Marti Abernathey

My Support

Filed By Marti Abernathey | July 26, 2008 8:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Diego Sanchez, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, Gay Lesbian and Bisexual, HRC, human rights abuses, Human Rights Campaign, LGBT, Marti Abernathey, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Stonewall Democrats, NCLR, NCTE, PFLAG, politics

Readers of this blog are probably not surprised that I'm supporting the boycott of the Human Rights Campaign's San Francisco Dinner. What you might find surprising is that I'm supporting my friend Diego Sanchez, in speaking at the event. I'm also supporting the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) nationally, now as a member. That's right, I'm now a paid member of HRC. Why?

bilhrcandme.jpg

If the transgender community is going to attain their civil rights as a part of the larger GLBT movement, we should be part of the largest, most powerful organization. And my isn't HRC powerful!?! Their power is so great that the organizations affiliated with United ENDA still feel the need to work with them. The historic transgender hearings were led (Barney Frank's Senior Policy Adviser, Joe Recalto's words, not mine) by HRC. Whether they liked it or not, the groups of United ENDA decided that they had to work with HRC for the hearings. In fact, I don't know of any boycott that a national GLBT organization is engaged in with HRC. Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) still co-sponsors the True Colors tour with HRC. I'm not singling out PFLAG here, because this isn't an isolated occurrence. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) sponsors a meeting of various GLBT civil rights organizations called "The National Policy Roundtable" NGLTF's website states:

The National Policy Roundtable convenes the executive directors of policy-oriented national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and HIV/AIDS organizations and the national co-chairs of policy-oriented national associations of local and state organizations semi-annually for two days of discussion, strategic thinking, information sharing and development of collaborative projects.

And the goals of the NPR are to:

Strengthen relationships between national LGBT organization leaders. Brief LGBT organization leaders on policy issues of common concern. Strategize about pending challenges to the LGBT movement and mechanisms for response. Generate collaborative efforts among national LGBT organizations and associations.

The Human Rights Campaign is still a member of the NPR, along with United ENDA coalition partners the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), New York Trans Rights Organization, PFLAG, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), National Stonewall Democrats, The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS), the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network(GLSEN), Mautner Project: the National Lesbian Health Organization, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, The National Black Justice Coalition, and Pride At Work, just to name a few. Excluding Atlanta Pride, no Pride has boycotted HRC's sponsorship. Statewide organizations that were part of the ENDA coalition continue to collaborate with HRC (like my state equality group, Indiana Equality, for example). There may be an illusion of protest within the GLBT community, but (like the Wizard) if you pull back the curtain, things are much different than they seem from the outside.

I support the protesters of HRC in New York and San Francisco, because they put their money were their mouth is/was. The protesters are sending a message that it is not ok to leave out gender identity in the next version of ENDA. The most effective means of getting a message across to an organization or business is a boycott.

At the same time, I refuse to demonize the HRC. They are the one of the only major GLBT organization that has hired a transwoman on to their staff (Pride At Work being the only exception that comes to mind), they've apologized for their misstatement at SCC, and they are the political gatekeepers. I'm not going to demonize Diego Sanchez for speaking to the San Francisco HRC gala, either. There needs to be transgender representation inside the most powerful GLBT organization. Sanchez isn't hiding his dissatisfaction with the events of last year, but his vision of an inclusive bill includes every organization:

I believe our whole community is driven to move forward. I hope we choose to advance as partners, or we benefit those against us. I work with and need HRC, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force for their different expertise. I'm one transguy, outside of HRC, working directly and candidly with HRC, to help it expand and fortify how it serves us.

The darling of the transgender community, Donna Rose (the HRC board member that resigned last fall), also continues to dialogue with HRC.

I'm meeting with Joe this morning and I'm looking forward to that for several reasons. If this meeting had happened a long time ago it might have eased a number of things. But it didn't so better late than never. Nobody knows what I'm planning to say, or what we're planning to discuss. Others are already making assumptions - that was ineveitable [sic] - but nobody knows. I haven't told anyone. Nobody. Not one person. Because that's how rumors start. So - from the get go, the things I hope to discuss at this point are private to me and me alone. What I choose to share here afterwards [sic] will be private, as well. I don't want to dampen our ability to talk freely, and that's the most important part.

If the leaders of the United ENDA coalition don't boycott HRC, why should I? I'm a gay transgender person with a gay son. HRC supports our right to work, to adopt, and to marry. While HRC had a moment of indiscretion, they've come clean and are being clear about their position on ENDA. The protesters in San Francisco are clear about their position on ENDA and HRC. The coalition of United ENDA? ... not so much.

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Marti;
A very well reasoned move and a very mature post. I belong and donate to NCLR but two of my sisters in law donate to and belong to HRC. The Lesbian Professional group that I belong to is divided about half and half on it as far as memberships.

You truly are showing leadership by example to the LGBT community.

You're gay with a gay son? HRC is exactly right for you then, it's for, and only for, GLBs.

Supporting Diego Sanchez? So do I, he did a great job, and if HRC is to be reformed, it must be from within.

Supporting the boycott? So do I. I also support working against Prop 8 any way we can. That's mainly because it's the right thing to do, but also because a third who are T are also GLB.

But the bottom line is that I trust the HRC as far as I can throw them, one handed, uphill, against the wind.

Your writing style seems familiar. Is this history your work also?

http://www.bigredhair.com/boilerplate/index.html

Or perhaps this?

http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html

Joni Christian | July 26, 2008 11:14 PM

My government does not support me.

HRC does not support me.

Thank God my money goes to the UAW.

Solidarity forever!

Leaving aside your reasoning, don't you think it would be appropriate to retract your previous vitriol directed at those who had already expressed anything but outright hatred for HRC?

Anyone has the right to change their mind; but to do so without acknowledging that your prior sentiments might have been over the top and perhaps ill-considered (given your recent change of heart), seems fickle.

Or is this just a symptom of being a natural-born contrarian?

I dunno Marti...

Maybe it's just me but I don't see how boycotting an organization but also donating money to and identifying as a member of it at the same time makes any sense at all. Not only is it totally inconsistent just in general, but how does looking to take away money from HRC with one hand while giving to the organization with the other make any practical sense at all?

Furthermore, what does it accomplish? How does you (or any transperson for that matter) becoming a member of HRC help our community? We've already seen the depths these people are willing to go to throw us under the bus. We know they continue to support workplace legislation that excludes us. We know they are penalizing members of Congress on their scorecard for standing up for transgender rights. Will any of that change if some of us suddenly decide to become HRC members? I think you know the answer to that one as well as I, Marti. If a transwoman on their freaking Executive Board couldn't even slow them down once they set their minds to support a "straight-looking and acting only" ENDA, what makes you think that some transfolks becoming members of HRC would make the slightest ripple in their self-involved agenda? What has HRC ever said or done to indicate that such a thing might be true? In fact, doesn't all of the evidence point to precisely the opposite?

Marti, I sincerely hope this is some grand sarcastic joke, because if it isn't you really need to remember to take your meds. ;)

UdontKnowme | July 27, 2008 1:58 AM

If you're now a card carrying member for HRC, you ARE NOT supporting the protest.

Well, Marti, I can name one national organization that was part of United ENDA that is NOT working with HRC, not having anything to do with HRC and has no remote connection with HRC, and that's TAVA. They gave us $500 in 2004 for our first March to the Wall and that is the one and only time we had anything to do with them.

They support the repeal of DADT, but they aren't leading the charge on it. That's SLDN. Would that make TAVA unique in a national level? We don't have anything HRC wants (not yet) and they couldn't corrupt us with the board we got.

One of the people preparing the survey report told me that other organizations may want to look at the raw data from our survey after the report comes out. I wonder if HRC will want to look at it as well? I guess we'll have to burn that bridge when we get to it.

But the bottom line is that I trust the HRC as far as I can throw them, one handed, uphill, against the wind.

I never "trust" any organization that is advocating and fundraising for their paycheck at the same time. As far as advocacy goes, I monitor what each group is doing and base my allegiance based on actions, not solely on words.

Leaving aside your reasoning, don't you think it would be appropriate to retract your previous vitriol directed at those who had already expressed anything but outright hatred for HRC?

No, because I think your insinuation is faulty. My posts have always had a logical reasoning behind them. I'm not abusive or venomous, but I am direct and honest.

Anyone has the right to change their mind; but to do so without acknowledging that your prior sentiments might have been over the top and perhaps ill-considered (given your recent change of heart), seems fickle.

This isn't a change of mind. It's a strategic and very direct. There are no logical alternatives to the current situation, and in the words of Quentin Reynolds, "If you can't lick 'em, jine 'em."

Or is this just a symptom of being a natural-born contrarian?

Naw, if I hadn't matured any and was simply a natural-born contrarian, I'd ask you how the Transgender March on Washington was coming along.

;)

There's little I enjoy in a good blog posting more than a stiff dose of unbridled sarcasm and twisted irony. Sarcasm and irony are acquired tastes, just like well-aged single-malt whiskeys, the music of Randy Newman and Tom Waits, and the essays of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.

I arrived home from work at 3AM, settled in with a wee dram of Jameson's (the 12, sat down at my Macintosh, read this, and snorted enough of the whiskey out my nose in laughter to cause a serious burn of the mucus membranes. "Good Old Boys" is now on the turntable. You're to blame.

If you, in fact, meant this as I assume you meant it, I commend you on your subtle sense of humor, one few may see.

If it's meant seriously........don't tell me, please, let me have my laugh, please. I can understand the concept of "join 'em 'cause we can't beat 'em", but......uh.....no, not them. Not now, and probably not ever.

Drinking Jemmies makes everything seem funny.
Besides, Porters is better....

Marti, If you were to encounter an abusive person that tells you one thing and does the opposite, then apologizes for doing that over and over should you keep going back for more? HRC's "apology" (when ever that was?)is it the same thing as it would be in the the abusive relationship? How many times has HRC done this? For how many years? In your case HRC may very well be a positive organization for the reasons you listed! It is up to you to belong to any legal organization you want! more power to you! A lot of people are card carrying members of many legal organizations including religious organizations. That does not mean that the card member supports everything that organization does!
How would HRC rate in its own rating system? How many T's are on the board? How would the board rate? Donna Rose is a free person she can talk to any one she wishes! the Quote "Keep your friends close and your enemy's closer " Could apply here?

If HRC really wanted to end the boycotts and stop the angry, hurt feelings then they should; 1. Issue a real public apology both in writing and it's president saying at a press release "I am so sorry HRC and I made a major mistake in supporting an ENDA bill with out including the T community! We (HRC)were wrong to have dropped the T protection of the ENDA bill!" 2.Stop supporting the stalled, flawed ENDA bill. 3.Demand the stalled, flawed ENDA bill be recalled! 4. Get an inclusive ENDA bill with protections for T's into both houses and passed.. 5.Get two or more T's on the executive board.6.NEVER EVER use any group as bargaining chips again! If all 6 items above were done before and at the HRC San-Fransisco it would be a positive step for HRC! Regina

Count me in the "is this sarcasm" crowd.

I read this as saying that you haven't gone back to the HRC overall, you still distrust them, but you're willing to collaborate with them if the occasion arises?

That I can accept -- it's my stance with egaleCanada, here. But I don't buy support and silent tolerance of a legacy of exclusion. Sorry, but it's just not right.

I see any step away from the HRC bashing as positive. We've discussed this earlier, so I will not belabour the point.

You do not have to love them, you do not have to trust them, you do not have to sleep with an HRC board member, you do not have to name your first born after Joe.

The fact remains that it is the largest lobbying organisation with the most effective inside access.

They cannot apologise for ENDA, it would be suicide for them with large parts of their constituency. Heads would roll if they did.

During the ENDA mash-up, I folllowed quite a few blogs, including 365GayCom's now defunct "Visible Vote" and "Joe.My.God" The mere idea that gay men and lesbians would have to wait for their rights til the trans(variations of the term were used, frequently unflattering) infuriated a sizable number of gay men and more than a few Lesbians.

There were repeated charges of "transjacking" the "LGB" movement, revisionists versions of Stonewall written, statements supporting removing the "T" from community centres, and in the words of Arlo Guthrie "all kinds of mean, nasty, terrible" things said.

And HRC represents them, too
Yes, politics triumphed over morality; HRC took the long term view and decided on a course to ensure its survival and relevance strident portions of the G/L continum.

Not nice, not a position of principle, but when you are a lobbying group, you may not have the luxury.

For that reason, I do not belong as I tend to "get my back up" on things. Some family and friends do belong, and I understand theirs and Marti's reasons for doing so and I respect them.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | July 27, 2008 12:10 PM

Marti,

You are always full of surprises.

I really appreciate you writing this post. It takes a great amount of courage to be a trans person and say anything publicly supportive of HRC. I am sure that you are feeling the heat for writing this post.

I am a former staff member of HRC and have great respect for the HRC staff and the sometimes extremely difficult positions they find themselves in. I have found the staff to be passionate about fighting for equality, incredibly smart and hard-working.

I am also committed to equality for the full LGBT community.

I have said in a number of arenas that I do not think that United ENDA was particularly effective. There sole messaging seemed to be "vote no on SEXO only ENDA." Okay, that bill is dead. What comes next?

My feeling is that much of the energy being put into trashing HRC and organizing protests and boycotts against the group could be better spent building congressional support for an inclusive bill.

How many members of the California congressional delegation are not supportive of an inclusive ENDA and so much energy is being expended protesting an HRC dinner?

My comments are a bit rambling, but I just wanted to say thank you for acknowledging the movement that HRC is making and for continuing to hold their feet to the fire when they make a mistake.

We are all in this together whether we want to admit it or not.

as usual, marti, your comments directed at the organizations that compose united enda are mean spirited and sarcastic.

HRC is not "all-powerful", and the organization's influence, membership, and personal endorsements will continue to decline as long as they support non-inclusive legislation. whether you actually support the HRC or not is of no import.

what is important is the solidarity and unity of the entire spectrum of the GLBT community. internal back biting and sarcasm don't add anything to the mix - but it does seem to draw the response and attention that you so desperately crave. personally, as a member of the community, i applaud and endorse the boycott of any organization or event that is not fully inclusive in word and deed - and certainly that applies to HRC. however, my lack of support to that organization does not include an unwillingness to open a dialogue on human rights issues to which they are seeking solutions. the community at large, and especially the transgender community, cannot afford to turn away support on any issue - even if it comes from an organization with which we have ideological and strategical disagreement. there are far to many issues where we share both common interest and opponents. this is, IMHO, the same ideology exhibited by those organizations that compose united enda. this is far, far away from an endorsement - and does not serve as an end to their opposition of HRC strategy or philosophy. the orgs continue to boycott HRC on their failure to honor only fully inclusive legislation.

as an organization, HRC is a real problem...and serves as an embarrassment to our cause. their lack of credibility will continue to escalate the decrease of their own support and influence. in many instances, the united enda organizations are stepping up to the plate and dealing with government leaders and agencies on their own - excluding HRC as a contact and as a voice. the "power' that HRC once purportedly possessed is no longer exclusive. it is being appropriated by organizations who realize that the voices of their constituents are better served without HRC in the background. as a community, we don't need HRC - they need us. if HRC fails to grasp that reality, the org will continue to decline until it can no longer support the huge, ineffective bureaucracy it has created - and will be no more. my suggestion? HRC should re-affirm their commitment to solely inclusive legislation, make strong public apology, and introduce new leadership at executive levels. what they actually do is not really important, either - the real issue is whether the community will stay united and committed to the concept of equality.

Jerindc;
That is unlikely to happen for the reasons that I discussed in a post a few up the list from yours.

A substantial portion of the G/L community will demand that heads roll if HRC were to make a decision to apologise. These people actually blame the trans-community for there being no ENDA, rather than blaming Congress for this useless and pro forma gesture that divided the community just to mobilise the Democratic base in the LGBT ranks...

There was never going to be an ENDA this time. And the components of United ENDA and the T's got scapegoated for it.

Y'know Michael, a big part of why HRC is taking as much heat as they are on this, aside from the obvious and well-discussed political reasons, is the arrogance they have consistently exhibited throughout this most recent fight for ENDA.

HRC has never sought nor acted upon the will of the greater community. They have consistently defended their actions with little more than "We're the biggest and the richest so we're going to do what we think is best regardless of what the rest of the community thinks. We're going to use our money and our power to promote what we think is best for ourselves and our organization because we can.".

For an organization that claims to represent a community as diverse as ours, they have got to have the worst public relations on the planet. On the one hand they readily espouse the rhetoric of community unity and solidarity, but then on the other they act unilaterally, completely ignoring the clear will of the rest of the community. And then, after years of behaving like this, they inexplicably don't seem to understand why the rest of the community sees them as liars and hypocrites.

The bottom line is that HRC needs to learn how to share and play nice with others. What we're seeing now is the greater community saying "Enough!", delivering a well-deserved spanking, and making the organization take a "time out" in a corner for a while for misbehavior.

Maybe this time they'll finally get the message: The Golden Rule does apply.

maura, i read your post...and i humbly and respectfully disagree. those who support exclusion are an insignificant minority of relics from the past, and their numbers are dwindling daily. HRC can continue to act as an authority that is above the will of the community - and crumble, or they can recognize the will of the community that they purport to represent and survive. what HRC does really isn't that important, because in the large scheme of things HRC is not important. our determination, our commitment, our unity...these are what will turn the tide. DADT is crumbling, marriage equality will be realized,GLB AND transgender rights will be all encompassing - if we remain firm in our commitment to equality, and united in that commitment. the "gay' agenda is nothing more than a cry for equity. there is no request for special privilege, but a demand for the right to exist with basic human dignity. words, apologies, and the policies of HRC are just insignificant details in our overall struggle.

Maybe it's just me but I don't see how boycotting an organization but also donating money to and identifying as a member of it at the same time makes any sense at all. Not only is it totally inconsistent just in general, but how does looking to take away money from HRC with one hand while giving to the organization with the other make any practical sense at all?

I didn't say that I was boycotting HRC, but I do support the people of SF in doing so. I support their action.

Furthermore, what does it accomplish? How does you (or any transperson for that matter) becoming a member of HRC help our community?

How does becoming a member of NCTE or NGLTF or PFLAG help? That's a better comparison.

We've already seen the depths these people are willing to go to throw us under the bus. We know they continue to support workplace legislation that excludes us.

They are advocating for us as strongly as they can. They are doing so openly, unlike some organizations who pretend to be against the HRC strategy, but playing with them on a regular basis. Why have the middle man?

We know they are penalizing members of Congress on their scorecard for standing up for transgender rights.

And not being a part of the social change that HRC is affecting will do what for the community? The scorecard is insignificant compared to the political reality in Washington, that HRC MUST be worked with, regardless of what these other groups say. You can deny that, but it's a political reality.

Will any of that change if some of us suddenly decide to become HRC members? I think you know the answer to that one as well as I, Marti.

Will it change if we are not? I think we both know the answer to that one.

If a transwoman on their freaking Executive Board couldn't even slow them down once they set their minds to support a "straight-looking and acting only" ENDA, what makes you think that some transfolks becoming members of HRC would make the slightest ripple in their self-involved agenda? What has HRC ever said or done to indicate that such a thing might be true? In fact, doesn't all of the evidence point to precisely the opposite?

Are you not paying attention to the post? Donna is meeting with Joe. It's not as if she's written the org off. People like Diego and Meghan are now on board. They are making a positive difference. The question is better asked on what the alternative is. It's a desert, as far as I can see, without HRC.

Marti, I sincerely hope this is some grand sarcastic joke, because if it isn't you really need to remember to take your meds. ;)

Are personal attacks really necessary?

HRC is not "all-powerful", and the organization's influence, membership, and personal endorsements will continue to decline as long as they support non-inclusive legislation. whether you actually support the HRC or not is of no import.

Really? Why is it that NCTE, NGLTF, and NCLR had to work with HRC at the hearings, if they are so in decline? I never said they were "all powerful", but they ARE the gatekeepers. When NCTE or NGLTF has a dinner with Nancy Pelosi, then we can talk.

what is important is the solidarity and unity of the entire spectrum of the GLBT community. internal back biting and sarcasm don't add anything to the mix - but it does seem to draw the response and attention that you so desperately crave.

I hardly need this blog to "get attention." I'm a delegate to the Democratic convention, a member of the Obama transgender sub-committee, and I'm working with activists on the ground (many of them HRC people) here in Indiana. If my goal was to get attention, there are quite a few other places I'd go to get it.

there are far to many issues where we share both common interest and opponents. this is, IMHO, the same ideology exhibited by those organizations that compose united enda. this is far, far away from an endorsement - and does not serve as an end to their opposition of HRC strategy or philosophy. the orgs continue to boycott HRC on their failure to honor only fully inclusive legislation

But the groups of United ENDA aren't boycotting HRC. They're working with them because they HAVE TO. Is HRC still a member of NPR? Last I checked, yes. You can hardly be part of the NPR and boycott HRC at the same time.

as an organization, HRC is a real problem...and serves as an embarrassment to our cause. their lack of credibility will continue to escalate the decrease of their own support and influence. in many instances, the united enda organizations are stepping up to the plate and dealing with government leaders and agencies on their own - excluding HRC as a contact and as a voice.

Many instances? Where? That isn't happening. Frank's support of HRC is solid and almost every Congressman is in line with Frank. He heads the committee that deals with money...he has A LOT of power. Your assessment falls flat on its face, when looked through a political and strategic lens. You don't get your Congressman without Barney Frank. He is one of the most powerful men in Congress.

the "power' that HRC once purportedly possessed is no longer exclusive. it is being appropriated by organizations who realize that the voices of their constituents are better served without HRC in the background. as a community, we don't need HRC - they need us. if HRC fails to grasp that reality, the org will continue to decline until it can no longer support the huge, ineffective bureaucracy it has created - and will be no more. my suggestion? HRC should re-affirm their commitment to solely inclusive legislation, make strong public apology, and introduce new leadership at executive levels. what they actually do is not really important, either - the real issue is whether the community will stay united and committed to the concept of equality.

To paraphrase Barney Frank:

Some of my colleagues, some of my friends, I say to my colleagues in the transgender community, maybe I will do a little stereotyping, maybe they have seen the Wizard of Oz too often.

When United ENDA can get the speaker of the House to an event of theirs, give me a call. Until then, keep singing.

If you're now a card carrying member for HRC, you ARE NOT supporting the protest.

So sayeth Queen Jayna!

I disagree, my Queen.

Marti;
I respect you, I respect the appreciation of reality evident in your actions.

But;
Please forgive me if I poke a bit of fun at this point, to lighten up the thread.
I took a poll over on Pam's on your action and these are the results:

What Marti did was
* the result of a chequebook too near good weed -50%
* a wise reassessment of political reality - 25%
* akin to wearing a DixieChicks shirt to the RNConv. - 25%
* a reasoned approach towards anti-T LGB's - 0%
* Brilliant! A Masterstroke! Who is HRC? - 0%

Again, you have my respect. I do not love the EDNA fallout either, nor do I loathe the HRC. Like you, I recognise the political reality.
But, I just had to have a bit of fun with it...

Marti, If you were to encounter an abusive person that tells you one thing and does the opposite, then apologizes for doing that over and over should you keep going back for more? HRC's "apology" (when ever that was?)is it the same thing as it would be in the the abusive relationship? How many times has HRC done this?

Maybe you should speak to the folks that are part of the NPR. I'm sure they really need this advice, since HRC is still a member of the mostly United ENDA dominated NPR.

In your case HRC may very well be a positive organization for the reasons you listed! It is up to you to belong to any legal organization you want! more power to you! A lot of people are card carrying members of many legal organizations including religious organizations. That does not mean that the card member supports everything that organization does!

I agree. And I don't agree with HRC leaving out GI in ENDA.

How would HRC rate in its own rating system? How many T's are on the board? How would the board rate? Donna Rose is a free person she can talk to any one she wishes! the Quote "Keep your friends close and your enemy's closer " Could apply here?

Ask the co-founder of NCTE how many transwomen she's hired or has currently working for them. In fact, do that to every person on the NPR and get back with me. If you're going to hold that standard, hold it to every organization...not just HRC.

If HRC really wanted to end the boycotts and stop the angry, hurt feelings then they should; 1. Issue a real public apology both in writing and it's president saying at a press release "I am so sorry HRC and I made a major mistake in supporting an ENDA bill with out including the T community! We (HRC)were wrong to have dropped the T protection of the ENDA bill!" 2.Stop supporting the stalled, flawed ENDA bill. 3.Demand the stalled, flawed ENDA bill be recalled! 4. Get an inclusive ENDA bill with protections for T's into both houses and passed.. 5.Get two or more T's on the executive board.6.NEVER EVER use any group as bargaining chips again! If all 6 items above were done before and at the HRC San-Fransisco it would be a positive step for HRC!

1. That would be a public relations nightmare.
2. There isn't any possibility it will be heard.
3. You don't recall bills, especially ones that have already passed the House.
4. There are people like Diego, Meghan and others that are working for that.
5. Start raising money. The seats on the executive board aren't free.
6. That's impossible, but it's a goal that I share long term.

Marti,

You are always full of surprises.

I'll take that as a compliment ;).

I really appreciate you writing this post. It takes a great amount of courage to be a trans person and say anything publicly supportive of HRC. I am sure that you are feeling the heat for writing this post.

Totally. In fact, it's been said in some circles that I am "finished" in the advocacy world because of this post. To them, I quote my dear old Twain:

The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.

I have said in a number of arenas that I do not think that United ENDA was particularly effective. There sole messaging seemed to be "vote no on SEXO only ENDA." Okay, that bill is dead. What comes next?

YES! It had no end game, unless you see it as an opportunity to fundraise off the back of HRC. Otherwise, it's worked out to be a very ineffective strategy. There is no end goal, no finish line, no objective that I can see that works to do the work HRC is doing now.

My feeling is that much of the energy being put into trashing HRC and organizing protests and boycotts against the group could be better spent building congressional support for an inclusive bill.

Well, this is why I say I support both the right to boycott and Diego speaking, and HRC as an org. I don't agree fully with HRC's strategy, but I believe boycotting is the best way to show that, not getting in bed with HRC then saying you're not friends, you just HAPPEN to be in bed at the same time. It's an embarrassing lie.

My comments are a bit rambling, but I just wanted to say thank you for acknowledging the movement that HRC is making and for continuing to hold their feet to the fire when they make a mistake.

We are all in this together whether we want to admit it or not.

You're welcome. I really agree with Rep Frank when he talks about not disengaging when there is a problem. I took that to heart in many different ways. I don't think you can say that you will get GI in a GLBT bill without HRC. The truth to that is Kansas, the belief that somehow we can get the bill pass without playing politics is too naive, even for Oz.

i prefer the film "runaway train" to the "wizard of oz", marti.

the film depicts determination as the formidable and deciding ingredient in struggle, where as passive resignation is born of weakness and naiveté.

the act of united enda orgs using the available resources that HRC may currently possess is far from support. if anything, it serves as a small return on a bad investment - HRC committed to representing the interests of the entire community - their misrepresentation dangerously approaches fraud. if you truly support the HRC, you have joined the ranks of dinosaurs doomed to extinction. and if you are resigned to the opinion that HRC is singularly important to the struggle for equality, "over the rainbow" is far more appropriate for you than it is for me. why don't you just click your heels and say "there is no one like HRC"?

the act of united enda orgs using the available resources that HRC may currently possess is far from support. if anything, it serves as a small return on a bad investment - HRC committed to representing the interests of the entire community - their misrepresentation dangerously approaches fraud. if you truly support the HRC, you have joined the ranks of dinosaurs doomed to extinction. and if you are resigned to the opinion that HRC is singularly important to the struggle for equality, "over the rainbow" is far more appropriate for you than it is for me. why don't you just click your heels and say "there is no one like HRC"?

The problem with your "unity", "Kumbia my Lord, Kumbia" message is exactly what was wrong with the sixties. All flower power and no political reality. It sounds great, but has no engine to move it, powering it.


I didn't say that I was boycotting HRC, but I do support the people of SF in doing so. I support their action

You're splitting hairs, Marti. If you support the action, you support the boycott. If you support the boycott, giving HRC money not only makes no sense, but is directly counterproductive. You can't have it both ways.

How does becoming a member of NCTE or NGLTF or PFLAG help? That's a better comparison.

What you seem to be implying here is that these organizations are ineffectual because they're not as wealthy and connected as HRC. I believe that this is rapidly becoming less and less the case as more people become aware of what's been going on here and form or revise their opinions of HRC accordingly.

I believe these next several months will bring a broad reorganization of the leadership of our movement as we move into a more open, broad-based, grassroots leadership model, where final decision-making power is held by those considered the best qualified to make those decisions, not by those with the deepest pockets.

They are advocating for us as strongly as they can. They are doing so openly, unlike some organizations who pretend to be against the HRC strategy, but playing with them on a regular basis. Why have the middle man?

Damn Marti, what have you been smoking? How do you call supporting non-inclusive legislation advocating FOR us? How does that work exactly?

And not being a part of the social change that HRC is affecting will do what for the community? The scorecard is insignificant compared to the political reality in Washington, that HRC MUST be worked with, regardless of what these other groups say. You can deny that, but it's a political reality.

HRC is affecting social change alright, in that they are uniting the community against them. I don't think HRC is quite the monolith it used to be. As we're seeing all over the country, even the politicians are getting the message that HRC and their agenda have fallen out of favor with most of the community.

Are you not paying attention to the post? Donna is meeting with Joe. It's not as if she's written the org off. People like Diego and Meghan are now on board. They are making a positive difference. The question is better asked on what the alternative is. It's a desert, as far as I can see, without HRC.

Just because Donna has met with Joe it doesn't automatically follow that she's working with HRC again. We talk to people we disagree with all the time. It's part of life and part of politics. Same thing with Diego and Meghan.

I hope people will tune in this Thursday for my show when I'll be exploring this along with many other questions with my guest Diego Sanchez. It should be an interesting and informative show.

Are personal attacks really necessary?

No more or less necessary than, for example, sarcasm...

Well, you are certainly entitled to make whatever political alliances you wish, Marti.

However, I think it's a problem that HRC has such a large share of the queer community's political resources that it has a virtual monopoly in Washington. That's a perfect recipe for creating an unresponsive, inefficient organization that takes queer folk's support (LGB or T) for granted.

I would be rather relieved if HRC lost a lot of political capitol as a consequence of their actions during this past fall. I can't help but view a monopoly as threatening to maintaining a diversity of resources, strategy, and opinion in a community.

Consequently, I'm happy to lend my support to other queer organizations, even if I am only one person.

there were a lot of new political forces born in the sixties...they changed the course of not only our nation, but of world history. you speak of political reality, but you turn to HRC aka congressman frank hiding behind a curtain espousing their power and invincibility? your political reality is an illusion. we don't have to grovel or look for table scraps. if you so desire, god bless, but i have a lot more respect for those who work for change on their own initiative without depending on HRC to solve problems.

Here Here! Very nice and mature way to handle this... Now lets hope others are mature enough to stop this vitrole and move forward...the blind rage that some have... well is blinding them to fact that we can really make some change now...

Brianna Harris | July 27, 2008 10:56 PM

I'm with Rory on this one Marti. Having been the target of one of your written assaults for showing anything other than total disdain for HRC,when I suggested that snubbing our noses at HRC would be foolish, I find this little change of heart a bit hypocritical. You sound like you are preparing for a career in politics with this "flip-flop" on your feelings regarding HRC I'm not crazy about HRC and their handling of ENDA but they DO have some clout in Washington and and it would, definitely, be in the best interest of the TG community to take advantage of that. I think you owe a few people apologies for 'stomping' all over their opinions of HRC now that you've jumped over to the other side of the fence yourself.

First might I recomend anyone drinking swallow before continuing to read.Marti I believe your time and resources would be better served lobbying the Republican Party for a united enda or simply T protections than the hrc.I believe it would be far more easier to call the Republican bluff on Conservative compassion than to continue tickling Barney and Joes Sphinxters.The Republicans claim to represent God fearing Americans who don't believe it's right to cause us harm but don't agree with gay marriage.Get them mobilized to do the one thing we all agree upon, that crime and violence against us is wrong.Prove to them that by not supporting us in employment eligibility they are encouraging runaway lgbt youths to engage in prostitution and other illegal activitys.In my personal experience I've been treated far worse by those who are supposed to be my friends than by my enemies.Amy

Well, you are certainly entitled to make whatever political alliances you wish, Marti.

However, I think it's a problem that HRC has such a large share of the queer community's political resources that it has a virtual monopoly in Washington. That's a perfect recipe for creating an unresponsive, inefficient organization that takes queer folk's support (LGB or T) for granted.

You have to work with what you have... not with what you have not. There is no other national org that is doing the same work, with the same amount of money. There isn't a new and improved HRC on the horizon. If you're going to work for GLBT legislation, under that umbrella, HRC is the only organization with the access and the money.

I would be rather relieved if HRC lost a lot of political capitol as a consequence of their actions during this past fall. I can't help but view a monopoly as threatening to maintaining a diversity of resources, strategy, and opinion in a community.

'

Barack talks about the fierce urgency of now...and I subscribe to that. It is a monopoly, but where do you go as an alternative... there isn't one. Until there is, I'm dealing with the reality of now.

Consequently, I'm happy to lend my support to other queer organizations, even if I am only one person.

Can you name one policy org that isn't working with HRC (that is "boycotting" HRC?). If not, I really don't see a difference.

there were a lot of new political forces born in the sixties...they changed the course of not only our nation, but of world history. you speak of political reality, but you turn to HRC aka congressman frank hiding behind a curtain espousing their power and invincibility? your political reality is an illusion. we don't have to grovel or look for table scraps. if you so desire, god bless, but i have a lot more respect for those who work for change on their own initiative without depending on HRC to solve problems.

And most of them were wiped away by the RR and conservatives because they had no vision, no plan... just lofty ideals with no plan.

Frank isn't hiding anything. Obviously your idea of how politics works is different than mine. It isn't about groveling or looking for table scraps. It's about knowing how to move the people in power.

Who works for change on their own initiative? None of the national groups are doing what HRC is doing, and they all still work with HRC on the NPR. They must know something you don't.

Hmm and many of you gag when I say im Republican owell Welcome to the club of the misunderstood!

obviously, marti. obviously. in your eyes, i guess the soviet union is still a threat and "colored folks" still have separate bathrooms. i was at a meeting this evening attended by some national leaders of the GLBT community...none of them endorse the HRC because of HRC policies. they don't want to have anything to do with the misrepresentations that HRC continues to make in reference to support for the transgender community. yes, they still work with the organization. no, they don't wish the HRC harm. they respect many of those who compose the HRC staff. but no support, no endorsements.

i like diego sanchez. i like dana beyer. i like alyson robinson. i like tucker gallagher. i feel for susan stanton. i am working with brian moulton (HRC counsel) on policy here in the district. i try to be courteous and amenable but at present, i have no real need or use for HRC or their policies. the united enda orgs provide all the assistance that i might require. maybe i don't know anything about politics. maybe i am an idealist. maybe that statement is redundant. since you - and HRC - apparently do know how to move people in power and effect change maybe you should go ahead and do it instead of wasting your time pointing out my ignorant and uninformed comments on a blog?

apparently do know how to move people in power and effect change maybe you should go ahead and do it instead of wasting your time pointing out my ignorant and uninformed comments on a blog?

SNAP!

;) As we speak I'm working on a state wide plan. I can multi-task.

good for you, marti! by all means, be an instrument for full transgender equality, hand in hand with HRC. in complete honesty, i wish you both nothing but success in this endeavor.

Marti,
I'm don't have criticism for your move, whether it is real or not. I don't have advice, since no one listens to me anyway. The only thing is that I am a believer that history will point out whether your move (if real) was the right one or not. I just ask that you don't go around saying "I told you so" if you are right, and I will afford you the same respect if you're not.

HRC Lost Another Potential Supporter

A few years ago I decided to "treat" myself & by a ticket to their National Dinner for the first time. I always thought they were rediculously expensive but heard they were fun & thought I might also meet some interesting people.
Living in the DC metro area since 1982, I had long since grown tired of the night life scene. As time for the HRC Dinner grew closer, I found myself really looking forward to it. Martha Wash was the headliner & I think the previous year was The B-52s.
The very first day the tickets finally went on sale, I baught one. I also made a reservation for the night @ a hotel that happens to be directly across the street from the HRC Headquarters building. I took one of my tuxedos to a dry cleaner & was ready.
Then the big night rolls around. Well, the first problem I encountered was immediately upon arrival. The temperature in the area where the silent auction was taking place was so hot, myself & others, couldn't bear to keep their jackets on!
Now for the part that R E A L L Y set me off ! (Remember that I ordered my ticket for this event the very first day they went on sale.) When I arrived & was issued a seating ticket & was finally allowed into the room, I found the table I was assigned to was the last row all the way to the east side of the room next to the wall & all most the last row to the back of the room.
This table was so far from the stage that I was forced to try & watch Martha Wash clumsily lip sinc her way through "It's Raining Men" on a monitor!
Back to the table . . . I felt like I had been ushered to the "reject bench" with Mohamed, Jugdish, Lonny, etc during pledge night @ Omega House in the movie "Animal House." Some brain - child elected to put all "singles" @ this "remote island" of a table far in the back of the room where they wouldn't bee seen or heard! (The table captain was partnered & as I recall, the only conversation @ this table was when he introduced himself & his partner.)
By 8:30pm that night (generously speaking) I was back in my hotel room, changed out of my tuxedo, & was running through cable TV channels.
This event, like anything that has to do with the gay community in the DC area, was geared toward one sub-set of the gay population. That would be the cute, mindless little 20 or 30 Somethings with no personality & attitudes bigger than they are! Yep, the same bunch that is well on its way to completely destroying the gay bar scene in the DC area. Ask local bartenders who is consistently better behaved & who leaves the best tips. (It aint the "pre-pubescent" crowd.) I think you will find that this bunch is also at the root of most of the problems the local businesses are having with their neighborhood advisory counsels.