Bil Browning

Kudos: Joe Solmonese and Criticism of HRC

Filed By Bil Browning | March 01, 2010 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: bloggers, David Mixner, Don't Ask Don't Tell, HRC, Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solmonese, us versus them, working together

Pam Spaulding brought us news that HRC President Joe Solmonese is promising that Don't Ask, Don't Tell will be repealed this year (among other priorities). He also gave a hat tip to bloggers and grassroots activists.

And Solmonese acknowledged that it doing these measures is essential because of the political dynamics of the 2010 elections, something many of us in the netroots sounded the alert on last week -- the reason for the blogswarm.

I also get that there is a drumbeat coming from our community to put more pressure on, to make more demands of the President and members of Congress to get it done this year because who knows what's going to happen at the mid-term elections and frankly they are right and our time is now.

My jaw just about hit the floor. Has hell frozen over? We're right for once, and not the enemy? I appreciate the break in that ice. It shouldn't be hard to be on the same page as this closing window of opportunity harms us all.

Kudos to Joe for backing up what he said in the video from Adam Bink's excellent OpenLeft diary, "Essay: The value of constructive criticism in the LGBT movement." In Adam's interview with Joe about "HRC vs blogosphere," Joe says that some of the criticism of HRC's tactics and strategy is valid and productive and he doesn't just see it as pesky bloggers picking on HRC again.

Both videos of Joe and some thoughts from David Mixner after the jump.

Joe Solmonese Discusses Criticism of HRC

Joe Solmonese On the Repeal of DADT & Other Priorities

I spent a few hours with David Mixner in NYC on Sunday shooting video of an oral history of David's life in the movement. He said something that really stuck out to me.

When we talked about the Clinton campaign and I told him I was one of the ACT UP protesters who followed the Clinton bus tour around the country yelling "Talk about AIDS!" into bullhorns outside of each campaign stop, David thanked me profusely. The further pressure from the "radicals" and "loud mouths" helped make his job of pushing the candidate in our direction since it made him seem "reasonable."

I wanted to give the HRC people credit for a pragmatism and willingness to work together without animosity and a "circle the wagons" approach. They seem to have used bloggers and grassroots activists to gain some leverage with the administration so they could push our joint agenda further. And that's what matters most.

It doesn't have to be "us versus them" all the time. Like it or lump it, we're all one big fabulous beast with more issues and opinions than we have time to handle. If we don't learn to figure out how to work together better, we'll never get anywhere.

Kudos to HRC for a smart step in the right direction.


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I don't think anyone disputes that HRC is ineffective. Soon, instead of simply complaining about HRC, we will understand that lobbying is ineffective. We have absolutely NO evidence that lobbying has changed even one vote in the US Congress during the last 40 years.

HRC has no influence with the White House OR the Congress because lobbying is not effective for LGBT-issues. If it was we'd simply spend more money and change a the few votes we're lacking. HRC has received +$550 million and they have very little to show for it.

Thankfully, donations to HRC are now declining beyond the impact of our economy. After this silly "promise" by HRC is highlighted later this year, everyone will understand that lobbying doesn't work. Too bad we had to waste a half billion dollars learning this important lesson.

Nothing happens in Washington DC that isn't lobbied for. PERIOD! GLBT people just don't do enough of it. We are terrible at lobbying.

The religious right calls their congressmen and senators relentlessly. Ushers go up and down the aisles of churches passing out the phone #s of their state and federal representatives. The pastors rail against the GLBT community and their parishioners call congress incessantly! A busload of church members goes to DC they descend en-mass on the halls of congress, telling their representatives that we are an anathema in the site of God!

1993(?) we had our million person march on D.C. Congress deserted the city to avoid the confrontations, but their staffs were in the offices, manning the phones. What happened? Nothing! Nadda! Zilch! The capitol switchboard received only about 10,000 calls that weekend. From almost a million marchers. Senators said “There are no queers in my state. They all live in New York and California. I don’t have to represent them”

What does our community do? Nothing but bitch about our leaders. There are gays in virtually ever county of our country, but most congressmen don’t know that we are there. They never hear from us, but the churches call them every week. Who do they listen to? Guess.

The thing is, HRC, PFLAG, The Task Force and all the other organizations can only line up votes. But something or someone has to push congress to “enact” the bills. The speaker and president of the senate only bring up votes when there is political pressure to enact the bills. That pressure is most often phone calls and personal visits from the constituents. NOTHING ELSE WORKS!

CALL your Congressperson. Call your Senators. Call your state representatives. Were here. Were queer. We want our rights NOW!
Call… Call… Phone… Call… Visit in person… Call. Call. Call. Call. Call. Call. It will work! -just call

Sonoflaw, you're spot on. When I've sat down with Senators they've said to me, "Look, I support you, but I need to hear from your community. Every day I receive calls 10 to 1 AGAINST your rights. As someone elected by the people, this makes my job difficult, but I know it's the right thing to do, so I cast my vote in favor of equality." This Andrew guy needs to do some research and notice how often there is one or two votes switch right before a vote. This doesn't happen by miracle. It happens because the Senator/Representative sat down with a LGBT individual for his/her state and had a real, personal conversation and learned what the impact of the bill really will be. That is called lobbying.

Bil - thanks for this post. I just want to say, as someone at HRC that works with bloggers regularly, that there need not be an "us v. them" dynamic. As Joe says in the video from Adam Bink, these conversations -- and even disagreements -- can be productive and useful. I hope we can all continue to work together from our various perspectives, keeping the goal of equality in mind.

Michael Cole
HRC New Media Director

SkepticalCidada | March 1, 2010 6:24 PM

I just threw up a little in my mouth.

Michael, as HRC New Media Director... you should be aware of the lasting consequences of 2007. It did far more damage than I think the HRC is aware of.

Few have forgotten. And while some are willing to forgive, until Joe S. and the HRC does something unequivocal to show that they've changed, there's no way we can trust them.

You know the power of YouTube. How if a blatant lie told in public, that that is now on record and will not be expunged by the passing of time, only by actions.

Now please go and review what Joe S said in 2007 at the Southern Comfort Conference - his words carrying great weight, and causing trans people to quite literally give money they'd saved for necessary medical expenses to the HRC. To put the HRC ahead of their own health. Because that way they'd have at least a chance of having a job, and being able to afford both medical treatment and food later.

It's here.

If somebody else had said something like that, then reneged 2 weeks later after the rubes had been fleeced...

What would it take for you to trust them again? Figure out that, cause it to happen, and your problem is solved. Otherwise it remains, it won't go away, and you as New Media Director will have to deal with that.

Good Luck with that.

"...HRC does something unequivocal to show that they've changed"

What would you require to be shown by the HRC? Does the HRC do anything in Australia that can impact you?

The HRC does an awful lot - or doesn't do it - that impacts me in Australia, yes.

Just as some of the Human Rights cases in Australia have been quoted in US court cases.

There's more inter-connectedness than you think.

An accident of history - I was late on the first day in a new school. I came in with a boy who was also late, as we braced for the worst.

Fast forward 30 years, and at a school re-union just after I transitioned, we met again. He's the CEO of the Pacific Arm of a major multinational, Fortune 50 not just 500. And he later pushed through trans-friendly policies in the Pacific that were then adopted in the US. Because I talked with him, and we shared a personal bond of friendship. And because a bus was late back in 1970.

What happens in the US affects Australia. And sometimes, rarely, as in this case, vice-versa.

Congrats on the new job then and I'm sure that you are a nice guy. As media director how are you going to address the past blatant lies told by HRC? I appreciate that there are people like you trying to force some change inside of HRC, but is it worth it? Why is HRC worth it? There are a lot of us out here who feel that HRC should shut down. For a lot of us HRC is a do over or even better a not do over.
Can you demonstrate the value of HRC at this moment or any valuable thing that it has done in the past in the form of real action and results? Can you demonstrate anything that the LGBT community as a whole has gotten for the incredible amount of money it has poured into HRC? Explain to me why I should not feel that donations made by me in the past to HRC was wasted money when it is the only GL..b.....t organization that I feel that way about?

"I hope we can all continue to work together from our various perspectives, keeping the goal of equality in mind."

Except in HRC(F) land some of "us" are more equal than others. HRC has a history, from Elizabeth Birch to today, of trotting out trans people (mostly women) when they needed an example of work discrimination or violence. When it comes to actions, however, the HRC(F) has a long list of erasure, marginalization, and outright hostility to trans (women).

Before you talk to trans people about equality and working together YOU Mr. "New Media" need to patch those bridges your people set on fire.

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | March 1, 2010 6:19 PM

Kudos to Joe for backing up what he said...
I guess there's a first time for everything.

Is he backing it up or jumping on a bandwagon that has been pulled by someone else? Is it now inevitable and so Joe is going to side with it? Will he take credit for it "having worked so hard for it" for so long?

James Brown | March 3, 2010 9:59 PM

My thoughts exactly. And also, HRC was not interested in the Equality March because it was not an "incremental" approach, but near the end of the planning offered its building for some of the meetings because it had clearly seen that it was going to be a grassroots success.

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | March 1, 2010 6:23 PM

I just want to say, as someone at HRC that works with bloggers regularly, that there need not be an "us v. them" dynamic.

Michael Cole
HRC New Media Director

Sure didn't seem that Joe felt that way when he threw transgendered Americans under the bus regarding ENDA. No thanks HRC. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. I'll keep my money thank you. I'm tired of being told to get to the back of the line and shut up by people I PAY to represent my interests.

Hey - wait a minute, Margaret. I know you to be a very reasonable and thoughtful woman even when we don't agree so I want to point something out that you might have overlooked.

Michael isn't HRC. He's one guy who works there. He's got his own opinions and ideas and those can differ from what the board of HRC decides. In fact, Michael is working hard to ensure that the whole "HRC is the only thought process that matters" viewpoint doesn't live long and prosper in the org. He's trying to actively engage the grassroots and get outside opinions into the process.

While I know that you're speaking more generally about the culture that's been pervasive at HRC and I also acknowledge the hurt that's come from some of HRC's previous actions. Still, let's give kudos to our fellow activists when deserved. After all, we're not shy about pointing out the problems - that's the whole point of the post.

We may not feel like they've been "fair" before. We need to model what we want so we don't just feed a negative beast with no end to it's appetite. You might hate Joe with every bit of your being for a multitude of reasons, but when he does something right, it's only fair to acknowledge it.

Michael is a good guy. I just wanted to make sure that there's a delineation between criticism of the org and what might feel like a personal criticism. As we've talked about with trans allies, it can become very frustrating if you begin to feel like anything positive you do only results in more negativity from the community you truly do want to help.

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | March 1, 2010 6:57 PM

You're absolutely right Bil but if you read my comment carefully, you'll see that I wasn't criticizing Michael. I was criticizing HRC in general and Joe Solmonese specifically. My quote was "Sure didn't seem that Joe felt that way when he threw transgendered Americans under the bus regarding ENDA"
I do want to be fair and some of your point is valid. I should probably let go of a lot of the bitterness I feel. Though it is well deserved by the HRC, it is not directed at Michael. While I was addressing my comment to him, I wasn't slamming him, just HRC and Joe Solmonese. For all of that I don't hate Joe, honestly. But I'll never, ever trust him again and I sure as hell won't pay him to discard me as soon as I and people like me become inconvenient to him again. Same with John Aravosis. I don't hate him but it'll be a frozen day in hell before I give him traffic or donate to him again.

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | March 1, 2010 7:00 PM

And I hope that Michael will take that for what it's worth. I don't even know him but he seems like a decent guy. I can't trust or rely on an HRC with Joe Solmonese at it's head though. Sorry.

Judas Peckerwood | March 1, 2010 7:33 PM

Talk is cheap, and only time will tell whether or not HRC has turned over a new leaf. Personally, given their track record, I'm not holding my breath.

John R. Selig | March 1, 2010 9:48 PM

I am still waiting to see what makes Joe solmonese worth $338,000 per year. My contribution go elsewhere.

It's encouraging to hear, but as we all know, words are one thing, actions are another. I'll be interested to see how HRC interacts and works with the rest of the community going forward.

"Works with the rest of the community going forward"???

I am so tired of reading the same rehashed comments from the same people here.

HRC works with many organizations! Has been and will continue to do so.

DADT - SLDN and ServicemembersUnited + others
ENDA - NCTE and others

HRC is relevant, more so than many other organizations combined.

People stop the browbeating and go work to make the change happen you want!

"HRC is relevant, more so than many other organizations combined."

Any evidence?

Plus, do you mean effective, or just relevant. Those are very different.

Most of us are concerned about how effective HRC is. Do you believe lobbying works? We've given HRC $550 million in 29 years - to primarily lobby politicians - how's that going? Do you have a few examples of success? Maybe a few US Senators that changed their minds because of HRC-lobbying?

Make a list, please.

I'll believe it when I see it and not one second before. HRC has long since lost the right to expect the benefit of the doubt from us on pretty much anything. I'm willing to keep an open mind, but I will have to be convinced. There's just too much relevant history here to take anything HRC says at face value without verifiable proof of their intentions.

It took a long time for HRC's community credibility to be reduced to where it is now, and I expect it'll take an equally long time for it to be rehabilitated.

History has taught us that words alone mean nothing coming from HRC. It is only by successfully coupling positive and verifiable action with those words that HRC may be able to begin the process of repairing its reputation within the community.

HRC has a lot of work to do if it really wants to be taken seriously again by the grassroots of our community. It won't be a quick process, but it's the only way most of us are ever going to take them seriously again.

What "verifiable proof" would you like Rebecca?

Chris, we do go to work to make changes. When we field IM's from suicidal LGBT kids, when we march and protest and speak in front of groups. When it is 2am and you would just like to be asleep but you are trying to convince a fifteen year old to go to the emergency room before he is unconscious, you are working to make a change. When musicians do benefit shows for free to help an organization raise funds, you are working. Where is HRC relevant beyond its own press releases? Tell me something that it has done or helped get done right here in the good old US of A because I'm not in Australia, I am right here up close and personal and I have been watching. All that I have seen from Joe Solomnese and HRC is that others of us keep having to shovel out the stall and never get to ride the horse.
The only good thing about HRC is the name.

Here's what I noticed about Joe's speech. When he listed DADT and several other priorities, ENDA was conspicuously absent. He mentioned ENDA later, but he seemed to be saying it would be a natural outgrowth of other accomplishments, not that HRC would work for it. And to me that calls into question when, if ever, ENDA will actually pass. I always say "support the people who support us." But how is HRC supporting us if they're leaving out ENDA, which affects huge numbers of LGBT people?

Joe was rasing money. That's what HRC does best. Finally, we are beginning to hold them accountable. Making promises has nothing to do with accountability.

This is the unraveling of HRC. What should be important to all of us is whether or not HRC's primary purpose - lobbying, is even effective. So far, there is NO evidence.

HRC can't seem to get things in order but it never has. I'm still hoping that HRC goes under.

Angela Brightfeather | March 1, 2010 11:47 PM

As many know, I have criticized HRC often and I have rarely seen them respond by changing their viewpoint or agenda in response to anything that I and others have said.

It is one thing to say that you listen to constructive advice, it is another thing to actually change due to that advice or constructive criticism. The only time that I have actually seen HRC respond to advice regarding the Transgender community and it's needs is to place Transgender speakers on the podiums at events such as their dinners and it actually took literaly four or five years for them to do so. I have yet to see them put a Trans person at the lecturn of a dinner as the featured speaker, although there are many Trans people who could fill that spot in a heartbeat, be informative, educational, entertaining and inspirational. They seem to have no problem however, with putting people up there in a position to speak, if they have made a movie or TV show, impersonating a Trans person.

The thought to do exactly that was addressed to HRC over 9 years ago by NTAC, along with an offer to help provide Trans speakers at their dinners. We got a flat out no. Why?

I hope Joe gets to read this. HRC's ability to listen is wonderful, but the problem is and has been that until they can respond immediately to good ideas they fall short of the mark. That is accompanied by the fact that any good ideas that are brought to them by Trans people to improve their relationship with the community are put on hold for years until they meet their infamous criteria of "incremental" acceptance and years of passing an invisible litmus test of acceptability, designed to not make them look like they are caving in to Trans people.

Joe, I ask you this plainly. If HRC had listened to the representatives of NTAC over 8 years ago, how much more ahead might we be today with a plan for a unified GLBT communnity?

If your predecessors had been more inclusive back then, what do you think the chances would be that you never would have made that statement at SCC, with good and objective advice coming from people inside of HRC who were Trans allies and included?

If there had been an understanding of Trans issues inside HRC instead of taking the attitude that they don't count over 8 years ago, do you think that there might have been more than a half dozen Trans people at the dinner in Raleigh this past weekend to greet you as a friend and a leader?

What is it that HRC does not understand about how people feel when they offer to work with them but have the door slammed in their face, then feel abused and left out of the process.

These are the things you have to overcome, not a "misspeak" made at SCC. That was just the iceing on the proverbial cake, of years of being listened to, ignored and insulted.

The "misspeak" was a political statement in the heat of the moment and there isn't a person who gave you their money that weekend at SCC, that would not forgive you in a heartbeat, if HRC seriously did something for the Trans community. Like just for once, coming out publicly and saying why HRC thinks it is so important for GLB people to include the T in everything that they and HRC does..... openly, honestly and with pride.

But Joe, the real crime about all this, is that like Obama, you are left having to cleam up the mess that previous administrations have left you, and how different it might be today, for HRC and Transgender people if HRC had been smart enough to really listen to others over 8 years ago and put them at the table. How much further would we be ahead right now and would not "misspeaks" be easier to forgive now?

So what have you done Ms Brightfeather to advance trans-parity for veterans? Put up or shut up. As with Rebecca it comes down to the same bitter people on this blog rehashing.

As a gay man is it any wonder why we switch off when it comes to trans issues when you burp up old speech?

Chris,

1. You don't speak for all or even most gay men. Not all gay men "switch off" when it comes to trans issues.

2. You're not actually "switching off" here, you've left 18% of the comments on this thread. Almost all of your comments have been responses to trans people. You've ignored many of the cis commenters, even one who responded to you directly. Clearly you are not turned off by trans issues, but instead actively hostile.

3. -- And this is the big one -- You ask people to "put up or shut up," and imply that they are not doing anything to contribute to the movement. Many of the folks on this blog are movers and shakers in the movement, or at least active volunteers. I tend to assume that's the case unless I have reason to believe otherwise. You have no reason to think that they do not contribute, and they shouldn't have to pull out their activist resumes to prove themselves to you.

Even moreso, you're apparent belief that complaining indicates that someone does nothing to contribute would seem to apply to you just as much. Why spend so much time on this thread being so negative to the people you perceive as being so negative? Why complain about the fact that people are complaining? Don't you have something better to do? Or is shouting down trans critics of the HRC more important to you then actively contributing to the movement. Before you ask people to prove their value to you, you should at least share with everyone all the work you've done. Have you been on any LGBTQ boards? Staffed a suicide hotline? Provided HIV related care or education?

Bob Gaiser | March 2, 2010 4:03 AM

The comment he made about people joining HRC on their lobby day is not true. I lobbied with them three years ago when my Congressman Mark Udall (now Senator) spoke to them. The following 2 years they refused to allow me to lobby with them since I was not one of their "accepted ones" even though I lobby for NaCO (National Counties) and NLC (national cities) and my own city and county as a county commissioner every year for the last 5 years being in office. This also happened to my friend who was there to lobby for a drug company.

Even after telling them for 3 years as a member, they never got my name right! (even at their store).

I don't believe HRC regardless of that they say!!

There were at least 2 folks that identify as trans on that stage in Raleigh. I was there.

It's a shame Pam didn't catch all of the other stage action or awards.

There was entire segment dedicated to trans advocates -- parents of a trans person -- who are tireless volunteers in NC and around the country.

I saw one legislator crying at that video.

Much good happened at an HRC dinner.

Move forward.

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | March 2, 2010 8:43 AM

Chris: Defender of Ronald Gold. *yawn*

Colour me skeptical a bit. Yes we are all all one big fabulous beast but HRC has been the end producing a lot of bad gas over the years. Honestly Bill if it were anyone else saying this other than you I would most likely just scream BS and laugh it off. I'll be in the watchful group. I won't throw any rotten tomatoes yet but I'll keep a case of them close warming in the sun since I may still need 'em soon.
I am little leery of HRC seeing the tide turn, jumping in a boat that has been rowed so hard by so many and often with HRC pulling the other way and old Joe stepping up and calling himself the Cap'n of the crew. IT just galls me to see him act like we have all been in this together all along.

Angela Brightfeather | March 2, 2010 9:18 AM

"So what have you done Ms Brightfeather to advance trans-parity for veterans? Put up or shut up."

Actually Chris, quite a bit. The only problem is that we can't say much about it because the remarkable progress that we have made concerning Transgender Veterans and the way they are treated is indirectly influenced by the present Health Bill. Hoepfully I will have more for you on that in a few weeks if the bill finally gets pushed through the process.

I can tell you this. When it does happen, the next move that TAVA will be making is to further our goals, because we will have met all of them at that point. Something that HRC has not come close to. One could only wish that HRC was as affective as to say they have met two of their goals towards passing GLBT legislation after all of these years of collecting money to do so.

One of the areas that I think that I will be working in the near future is with Trans people on active duty in the military, who cannot transition (at their own cost) while still serving, and especially those who suffer from PTSD at the same time. I have been getting more calls here in NC since it is close to Ft. Bragg and Camp LeJeune about Trans people still in service, who have PTSD and wish to move ahead with their transtion, but feel that if they do, they will be discharged under DADT or "conduct unbecoming" (UCMJ) charges, and even if they quit their profession as soldiers, face a jobless situation when they get out as a Trans person. That is a very dangerous and scary situation for people to be in who know how to use weapons and have access to them, so I think we have to start addressing that problem immediately. Something that is totally of the radar screen for HRC since they wouldn't know what to do about it if they got hit in the head with the concept. If they can't understand non-military Trans people, I can't imagine how they could understand Trans people trapped in the military with PTSD and gender issues to deal with. Which is just another example of how HRC is out of touch with the reality of Trans people in some areas and why your leading question about what I have done and am doing is equally as ignorant. Since I have been active and doing these kinds of things for 45 years now, you might assume that people like yourself would stop asking if I am busy enough. Just because I'm not like HRC, shouting out at the rooftops and dinner lecturns, claiming what a signifigant role I am playing in the overturn of DADT, and every other issue for GLBT people, doesn't mean that I'm sitting on my hands.

So Chris, what have you been doing lately for Trans people. Put up or shut up!!

Angela Brightfeather | March 2, 2010 9:47 AM

"There were at least 2 folks that identify as trans on that stage in Raleigh. I was there."

Guest2, your very correct. There was two Trans people, both who I know very well. One was making a presentation of HRC's Community Achievment Award to the Parkers, who have headed up and worked so hard with PFLAG over the years, not HRC. The reason a Trans person (who is not a member of HRC by the way) was asked to make the award, was because the Parkers got involved in PFLAG since they have a lovely daughter who is transexual.

However, neither of the TRans peopleat the dinner were the main or keynote speakers.

Any good done in Raleigh by having the HRC dinner there is only coincidental at best and will be short lived, since the money they collected at the dinner will be going to DC, not local initiatives. It is also my understanding that since Equality NC has now established their own weekend and dinner fundraiser, similar to HRC's fundraiser, that HRC has cut back on the funding they have given ENC in the past. I guess they figure, like that old saying, if you bring a fish to a man for his dinner he will be fed for one day, but if you teach him how to fish, then he won't go hungry for the rest of his life.

There's another old Sicilian saying that comes to mind when thinking about HRC. "A fish always begins to stink at the head first."

There were no more than half a dozen Trans people at that dinner. The usual support group meetings for Trans people in Durham and Greensboro, number over 25 people at every meeting. From a Transgender perspective, the dinner I'm sure was lovely, but it only had 1/4 the number of trans people there than the average monthly support group meeting. My question is, what is HRC going to do about that next year? I'd also like to remind you that it was a company partially owned by a Transperson that did all the plumbing in that new convention center where the dinner was held. Was there any complaints about MtoF's using the ladies room?

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”

Paul Boese was Dutch.

The Roman philsopher Seneca took a more realistic view on forgiveness, and since this debate swirls around the thoughts on political pragmatism...

"To forgive all is as inhuman as to forgive none.”

Such is life.

The sum total amount of help HRC has ever given to the Transgender American Veterans Association to help us get fair treatment by the VA has been $500. That was in early 2004, after our organization was 1 year old and they were softening their stance on trans people. And, they gave it begrudgingly. They have not once contacted us to see if they could help with our goals. The closest they came with help was to allow Allyson Robinson to represent us and us only when she went back to West Point to speak.

As a person who sat in the audience when Joe lied to 1000 trans people, I cannot forgive HRC, as long as Joe is their President. The snake's head is still attached. You can burn people for so long before they fight back. Like others have said, their words have never meant anything, especially if they come from Joe. Actions are needed, and HRC has always been short on that, unless they are getting money from those actions. Money is their only form of motivation.

Michael Cole
HRC New Media Director

Maybe you can communicate to Mr.Joe Solmonese that his speech at Our 2007 event and the promise he made to the Trans. people then was a great positive speech! Two weeks later HRC dropped us and used us Trans. people as a bargaining chip.! That action will HAUNT HRC for as long as Mr. Solonese is at the helm of HRC! Most of the Trans. people had felt HRC had been somewhat untrustworthy before! Now very few believe words from HRC Now! As the HRC's New Meida Director Maybe you could make a Media presentation to HRC as to why Trans people do not trust HRC? I Hope that you have read Zoe Brain, Margaretpoa, Rob Barton,Angela Brightfeather, Rebecca Juro and My Post! Maybe you might get an Idea or two from those posts? IT will take more that words to ever get any trust from us! It will take actual action on Trans. Issues! It will also take a Mea Culpa from Mr. Joe Solmoneseas he resigns! Thank You for Your time! Good luck!

So HRC is being as inclusive as always. Someone just went off on a bi list because it seems that today HRC released a statement on LGBT marriage that went on to only speak about gay and lesbian marriage. Nothing for the trans or bi people in that one at all. I guess that marriage isn't a concern for bi or trans people at all.
So um, dude! That whole New Media Director for HRC tahdah! Uhm about that..... yea... I'm a little underwhelmed. Thanks for the inclusion, I'll make sure to drop the donation in the mail that the mention is worth.
Not only does it seem like the old dogs can't learn new tricks but even the new dogs seem to stick to the old tricks. So much for anything new in the media from HRC aside from which head is bobbling behind the name plate.
Sorry Bil, I tried to listen with an open mind but they kept shoveling the same stuff. Well I guess that at least HRC is consistent.

At this point I'm more surprised when any mainstream marriage equality organization ever mentions bi or trans people when talking about marriage.

It's an unfortunate reflection of the disparity and inequality in our equality movement. And yes, the HRC does seem to be even more behind the curve then all the other organizations.

You know Tobi the only time they ever outreach to trans or bi people is when they want money. We can pay the bills but we still seem to be back door company. I agree about the marriage organizations not including bi and trans people. I saw a documentary about marriage in Cal the short time that they had it and they interviewed two women who were married. I know for a fact that one of them identifies as bi and did so in the interview and yet that part was cut from the interview and she and her partner were described as lesbians. She complained about it through bi activist organizations. Or what about when bi people are going out to canvas for votes in the marriage battles and we are told that we should not tell people that we are bi because it just confuses the issue and it is better for people to think that we are gay? I love that one. So what kind of reception do they give trans people who show up to canvas? Are they just put minding the phone banks?
I know that HRC has my number in their records because they have called me when they need money. But have they ever called me and said "hey Rob we know that you are very vocal about us and that you have organized bi functions and activities but we just can't understand why bi people would have a problem with what we are doing any suggestions" has that call come in?