New York's Gay City News is reporting that over fifty people protested outside the Human Rights Campaign's annual Midtown Manhattan Dinner this Saturday, and that the event was snubbed by every single gay, lesbian, and bisexual elected official in New York City.
The motivation, of course, is HRC's continuing support of the crippled, elitist, and discriminatory version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which passed the House last November. What's most interesting here, however, is that it seems that it's no longer simply fair-minded and supportive LGBT activists who are refusing to play along with HRC's divisive political games, but that now the organization and their elitist bigotry has become so politically unpopular to so many Democrats that even politicians, who often seem deaf, or at least unmoved by the interests of minorities as small as transgender and gender-variant people, are choosing to make a statement in not endorsing HRC's divisive politics by showing up for their events.
Of course, this is New York City, one of the most socially and politically diverse and liberal places in the country. Only a fool would extrapolate this one event in this one city as evidence of a national turnaround in terms of how HRC is seen in political circles. And yet, it's a start.
Several local politicians and political players have come out strongly against HRC, including Christine Quinn, Speaker of the New York City Council and an out lesbian, who many believe will likely become New York's next mayor. While attributing Quinn's absence from the event as due to scheduling conflicts, her spokesperson also added in an email to Gay City News that Quinn "...has also made clear that she was very disappointed that the action taken by Congress with the Employment and Non-Discrimination Act did not include gender identity. Moreover, the Speaker is stunned that the Human Rights Campaign is penalizing those Congressmembers who support a pro-LGBT agenda, and who voted against the Act because it didn't include transgenders. The Speaker applauds her colleagues from New York -- Congressmembers Clarke, Nadler, Towns, Velazquez, and Weiner -- for their stand.".
Other pols of note not attending the HRC dinner included Quinn's expected rivals in the NYC Mayoral race, city Comptroller William Thompson and Congressman Anthony Weiner, who voted against the crippled version of ENDA in the House and made an impassioned speech on the floor of the House in support of the inclusion of gender identity protections in the bill.
And hey, let's at least give Joe Solmonese some credit. At least he had the courage to say something in defense of the sellout tactics employed by himself and his organization this time that amounted to at least slightly more than "Trust us, we're HRC and we know best.".
"I have to ask myself: When did we all become so impatient? When did we say to ourselves, okay that civil rights thing, I'll give it a year, maybe two, then I'm done," Solmonese said at the dinner, "Let me be very clear: No, we are not done. We are in the grueling, blinding middle of this fight and the middle of this fight is the hardest part."
Well, at least Solmonese is finally standing up for himself and his organization. Too bad he still refuses to do so for non-martini-drinking, non-wealthy, non-white, non-conventionally gendered LGBT Americans HRC claims to be fighting for.
Make no mistake, boys, girls, and everyone else: This is war, and it's a war which those who are truly on the side of American justice and equality are going to win. The tide is turning, and it's people like us who are turning it. While some might be loathe to bring Presidential politics into this fight, we can't escape the correlation here. As the candidate of change soars past the candidate of politics as usual, toward the Democratic nomination and eventually to the Presidency, so too do our own political fortunes rise along with Barack Obama's as HRC's are falling right along with Senator Clinton's. It's not at all a coincidence that those who would compromise the ideal of equality for all Americans for their own political convenience like Barney Frank and most of the HRC Executive Board are working for the Clinton campaign.
If you still need more proof, you're getting it now. For those who believe that we need civil rights laws that protect every American right now, not when it might be politically convenient years from now or even decades from now, there can be only one real choice for President, and it certainly isn't Hillary Clinton.