L.A. mayor Won’t Cross Picket Line

July 27, 2008

In an article written on July 27 By Lisa Leff, Associated Press

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa pulled out as keynote speaker for a gay rights group’s fundraising event scheduled for Saturday night following intense lobbying from transgender activists angry over the group’s stand on a federal gay rights bill.

Villaraigosa was scheduled to headline the Human Rights Campaign dinner scheduled for Saturday night in San Francisco. San Francisco city officials and many prominent gay rights leaders already had agreed not to attend the event, which has been billed as a fundraiser to help defeat a November ballot measure that would again ban same-sex marriage in California.

The Human Rights Campaign is one of the nation’s most prominent gay rights organizations and the Washington-based group already has given over $500,000 to defeat the same-sex marriage measure. But many transgender activists and their allies have been angry at the group since the fall, when its leaders agreed to support a federal job discrimination ban that protected gays, lesbians and bisexuals – but not transgender people.

Kudos to the Mayor and all the other elected officials who chose to
NOT attend the dinner. It’s nice to see Democrats with a backbone.

When Villaraigosa agreed to appear at the dinner at the Westin St. Francis Hotel, he was unaware that the San Francisco Labor Council had urged its members to boycott the event, which would have put the Democratic mayor, who is mentioned as a possible 2010 gubernatorial candidate, in the position of having to cross a union picket line, according to Szabo.Some activists were planning to hold a counter-gala outside the hotel on Saturday night.

“We made a commitment and we understood the controversy, but we are now aware the Labor Council had voted for an official boycott,” he said. Szabo added that Villaraigosa searched for a way to be able to fulfill the obligation before alerting the Human Rights Campaign late Friday night that he was canceling his appearance.

The Mayor saw this as a labor dispute and he wasn’t about to cross a
picket line and piss off the labor unions. Good for him and thank you
Pride at Work and the San Francisco labor council.

The Human Rights Campaign was part of a broad coalition of civil rights groups that promoted a job bias measure introduced by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., that originally would have included protections for transgender people. After Frank concluded the bill would fail unless the transgender safeguards were removed, many groups opposed the amended legislation while HRC continued to back it.

The bill passed the House and its supporters are working toward a vote in the Senate.

It’s supporters? And what supporters might they be talking about
here? Surely HRC is not STILL supporting a sexual orientation ONLY bill.

Brad Luna, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement issued Saturday that the protest “has nothing to do with organized labor” and that the Washington-based organization was committed to the civil rights of transgender people as well as gays and lesbians.

Unfortunately, the actions of HRC have only shown that they are committed to obstructing rights for a large portion of the LGBTcommunity. The last time I checked, employment discrimination was a labor issue but this is just one of the many reasons why our community is outraged, another outrage in all this is that the leadership of HRC still believes they are entitled to raise enormous amounts of money from a community that they have yet to fully support.

“And as we have an open dialogue about the best way to move forward, let us never forget that we are still a community of brothers and sisters standing as one to advance equality for all GLBT people,” Luna said.

Brad, don’t ever, EVER refer to me or those in our community whom
you refuse to support, as “family.” We are not your brothers and sisters.
MY family doesn’t treat me as a second class citizen nor would it EVER
support and defend an organization that does.

Inside the Picket Line at HRC fund raiser.


San Fran HRC Dinner Boycott

July 26, 2008

All I can Say is WOW!

Pictures from Chicago HRC Dinner Protest

July 21, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
HRC Dinner Protest

Thanks to Cyndi Richards (top left) and all the beautiful people from

Thanks to Cyndi Richards (top left) and all the beautiful people from Chicago for making this such a successful protest event! Keep up the great work!

ACTION ALERT – Chicago Dinner Protest!

July 14, 2008
Protest planned for the HRC Chicago Gala Dinner

Another testament to LGBT solidarity. Please attend this event
and show your support for the inclusion of Gender identity and
expression in the Employment Non-discrimination Act.
We need protections for our whole community, not just a select
and privileged few.

When: On Saturday, July 19, 2008 at 5:30 PM

Where: Hyatt Regency hotel, 151 East Wacker Drive,
Chicago, Ill.

Contact: Cyndi Richards tgcyndi@yahoo.com
Send Cyndi your phone number and she will call you.

Check back for more info and contact Cyndi for details!

Another San Fransisco Treat

July 12, 2008

I really love the LGBT community for standing together and not wavering from the fact that we are one community. The LGBT community is driving that point home today with a protest outside of the HRC store in San Fran.

Ethan Jacobs at Baywindows reports:

Out in San Francisco, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) continues to deal with the fallout from its decision last fall to break with other national LGBT organizations and support a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) without trans-inclusive gender identity protections. A coalition of local organizations,including the activist group And Castro for All, the S.F. chapter of Pride at Work, and the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, are planning a July 12 protest outside HRC’s retail store in the Castro.
Protestors will hand out rainbow flag stickers and urge shoppers to substitute the rainbow for the ubiquitous HRC equal sign logo stickers.`

“The rainbow flag is a symbol of our diversity, and our experience of HRC is it’s not as committed to diversity as the flag is, and we want them to step up and show a different HRC,” said Robert Haaland, co-chair of Pride at Work’s S.F. chapter.

The equal sign that HRC has adopted for their logo and which is recognized nationally is finally being outed as a sham. It was never anything more than a marketing strategy used to capitalize on the disenfranchised portion of the LGBT community and has certainly never lived up to it’s symbol. If the self proclaimed, largest LGBT organization in the country can’t treat the people in their own community with fairness, respect and equality, how can they expect others to treat us with fairness, respect and equality? How can they even pretend to believe that they can represent us while lobbying Congress?

The article goes on to say:

Brad Luna, spokesman for HRC, said that despite the organization’s backing of a non-inclusive bill in 2007 HRC is committed to the ultimate goal of passing a fully inclusive ENDA. As part of that effort HRC helped coordinate a hearing before Congress last month on
transgender employment discrimination.

“[The protest is] completely built on a faulty claim, which is we don’t support an
inclusive bill. Not only is it wrong, but it couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Luna.

Yes, I can see how we would have misunderstood HRC’s intention to support inclusive legislation when Joe Solmonese said they would not only support ONLY legislation that is inclusive but would in fact oppose
legislation that was not and they have TAKEN THAT MESSAGE LOUD AND CLEAR TO THE HILL. (I think Barney was absent that day).
In the end, HRC DID NOT support the inclusive legislation and has in FACT lobbied for the sexual orientation ONLY, version of ENDA.

I don’t think that HRC is scoring any bonus points for underestimating our intelligence.

We have some solid allies in our community who stand with us, side by side and we never have to question the meaning of their words or wonder what their strategy will be. It’s just not that difficult to have a good relationship with an allied organization.

I could easily pull apart Brad Luna’s statement, the fact is, I shouldn’t have to. The fact is, allies don’t treat each other as poorly as HRC has treated the rest of the community. Bravo to all the people who are finally listening!

Keep your eyes and ears open, there will be more protests and Boycotts to come.

Don’t forget the Boycott protest of HRC’s San Fran Dinner on July 26th.

Here’s a short clip at the start of the protest in DC which kicked off a string of HRC Dinner protests across the nation:

United We Stand, ENDA for All!

July 4, 2008

On September 7, 2007, President of the Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solmonese attended the Southern Comfort conference and stood before a group of nearly one thousand transgender people and allies and proclaimed that not only would HRC not support legislation but in fact oppose legislation that was not fully inclusive and they have taken that message loud and clear to the Hill. see video:

This is IFGE’s Summary:
2007 April 24: ENDA (H.R. 2015) is introduced in House of Representatives, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity are included.

May 3: Hate Crimes Bill (LLEEA) passes in House of Representatives, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity are included.

May 11: The Washington Blade’s Peter Rosenstein reports that Gender Identity might be stripped out of the Hate Crimes bill in the Senate, and HRC is debating support of non-inclusive version despite their 2004 resolution.

May 14 – 18: NCTE, NTAC, & GPAC hold “Lobby Days” in Washington DC.

May 17: Blogger Marti Abernathy cites lobbying reports that Gender Identity will be removed from ENDA in the Senate.

September 17: Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Executive Director, Joe Solomonese, giving an address at the Southern Comfort Conference states HRC will oppose any legislation that does not include protections for Transgender people.

September 27: Barney Frank Introduces 2 more versions of ENDA: HR 3685 (Sexual Orientation only) & HR 3686 (Gender Identity only). HRC does not oppose the non-inclusive bill, but issues a misleading press release implying that it does. Hate Crimes Bill (LLEEA) passes in Senate.

September 28: Leaders from IFGE, NCTE, NGLTF, GLAD, NCLR and a rapidly growing coalition of organizations sign onto a letter requesting HRC oppose the non-inclusive ENDA. Many of them are attending the Out & Equal Conference in DC, and immediately start organizing a cohesive strategy.

October 3: Donna Rose, the only transgender person on HRC’s Board of Directors, resigns effective as of October 8th.

October 7: NTAC organizes a protest outside the HRC banquet in Washington DC.

October 16: Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) announces an amendment to H.R. 3685 that would restore gender identity protections to ENDA.

October 18: Non-Inclusive ENDA (3685) passed by Markup Committee. Several Democrats vote against it, protesting the lack of protections for Gender Identity.

November 7: The Baldwin amendment is introduced and then withdrawn. HR 3685 passed 235 to 184, 14 not voting. 35 Republicans vote for the bill, 7 Democrats voted against bill because Gender Identity was removed. Now: ENDA has not been introduced in the current Senate in any form.

(For a more in depth look at the history of our community and HRC )

HRC Gala Protest, Washington, D.C.

HRC Gala Protest, Washington, D.C.

Since the D.C. Protest event, other protests have taken place in Philadelphia, New York City, Houston and Austin TX, New Orleans LA and even more protests are being planned in San Fransisco, Boston and Dallas.

We need to keep the momentum going! Look for more information on protest tips and organizing as well as information on a protest/Boycott event in your area.

Please post to this blog with any information and useful comments. All negative comments will be deleted. We are only interested in moving our community forward! Thanks to you, our LGBT community has continued our fight on the grass roots level and are making a difference!

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu