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.

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

San Fran HRC Dinner Boycott

July 26, 2008

All I can Say is WOW!

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
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