Bil Browning

Back and forth on the HRC dinner dustup

Filed By Bil Browning | July 29, 2008 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Catherin Cusic, ENDA, ENDA protest, HRC, Human Rights Campaign, transgender

After I posted about the older lesbian who was pitched out of the San Francisco Human Rights Campaign dinner this weekend, the comments section and mailing lists lit up. Several readers accused me of sensationalism and simply attacking HRC for kicks.

Before I published the story yesterday, I contacted two different HRC communications staffers asking for a comment. I got no response. I also put the story lead onto a private mailing list asking for anyone who attended to step forward and give me their version of events. Shortly after I did so, HRC released the following statement:

"The woman, now identifying herself as Catherine Cusic, was removed by security from the San Francisco dinner after disrupting the event. As with every dinner, it is our policy that if a person is being disruptive they'll be escorted from the room. The series of events as described by Cusic differ greatly than what was witnessed by guests. Cusic stood up, walked from her table to the front of the ballroom while the event was in progress and began yelling and disrupting guests. She was asked to stop and leave the ballroom by security personnel. After she refused to follow instruction, she was escorted from the room and continued yelling all the way to the hotel exit."

I've now read accounts from some other witnesses that attended the dinner. All of them dispute Catherine Cusic's version of events. Ms. Cusic has responded to both comments left here and HRC's statement. All of it after the jump with my opinion on the dustup.

Please note: I have edited some of these statements for length. If it wasn't important to the actual disruption, I've removed it (and indicate where I have). I did the same thing with Ms. Cusic's first statement. This issue has sparked quite a bit of emotion and opinion, so I've tried to keep this as factual and concise as possible.

Diego Sanchez disputes Ms. Cusic's version of events

Diego Sanchez was a speaker at the HRC gala and was directly mentioned in Ms. Cusic's version of events. He responded to my e-mail seeking witnesses and has granted permission for me to print this here.

...
How the brief disruption is reported in the blog I read isn't accurate to my observation or recollection. She listened to my remarks, as she reported, without incident. That part is true.

But when Joe was speaking, she started yelling something and tossed stacks of paper to the center of a few tables. That's when I turned around, and she was alone.

Only then did Security approach her that I saw as she kept moving toward the stage. She reached the second row of tables at the room's center. I saw her toss flyers over people's heads. She was escorted out, invited to walk out herself and kept saying something that I could not hear clearly. Then the program resumed. I fought my instincts to approach her to ask her not to move more forward, but she was already being guided. She wasn't quietly passing flyers. If the camera in the room reached there, the facts will be clear. It was over quickly.

I realized that I had met her when she started yelling one-line slogans and that is why and when I turned around from hearing Joe.

Her statement of being quiet isn't accurate, nor is how she was distributing flyers accurate or I would not have seen it with reaching only the table near mine.
...
The disruptive yelling and working her way quickly to the stage is what I think caused her to be challenged, not distributing flyers, although the tossing isn't ideal, either.

I heard her voice over Joe's, turned around, saw her coming toward the stage (doesn't mean TO the stage, just from the back of the room toward the front, where I was, where the stage was) as she continued saying one-line things I couldn't hear clearly (one line, not one word) and security was NOT with her. But I'm sure that people along the row that she walked more toward the back of the room would know precisely where she and Security met.
...

On Donna Rose's blog, one of her commenters responded to the original claim. One of our Projectors, Frank, also claimed to be present at the dinner and contradicted Ms. Cusic's version of events. Since I can't verify the identity of either commenter, I'm not quoting their statements.

Catherine Cusic responds

Ms. Cusic has responded to HRC's statement and a few of the comments on my previous post. I'm including the basics here, but you can go to the original post to read the entire comment.

...
I don't mind that some are questioning although I do feel that since we are all in the same community there could be a different approach to questions. I think when someone reports an incident like this it would be helpful if skepticism were tempered with some compassion.

Everyone has a tendency to believe what they want to believe which is why eye witness accounts are notoriously poor and which is why we sometimes have ridiculous arguments with family/lovers.

So let's try to give each other benefit of doubt and try to hear what is saying before brin[g]ing out the knives...

HRC disputes my account of the evening (which could possibly have some inaccuracies, I haven't been physically attacked like that in some 15 years).

Some people who were there also dispute my account. Fair enough - the room was very dark to allow for the screen and speakers, there were 700 or more people in a large room and when I was approached by "security" we had our backs to the back 2/3 or so of the room.

I did get up and proceed to the front of the room, since I expected to be asked to stop and would rather be able to reach as many people as possible. I was "approached" by 2-3 men (not certain how many, they were initially behind me ). Shortly thereafter my leaflets were on the ground and these men had me in an arm lock and wrist lock... At some point I yelled-when or what may be in dispute. Eventually these men removed me from the room. Did they call the police force? NO. Did they search me for weapons? NO. Did they even look in the bag I was carrying? NO. That makes it a bit difficult to believe that anyone in HRC or the Security Company considered me a threat to anyone's physical health.

After being ejected out the side door of the hotel, I re-entered the front door, went to the front desk and asked to file an "incident report." I was told by hotel security that they had no such reports. Now I have worked in hospitals, non-profits and for a major union. Every workplace has "incident" or accident reports. When I was told I could not fill out any report, I then displayed what were then already visible bruises to the manager and security. These are facts-the bruises were witnessed by the manager.

I went home an hour or so later and my roommate took pictures of those same bruises which were beginning to turn black and blue. The next day my physician took the pictures you saw...

I legally entered an event that was open to the paying public. I had leaflets, I was physically removed and I was yelling. These are facts we can probably agree on? What we may not agree upon is the order of these events.
...
Another fact, I was video taped and televised on local TV being physically removed with my right arm in a position known by law enforcement officials to be one to cause excruciating pain. Photos taken soon after confirm significant injury, as did the examination of my physician.

What is in dispute is the sequence of events, my exact actions and the exact actions of security. What is not in doubt is that security did not treat me as a physical threat. They did not search my bag, or me they did not call the police, they did not even ask for ID...

So we can look at the tapes (if they still exist) and they may or may not shed light on what exactly happened. I don't think interviewing people who were there will be particularly useful. I tried to get witness afterward and they "didn't want to be involved."
...

So now what happens?

Short answer? Nothing.

Long answer? The more things change, the more they stay the same. This story, no matter who's view you sympathize with, is a mosquito bite for Human Rights Campaign. It's not a deadly blow and shouldn't be.

While I'd like to see the video just out of curiosity, I'm pretty confident that it'll show a protester getting the hustle. I've been the protester; I've gotten the hustle. I've even had bruises on my arm from a particularly big guy's grip. A few bumps and bruises while participating in civil disobedience is to be expected.

No one decides to play football and doesn't expect to get tackled. A firefighter doesn't go to work never expecting to get burnt. A protester should never think they can do any action without the possibility of getting hurt.

I've said it before and I'll say it again- HRC is not the anti-Christ. We can be angry at the organization over ENDA without condemning them to eternal suffering and gnashing of teeth. The Human Rights Campaign has done good things for our community in the past.

Assuming that Joe Solmonese has never put a hit out on any other activists, I'm willing to believe HRC's explanation of how things happened. I know when I've been the protester my adrenaline is pumping and I'm not concentrating on remembering all the details. Ms. Cusic has admitted to the same basically in her post and comment.

As other diners have told what they saw, all have fallen closer to HRC's version than Ms. Cusic's. Granted, all of them would have been at a fundraiser for the organization, but I severely doubt this is some sort of cover up worthy of a TV detective.

So now what? Nothing. The story will blow over. Trans complaints didn't have a huge surge of resolution after the dinner or the anti-dinner protest. No problems were solved, no one's job was safer, and the larger LGB community still didn't pay attention. Instead, it'll look like the trans community called "Wolf!" when, in fact, no trans person was involved. No one's mind was swayed.

HRC's communications department is still lacking in anything remotely smelling like crisis management skills. A statement of denial and a friendly phone call would have made me investigate further before publishing. Circling the wagons is never a good strategy for not looking guilty.

When you have two opposing camps never talking with each other and only to the other side, you never get anything accomplished. Exaggeration and clamming up are both unhealthy reactions to a difficult situation. Nothing happens.

Can we get past this attitude soon and move towards a resolution?


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You know that you cannot believe the HRC! They are the Borg, they have a hive mind, they will say whatever to cover up their evil. It is caused by the Kool-Aide that they drink. Barney Frank made it. It makes you a slave to the directors secret telepathic powers...

Ok, I've had my fun. It appears that the lady did a "Michael Marcavage" for attention and martyrdom for her cause..

However noble that cause, it is still a bad tactic that in the eyes of many in the LGBT community was dishonest in its outcome and will harm rather than help the cause..

So, the plan for the next time is simple. Several trans and allies all get tickets to an HRC dinner, spread out through the room. All are connected to one person coordinating their movements through text messaging. At the right time one person gets up and starts handing out fliers, but no yelling. When approached and is escorted out, the next person takes over while the goons are busy. Then another person, and another, and another. They cannot have enough goons to cover everyone. and the message gets out, with some smaller level of disruption. It's a good plan, but I doubt anyone will have the guts to initiate it.

HRC's communications department is still lacking in anything remotely smelling like crisis management skills.

Can we say that 1800 times over again? Along with this one:

When you have two opposing camps never talking with each other and only to the other side, you never get anything accomplished.

Yup. I don't get it, but then I'm not there making decisions. But my god, they could open up a little and a lot of people will open up to them.

I like Monica's plan, but isn't paying for all those tickets going to be counterproductive to the cause?

Shannon,
There is indeed a cost. In a fight for equal rights and civil rights it always comes with a cost. In some fights, the cost was lives. Our fight is not one where lives need to be lost. But, we have our own set of costs to overcome. I, for one, see it as the price we pay to get the word out. Those trans and gender non-conforming people in the future deserve nothing less.

I'm in complete agreement, Alex, and let me also say with certainty that HRC has been given the opportunity to enter into a public dialog with the trans community about ENDA and related issues and has declined that opportunity.

I invited Solmonese on my show through Brad Luna and got a polite but firm "No." on the idea. Interesting how this organization isn't afraid to go on mainstream shows like Tucker Carlson and others to defend their agenda to the homophobes, but they won't come on my little Internet radio community talk show to defend their agenda to those they claim to represent.

They have to know I wouldn't attack Solmonese unfairly or allow others to do so. If I can have Hilary Rosen and Dana Beyer on my show and have good, informative discussions (the Hilary Rosen show is downloadable with both despite the fact that both are affiliated with HRC, then surely they have to know that Joe would receive the same level of respect these ladies and all my guests receive when they appear on my show.

Makes you wonder exactly what they're afraid of, doesn't it? Why won't HRC enter into a real public community dialog on ENDA? Why do they refuse to participate in all attempts to begin one? What are they afraid that I or someone else might ask them?

If they really believe in what they're doing, they should at minimum at least be willing to answer some questions and discuss these issues with us directly and publicly. After all that's gone on, shouldn't that be the very least we should be able to expect from HRC's leadership?

The HRC won this round Monica.
From a political standpoint, the anti-HRC crowd took some damage.

Honestly, had she been a butch Lesbian and dragged out of the Ladies Room at the event would have been about the only way that protestors being IN the event would have played well politically.

I am unsure of the effectiveness of being in the event and handing out thigs that will get you removed. The faithful likely will not read them

Midtowner | July 29, 2008 7:56 PM

Hi All, did you get a chance to listen to the speeches given? The reports of the event (over 700 people) Over a million dollars being donated to fight prop 8? The event was a huge success, as are most of them... HRC has learned what it did wrong and is trying to make it right...Please just give them a chance as so many other T's have...Love Donna Rose by the way :-). Dont be so blinded by hatred that you cant see whats happening... Im not syaing you have to join them but come on and give them a break. Channel all that great anger and talent into something that makes a positive change and be smart enough to see when your voices have been heard and the change is occuring.

I know we've had a a few difference, but I do respect you all and again would gladly stand by any of you...

Peace out...Ethan, Atlanta GA (real name)

Maura,
You are true. There is other ways. The one thing about being an activist. You learn to be an opportunist. When the opportunity presents itself, it will be clear how to react. We just need to make sure we react.

Angela Brightfeather | July 29, 2008 9:57 PM

Maura I note that HRC has not won anything this round, except to have participated in raising the bar just a bit higher for the next round of civil disobedience and increase the chances that something more serious might happen the next time. And that would be a shame.

Rebecca, the reason why Joe will not come on your show is because he knows the questions that you are going to ask him and he can't answer them. At least not in public. What you might do is to send him the questions and let him rehearse and choose the ones he cares to answer. Which would mean very little as far as being "interviewed" by you might be concerned.

Had I the choice to ask him, I would start with how many Congress people has HRC's lobbying and education efforts persuaded to vote for an inclusive ENDA next time, if they voted the opposite the last time on Barney Frank's straw poll almost a year ago?

Any positive answer, even one more vote our way, would indicate some progress in the last 11 months and help to diffuse some of the angst that causes 62 year old people to run at a stage with a handfull of leaflets to throw around. By the way, has anyone kept one of those incriminating leaflets to show all the damage they would have done? I hear that they are paying a buck a piece for them on e-bay now.

I guess my next question to Joe would be;
How is it that we had about all the Democratic Presidential Candidates in the primaries convinced that ENDA should be inclusive of gender language and even after the primaries the chosen candidate sticking to that position. But, somehow (according to Barney F.)there is just not enough votes out there to swing the deal?

Then I would ask him how many votes do we need to swing the deal with the future President in favor of inclusion in ENDA?

Then I would ask him if he thinks that the Democratic party platform might be made inclusive this year and what that might do to convince frightened, timid and uninformed Congress people that they should vote for an inclusive ENDA. Would they still be so determined about voting against the party platform if it was inclusive?

Any one of those questions noting some positive movement towards inclusion might just bring any future demonstrations and embarassing circumstances involving Blackwater boys and the Trans community to a grinding halt.

But until then, I think that they can expect to see this continue until someone is seriously hurt or even killed, just so they can say they won another round against those violent Trans people who invade their sacred dinner domains, with stacks of threatening educational literature. Oh my!!!

Come on Becky. The silence from HRC is deafening. HRC is loving this stuff and surely hoping that their not answering questions or communicating outside of sound bites and spin statements, will provide them with the perfect excuse to keep us out of ENDA due to those disunifying and pugnatious elements inside the Trans community. Unfortunately, it's also deafening from every Trans supportive group inside the beltline.

Boiling that all down Becky, my big question to Joe S. would be, after 11 months of this posturing and trying to win the Trans community back and convince Congress people, "Where is the beef"?????

It could also be that if we do get included that HRC is planning to take all the credit for it and win more converts if they don't include anyone else at this point or keep people uninformed of any progress. What drama queens they are.

So for the record, I would like to publicly state right here and now that if HRC wants all the credit for an inclusive ENDA they can have it and I will personally travel to DC myself from Raleigh, NC and kiss Joe's bare behind at any HRC dinner he wants.

And from one 62 year old Trans activist to another, lets see you beat that sacrifice for our community Ms. Cusic.

So, I agree that the goal of any mini-disruptions at future events should be to get the word out. As you'll see below, the rank-and-file HRC members believe the ENDA events as described by Solomonese/Crain/Aravosis/et al., and also believe the LGBT timeline where trans were never in attendance at Stonewall and were hiding under rocks for the last 40 years. We need to educate a history that includes trans from the very start, and break down their perception of having been the little red hen ("Who will help me sow the seed/tend the field/reap the crop/grind the grain/bake the bread...") while the trans folks constantly shout "Not I" until the bread's ready to eat...

My friends Jayna and Mila don't have the audio up yet, but below is the written lead I sent them to help frame the interview.

=====

I was collecting audio interviews at the San Francisco "Left Out" demonstration for Trans-Ponder, I spotted a couple of males standing on the periphery of the demonstrators. One was dressed unlike the majority of the HRC Gala attendees I'd already spotted -- he wore a grey pinstripe suit rather than a formal black dinner suit.

He walked around the streetside of the portable barrier to observe more, and I decided to approach him for an interview. He was wearing an HRC button. Good, I could get another perspective on the events.

Not all reporters are ruthless, and I've found some of my 'difficult' interviews have gone well by doing a pre-interview, without recording. I offered that to him when he expressed reluctance about jumping right into an interview.

Now, everything from here until the actual interview is my recall of what happened and what was said. And just like the Kurosawa movie, Rashomon, and the disruption inside the HRC dinner, the events can be seen and interpreted
differently. Mr. Wahl, I invite you to challenge what I'm about to describe, but I think relating it, even from my perspective is necessary to
further our (the LGBT Community's) debate about the place of transgender in that community.

The parts I remember, though I don't remember actual words, were that Mr. Wahl gave me the following points.

-The trans movement was now where the gay movement had been 20-30-40 years before, the implication was that the gays had 'paid their dues', which the trans had yet to pay themselves, and had not yet earned a place at the table, as it were.

-It did not make sense to deny rights to 'millions' while waiting for greater society to warm to a small minority that, for better or worse, seemed to be included with gays and lesbians.

-It was the Trans community's fault for not going out and lobbying congress on their behalf, with the implication that trans were riding on the coattails of all the hard work the gays and lesbians had done these last forty years since
Stonewall.

Now, remember this is what he believed to be the true state of affairs.

I returned with:

-Straight-appearing patrons of Stonewall were
mostly released by police during the infamous raid, while on the other hand, the police detained, harassed, arrested and beat the gender variant, including nellies, butches, and queens (as they were referred to back then.)

-It was the gender variant who 'returned fire' on the police that night and the nights after. Gender variant led the charges that got the resistance rolling. Only after this did the straight-appearing 'flock to the banner'.

-The gender variant were there as well right after Stonewall, organizing the 'gay power' movement alongside those who were not visibly variant.

-In around 1972, the gays and lesbians systematically expelled the gender variant from the now viable Gay Power Movement.

Mr. Wahl's facial expression suggested he did not like hearing what I had to say. I have to assume that it was at the least challenging to what he had until that moment believed to be true.

I was surprised, and am grateful that after that he granted the interview you will hear when it's posted on Trans-Ponder.com. Remember that he did listen to what I had to say, and may yet research for himself the historical timeline of the LGBT movement and where the trans brothers and sisters really fit into that history.

Again, this is my recollection, and I invite Mr. Wahl to present his version if he so chooses.

Karen Savage

I've got to say, Bil, that given the information you had (and did not have) at the time, your initial report was 'fair and balanced' with all that that beloved phrase implies. I hope for better from the face and namesake of one of my favorite websites. But reading the posts above, it's rather clear what audience you're playing to.

And where do you get off calling a 63-year-old 'elderly'? So now you're shilling for the AARP?

The National Capital Area Steering Committee of HRC had a very productive meeting this evening with the local trans community. Contacts have been made, issues prioritized and the trans community has been put in touch with the HRC legal team to deal with personal legal issues as well as the problems with trans prisoners in the DC jails. The group, which included several national Board Directors and Governors, also offered to set up a Job Fair, Trans 101 for the greater LGBT community, and to support the work of Basic Rights Montgomery in the fight to defend the Montgomery County trans civil rights law against the right wing referendum drive. Btw, HRC has already contributed $30,000 to this cause, along with the Task Force, Lambda Legal and other organizations who are devoting money and time.

I have offered to set up a meeting for the HRC Senior staff (including Joe) and Directors with the national transactivists who are particularly angry at HRC. Right now it looks like October 2nd will be doable, but it is still a work in progress. Please contact Monica if you're interested. The discussion will be limited to six per side to allow it to be productive.

Sounds like a wonderful piece of work and proress, Dana.
I would hope that Monica Roberts would be a member so that the perspective is not solely from a single race

This is a unique and really a landmark opportunity to get things out in the open and hopefully have constructive dialogue on them.

As someone who all too often has to deal with negotiations, might I repsectfully suggest something?

Rather than rehashing issues from the past and consuming time on them, can everyone agree from the get go that the meeting focus upon "where do we go from here and how do we get there?"

It is a more productive use of time.

When it comes to HRC, I'm in agreement with the late Ronald Reagan:

"Deeds, not words."

Until I see the DEED of HRC browbeating legislators to pass an inclusive ENDA, then their WORDS are about as believeable as a Republican speaking in front of the NAACP.

"HRC's communications department is still lacking in anything remotely smelling like crisis management skills. A statement of denial and a friendly phone call would have made me investigate further before publishing. Circling the wagons is never a good strategy for not looking guilty."

Well stated.

I will, however, go further and say that the lack of skill in this area should give pause to those who believe in the organization's self-professed useful skills in other areas.

Southern Comfort is Oct 1 to 5. Most trans activists will be there on Oct 2. Is HRC trying to screw over Southern Comfort again by calling a meeting during that time?

As for me, I will be in California from Oct 1 to 5, to attend my oldest son's wedding. That's more important than anything or anyone.

Monica,

No offense, but HRC is not trying to screw trans persons by scheduling the meeting on October 2nd, I am. And why am I? Because I didn't know that was the weekend of Southern Comfort. Why didn't I know? Because SCC has always been on a Jewish holiday.

So, I ask you, is the trans community trying to screw the Jewish community?

Or, more succinctly, why does the trans community hate America?

PS. Now that I have the new info, I'll look for another time. The invite is still there, and I would welcome anyone, including Monica, whom the community chooses. It just has to be limited to six in the room; otherwise, nothing will be accomplished. Remember the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991.

I have no opinion one way or the other as to what happened or how it happened.
I do not know what all the laws and requirements are in California regarding private
security but I do know that California law requires all personal security to wear clearly
marked attire that states they are in fact security. I have read sections of their law that also
states that security personal are required to go through a State security training and have a valid security license. I also know that any Corporation holding a private event can hire police
officers for special duty.

I worked in corporate security and there were many special events and large functions we had to attend. A security officer could ask someone to leave, escort them out or call the police but never, ever were allowed to detain or grab someone unless that security office was also a "special police officer." No security office has the powers of arrest beyond what an average citizen has. The only time a security office can get away with grabbing, holding or detaining someone without risk of a lawsuit, is if that person has a weapon, their life or someone else's life is in danger, or that person becomes physical. In all other instances DO NOT TOUCH.
Call the Police and do what you are trained to do and try and calm the person down.

Interrupting an event or a speaker at an event does not warrant an unmarked security officer or officers use of physical force. Not my opinion but usually the law. I've heard whispers of a video and I hope the video shows her leaving untouched because if the video ONLY shows her tossing fliers and screaming, but not leaving, it doesn't prove she wasn't touched.
Unfortunately, the longer it takes for the video to hit the scene, the more likely it will be that some will claim it's been tampered with.

Dana, the whole point is to open a public dialog. How does yet another closed-door meeting of the "special people" address this need? Answer: It doesn't, it simply reaffirms what most of us already believe because we've seen it happen over and over. Once again, HRC isn't willing to talk to the greater community but only to a few hand-picked community representatives.

Hold your meeting if you like, Dana, but know that I and many others will not consider it valid or credible if the trans rank-and-file, those who are most directly impacted by HRC's selfishness and elitism, are once again excluded from participation.

If HRC's words are to even have the slightest chance of being seen as credible in this community, they must be said publicly. It's time for HRC's leadership to come out of the closet and start discussing these issues openly and honestly. Your proposed meeting fails the "open" part of the test Dana, and therefore cannot be seen as credible or useful in my opinion.

Again I ask the same questions I asked above: What are these people afraid of? If HRC really believes in what they are doing, why won't they discuss it openly and honestly? As far as I can see, there's only one clear likely answer:

Consciousness of guilt.

HRC won't talk to us, and they try to pass off closed-door meetings with elite higher-ups as real and honest interaction and engagement with our community. Just who are these people trying to kid? And just how stupid do they really think we are?

You'd think HRC would finally get it by that we're not idiots and after years of this kind of misbehavior we know their playbook as well as they do. Yet, somehow, they still act like we're morons who couldn't possibly match their political skills.

Hopefully, they'll keep right on believing that because at the rate things are changing now, an organization as willfully ignorant of current reality in this community and as mired in the antiquated "me first" activism of the previous century as HRC is just isn't going to be seen as credible or relevant anymore.

Ethan,
So, do you think that there is a possibility that HRC broke California law where it comes to their security people? Who in HRC would be responsible for the "security guards" and their actions? Joe? Do you think the Transgender Law Center would care to take this on? I think there could be a lawyer in the Bay Area that may want to look into this possible violation of the California law. Can't wait to see.

Rebecca,

No one is afraid. The Co-chair of the Board of Directors was not afraid last night; she was engaged and interested. She just doesn't know enough, even though we're friends, because she has a life and a whole lot of other things on her plate.

This is how it is with many people. They don't know, because they don't know us. The only way they're going to get to know us, to accept us as friends and family, is for us to spend time together, to engage. We need to help them so they will want to help us. We need to ask them to work with us.

Every time we come across with a chip on our shoulder and anger in our words or our voice we inhibit dialogue, we don't encourage it.

Last night's meeting was not just leaders of the local trans community, but regular trans people as well. The meeting on the national level will be closed door only insofar as that is the only way to get the dialogue going. And it doesn't have to be the "leaders"; I'm not taking any role in determining who will attend. The members can report out whatever they want.

If by public you mean on your show, then I'm ready to appear again, as I imagine are Diego, Meghan and Allyson. As for Joe, I have suggested he appear, but he's even angrier with me at times than you are. And I'm not high enough on the food chain that I can tell him what to do.

If I weren't the only trans person on the local steering committee, if there were two or three others, we would be much farther along. HRC has come a long way, Barney has come a very long way. Will that translate into an inclusive ENDA, I don't know. But we still have time, probably until 2010. So get better Dems elected, and motivate people to contact their Congresspersons so that we have a solid majority behind us from the very beginning. Give them talking points about bathrooms; be open to reasonable compromise. Ask them to do this for you, and make it easy for them to say yes. If they like you, and care about you, they will be capable of doing the right thing.

Very well said Dana. I look forward to hear what comes of the meeting. Thank you for all of your efforts!

Sorry Dana, but I just don't buy it. If your meeting was really public, where is the recording? Where is the transcript? Where is the place the rest of us can go to learn what was said in this meeting?

As always, HRC puts on a hell of a show for the media, but in reality there's nothing but cobwebs and dust when you look behind those glitzy curtains.

If HRC really wants an open and public dialog on ENDA they certainly don't need my show to make it happen. I simply offered my show as a potential forum for it. The fact that they are still currently refusing to do so should send a very clear message of intent to this community.

Actions do indeed speak louder than words.

Dana:

HRC doesn't need such a meeting to start to try and work with all of the lgbt community - and by then it's a year since the enda debacle. Not exactly addressing the issue with alacrity. They could change their policy on enda today and take most of the concerns off the table. Then we could all focus our energies on what we all want to see - instead of wasting time and opportunities.

We're about 10 months on from the splintering of the community & HRC has made no substantive changes. No trans board members, no change in policy on enda, no change in how they rate congress people on their scorecards who supported us, no change in the CEI to equally rate transgender issues and not one member of Congress that they can say they worked with who didn't - but now does support an inclusive bill. It's rather hard to ask for support for inclusion when you're pushing a non-inclusive bill. One can well imagine how a staffer would respond - pardon me? What’s your stance on this issue?

But we do have a meeting! A year later. Maybe some day we'll even get a title! And an award. Those are what your give the losers in the game. Make them feel better, but change nothing. At least have the self respect to not have the meeting on their grounds. And have a record.

Can the trans community just take this first step, please?
make the effort, if nothing comes of it look at your options then.

But to reject the hand that is stretched out to you begins to look like pique and begins to look simply oppositional to the larger LGBT community.

(What is Southern Comfort, btw?--besides a bad whiskey)

As a friend who wants to see t-inclusion in ENDA, I am asking you to consider what you would lose by not making this effort.

And as to the public venue, by which I believe that you mean a town-hall setting, then I can only imagine the anger and the mob mentality that would develop considering how high passions are.

Again, I ask you to patiently consider how it will look to the larger community if you simply "flip-off" the HRc rather than making the simple effort and expendituure of a few hours to try...

Maura,
Apparently you haven't been following this HRC issue as strongly as I thought. (giggle. Just messin' with ya.) The Southern Comfort Conference (SCC) if the largest gathering of transgender people and their allies in the world. It has been taking place on the 3rd or 4th weekends os September, but because of the new hotel they are in, it is now the 1st weekend in October.

Last year at SCC, Joe S. gave his now-infamous speech where he lied to about 1000 of us saying HRC would only support a fully inclusive ENDA. A whole different turn of events would have taken place if he hadn't given that speech. But, how we feel about them would more than likely be no different.

Maura and Others,

Please ask yourself this question...

are you willing to sit by patiently as the heterosexual conservative community continues to depict LGB and T people as immoral, disgusting, and perverted?

Are you willing to let that happen with absolutely no hostility or anger towards that group of people who are purposely condemning LGB and T people through blatant lies and intimidation?

The HRC seems like an organization to be valued by all LGB and T people because of their overall cause. BUT, I think their cause is now just a front for the higher ups on the staff (like Joe S.) to put more money in their pockets.

And how do they do this? by endorsing political candidates of course and sacrificing people of the LGBT community when it is in conflict with the politicians they are endorsing. This sounds very similar to political parties who shift, shape, and transition their stances every other day in order to ensure support for their position.

The HRC does not appear to care about the overall equality for the LGBT community. They just care about their reputation and the $40 million they pull in from our community every year. And what do they have to show for all that money? Nothing

Yes, they raise lots of money for prop 8...but marriage equality should be the least of our problems/worries when we have yet to achieve in all 50 states protection from discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity.

Should not an all-inclusive ENDA be one of the number 1 priorities? AT least prioritized above marriage equality? YES

We need to seriously challenge the HRC, which has become the super power in our lgbt community...this can never be good. The HRC is controlling the system here people...let's do more to stop it.

People can choose to meet with Joe & Co. at any time. It neededn't wait so long. I'm sure Dana & Diego met with him often. I know he's met with Mara Keisling. I'm sure he must meet with people like Shannon Minter. He met this week with Donna Rose.

But - unless they come empowered to make changes - it's just letting them know people displeasure with their actions, policies & representation. Which they certainly know. None of that can be new information for them. I'm quite sure a number of us have told Joe this - in my town a coalition of the leaders of all the large lgbt groups did so in writing & in conference call with Joe & his deputies.

So - to meet without it having a real agenda, or real authorization to change their policies or as some sort of open meeting doesn't seem anything new. He could do that tomorrow. But to make this out as a step forward just 'cause Joe speaks to people - seems a bit dramatic to me. And maybe that's the point - it's dramatic - a bit of theater.

Personally - I think transgender people would be able to use their energies much more productively in October working on the election. So - if it's to happen - maybe it should happen now or after November 7th. But it wouldn't bea first step - people have been meeting with HRC for 15 years that I know of.

People can choose to meet with Joe & Co. at any time. It neededn't wait so long. I'm sure Dana & Diego met with him often. I know he's met with Mara Keisling. I'm sure he must meet with people like Shannon Minter. He met this week with Donna Rose.

But - unless they come empowered to make changes - it's just letting them know people displeasure with their actions, policies & representation. Which they certainly know. None of that can be new information for them. I'm quite sure a number of us have told Joe this - in my town a coalition of the leaders of all the large lgbt groups did so in writing & in conference call with Joe & his deputies.

So - to meet without it having a real agenda, or real authorization to change their policies or as some sort of open meeting doesn't seem anything new. He could do that tomorrow. But to make this out as a step forward just 'cause Joe speaks to people - seems a bit dramatic to me. And maybe that's the point - it's dramatic - a bit of theater.

Personally - I think transgender people would be able to use their energies much more productively in October working on the election. So - if it's to happen - maybe it should happen now or after November 7th. But it wouldn't be a "first step" - people have been meeting with HRC for 15 years that I'm aware of.

You know, refusing to sit down and negotiate is a Bushian technique. Dana, you're trying to breach this, and thanks for doing so. Obviously details remain to be worked out as to date and people empaneled, and some will have to be left off because of space. I expect you'd have to do it at SCC, or perhaps as a conference call, because a number of the people who should be involved would not have the abliity to travel to DC. However, if the senior staff of HRC is willing to meet with a panel of harsh critics, to refuse to do so would be Bushian foreign policy. No accord has to be reached (other than to agree to disagree), but the mentality that has befallen this country's foreign policy - that of being unwilling to sit down to negotiate-is unacceptable.

I'm hardly an apologist for HRC, that is for sure. I've detailed their misdeeds since 1997. I don't expect to be, nor ask to be, one of the ones invited for detente with HRC. But if you're invited to join, to refuse to talk is wrong, and would probably be used as a PR lever against the community. At the same time, take what you hear from them with a high level of skepticism and question everything.

Thanks Monica.
Could you do the entire LGBT community a favour?
Before I ask, I want to say that you can and have on many occasions risen above the pack in your ability to shake off old hurts and anger.
Can you do it now? Can you, revolutionary at heart, make the revolutionary gesture of meeting with and encourage others to meet with the HRC?

Thanks Monica.
Could you do the entire LGBT community a favour?
Before I ask, I want to say that you can and have on many occasions risen above the pack in your ability to shake off old hurts and anger.
Can you do it now? Can you, revolutionary at heart, make the revolutionary gesture of meeting with and encourage others to meet with the HRC?

Just a quick question. Has anybody asked Barak Obama if he will sign an inclusive ENDA? If he is willing, it sounds like your whole HRC problem just goes away.

Maura,
I could and I might, but there is a lot of prep from HRC to convince me to be there. Dana has been working on that, and it was Polar's suggestion a couple of months back that got this ball rolling.

After reading the comments here, I would not agree to be in a closed session and I would expect that if they cannot have more than 6 people, then I may refuse. They have big enough meeting rooms in their building, so I find that to be a lame excuse.

I'm not convinced that this meeting would be helpful unless the strongest critics are there and not ANY trans person who has current or past ties with HRC. If any of their trans employees or other trans people associated with HRC are there, taking up seats, then it will be useless.

It will not be any good to have trans supporters of HRC doing the dirty work of countering the others, keeping Joe's hands clean. So, my response to Dana is, you can set this up, but I will not attend if you do. NO TRANS HRC SUPPORTERS. Because it will pit trans against trans, taking away from Joe's involvement. There has to be NO filters between the trans activist and Joe. Non-negotiable.

If Joe wants to do this, then he has to agree with our terms. This isn't going to be another dog and pony show like it was in Atlanta. There, they invited 6 trans people who had very little expereince on the national level and some were HRC lackies. Yet, they didn't invite the three trans activists in the Atlanta area who have had extensive national experience.

If they have even the least bit of sincerity of making ammends, then THEY have to make the effort to accomidate us. There are too many who see a meeting a waste of time, and I am nearly there with them. But, I have a motto I live by. "There is no shame in failure, but there is in failure to try." I'm still willing to try, but us "weak and powerless trannies" should be given a four stroke advantage (golf) to even the playing field. I'm almost sure Dana will not pull that off with the restriction placed on this, nor do I feel she even agrees with my accessment. But, keep in mind. HRC is the one with the PR problem. Not us.

And once again, I offer my show as a forum for this conversation. Of course, I don't expect to be taken up on that offer. Apparently, HRC's agenda and decision-making process can't survive exposure to sunlight.

I am more than happy to have people like Hilary Rosen and Dana Beyer on my show (and Diego Sanchez tomorrow night), but as they themselves have admitted, they have zero decision-making power at HRC. Therefore, while it is certainly worthwhile and interesting to be able to present their perspectives on my show, it just doesn't count as an actual community discussion between HRC and the trans community.

It's time for HRC to either step up and enter into a substantive discussion of these issues, or get out of the way of those who are really doing cutting edge LGBT activism that reflects the will of the greater community here and acknowledge they are neither qualified nor competent to be considered a leading activist organization in this community any longer.

It's time for HRC to finally just put up or shut up...it's really just that simple.

Pauline - yes Obama has agreed to that. That doesn't mean the concerns have evaporated. He may not be given an inclusive bill to sign. And he's not yet in office. Though my money (and hopes) are certainly on that outcome.

Midtowner | July 30, 2008 5:05 PM

Monica H...excuse me I may be new to this blog but who the Hell are you? You speak for all Transgenders, only you matter and if you dont get what you think HRC should give then too bad? Wow kinda self centered are you? I see alot of people with differnet opinions but they handle it with a lot more class and tact than you...Im sorry but reading your posts and arguments are exhuasting.

Youve been invited to the party, just because you didnt throw dont sit outside and pout, Im not coming in unless I get my way...

Come on get off you high horse...

Monica,

HRC doesn't have a PR problem. We in the trans community believe they do, but the larger LGBT community does not believe so. I'm not talking about United ENDA, either, just the rank and file in the community.

Obama supports an inclusive bill, but if Congress doesn't present him with one, he won't reject the exclusive bill that lands on his desk. Our leverage is with Congress -- trans inclusion will not be a priority of the Obama administration -- let's get real.

The meeting last night was about creating community, not rehashing ENDA. When we have community we will have an inclusive ENDA by definition.

I don't understand the fixation on public meetings. Nothing of significance ever gets done at a public meeting that hasn't been discussed and worked on privately beforehand. In those jurisdictions which prevent private meetings, nothing gets done.

I've responded to your invitation and you know I have set no rules as to the credentials of those who attend. I am not getting involved in the vetting process, and I would not bother unless the six in the room were those agreed upon by the community who choose to be there.

It can't be on SCC weekend, for good reason now that I know what that weekend is. And it won't be for the forseeable future, because the HRC board meeting and national dinner is the first weekend in October every year. We'll have to find another time.

You cannot accomplish much in a room with more than twelve people. That's not something that is trans related; it is an organization law of human behavior. Non-profit boards are being shrunken to ten-twelve for that reason -- so the people involved are aware of all the issues, as they are legally responsible.

I would go to said meeting.

I would report it, too.

Both dispassionately, and then I would actually give my opinion on the meeting.

My position is that I am giving the HRC enough rope.

They will have to decide if they are going to use it to hang themselves, or pull the T in.

I don't care if they apologize or not. At this point, so many months after they f'd things up, all an apology is going to do is piss people off more.

I will, however, be at SCC that first week in October. (No choice -- my TN bf is very much insistent, since it will be a chance for us to meet again.)

I will not, ever, and for any reason, give money to the HRC. They already lost that option.

But I will hear them out if they are willing to hear me out.

Midtowner | July 30, 2008 6:23 PM

Let Joe speak for himself....

"Since I stood before you one year ago, I believe that our community has made more progress and has done more to move this country in the direction of full equality than at any other time in our movement’s history.

Has it been without pain? No, but work as complex as social change rarely is. Has it been without sharp disagreements about how best to move forward? No, as evidenced by the people protesting outside tonight.

But here’s what I know. In any struggle for civil rights in this country, there have been occasions when different groups of people have marched down different roads. What is important to our ultimate success is that each of those roads ends at the same place. And while I regret the pain and distance that sometimes comes from taking different paths, I am more assured and more committed than ever that those of us outside this room and those of us inside this room are going to arrive at the same place – one that ensures that every member of our community, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender has the same rights and the same protections as every American. We may differ in how we get there, but we will get there together."

Joe Solmonese, HRC Dinner SF 2008

And...

"Not only did we have the first, ever, hearings on gender identity and expression before Congress, but just this week, for the first time since it was enacted in 1993, the House Subcommittee on Military Personnel held a hearing on repealing the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. You’ll be proud to know that the bill to overturn the ban is being chaired by Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher from right here in the Bay Area.

Nice work HRC!!!! The LGBT community is behind you!!!

Midtowner,
You are not a trans activist or the head or HRC, so you don't get the chance to make a decision on how this meeting should be conducted. I'm centered on the community's interest, and I'm not an important person in the community. But, I do have a loud voice.

Dana,
You want six people with Joe? Let's see, you, Diego, Megan, Allyson and two trans activist? I don't f-ing think so. If they can't handle 12 people, then forget it. You don't get to decide who our leaders are. We do. Make room, or continue to have HRC be considered being run by trans bigot a-holes. The problem is HRC, not us. If for once HRC has the balls to treat us with respect, then we will talk with them. Otherwise, forget it.

Monica,

I blog on the teachthefacts.org Vigilance blog a lot, and we are daily visited by right-wing trolls who enliven our conversations. We need them, because otherwise we'd be preaching to the choir. We could not make them up.

There are times when you are the most thoughtful of persons, and other times when I don't recognize you. Why did you just say what you did? I have told you off-line and now online that I will have no role in vetting anyone from the trans community. I have no idea if I will even attend. I never said it would be Diego, Meghan, Allyson and I with two others. Why are you putting words in my mouth? I have used you as the point person to organize the team, because you often speak for this segment of the trans community. Obviously not everyone who wants to attend will have the time or money, and I leave the choices to you. The attendees will not be screened, and I have clearly stated I won't arrange it if they are. Diego, Meghan and Allyson will not be in attendance; this is for the folks who are very hurt and angry yet want to have a dialogue.

We don't need 24 people in a room; we won't accomplish anything. If you want to bring more they can hang around and engage people later on, or maybe I can arrange back-to-back meetings. I don't know, but as yet you haven't put forward anyone.

Since your group will be coming to DC, then I am giving you the flexibility to pick the time. I will then try to make it work. There are no guarantees, and far be it for me to give you one.

If you're interested, let me know. Otherwise, anyone else is welcome to take the lead.

Becca I don't have to go to the conservatives to be told I'm disgusting and perverted and immoral.I've recieved those very types of comments from within the lgbt.I've had plenty of gay men say things like never take home a guy in a dress,Why not just be gay,and the only person to call me by my male name while I was out in public A gay male.Or how about the tg's who say Ts's are fake or we don't need the surgery.Theres plenty of hate right in the lgbt and plenty of thinking like focus on the family the only difference is instead of hiding behind god they hide behind gay.If we don't respect each other how are we to expect others to respect us.Amy

Dana,
Over and over again, the transgender community has put their foot down and stated that we will not budge from this position. And over and over again, transgender people cross that line thinking they know best how to help, when in fact, they make us all look silly.

"Oh, see how easily trans people are seduced by power and visibility. It just proves that trans people are so easily pliable and when they says they want something, we don't have to listen to them."

Then you started with, "It can only be six people. It has to be a closed meeting. It has to be at HRC convenience. We get to pick who will be there. Yadda, yadda, yadda." NO! I can take so much BS then I turn into the Monica you don't recognize. Dr. Jeckle and Ms. Hyde.

Keep this in mind. "We don't need to meet with HRC, but HRC needs to meet with us." Let me say it again. "We don't need to meet with HRC, but HRC needs to meet with us." That is the case. We set the parameters and HRC is invited. It ain't the other way around.

You have to remember, I have military training. You never attack an enemy head on when they have the high ground, unless there is no other possible way, like Iwo Jima and Hamburger Hill. This is true in activism. You never allow your opponent to set all the parameters for a meeting, because they'll have all of the advantages. Not wise. We don't need this meeting, so we are going around the hill. You want to meet on flat ground, then we'll talk.

It's called "compromise." You gave me your parameters and I gave you ours. But, I play hardball, and now it's your turn up to bat.

Now do you see what is happening here?

Monica;
Other considerations:

If the T activists refuse, the HRC can and predictably will put out a press release on how they attempted to reach out to the Trans community and the Trans community refused.

The larger LGBT community will certainly hear this message and the reasons for refusal will not be as important as the perceptions that the T community is standing in the way of G/L protections.

The frequent HRC bashing and micro analysis of actions has soured some of the G/L component of the community. Read some of the less T friendly blogs. A T refusal to meet with the HRC will heighten the effect that the T's cannot play in the big leagues. The T community will appear to be intransigent and will appear to have positions that, being largely immutable, are a dictat.

I am saying this as a friend, as a supporter of T rights, as a Lesbian who recognises a commonality of cause and experience. I do not necessarily share the perceptions that I described, but believe me, what I have described would occur.

Meet with them. Work out an agenda with Dr Beyer, but meet with them.

I understand their reluctance to meet in a larger setting. It would be a phenomenally hostile environment with an inquisitorial quality and honestly, you would do better in the setting that I described to make some progress forward.

The best thing that could happen is that both sides look honestly at where you go from here...

Maura,
I feel your empathy, and you don't know how good that makes me feel knowing there are people like you out there.

But, there has to be a form of compromise in this. We aren't their children who they think they can order around. We're not taking a "time out." Treat us with respect for once in their existence. My mother can get away with it, because she gave birth to me. They need to remember, WE gave birth to the "gay movement," not the straight-looking rich white gays and lesbians who run HRC. If they don't want to treat us with a bit of respect, then they can go "f" themselves.

And, they can put out whatever they want. They have zero credibility with most of the LGBT community. Only their supporters who have guzzled their tainted Kool Aid will believe anything they say, even if they said the world is flat. Midtowner proves that constantly.

Dana is up to bat in this "negotiation."

"No offense, but HRC is not trying to screw trans persons by scheduling the meeting on October 2nd, I am. And why am I? Because I didn't know that was the weekend of Southern Comfort. Why didn't I know? Because SCC has always been on a Jewish holiday."

Maybe I'm missing something, but how exactly would that prevent you, in August 2008, from *knowing* what the dates are for Southern Comfort 2008?

BTW - If my finances will permit me to go to DC, I'd be interested in this meeting.

Midtowner | July 31, 2008 8:44 AM

Monica H....No Im not a Trans Acitvist, but I am a member HRC and def a member of the LGBT community and participant on this blog...And guess what you are NOT THE Trans Activist. There are others that a FAR more influential than you. Others that have tact, grace and the ability to affect change other than just being LOUD. Those who dont have the ability to intelligently make change tend to scream...your in the same catagory as Fred Phelps with your irrational and blind rage.

Seriously you need to chill, reflect and make some changes. Your not doing anything but agiatating yourself and the few loose cannons like yourself....

Monica,

I'm not negotiating; I'm facilitating. HRC has had meetings similar to that which I am trying to arrange around the country, for better or worse. But the meetings have been held.

I've laid down some parameters as a politician and not as a trans person, because I want these to be productive and constructive. If people are going to take time off and spend the money to come to DC, I feel an obligation to do my best to make it a positive experience.

You should be careful about speaking for "we, the transgender community." It's a lot more varied and diverse than just you, and this is not a meeting of the transgender leadership and HRC, because we don't have a leadership. This will be a meeting of nationally engaged, politically active trans persons who care about federal legislation. It is not about the history of the trans movement vis-a-vis the gay movement, or HRC's relationship with the trans community since the early 80's, or anything like that, per se. There is no particular goal of this meeting, lust like the others. It is an opportunity for people to talk to one another, to hold this very difficult conversation, face-to-face, because that in and of itself has value.

What HRC ultimately does next year or the following year will be up to the Directors, and yes, there are no trans persons on the Board which is appalling but it is what it is right now. Trans persons should be reaching out to those Directors through their local steering committees, however uncomfortable that makes you feel, just as we need to be reaching out to our Congresspersons to guarantee we ultimately have the votes to pass an inclusive bill and to defend it against motions to recommit and a Senate filibuster. The gay community will help us if we ask, and ask constructively. Many of them have been for years and will continue to do so. We are just asking HRC now. Leave the history alone for now. Let's use what we've learned over the years and put it to work here.

@midtowner

"You speak for all Transgenders"

PLEASE do not call trans people "transgenders." It's an adjective, not a noun, and I find it really offensive when folks use it that way.

GLAAD has a resource for trans terminology. Check it out. http://www.glaad.org/media/guide/transfocus.php

quiteneil...thanks for the comment, sorry to offend you..but as you know different people have different levels of sensitivity to this issue. I have been scolded many times for using other terms..hot tranny mess, tranny, etc..then have been told immediatley afterwards by other that they use them and find it funny.

Not to rehash that ole song and dance..I apologize if I offended you meant no harm and hopefully no foul. Were all ont the same LGBT team...signed a big ole sissy fag pillow bitting queer whose just trying to figure it all out...

Peace to you all...

Jumping in to point out that this thread has become severely off-topic and is devolving quickly. If you'd like to chat about an upcoming HRC meeting, please do so off thread.

If I can interject a single thought?
Monica, it would ill serve the "trans" communities for the HRC to appear to be the accommodating one here, just a thought.

Cathryn,
Okay. I'm interested in your thought on this. Please expand the reasoning. I'm interested to know how to get past this impass.

Bil,
Off-topic, possible. Important discussion, definately.

Agreed, Monica. I think we have a new thread coming up in about a half hour for this conversation.

Actually that thread will be appearing (unless someone beats me to it) later tonight. I've got a show to prep for right now. Look for a promo shortly though. I've got Diego Sanchez tonight so you know what we're going to be talking about...don't miss it!

Midtowner -

Were all ont the same LGBT team...signed a big ole sissy fag pillow bitting queer whose just trying to figure it all out...
No Fair! I disagree with you strongly, how dare you show wit, self-deprecating humour and common humanity!

One thing though - I wish you'd tell some others we're on the same team. Some of us are not included in ENDA, are we? Look, I'll quote from a recent article that illustrates the problem.

The numbers of gays and lesbians far outweigh those of trans. And gays and lesbians pay for our community's struggles as volunteers and donators and we've still got a lot to do. Trans issues are also important, and perhaps they should be included in the overall agenda (though it seems this has become an assumption of our leaders without there first being a genuine debate about it.)
There seems to be some doubt that "we're on the team", and even more doubt that, given our paucity of numbers, we should be given any consideration at all, as we don't contribute the money. Lip service is sufficient.

It's difficult not to accuse elements of the Rich White Gay group for being exclusionary when they proudly proclaim they are, and see nothing wrong with that.

Midtowner

Why do you honestly think the T-Community is so angry with HRC? WE have not just Jumped on a bandwagon LGB's created.The T-People were the beginning of any of Gay Rights! Please do not believe me reread about Stonewall ect. You no longer have to be hidden, can be out with out loosing your job. You look Normal to most people!
Have you read about separate entrances to buildings depending on color? It was called separate but equal! has proved to be against the law every time! BY dropping the T from ENDA and the HRC supporting that our door was Bricked up we were denied entry! Ms. Cusic was trying to do something to call attention to HRC agreeing to the Bricking up our entrance and being denied the use of the the entrance that LGB and every one else can use! Hey,Midtowner how about you walking for a day in our Hi-Heels? Wear your normal clothing with them. What do you think the reactions would be at your job?, On the street?, In a restaurant? Using a Restroom? Personally you just might have a new perspective on why we should be protected along with LGB's.