Rebecca Juro

Money Changes (Almost) Everything

Filed By Rebecca Juro | April 21, 2008 7:40 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: ENDA, gender, HRC, politics, transgender

Recently, there's been much discussion about how we go forward in dealing with the Human Rights Campaign as a community, where the popular opinion of the greater LGBT community, and probably of nearly all of those who identify as transgender or gender-variant in some way, is that this organization simply cannot be trusted to reflect and advocate in concert with the will of the majority. One of the most common assertions, one I believe has been repeatedly proven conclusively accurate over the last several months, is that HRC's leadership not only simply doesn't get it, but they really show little or no interest in getting it in the future.

It's not quite as complex a problem as some would have you believe. Indeed, what they don't get is really quite simple. When you consider that in order to be a part of the organization's leadership, to have decision-making and agenda-setting power at HRC, one must raise or donate fifty thousand dollars a year, the answer is as simple as it is obvious: The problem is money.

Think about how much personal wealth one must have in order to generate this level of donation to HRC. Can someone with that kind of cash in the bank possibly understand what it is to have to live on a budget, to have to make economically-dictated decisions between what one wants, what one needs, and what one can afford? Can someone who can simply write a donation check for more than twice as much as many of us make in a year really understand what is to have to pay the bills working a low-paying job at a local retailer or the impact that losing such a job because of bigotry has on those who depend on such relatively meager incomes to survive?

The answer, of course, is yes. Not everyone with money is born into it, and many wealthy people proactively educate themselves and use their financial clout to help make things better for others not so fortunate. The real question, however, is not if it's possible that someone so wealthy can possibly understand the reality of the lives of the vast majority of Americans who don't enjoy that level of wealth, but rather if it's likely, and the answer to that question is clearly a resounding "No!".

To put it in perspective, consider how many of us, probably most, view the issue of Darfur. It's commonly understood that the people there are suffering greatly, but how many of us actually do anything about it in a concrete way? How many of us actually donate money, speak out on the topic, or take some kind of action to help alleviate the suffering of that country's people? I'm willing to bet not very many. Most of us are just too involved with our own lives and issues to devote much time and attention to a problem and a people who seem so far away and far removed from our own lives.

The problem we gender-variant folks face in dealing with HRC bears striking similarities to how the tragedy of Darfur is popularly perceived by the American public at large. No doubt there are many on the HRC Executive Board who would agree that the persecution and discrimination of gender-variant Americans is awful in principle, but how many of those folks really care enough about us to devote their time, effort, and resources to helping to solve it? If history is to be our guide, then clearly the answer must be not very many at all.

I mean, how is it that after all these years of claiming to represent gender-variant Americans and our interests in Washington, this organization still needs to hold trainings to educate its own membership on transgender and gender-variant issues? How is it possible, or even rational, that such an organization, which is clearly incapable of even getting its own membership up to speed on these issues, could be relied upon to advocate these issues to the United States Congress? The obvious answer is that they can't, not by any reasonable stretch, and anyone who tries to claim otherwise is either lying or or clueless.

Even more convincing evidence of HRC's lack of both credibility and competency in advocating on behalf of gender-variant Americans is the reality that since Donna Rose left the organization late last year, no effort has apparently been made to replace her on the Executive Board. Instead, HRC tries to convince transpeople that appointing two new trans members to their non-political Business Council somehow makes up for the complete void of transgender and even simply lower, middle, and working class voices in their actual leadership.

HRC is, simply put, an organization run by rich gays for the benefit of rich gays. Period. End of story. It's an organization so arrogant and so completely out of touch with the pulse of what's really going on in the 99% of LGBT America that can't write fifty thousand dollar yearly checks to the organization just to have a voice in its administration, that they can't even get their own people to take the time to fully understand what they claim to be fighting for.

Even worse, HRC's leadership thinks we're all morons. How else can you explain them trying to claim that they're fighting for and representing our interests in Congress while at the very same time continuing to support and actively promote legislation that will give people like those on their Executive Board protections in the workplace, but exclude gender-variant Americans from those selfsame protections, and even proactively penalizing legislators who support those protections and vote in concert with those beliefs in their ratings on the organization's Congressional Scorecard? Could there possibly be any clearer proof of HRC's incompetence to represent our community effectively? Actually, yes...there's even more.

The Human Rights Campaign has been around since 1980, and after nearly three decades of their existence, what does our community have to show for their leadership of our movement?

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, which precipitated the largest anti-gay witch hunt in the history of the US military.

The Defense of Marriage Act, cited by governments and corporations alike to justify denying equal rights, benefits, and treatment to LGBT Americans all over this country.

45 states with laws or constitutional bans prohibiting same-sex marriage and/or domestic partnerships and civil unions.

Failure after failure after failure. If any employee had this kind of performance record in private industry, they'd have long since been fired. Any company with this track record would have been forced out of business decades ago. And yet, somehow, most of the membership of the US Congress, presumably highly intelligent men and women all, somehow still perceive this organization as not only credible, but as representing the majority will of the American LGBT community.

Forrest Gump's mother had it right: Stupid is as stupid does.

Put all the lies, betrayals, and other disgraceful indignities HRC has visited upon gender-variant Americans over the years on the shelf for a moment, and even then you still have this simple, undeniable reality:

The Human Rights Campaign is completely and utterly incompetent as a political advocate, not only in representing the interests of the gender-variant, but also those of gay and lesbians as well. No matter what yardstick you choose to use, HRC not only doesn't measure up in terms of helping to achieve positive political progress for LGBT Americans, but its leadership of our movement has made our situation incalculably worse than it was before.

Of course, it all comes back to money...cold, hard, cash. They have it, we don't, and it's the one and only thing they have going for them. It's what makes the politicians listen, and it's the one and only language the people making the decisions at HRC speak.

To those still supporting this organization with their donation dollars, I say this: If you really want to see equality for people like us anytime soon, you need to put your money where it will actually do some good. Organizations like NGLTF can't win every battle, but at least they don't have a unbroken thirty-year record of not only complete failure to make any positive progress at all, but also an almost equally consistent record of losing ground in the form of laws that now formally enshrine second and even third-class status for LGBT Americans in ninety percent of American states.

Have we had enough yet?

Money, while certainly useful, does not equal competency or credibility. It's time to give HRC their richly-deserved pink slip and hire some people who know what the hell they're doing.


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Becky,
I have seen you write tough words about HRC in small chunks for years, but this has to be the most comprehensive and lengthy piece you have put out there. I'm impressed.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | April 21, 2008 9:35 PM

Well said, Rebecca!!! Excellent post.

The requirements to be part of the decision making process drastically narrows the pool of talent that they can draw from. You end up with either self-indulgent elites or business people, both prone to compromise and deal making.

It is immoral to make a deal on human rights, to bargain away the rights of some to preserve the rights of others. In this paradigm, transsexuals are bound to suffer discrimination even within the HRC itself because of economic marginalization.

We are dealing with a matter of right. And a right delayed is a right denied.That is a fundamental. We are not talking about a concession. And we are not talking about a concession that is adjusted to the social prejudice of the day. I've been through all of that and as I pass along I have a couple of points that I would like to make clearly. I saw the number of people wounded when we went through the first battle over this version of Enda. And now we have to go through it all again.

Whenever HRC takes the lead in discussing ENDA it is clear that many within that organization intend to insert extraneous matters to completely obfuscate the issue.

The reality of it is that we are talking about a rights issue, we are talking about a citizenship issue.
And let us recognize that such a thing exists. That the trans have the same right to participate personally and institutionally in the life of the state as equal citizens with protection and responsibilities before the law. That is what is at stake.

That is not something for a few elites to ponder over, safely buffered from the dark realities that many LGBT's, particularly the trans, face in day to day life. And that is not something to be bargained or negotiated away to protect the rights of a few.

Until the decision-making body of the HRC is broadened, nothing will change.


Well written Rebccea though im impressed at your Darfur refrence seeing how most folks any where still havent heard of it or even understand it let alone the Sudan war against the southern part of Sudan.

Carry on
Caty

Money, indeed, has a powerful influence, and the simple fact is that our small, impoverished community needs money more than most. Most of the money that goes to groups that make up United ENDA, for instance, is gay money, whether from individuals or rich white gay guys.

This is the way of politics in America. It will be more productive to go out, introduce ourselves to America, and build relationships. You never know what will happen. Some of those people will become friends and put in time on the cause. Others will contribute money, Still others may contribute a lot of money. Why? Because they like us and admire us and understand our marginalization, recognize it's wrong and want to help. But if they don't know us they won't bother because there are a lot of people who need help.

Also, while HRC has two boards with different powers and different giving requirements, it's not the only organization to be structured in that manner. The Victory Fund is as well, and they are as supportive of (the few trans) candidates as they are of the gay candidates.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | April 22, 2008 9:21 AM

Name one national organization that does not have a development department focused on generating the kind of revenue needed to run effective advocacy campaigns. You may not like HRC or the work that it does, but the organization's leadership has built one of the strongest groups in the GLBT movement.

There are many ways to engage with HRC and to impact the organization's agenda. The staff is smart and committed to fighting for GLBT equality. Yes, sometimes they make mistakes. Again, name one organization that hasn't made mistakes.

Every defeat that the gay movement has suffered cannot be laid at the feet of HRC. Nor can you say that every success has been achieved despite HRC.

Far too much time is spent trying to tear down HRC when that same energy and effort could be better utilized pushing forward a positive agenda.

You want one national organization, Michael? Transgender American Veterans Association. We can use more money, but we don't spent a ton of time trying to generate it.

"The Human Rights Campaign has been around since 1980, and after nearly three decades of their existence, what does our community have to show for their leadership of our movement?"

Well, there are a lot of state statutes recognizing gender transition.

Oh wait...

I don't think HRC had anything to do with enacting those (and, dare I say, has any real concept of what they're about and why they are significant.)

"Far too much time is spent trying to tear down HRC when that same energy and effort could be better utilized pushing forward a positive agenda."

When a building becomes structurally unsound and there is no way (or no worthwhile way) to repair it, the only solution is to tear it down. (Gee...two opportunities in one month to put my architecture degree to use here; I think that's a record.)

"Far too much time is spent trying to tear down HRC when that same energy and effort could be better utilized pushing forward a positive agenda."
=================

We are pushing a positive agenda and also holding HRC accountable for their actions. They're not mutually exclusive, Michael.

And really - HRC's dealing with some criticism is fairly small potatoes compared to what others deal with every day. As Atrios would say - WTAB's.

They've chosen to disenfranchise & alienante people - then complain that they're acting like disenfranchised, alienated people?

They should get used to it - it's going nowhere.

While criticism of HRC - and every organization - is both warranted and part of healthy community dialogue, I fail to see how this attack does anything to further dialogue or progress. It's all too easy to attack a person or group for their failings; actually doing something constructive to move us forward is more challenging.

Attacking HRC because they have been so far unable to move a majority in the US Congress to vote in favor of gender diversity protections may be emotionally satisfying, but more helpful would be putting the same effort into educating those legislators who are not yet trans-supportive. It might not garner the same visibility and name-recognition for the author, but it would be of far greater value to our community.

In the meantime, HRC has made tremendous progress since my first experience with them, when Shannon Minter and I did a presentation on trans-inclusion for a combined board meeting over 10 years ago. Frothy, self-righteous attacks on them - or on anyone else - do not serve our community in any kind of positive way. Rather, they reinforce the growing impression of our community as naive and unrealistic. Rome wasn't built in a day, and our rights will not be secured overnight, much as we might wish, want, or flog some allies.

"While criticism of HRC - and every organization - is both warranted and part of healthy community dialogue, I fail to see how this attack does anything to further dialogue or progress. It's all too easy to attack a person or group for their failings; actually doing something constructive to move us forward is more challenging."

Sorry, Nancy.

When dealing with an organization that engages in fraud regarding our issues and attempts to drown out dissent, attacking the fraudulent image of trans-inclusivity and trying to halt the crushingly assimilationist corporate hegemony of said organization IS CONSTRUCTIVE!

I hope you enjoyed your kool-aid.

Nancy,
You're kidding, right?

HRC has shown as much improvement in terms of transgender inclusion as the LA Clippers have in becoming a consistent NBA playoff team and ttile contemder.

If HRC is too thin-skinned to take the justified heat that's coming their way, then they need to chamge the behaviors that are causing the criticism.

And frankly Nancy and anybody else trying to defend HRC, this type of debate happens in the African-American community with our organizations on a regular basis. It's not 'tearing down' an organization as you put it, it's questioning whether they have the moral authority, fitness, and competence to be seen and trusted as leaders of the GLBT community.

And frankly, their track record over the last 30 years doesn't warrant that trust or confidence, and whatever moral authority they had a tenuous claim to died when they lied to transpeople at our signature convention, took $20,000 of our hard earned T-bills, and sold transpeople two weeks later.


Yes, Nancy, but Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Joe is fiddling with our lives, while we die. Anologies will not bring back people like Rita Hester, Channell Picket or Alice Johnston. What good is it if HRC throws us the cruumbs off their table? Even Shannon Minter has been protesting their dinners.

If you want to see what HRC is currently doing, check out my article on what happened when I asked the 100% CEI company I work for denied a medically necessary operation.

http://www.monicahelms.com/blog/transsexuals/the-denied-%e2%80%9cbig-o%e2%80%9d-and-hrc%e2%80%99s-corporate-equality-index-farce.htm

Just going to put in my usual agreement with Michael C. Here - I think that this problem is much larger than just HRC as speaks to many of the fundamental problems with how our government and political systems work. Yes, HRC spends more time looking for money than it does advocating for those who do have money, but can we really name any big organization with influence on Capitol Hill that does advocate for people without much money?

If it weren't HRC, it'd just be another organization getting money from the same sources fulfilling the same need - make a small group of rich queers feel good about themselves. HRC is filling that roll right now, and it could very well be another organization doing the same thing.

So it just seems like beating up HRC doesn't seem to do much here when they don't really have the power - their donors do.

MauraHennessey | April 22, 2008 7:04 PM

We can critique how they select their decision making and policy shaping body Alex. They have becoem the LGBT equivalent of the pre-reform House of Lords.

Further, we can take a good look at how LGBT politics works. By and large, it is lobbying and money, for we have become toothless as far as public presence. Except for the now discredited scorecard, there is no threat to politicians.

This time has come to take a good look as radicalism again. The time has come to demand change and stop accepting the "how politics is done" argument that made women wait decades for the right to vote.

All that has come of 30 years of HRC activism is that we have created a priviledged, wealthy queer aristocracy. I know because I am one of them. Far to easy to sideline those who have no rights while putting the icing upon our own.

A G/L only ENDA? works great for me. I am Femme, Lesbian and want my high paying position to continue.

It does not work great for the other 90%

I cannot look myself in the face in the mirror if my rights were negotiated with the price being more LGBT dead from those we left behind.

"So it just seems like beating up HRC doesn't seem to do much here when they don't really have the power - their donors do."

By this logic one shouldn't criticize Focus on the Family or Concerned Women for America.

Criticizing organizations is necessary in order to get them or their donors to change. If their actions weren't made and kept public, they'd never be addressed. This shapes public opinion and changes what is considered both acceptable & possible.

But I think you make a valid point when you say their donors are a large part of the problem. How do you propose people should focus their advocacy efforts to target HRC's large donors?

MonicaH,

Thanks for your respectful and thoughtful response.

I hear the pain. I don't want to defend HRC; I know the weaknesses of my body armor all too well. Let me try to rephrase my comments.

I think it's unfortunate to see voices on the more visible blogs being more condemning than constructive. It's easy to condemn failings, including mine; it's the low road to notoriety. As highly visible representatives of our community, it would be nice to see the voices here making a more positive impression.

Let's remember, there are MANY people out there who wish us, if not dead, at least transformed into something a lot more like themselves. They do not respect us one bit. THEY are the problem, not HRC. If ENDA passed tomorrow, it would help us enormously. But many hearts would remain unchanged, including those who would do us the most harm.

The more far-reaching change we undertake, the more carefully we best go about it, lest unintended consequences do more harm than good. We are asking society to accept fundamental changes in acceptable roles of sex and gender, and I don't think that impatience and animus move things any faster; quite the opposite, I'm afraid.

Meanwhile there's real work to be done, writing about the serious problems that are happening out there. About the young Portland trans man who attempted suicide the night before last. About the trans family in Kentucky struggling to meet ends meet while recovering from a transphobic media attack. Writers, put your caring and talent to really good use, and tell the stories that need to be told, not about GLBT community infighting, but about how individuals are suffering every day.

This is a world-class stage here; why not do something revolutionary with it? Show your ability to comprehend the true complexity of the world, to see that problems are rarely two-sided, but more often as complicated as we are. This is the kind of thing Obama is talking about (and practicing), and what the whole transgender movement was founded upon: a recognition of the marvelous, healthy complexity of human life, identity and expression. Situations are never a matter of simple black and white, and painting them as such does no good. There are good people on both sides of every issue, and the first step towards solving the problem is to acknowledge this.

Then, let's replace condemnation with strategy. Pelosi, Kennedy and Frank all say we don't have enough votes. Well, let's start counting! Whose votes do we have, and whose don't we have? Wouldn't that be nice to know? What's the best way to convince opponents to change their views? Where should we be focusing our educational efforts? That's what we need to be writing and reading, not more polarizing around HRC.

Monica, I've long appreciated the good work you do on behalf of our community. I urge everyone who reads this to do as much as they can to support your efforts and TAVA.

Sorry this went so long.

Warmly,
Nancy

Unfortunately, money makes the world go around - and non-profits are no different. Until we're able to find a better way of supporting the not-for-profits, this is the model we'll be stuck with.

Nancy,
You will always be a dear friend. Don't forget that.

There is a lot of things out there for people to concentrate on. But, if a person is unemployed or under employed, then they will not be able to add their voices to the fight. They will be more worried about their personal survival. Ask yourself this, "Is someone trying to keep more of our voices from being heard?"

We cannot afford to turn our backs on fighting for equal employment. We cannot stop countering the hateful messages from groups like the Concern "Women" for America and Focus on the Family who do not want us employed.

Wait! HRC also does not want us employed. Should we treat them any different then the above mentioned groups just because queer people run that group? They sugar coat their message to sucker in people into thinking they are really not that bad. Sorry. They are that bad.

The dangers we cannot see are no less dangerous than the ones we can. People need to open their eyes to ALL of the dangers around us. ALL OF THE DANGERS AROUND US. Trust and respect are something people have to earn. HRC has earned neither.

Michael, we've been trying to advocate for positive progress within HRC for years and not only hasn't there been progress made there, but it's gotten even worse as the organization has become even more arrogant, resorting to deception, misrepresentation, misinformation, and even outright lies to further their own agenda at the expense of ours. Talking only works if someone is actually listening.

If HRC can completely ignore the outcry of 370 civil rights organizations and be willing to stand completely apart and alone from the clear will of the community in advocating for a non-inclusive ENDA despite that, it's quite obvious that the people making those decisions at HRC just aren't paying attention. We've done it your way...it doesn't work. It's time for a better way, and for a movement led by people who can see past themselves and the issues which directly impact themselves and themselves only.

Nancy, I resent your implication that I do what I do for notoriety and fame, and you, of all people, should understand my motivations better than most. I just refuse to whitewash what I know to be true, what has been repeatedly been proven to be true. I don't call HRC's political games "less than ideal" like you do, I call them what they are, wrong, and a base disservice to the cause of true LGBT equality. If we are to have any credibility in the political arena we have to speak out and keep speaking out against what we know to be wrong, and not avoid confrontation to the point where HRC and the Democratic Congressional feels free to steamroll over us, confident that we won't muster enough of a voice to make others take notice.

As I said to Michael, we've tried it your way...not only doesn't it work, but it actually makes things worse, signaling to HRC and the politicians that they can continue to exclude us for their own political convenience without question or consequence. Personally, I think it's time for some richly-deserved consequences for HRC, such as having to turn over the reins and let others lead this movement. We deserve far better than we've been getting from these people, whether you're willing to admit it or not, and it's time to take positive action to ensure that we get it.

Rebecca,

I write this with respect for you and our commitment to our community.

I apologize if I have offended, that was not my purpose. I did not mean to imply that you write only for notoriety, but notoriety is certainly one consequence of your writings.

You have been a longtime supporter of trans rights and deserve respect as such. But you are not the first to see themselves doing a service to the transgender community by attacking others at length, publicly. In my time as a member of this community – almost 18 years – I have yet to see something positive accomplished in this way. Rather, I have seen a lot of damage done.

In my negotiations with legislators, staff and GLBT allies to obtain employment protections here in Massachusetts, I assure you that such writings make my work more difficult.

As for the issue of credibility, that is my reason for responding to your column: tearing down HRC does not build our credibility; rather, it establishes us as poor collaborators. Right now, those potential allies who are considering whether or not to support us cannot help but be taken aback by the viciousness with which we attack those whom they see as our existing allies. They must wonder if being our ally will subject them to similar attack, should they ever make a decision that we don't agree with. This does not make it easier for us to win new friends.

I too would like to see my trans brothers and sisters treated with respect today, not tomorrow. But I know the world doesn't turn on a dime, no matter how loud or protracted my laments. And I know that people respond positively not to anger, but rather to respectful dialogue.

There is no guarantee that the success of our movement will continue. The women's movement has suffered greatly in the last couple of decades; ours could as well, and turning against one another is the way to make that happen.

Those who know me know that I do not shy away from confrontation when it is warranted, and it is certainly warranted in the case of HRC. The issue I raise is not whether they should be confronted, but how and where.

Rebecca, I don't question your motives, only your methods. This is not a personal attack on you. I respect the work you do, but I am disturbed at the whispers I hear, about people being afraid to challenge the popular view on matters relating to HRC because of the personal attacks that invariably ensue. How many potential allies are we alienating?

Please, let Bilerico a place for healthy dialogue, not just one more place where the dominant view shouts down all others.

In solidarity,
Nancy

Nancy,
After reading your response to Becky, I noticed that the idea that HRC is treating us on the same level as Focus on the Family and Concern "Women" for America just hasn't quite clicked yet. Are you suggesting we collaorate with them for our rights, too?

Becky nailed it so perfectly. You cannot communicate with someone who refuses to listen. You're thinking HRC cares and will listen to us. It ain't happening. To use a Southern phrase, "That dog won't hunt."

Focus and CWforA won't listen either. They go out of their way to put out lies about us. So does HRC. You want us to remain silent and talk nice, without challenging the crap all three of those groups throw at us? In those 18 years, we have not encountered an HRC this bent on our destruction. They aren't your mother's HRC.

"Silence is death." I'm sure you heard that one before. Well, it works for our community, too. The longer we remain silent and the longer we let HRC run all over us, the more of our people die. You've lost enough TG people in MA to have all the transgender community understand this. I have seen pictures of you holding signs memorizing the dead. I'm hoping age has not taken the edge off of your concern for the lives of our people.

Deal with what you see today and not what you saw in the past. It's a nastier world in 2008 then it was in 1990, and HRC is following the trend.

MonicaH,

"the idea that HRC is treating us on the same level as Focus on the Family and Concern "Women" for America just hasn't quite clicked yet."

That's right, I don't agree with that assessment.

Guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that, unless you want to examine the records of these two groups with respect to the transgender community. It shouldn't take long to establish whether or not there's a significant difference; are you willing to go through that exercise?

It's simple. Which of the three groups are advocating for employment rights for transgender people? This is the most important issue facing our community and the one we are talking about. Which of the three?

As far as I know, only one of those three groups has ever done anything positive on behalf of transgender people. Do you know something different?

Wrong. Sorry. But, we don't want to see you go home without a parting gift. Tell her what she's won, Bob.

She's won the home version of, What's My Employment Rights? Spend hours with your friends trying to find the places on the board where transgender people can actually work. Try to work your way through the halls of Congress, only to be told, "We'll do what Barney Frank and HRC tells us to do." If you're lucky, you may even find the elusive "Transgender Inclusive ENDA" card, that keeps getting shuffled back to the bottom of the deck. The What's My Employment Rights home game, made by Milton Bradley. Batteries not included.

Sorry, Nancy. I couldn't help myself. The question still remains, "Which of the three groups are advocating for EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS FOR TRANSGENDER PEOPLE?" Not, "...ever done anything positive on behalf of transgender people." That's not answering the question. "Employment," as in the EMPLOYMENT Non-Discrimination Act. Anything else is nothing more than crumbs under the table by comparison.

So, which of the three groups are helping us when it come to employment protection?

A.G. Casebeer | April 24, 2008 3:39 AM

A better question might be this one: who's honest?
I recognize that the HRC Foundation has done some good for the T community. I do not confuse them with the political side of the org, which has never done anything worthwhile for the T community, and has caused untold damage, going back to the days of Lizzie Birch.

Let us never, never, never forget what Joe Solmonese did at Southern Comfort last year - deliberately baldfaced lied to 1000 T people. I would have had much more respect for them if Solmonese had said, instead, that T could well be removed, and that his big donors might not let them back us up. It would have been disappointing, but it would have been the truth. Those of us who lobbied with NTAC KNEW the truth already. And they have, on the political side, never made any overture, never made any effort to make amends. They have a history of trying to dictate to the T community, of trying to pick our leaders for us, of trying to pick our lobbying organizations for us, of not finding us fit to hire, and of speaking for us where we should be given the chance to speak for ourselves with the spokespeople we choose.

HRC's supporting 3685 instead of 2015 last year spoke for us in its omission: that we didn't deserve to be in. If they're going to take that approach next year - and i fully expect it - if ENDA passes, I don't want anyone from HRC's political wing to ever utter the T word again. I hate pretenders and bullshit artists, and Joe Solmonese is one of the worst I've ever witnessed.
A polygraph machine is required in any encounter that anyone might want to have with him.

I don't like Religious Reich organizations, but I know where they stand. When it comes to HRC, who the hell knows? Lies of that magnitude have to make you believe everything exiting the oral cavity of Joe S. is probably also a lie.

The first state rep to go to bat for us (in 1975) was a Republican - and, years later, that same Republican was the first governor to sign a trans-inclusive state civil rights law.

Extrapolating that to mean that the Republican Party is our best friend (or any friend at all) in 2008 is no different than saying that the Scampaign is our friend because of some positive things that may (or may not) have been done at some point in the past by some individuals who have some association with the organization.

Let them eat logic.

I have an anology on how HRC sees transgender people. When I was young, we would have large gatherings at the holidays. The kids would have to sit at a seperate table, while the adults would fix their plates for them, putting on food they thought the kids should have.

As I got older, I still had to sit at the kids table, but I got to fix my own plate. Then, I also sat at the adults table, but I put my two sons through that same "right of passage" process.

The transgender community is filled with mature, experienced adults who have been involved in advocating for our rights for decades. Yet, HRC still treats us like kids and tells us they will fix our plates with the rights they think we should have. When we sit at the table, they shove us aside, ignore us or kick the chair from under us.

This is the attitude that HRC has to drop, but it will remain as long as the current leadership remain. No amount or "Doing something positive on behalf of transgender people" will suffice. At this family gathering, I can speak to the rights I want on my plate, thank you very much.