Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese met with a handful of transgender activists in Atlanta last week and apologized for "misspeaking" at last year's Southern Comfort conference, where he promised HRC would only support an Employment Non-Discrimination Act that included gender identity, according to people attending the meeting.[...]
Roberts said Solmonese apologized for "misspeaking" at last year's Southern Comfort Conference, where he promised HRC would only support an ENDA that included gender identity. Southern Comfort, the largest transgender conference in the nation, is held annually in Atlanta.
"He did apologize for misspeaking at Southern Comfort. But I think there was a lot of anger, disappointment and a lot of emotions for a lot of people," Roberts said of HRC's support of the sexual-orientation only ENDA. "It was very dehumanizing."
I really don't see how Joe's comments fall into the "misspeak" category. That'd be if he were speaking off-the-cuff and fumbled or if he worded something poorly and it came out ambiguously sounding like something else.
But that's not was happened, as the video shows. He spoke directly and clearly from prepared comments. And then HRC did the opposite.
Since the meeting was no-press, the Southern Voice couldn't get first-hand quotes. But here's Monica Helms, who was at the dinner but not the meeting:
I heard earlier from Betty that on Thursday, May 1st, Joe Solmonese had a meeting with a half dozen transgender people here in Georgia. I wasn't invited, nor was a few other transgender people who have worked at the national level, such as Dana Owings, Kristin Reichman and Cole Thaler from Lambda Legal. I'm willing to bet it was not accidental.
I was told that Joe "...apologized for misspeaking at Southern Comfort..." and that "...had he known what was going to have happen, he wouldn't have said what he had said."
So, had he known he'd be caught lying, he'd never have lied. Feel the love.
That's a huge part of the problem here - I think far fewer people would have had a problem with HRC's actions had they not been fund-raising about a month earlier on a promise that they didn't fulfill. I'm sure there were more than a few trans people and allies who were convinced to donate because of Joe's promise.
The article says he talked about strategies to move further forward on ENDA, but this discussion needs to be happening in a more open setting. And if he actually wants to make an apology, a closed-door meeting with a small group of transgender leaders that doesn't even include the president of TAVA, who created the Transgender Pride flag, who happens to live in that same town, isn't enough.