Lately my emotions have been all over the place. I felt great joy at the US Senate passing the Matthew Shepard Act. I felt disappointment from Barney Frank's planned removal of gender identity from the Employment Non-Discrimination act. Yesterday I was surprised and delighted with the massive support from the majority of the gay and lesbian community in opposing a non-inclusive ENDA. Today, waves of emotion are pushing me back into disappointment. Why? After the amazing groundswell of support for the transgender inclusion in ENDA, the Human Rights Campaign has decided it will not oppose the two bill ENDA strategy.
From their press release:
Therefore, we are not able to support, nor will we encourage Members of Congress to vote against, the newly introduced sexual orientation only bill.
I've always said that you should support those that are doing work that supports you. I've heard many people in the transgender community say "I'll never work with HRC again" after HRC did something negative towards the transgender community. I don't believe that those kind of statements are either helpful or constructive to the community.
That being said, I don't think that HRC is working for me or my community. Donna Rose (an HRC board member) said on her blog on September 29, 2007:
Although I don't blame them for causing the current situation, I am tremendously disappointed in HRC for refusing to speak out loudly and publicly, along with the other coalition partners, in OPPOSING this wrong-minded strategy and these bills. The credibility and integrity of the organization is at stake, and I cannot and will not defend them on this in any way, shape, or form. I am disappointed in the lack of decisive direction being shown by the board leadership. I am disappointed by the delay by to board to meet to discuss this. And I am incredibly sad to see all the hard work of building bridges and repairing relationships with HRC become tatters and shreds. This isn't just business - for me, it's personal.
I am angry at HRC leadership for what I can't help but perceive as lying and deceiving, for betraying my trust, and for putting me in this position. Damage has been done and continues to be done that cannot be repaired. What happens next is, at best, too little too late. At a time when I should be celebrating the historic passage of Hate Crimes on Thursday, and the amazing work of the Out and Equal Workplace Summit, I'm consumed by feelings of betrayal and disappointment. The conspirist in me feels that I've been played, that this has been in the works for a long time, that people and organizations with a vested interest in passing ENDA at any cost believe that there will be some unhappiness but that it will be short-lived if and when ENDA passes (without trans inclusion). However, the idealist in me cares too much to give up. For now.
Right now HRC isn't doing the work of the GLBT community. They are carrying the water for politicos at the expense of the community at large. As I've said before, HRC has proven itself to be a political organization first, and a GLBT organization second. Unbelievably, they're trying to take credit for the work that NGLTF and other organizations did in changing the direction of Congress.
Some may say we should have joined the growing chorus of public dissenters earlier. We believed, and still do, that the correct course of action was to continue dialogue with our allies on the Hill and work to the last minute to effect change,” said Solmonese. “That decision, in addition to yesterday’s letter signed by GLBT and civil rights organizations, paid off when we were able to engage in direct conversations that resulted in a guarantee from House leadership to postpone the mark-up until later this month.”
They aren't supporting the GLBT community at the moment, so I'm not going to ally with them or give money to them. If they come around and do the work of the GLBT community again, that might change. I'm not not ready to "Throw The Baby Out With The Bathwater", but I can't support an organization that works against my community...
my GLBT community.