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)


Are you Sure or are you HRC Positive?

July 29, 2008

So, lets do a little recap here. There was lots of wonderful news of solidarity surrounding the protest of the HRC gala in San Francisco. Just check out the you tube videos on this blog alone. All wonderful, powerful statements as to why protests have been staged at various HRC events across the country as well as the involvement of other GLBT national organizations and labor unions. I am very proud of the work our community did to organize this whole event and I want to thank you all here and now.

We need to keep our focus and momentum going!

Because, now we have the diversion of videos of the two transgender people who gave wonderful fluffy speeches, Meghan Stabler and Diego Sanchez.

We have a story that’s caught fire, from a lesbian woman who has allegedly been assaulted by HRC security guards. All these things are wildly compelling but my question is: where is Joe Solmonese’s speech?

Surely, the president of the largest national gay and lesbian organization gave the speech of a lifetime considering all that is happening in our communities. Doesn’t anyone else find it odd that HRC would choose to produce 2 videos of the token transgender speakers rather than that of their own president?

Now that HRC has hired a transgender person and named her associate director of diversity, replaced Jamison Green and Donna Rose with Meghan Stabler and Diego Sanchez on the HRC business Council, wouldn’t it stand to reason that Joe So would have something to say concerning HRC’s policy towards an inclusive ENDA? No big statement’s Joe? You mean after all this hoopla of hiring and replacing council members you’re not going to change your policy to (and follow my language folks) ONLY support an ENDA that includes both sexual orientation and Gender Identity?

KEEP the FOCUS PEOPLE and when you HRC supporters start spouting at the mouth, be certain that you are sure about what HRC policies are and that you’re not just being HRC positive.


Video was produced, written and edited by Dina Boyer.
Please check out Dina’s videos on Youtube link
And check out Dina’s pictures on Flickr

Disruption inside HRC Dinner In SF

July 28, 2008

Check these links for the story.

Alleged Brutal Assault at HRC Diiner

Vice President of Harvey Milk Club Dragged Out of SF HRC Dinner

Video of Protesters

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!

A Note from Mark Daniel Snyder about HRC Protest This Saturday

July 23, 2008

Queer Activists & Allies,

This Saturday we’ll be having a party and a protest outside the HRC
Gala in San Francisco. It will be at 6pm at the Westin St. Francis. activists will be there in solidarity with the organizers, SF Pride at Work and others.

In an ironic twist, HRC is running ads in the SF radio market that say
“come to the HRC gala and learn about our groundbreaking work for
transgender rights.” Well I hope people do come to the gala to see
that, because they will be greeted with a protest over HRC’s historic
lack of understanding.

Join us in telling HRC to STOP endorsing war mongers (Joe Lieberman and others) and START supporting Trans Rights!

Please visit
to stay up to date for all the details, make your own profile, stay
informed on lgbt news and issues, and connect with other queer
activists from around the world!

Other protests are being planned for Chicago, and other cities – don’t miss out!

In solidarity!

Mark Snyder

P.S. Please feel free to contact me with feedback or suggestions for
the site – we’re trying to build a fabulous network of queer activists.
Be a part of the action!

That’s the Chicago Way, by Cyndi Richards

July 22, 2008

Sixty-five degrees and raining is not typical weather for July in Chicago, especially not when there are outdoor activities planned.

Needless to say, at about 9am, demonstration day started out for me on a fairly ominous note. However, the sky eventually cleared up and the mercury of my porch thermometer began to climb as I loaded about a dozen protest signs into the back of my old V8 gas-guzzler for a “mission of mercy” into downtown Chicago, about 60 miles (and $50 worth of gas!) distance from the hacienda.

Nevertheless, I willingly “took one for the team”, because as the loudmouth chair of IGA (the ONLY politically active trans-group in town!), it was incumbent upon me to enable all the other folks who TRULY CARE about trans-equality to make a good strong presentation of our concerns to the presumably affluent supporters of the ONLY major LGBT organization who continues to hypocritically dismiss equality of trans-people as politically “inconvenient”.

In a fine show of solidarity, several gay and lesbian members of the Chicago Gay Liberation Network joined our small but sincere cadre outside of the hotel where this lavish affair was about to commence.

Thanks folks.

On a related note, I have it on good authority from my contacts at Equality Illinois that a substantial percentage of the elected officials who were invited to this gala had to decline due to “scheduling conflicts”.

Hooray for our side!

As I mentioned in my original announcement of this protest, I find it breathtakingly ironic that hrc can happily solicit up to a $350 donation with a “straight face” (excuse the expression) for a typical “chicken and veggies” hotel dinner, but due to the ongoing senseless employment discrimination that they deny the existence of, there are THOUSANDS of qualified, competent trans-people who can’t even draw $350 a week doing menial labor.

Truth really IS stranger than fiction.

So much for “equality for all”, eh?

On a rather humorous note, the hotel staff was originally upset when they saw us. They asked “What did we do to you? They thought “HRC” meant Hyatt Regency Chicago. We explained, and they said “Right on, we’re with you.”

As the elegantly attired hrc guests began to arrive, I stood in a rather prominent location in front of the hotel, and a lovely tall blonde trans-gal I had never seen before approached and inquired “Are you Cyndi Richards”?

I smiled, answered in the affirmative, and thanked this late arrival for coming. I began to offer her a salutory hand-clasp and a protest sign (in that order), and she recoiled with a look of horror on her face. “Oh no” she exclaimed, “I’m with hrc”.

Imagine my suprise. The only response I could think of at that point was “Why?”. She smiled sweetly and introduced herself as “Allyson” (sp?), the new “National Director of Diversity”, or something along those lines. I then regained my composure enough to assess the situation.

This person was apparently informed beforehand that I was the “ringleader” of this merry band of “misfits”, and therefore her first “assignment” was to “meet the enemy”.


To make things even more ludicrous, it was painfully obvious that she was unaware of exactly what type of connotation this new appointment of hers meant to the rest of the trans-community. She apparently thought of herself as somebody that was going to alter the course of events in the “ivory tower” on Rhode Island Ave., and I got the impression that she really believed it.

Clearly, I knew better.

I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

If the incredible efforts of the likes of superstars like Donna Rose and Jamison Green were of little or no avail against the “forces of darkness”, then the likelihood of this relative “newbie” effecting any tangible change in regards to the “second-class citizen” status of trans-people in the hearts and minds of her new masters is minimal, at best.

As we made polite small talk, I mentioned to Allyson that a couple of other trans-people I knew had been interviewed for her job. I also mentioned that they were summarily rejected because they refused to compromise their principles concerning the ENDA issue.

Then, with all due respect, I inquired “So, which principles did YOU compromise, Allyson?” Her reply was a vacant smile and a glassy stare, followed by an evasive “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” I pressed further, but she continued to evade my questions, and then she looked at her watch and decided it was time to go inside. I offered her a button which had the familiar blue and yellow equal sign (with a red slash, as in NOT EQUAL) and a caption which read “There’s no equality without the T”. She accepted it, but refused put it on, even after suggested that if trans-equality was truly in her heart, then she shouldn’t be ashamed to wear it on her chest. Once again, she declined with a insipid smile and a glassy stare. I did manage to get her to pose for a picture, and if you check the Circle’s photo section you can see exactly what our new “representative” looks like.

Nice girl, but she doesn’t have a clue.

I gave her my card, wished her all the best, and I told her when she gets tired of beating her head against the wall in DC, she’s more than welcome to drop me a line, because I’ll still be out there, kickin’ ass and takin’ names. That’s the “Chicago way”.

(all respect, no restraint) Cyndi Richards