care? Well, they’re affiliated with the Main Street Fund, another moderate GOP group, which in turn is linked to the Republican Main Street Partnership. The Republicans Who Care have a pitiful one-page web site that was last updated back in January.

On the expenditures page for the Main Street Fund, the records show that the group spent $180,000 for broadcast media costs, and the money was used to hire Response America, a direct marketing agency.

And how does Response America tout itself and its clients?:

Response America has served as the direct marketing agency for some of the most prestigious national and regional Republican and right-of-center accounts in recent years. Our direct marketing strategies have raised nearly $100 million and generated over 1,000,000 new donors for our clients.

Our breakthrough voter targeting techniques combined with our firm’s nationally renowned creative and strategic firepower deliver the right message to the right voters at the right time. We know how to persuade and mobilize voters to win on Election Day.

Who are some of their current clients?:

McCain for President 2008
Republican National Committee
National Republican Senatorial Committee
National Republican Congressional Committee

HRC donors must feel so good knowing the organization they support has provided gay dollars to any GOP organization this election season, and that the recipient group is linked to Republican efforts to election John McCain.

Follow The Money

September 2, 2008

In my last blog post, Where Your HRC Donations Are Going, I reported that HRC had donated money to sponsor the Log Cabin Republicans but that they had donated zero dollars to sponsor the Stonewall Democrats.  Let’s take a closer look at who HRC is NOT supporting and what that effect has and will be.

In this email, Steve Driscoll, Co-Chair of the Stonewall Democrats, discusses the nonsupport of the Human Rights Campaign in the efforts of the NSD to elect Obama for President.

From: StDriscoll@

To: _____________________

Sent: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 2:24 PM

Subject: HRC Sucks.

In light of HRC taking the weasel way out – again – I think we should take the lead.

I might also add, that after beginning discussions with HRC in OCTOBER about collaborating on events for the Democratic National Convention (to avoid the the anger and resentment they engendered by their high-handedness in Boston four years ago) as well as requests for sponsorship of the NSD Denver convention, AND following up with phone calls every two months with no return calls, I finally heard from them TODAY that no sponsorship would be forthcoming. When I pointed out to Marty Rouse last week that they sponsored the Logs Convention, his response was “Oh right, we did, didn’t we”. I then pointed out the obvious, that there were a lot more of us than there were of them – and I got no response when I asked what they got for their purportedly $10,000 to the Logs.

When I called him (twice) today he said that budget constraints were the reason why they would not be giving us a comparable (or any) sponsorship. I siad that there was an inequity here and asked if no one took NSD under consideration when they decided to sponsor the Logs. I then suggested that perhaps they could come up with some other way show support. His response: “there will be couple of HRC staff people in Denver”.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am absolutely furious about this. Not only is this inequitable, it’s fuckin dismissive and disrespectul. The task Force is at least giving us a stack of tickets to their Unity Dance. From HRC we’re getting bupkiss – and worse.

I, for one, will not attend their concert – and I will not go quietly into that good night either.

Any ideas?

Where Your HRC donations are going!

August 28, 2008


Early yesterday evening during a phone call conversation I received a tip from a reliable, anonymous source revealing yet another one of HRC’s true colors. According to my source, The Human Rights Campaign donated ten thousand dollars to the log cabin republicans and a big fat goose egg to the National Stonewall Democrats.

Stay tuned as more info comes in.

Keisling responds to Luna’s misrepresentation of working relationship between HRC and NCTE

August 26, 2008

I arrived home from a five day vacation just in time to play catch up with emails and news items I had missed. I was happy to see that Baywindows had published an article on the Boycott of the New England HRC gala. The article started off reasonable enough:

In response to Human Rights Campaign’s stance on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the activist group, along with activists from Queers Without Borders, Pride at Work and are organizing a protest of the organization’s New England gala dinner, which will be held at the Sheraton in Boston on October 25th.

It’s no secret that these organizations are frustrated with HRC’s support last year for an ENDA bill that did not provide anti-discrimination protections to the transgender community, and they have made it clear that they do not support many other aspects of the organization.

“We hope to continue what they’ve ignited. Activists have been protesting the HRC dinner in every major city,” said Mark Snyder, founder of

The fourth paragraph of the article was when it began to go downhill.

According to Brad Luna, communications director for HRC, the organization is working alongside the National Center for Transgender Equality to fight for the rights of transgender individuals across the nation.

Does working along side mean working with? I have worked along side many people without working directly “with” them. Does Luna’s statement leave one to believe that NCTE is working “with” HRC? You bet your ass it does and that is exactly what Luna and the other HRC employees want you to believe. This is yet another glaring example of the way HRC conducts business. Unethical, immoral and with the intent of harming a portion of our community. Is this an organization that anyone from the LGBT community should trust to speak on our behalf?

I alerted NCTE’s executive director, Mara Keisling to Luna’s statement and this is her response:

HRC continues to take a position on federal legislation that undermines the rights of transgender and other gender non-conforming people. So long as that is the case, NCTE will not work with HRC in any way that reinforces HRC’s inappropriate claim that they can speak for the very transgender people whose lives they are undercutting. While NCTE staff and board are occasionally invited by policymakers and others to attend meetings at which HRC staff is also represented and possibly being asked to speak for transgender people, that is the extent of our working relationship. We have asked HRC to stop misrepresenting our organizational relationship, and though they refuse to stop, we will continue to focus on the important work to be done and leave HRC to their irresponsible positions.

It seems to me that HRC has been exposed for exactly who they are. HRC is an organization who doesn’t take responsibility for their own actions and has continuously tried to take the focus off their unethical behavior by trying to place negative attention on a transgender organization.

Please endorse the HRC Boycott today, how many more reasons do you need?

“Animal Farm, Animal Farm, Never through me shalt thou come to harm!” George Orwell, Animal Farm (1945)

Organized Tragedy

August 11, 2008

On August 5th HRC released a statement concerning the ‘Trans panic’ defense in regards to the murder of Angie Zapata, a transgender woman from Greeley, Colorado.

This is the statement from HRC’s Executive director, Joe Solmonese:

The murder of Angie Zapata, just 18 years old, is a tragic reminder of the hate and ignorance that threatens the transgender community every day. Even worse is that Angie’s alleged killer is using her gender identity in an attempt to justify his heinous, inexcusable actions. The shameful ‘trans panic’ defense is nothing more than a scurrilous attempt to blame the victim for this horrible crime.

What about the horrible ignorance from an organization such as HRC who continues to put out these hypocritical statements?

What about the heinous, inexcusable actions of HRC?

Since March of 2001 when HRC added the word transgender to their mission statement, HRC has supported hate crime legislation which excluded gender identity or expression each and every time the exclusionary piece of legislation was introduced to Congress, during which time there have been 94 horrific murders of transgender people reported in the USA alone.

According to the Transgender Law Center’s former executive director, Chris Daily during an interview he stated:

What we’ve found is the reason why so many transgender women, in particular, are so vulnerable to violence is due to the disenfranchisement that happens around employment, housing and school.

The fact is that given the opportunity, HRC has always supported legislation that does not include gender identity. The cost of HRC’s decisions to continue to do so is mounting in loss of jobs, education, the homelessness of our youth, and in a rising death toll. We continue to pay with our lives. What a way to educate Congress.

Please join us in Boston on October 25 and do your part in holding HRC accountable for their words, their actions, our lives. Organizing HRC Protest in Boston

August 2, 2008

Boston – activists and allies will protest the annual
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Dinner at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston on October 25 at 5pm.

The group is working to build a coalition of trans and queer activists, anti-war activists, and women’s rights activists to protest HRC’s lack of grassroots coalition building, support for pro-war and anti-choice candidates, and support of a non-inclusive version of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA).

“It’s time to show HRC what real solidarity looks like,” said Trevor Wright of, “transgender and labor activists united in San Francisco to build the largest protest ever of HRC, and we plan to show the country Boston can too!”

Organizing protests is not new to activists. The group formed the largest ever protest of Focus On The Family in 2005 by joining forces with the local anti-war movement, and has organized and endorsed countless other protests throughout the past 6 years.

“HRC has spent millions of dollars on fighting losing marriage battles throughout the country but has done little to help grassroots organizers make the world a safer place for queer youth and the trans
community. We’ve had enough. HRC does not speak for us,” said Jake Harpin, a transgender activist with

Organizations can endorse the protest by visiting the events section
or contacting Mark Snyder at markdanielsnyder@…

The protest will take place outside the Hynes Convention Center in
Boston on October 25 at 5pm.


August 2, 2008

Location: Hynes Convention Center
Street: Boylston
City/Town: Boston
Website or Map:
Contact Info: 617.416.0552

Protest the HRC Gala with activists and allies. The HRC sold out the Transgender community time and time again, most recently supporting a non-inclusive version of ENDA. HRC fails to build broad, progressive, grassroots coalitions instead choosing to endorse pro-war, anti-choice, conservative candidates. Let’s unite to show HRC what solidarity against oppression looks like!

When Joe So Speaks….

July 31, 2008

The Lemmings listen:

Since I stood before you one year ago, I believe that our community has made more progress and has done more to move this country in the direction of full equality than at any other time in our movement’s history.

Has it been without pain? No, but work as complex as social change rarely is. Has it been without sharp disagreements about how best to move forward? No, as evidenced by the people protesting outside tonight.

But here’s what I know. In any struggle for civil rights in this country, there have been occasions when different groups of people have marched down different roads. What is important to our ultimate success is that each of those roads ends at the same place. And while I regret the pain and distance that sometimes comes from taking different paths, I am more assured and more committed than ever that those of us outside this room and those of us inside this room are going to arrive at the same place – one that ensures that every member of our community, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender has the same rights and the same protections as every American. We may differ in how we get there, but we will get there together.

We are fortunate to live in a country that allows us to speak out passionately and forcefully about our beliefs. I welcome that passion and I respect it.

Joe So is saying that both groups of people who are inside the dinner and outside protesting are struggling for the same thing and he is right. Both groups are struggling for equality. Joe So also says that both groups will get there some day and he is right about that too. What he never says is that HRC will help us to get there and that we will all arrive at the same time. We can’t get someplace together and be on different paths.

Just for the record, I don’t lie awake at night wondering if our community has gained the respect of Joe So. The arrogance he displays is maddening.

I hear there might be a meeting between 6 angry transgender activists and Joe So. You know what I think of that? I think it’s a complete waste of time. Unless Joe So publicly states that HRC will ONLY support a single ENDA bill which includes both sexual orientation and Gender Identity, there is NOTHING he can say to stop the anger. No matter who HRC hires, no matter which transgender person they get to speak at their dinner party, fund-raisers. DO WHAT’s RIGHT or shut the F_ck up.

Doin't be a Lemming

Don't be a Lemming