The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTCP) announced today:
MTPC is buttressed by milestone grants, including a $25,000 Civic Engagement Grant from Boston Foundation and $25,000 total in four phases from Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), including $10,000 immediately as a challenge grant to urge other organizations to follow suit. Other contributions are being made by MTPC's legislative partners MassEquality, Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association (MLGBA), Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, Inc. (AAC).
Considering the gap that has been created by the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) support of a non-inclusive ENDA, the timing of such an acceptance of funds seems ill timed.
The fissure between the transgender community and HRC is so expansive that long time activist, California Assembly's 2003 "Woman of the Year", and San Francisco Police Commissioner, Theresa Sparks recently returned the HRC Equality Award that she received in 2004. According to the Bay Area Reporter, Sparks said:
'It no longer symbolized equality to me,' Commission President Theresa Sparks told the Bay Area Reporter upon exiting the two-hour meeting, held January 5 at the LGBT Community Center. 'It's a matter of their integrity and not following through and my own integrity.' Sparks said that she could no longer stand to even look at the etched glass award when it was on her credenza. She received the award in 2004.
Anger from the transgender community burned white hot against ex-Largo city manager, Susan Stanton after she was quoted in the St. Petersburg Times:
Eventually, she decided it was too early for transgender people to be federally protected. People need more time, more education, she says. 'The transgender groups boo me, now, when I speak. Isn't that ironic?'
'But I don't blame the human rights groups from separating the transgender people from the protected groups. Most Americans aren't ready for us yet,' Susan says.
Her presence at the HRC Logo debates in August and her recent speaking engagement at an HRC sponsored event in Chicago raised many eyebrows of transgender activists. But it was her comments in the St. Petersburg Times article that caused the community to see Stanton as an agent of the HRC.
The anger against the HRC has even reached the National Center For Transgender Equality's Board of Directors. According to the Washington Blade, the usually dispassionate Meredith Bacon was quoted saying:
'[A]s the chair of the NCTE Board of Directors, I can assure all who read this blog that NCTE will not work with HRC in the foreseeable future, until the current leadership is completely purged, and until we are convinced that, unlike its predecessors, any new HRC leadership is totally committed to working for transgender rights,' Bacon wrote. 'As long as HRC is controlled by and is dependent upon white, rich, professional gay men, such collaboration may never occur,' she wrote.
Is today's announcement by MTPC a sign that the community's anger against HRC is lessening, or will the transgender community see this as a "deal with the devil"?
Cross posted from Transadvocate.com