Bil Browning

HRC's Solmonese Resigns: Staffers Angry at News Timing

Filed By Bil Browning | August 28, 2011 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media, The Movement
Tags: HRC, Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solmonese, media, Pam Spaulding, Pam's House Blend

Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend reported that the Human Rights Campaign's Executive Director, Joe Solmonese, would be leaving the organization late on Friday night and Washington insiders and HRC staffers are understandably upset at the timing of the report.

Solmonese's decision to step down as the head of the nation's largest LGBT advocacy organization at the end of his contract has been a "known secret" to many pundits and journalists for months who were waiting for the official announcement. After Don't Ask Don't Tell was repealed, speculation on whether or not he would remain on the job was rife, but high level sources inside the organization said he would serve out his contract. After seven years on the job, an incredibly long time for the leader of an LGBT organization, Solmonese had recently started telling close friends and colleagues of his imminent departure.

Solmonese planned to tell board members during a conference call on Monday evening, but the call was rescheduled to earlier this weekend after Spaulding published her scoop. Spaulding's report inaccurately suggested that Solmonese's departure was part of a staff shake-up; while the organization's restructuring will take place, the two are unrelated.

Employees of the not-for-profit, many of whom were in the process of preparing for Hurricane Irene's arrival and had already been rattled by the 5.8 earthquake earlier in the week, were informed of Solmonese's decision and other upcoming staff changes during a mandatory organization-wide conference call on Saturday. Senior staff had planned to announce the changes after the area was no longer in a state of emergency and next week's scheduled board call had taken place.

Some staffers were understandably upset at the timing of Spaulding's post. While they were preparing for Irene's pummeling, they feel they had to take punches professionally as well. Many employees found out Solmonese would be leaving and they may not have a job in the near future while they were sandbagging their homes or evacuating low-lying areas.

"That's the last thing they needed," said one person close to the controversy who asked not to be named since they're not authorized to speak on behalf of the organization. "She has no idea how many people she hurt by doing this like she did."

While reporters for many national LGBT news organizations were gathered in Philadelphia for the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association conference, several picked up on Spaulding's story. Philadelphia, also in the path of Hurricane Irene, was in a state of emergency starting early this weekend. Attendees reported flickering power and leaking ceilings by early evening on Saturday and parts of the city was flooded as high as street-sign levels by Sunday morning.

Spaulding, however, took exception to The Washington Blade's article by veteran reporter Lou Chibarro which failed to mention her as the original report of Solmonese's departure and instead cited "a number of bloggers." In a stinging rebuke, Spaulding chastised the newspaper in a post Saturday afternoon.

Pam's House Blend broke the story last night, August 26, about Joe Solmonese's departure from HRC. It was the only blog or news outlet to bring you this news first.

The Washington Blade either 1) doesn't know how to count; or 2) doesn't know how to fact check; or 3) doesn't think a blog deserves credit for committing the sin of "journalism." And I'm not just referring to PHB; it also applies to my colleagues in the LGBT blogosphere who step beyond commentary and do first-hand reporting.

This sounds like a topic for discussion at the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists' Association conference that is currently going on (hashtag #NLGJA2011).

Several conference attendees expressed shock at Spaulding's insensitivity over the story's sourcing. While acknowledging that mainstream news publications often write bloggers out of the stories they report, they also insist that their outlets are getting better at recognizing bloggers for their work and pointed to the weekend's unusual weather events as a reason for the oversight.

They defended Chibarro by pointing out that he credited the blogosphere but was also working in the path of a storm deemed, "a historic hurricane" by President Obama. Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff lives on the Maryland coast in the Baltimore area and several outlet staffers were stuck in Philadelphia.

Spaulding reported that Naff rectified the mistake in an updated version of the web report.

Thank you, Kevin Naff, for promptly addressing this matter. I encourage a clear and open discussion about how blogs and traditional media can have a two-way street of professional respect.

In an update to Spaulding's original post, PHB blogger Autumn Sandeen acknowledged Spaulding's mistake that a new executive director had not already been selected, saying, "What MetroWeekly is also reporting is that the consultant that we at PHB reported that the HRC is going to tap as the new executive director is going to instead be an interim director. "

Sandeen later seemed to walk back from the statement saying in a later update to her post:

Clarification/Correction: Chris Geidner wrote "Although the sources say that no permanent replacement has been selected, none of the four sources were willing to say what, if any, role Woolard would play in the transition efforts at HRC."

Beyond connecting a name to the unidentified paid consultant from the initial PHB piece, Chris Geidner indicated no conclusions as to what her role in the transition would be, assuming that Woolard would even have a role.

HRC, however, said in a press release yesterday that no interim director will be named. Solmonese will remain in charge until the end of his contract in late March. The organization announced that a search committee has been formed to find Solmonese's replacement. It will be co-chaired by board members Joni Madison and Dana Perlman.

"From the beginning, we asked Joe to give us six months of transition when he decided to leave and he's done that," said HRC Board of Directors co-chair Rebecca Tillet. "We have every confidence that we will find and engage a new leader within that timeframe."

While Solmonese's tenure has been marked by many high moments in the LGBT movement - the passage of hate crimes legislation, the repeal of DADT, achieving marriage equality in six states, and many governmental administrative changes to better accommodate the LGBT community - he has also been a frequent target of criticism by trans activists over HRC's controversial decision to support a bill providing employment protections for gay, lesbian and bisexual people that specifically excluded transgender people. The organization has since returned to supporting a version of the bill that is inclusive of the entire LGBT community.

"HRC has never been stronger and after nearly seven years, this is the right moment for me to move on," said Solmonese. "As I explore new professional possibilities, I plan on continuing to pour my heart and soul into improving the lives of members of our community - from battling proposed marriage amendments to creating more equitable workplaces to ensuring the President Obama is reelected for a second term."

When Bilerico Project launched in July of 2007, Solmonese was a contributor until after the ENDA debacle. Spaulding is also a contributor; her last post was in April 2010.

(Photo credit: Karen Ocamb)


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Joe S is a useless assclown. Good riddance jerk. Maybe now someone can steer hrc right. Not that I would ever give them one penny.

Kathy Padilla | August 28, 2011 1:31 PM

It must have been difficult being a visitor in Philly during the storm - we've had a lot of flooding - the buses, trains, subways & Airport are closed. Stores & restaurants closed. And a good number of us locals have had some significant damage at home - I'll have a lot or repairs to make.

"achieving marriage equality in six states"

HRC had NOTHING to do with five of those states and only pulled into New York during the homestretch after ESPA did the heavy lifting for years. Please don't make it seem like they were the architects of what was almost wholly achieved by LGBT state groups and legal orgs.

Though I am impressed that they finally got some federal legislation passed. Only took 'em two decades to do it...

The good news: He's finally leaving.

The bad news: He's not leaving immediately and it sounds as if he's basically deciding his own successor.

WOW Bill you know I love you dearly. but you really shovel on the bullshit when it comes to Solmonese.

As for Pam she had every right to be upset, especially with the Blade who commits that error A LOT but has no qualms threatening bloggers with DMCA copywrite suits when the Blade itself is not quoted as sources.

Sorry on Team Pams side this time.

Pams House Blend is a lot like Belerico Project, a news organization staffed by bloggers. What PHB reported on was news. Come he'll and high water in the news game all to often it's first to print wins.
As for HRC, meh. I'm Trans/Intersex and prior military, what have they done for me or mine?

I saw Pam's response and I thought it was a bit much and unnecessary. I was really surprised to see that reaction. I think Joe gets a bad rap on his leadership. But seriously, do others think his job was easy? I believe many of Joe's haters would have no idea how to run an org like the HRC.

Kathy Padilla | August 28, 2011 4:10 PM

By that metric - George W Bush shouldn't be criticized my other than current or former presidents.

That's not what I'm saying. I think many people have an unrealistic view on how political orgs work.

And what exactly is it that you don't think people understand that might lend lenience to Solmonese's actions? It's worth keeping in mind that many of us *DO* understand what it takes to run a national organization and still criticize him. Not only that, but there are plenty of other national organizations that don't do the things that Solmonese is criticized for.

I understand that there will always be things that don't go perfectly, and that there will always be things that can be criticized. That doesn't come anywhere near covering what the community is angry at him for.

Excuse me??? I not only formed a national organization, but I am still the President of it, after 8.5 years. TAVA was able to accomplish the largest part of our mission, with a tiny treasury and very few people, and absolutely no help on the issue from any other major organization, except NCTE. What has HRC done with the millions they took in? Build a building in downtown DC.

So, don't throw out absolute statements that have nothing to do with reality. Joe is a bald-faced liar and has helped HRC screw over the trans community, like all of his predecessors have done before him. I doubt the new ED will take HRC in a new direction. You'd have a better chance winning the Powerball lottery then seeing the HRC tiger changing its strips.

Okay, I can still stand by my statement. I'm not trying to be rude or mean.

Yes you are being rude, and intentionally ignoring the facts. I was one of those 1000 trans people at Southern Comfort in 2007 who heard Joe tell us they would only support a fully inclusive ENDA. Two weeks later, he threw us under the bus so he could be considered a nice guy to Barney. Are you ignoring two decades of facts for any particular reason. Are you an HRC paid spy? I know what I'm talking, but you apparently don't.

Let's slow down a bit here. Viktor said nothing at all rude. What he said was that some people have no idea what it's like to run a political organization. That's not rude in the least. It's true.

Also, I think definitions of what a successful national org looks like and accomplishes. Monica, your group is about transgender veterans and you say it's been successful in your 8.5 years. Transgender people are still excluded from the military, your organization has no money and, from what you've said before, not that many members. I think most would say you've not been successful, but I don't hear anyone calling for your resignation. While you complain in your comment that most national orgs haven't worked with you, could it be because you spend a lot of time badmouthing other groups and their leaders online - often resorting to straw man arguments or personal attacks?

A lot of folks make HRC out to be a monster organization with nefarious plans for the LGBT community. Others consider them the end-all-be-all of gay organizing. Neither are true. It is what it is. It's not all black and white. God knows, I'm not the biggest HRC fan (as evidenced by many, many blog posts on the subject) but a little reality is in order.

It's possible to critique Solmonese's record of leadership without having to delegitimize your points by accusing people of being "rude" just for disagreeing with you or being a "paid HRC spy." That's just ridiculous and makes no one take anything else you say seriously.

You are sadly under informed about anything the TAVA has done and who we have worked with. Your support for what we have done has been lacking, as evident of several articles you have rejected in the past. Also, I haven't seen your name in the list of 794 people who will be committed to a Moment of Silence on Sept 20 for transgender service members who cannot still serve openly. Is it that you don't care?

And, by the way, the VA Directive we got for fairer treatment of transgender veterans. It's already helped hundreds of trans veterans. THAT directive saves lives. How many lives does marriage equality save?

And, your badmouthing of Pam is still part of the feud between you two, so I don't expect you to be on her side about anything. The storm, by the way, went well into NC, or did you miss that?

Monica, Please. Your guest submissions were rejected just like dozens of others each week. They weren't up to par. That's it. And what does an editor turning down an article from someone who's not a contributor have to do with support for a cause? Does this mean that the NYT editors all agree with every op-ed? That's just illogical.

On the topic of what you've done and who you've worked with, you said it in the comment above. So if I'm "under informed" you'd better have a talk with yourself. If you truly think that your small group got the VA directive alone, you need to re-examine Viktor's original comment about not understanding politics. Nothing is ever done alone. Politics isn't a "me me me" game; it's about coalition building and not grandstanding. Wasn't that one of the original complaints about HRC?

As for being a sponsor of one of your events, you haven't asked me to sponsor it - although we did write about it on the site. We've already promoted it for you for free. Other than your own promoted diary on PHB, has any other non-trans specific site covered it?

And, finally, yes, I'm aware the hurricane hit North Carolina. I can also read what Pam wrote about what the storm was like at her house and that doesn't jive with what you're putting out there. You're throwing shit at the walls and hoping something sticks.

You seem to always be HRC and Joe's knight in shiny armor whenever people rag on them. Methinks the gay man dost protest too much when HRC and Joe gets ragged on here. When Joe posted an article, you were deleting comments left and right, but when trans people got attacked in other articles, you turned a blind eye. If It wasn't for Jillian, covering for you, you would still have several of those hateful people here today.

You act as if you support trans people, but as soon as Joe or HRC is attacked, the Wolverine claws come out. Maybe that's why several trans contributors don't come here any longer. That's an interesting fact, isn't it?

And, I notice you didn't comment on the feud you have with Pam. At one time, I want to try to get you two to be friends again, but neither of you would hear of it. Are you upset that she wins awards and you don't? I see that the first chance to dump on her and you're right there. And, she really scooped you on the Joe thing. Your article appeared 2 days after her's did, and you couldn't wait to discredit her anyway you could. Wolverine claws again?

As far as the Moment of Silent goes, all I have been asking is for people saying they are committing to a Moment of Silent at any celebration they will be at on September 20. You mean that you, personally, are opting not to take a Moment of Silence to honor those who still have to serve in silence? I never considered you that mean or uncaring. It was 794 when I posted that last comment, and it's now up to 827. One guy said, "Not Gay. not military, but I support this." Many LG&B people have signed up. A Moment of Silence is not a lot to ask anyone, including you. It's sad to see that I have to ask.

It's sad you have to assume I'm a HRC spy because I don't agree with you. This is one of the biggest problems we have as a community, we all don't have agree and we all have different opinions. Please do yourself a favor and understand that.

You sort of have your choice here. Either HRC (and Salmonese) is as useless as many of the comments here imply, or HRC (and Salmonese) has one of the worst PR staffs of any advocacy organization of its size in the world. Ultimately, I'd argue, if you're politically effective but lousy at managing the public's perception of your work, then you're either not as effective as you think, or not going to be effective very long. Whichever the case, it's probably time for a change in leadership.

Actually, it is (or has been in the past) both. Solmonese is totally and exclusively focused on the agenda of rich white gay men. We've seen the proof of this more times than I can count. What has changed recently, however, is the org's PR strategy. They've finally begun to realize a few things that we've been trying to tell them for a while now.

1. Fucking over the little guy not only makes you look bad just in general, but when those fucked over folks start protesting you and your events all over the country, most liberal politicians will quickly decide they want nothing to do with you.

2. Money can only take you just so far, and by the same token when it becomes a popular cause among younger and lower-middle class activists to tell you and and your org to go take a flying leap, that can cost you far more in community credibility, political influence, and yes, cold hard cash, then you're likely to save by keeping your super-wealthy donors happy.

3. Circling the wagons and refusing to engage openly and honestly with the community only makes it worse for you.

4. Trust is a valuable commodity, difficult to gain but very easy to lose.

5. Hypocrisy is as damaging to the credibility of activist orgs as it is to politicians.

6. HRC will never regain its leadership role or former level of community credibility as long as a proven liar and backstabber like Solmonese is in charge.

I missed this comment earlier or I'd have commented on it already. Good points, Becky. That about sums up the situation for most folks.

Yes -- I was tempted to say the same thing Bil says above, but I also was tempted to just keep my nose out of this entire thread. (Surprise! Contrary to my reputation, I do keep my nose out of a few things ...)

Rebecca, that's about the most succinct and cogent summary of the problems at HRC that I've read anywhere. Thank You for posting it -- and I warn you, I might quote you verbatim if I encounter a compelling need.

Wait, it's been a "known secret" among journalists and pundits for MONTHS yet he was only planning on telling the board on monday!?!

I can understand telling senior staff, confidants, family members, or close friends before the board, so long as the board is informed soon after. I can understand that if the board meets monthly it may be a while before the next opportunity to make the announcement. However, telling journalists before the board, let alone months before, seems like a major problem. Why was the board kept in the dark about this? It's the board's job to provide oversight to the ED and any succession. Granted they still have their six month window, but as a board member for a national LGBTQ organization, I would be greatly concerned by something like this.

This really pisses me off.

As I stated earlier . I am 100 percent with Pam on this one and she was correct with reporting the story and by being upset with the Blade. - I highly doubt if any of those so-called "reporters" at the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists' Association many of which in reality are nothing more than paid bloggers with snotty attitudes would have sat on the scoop themselves and no self-respecting journalist or blogger would do so especially with something which is deemed "an open secret" because it might upset a few HRC staffers which HRC didn't have the foresight to give a heads up to.

And by some NGLJA members defending "Chibarro by pointing out that he credited the blogosphere but was also working in the path of a storm deemed, "a historic hurricane" by President Obama" seems to be mothing excuse to cover either bad reporting.

It's 2011, now and many "blogger" have the same if not better sources than many of the gay and lesbian "journalist" out there and in this time and age the only thing that seperates the two is a bigger paycheck and in some cases a condescending attitude.

What a bunch of HRC crybabies! "Oh, Pam was insensitive to make the announcement just before the hurricane hit." She had news and she did what real journalists would do, break the news. Too bad if the timing was not to your liking. Think Rupard Murdoch was happy about the timing of the phone tapping story? Tough shit, folks. Welcome to the real world outside the beltway.

And, just to remind the dimwits at HRC, Pam's location in North Carolina was being hit by the hurricane ON THE DAY she broke the news. That's part of the real world outside the beltway. It reminds me of the famous line for "A Few Good Men." - "You can't handle the truth!"

Stonewall Girl Stonewall Girl | August 29, 2011 12:13 AM

Monica, stop pulling your punches! Seriously what is the big deal... a factual story and people complain about.... what? Timing... is this national security? peoples jobs may be affected in what ..7 or 8 months? They should be happy they have jobs! Will HRC hire a transperson for other than to showcase "diversity"?

Actually, she wasn't prepping for the hurricane. She said repeatedly on social media and her site that the storm wouldn't hit her hard since she doesn't live on the coast. On the site she says the most they got was some heavy rain and wind gusts of 40mph. She was hardly sandbagging her own home to prevent it from flooding or nailing pieces of wood across windows. And "that's the truth" - or at least how Pam presented it herself.

Also, I think there's a huge difference between the Murdoch scandal and Pam's report. One involved illegally phone tapping crime and terrorist victims, politicians, and the British royal family. The other involved the voluntary resignation of an LGBT org leader in six months that was inaccurately portrayed as if he were fired by his board immediately.

John R. Selig | August 28, 2011 11:03 PM

Solmonese's announced departure is wonderful news. It is the end of an error!

Complaining about Joe S. is just way too easy. For those who say that HRC has lost the trust of the community - they may have lost the trust of the online blogosphere and those who follow this stuff very closely- a small portion of the community.

The fact that Joe S. is still there is a testament to the fact that he has not lost the trust of most of the community. Joe's ass would have been thrown to the street if they significantly saw their revenues and memberships go down. HRC has weathered the recession quite well.

And to those who complain about Joe doing all those fancy cocktail parties- that is probably his primary responsibility- fundraising. Whether we like it or not, those fancy galas get gays and lesbians who probably do nothing the rest of the year for LGBT stuff into a room and pumping money into the movement. And for a movement that is vastly outspent by the right wing- we need every dollar we can get.

Unfortunately, many of those dollars go back into the HRC brand, and more fundraising- but those Galas are a necessary evil.

I used to be outside those galas protesting HRC, but I realized I was wasting my time. You can't change an organization like HRC. HRC is what it is and will always be. It is an institutional gorilla with a largely white and upper class GL agenda. I'm ok with that now. HRC has a role to play. Its not my role- so I choose to spend my money and time elsewhere.

I had the same reaction that many did on here. I am from Baltimore so I was also in the path of the storm. Chibarro evidentally had time to write the story but he was so upset about the storm he somehow forgot to credit Pam for breaking it. Please!!!!
As for HRC being effective again I think you give credit where it certainly isn't do. HRC on the national level has been very slow to put the feet to the fire and on the state level it was rumored they were one of the groups that pressured Equality Maryland and it sponsor to pull the plug on the marriage equality bill. By doing this it pissed off our Senate who refused to take up the gender identity bill.

Let's just hope you didn't make any small mistakes while you prepping for the hurricane or someone might write a blog post excoriating you for it.

So the anger towards the HRC is based on rumors and assumptions? I get that the HRC is not perfect, but goodness, they did some good work. You cannot deny that. There's a lot of HRC hate in here and while I understand some of it, the rest of it seems to be unwarranted.

No, the anger at HRC is based on their consistent, repeated record of selling out trans rights whenever it is convenient to do so.

Based on rumors and assumptions? Where are you getting that from? What is it that you think people are upset about?

There's documented proof of what happened from multiple accounts. There's a youtube recording of his promise to support the trans community -- as if a thousand or two witnesses wasn't proof enough. Then the actions they took contrary to that are documented in their own newsletters and press releases.

The only thing that could be considered "rumor" is when one of my Representatives tells trans activists "Look, you should know that despite publicly claiming to support you, I keep getting visits from HRC people telling me that if we have to cut out gender identity from ENDA that's okay." I tend to hear that once a year or so. I've never heard that first hand, always second or third, so I guess you could call it a rumor. But still, it's only supports a conclusion that is well documented on it's own.

I was not talking about the Trans issues. I agree on that wholeheartedly, I was talking about this statement "HRC on the national level has been very slow to put the feet to the fire and on the state level it was rumored they were one of the groups that pressured Equality Maryland and it sponsor to pull the plug on the marriage equality bill." The magic here is RUMORED. That's what I was referring to.

Viktor,

Hiya. I'm *very* glad that you agree on the trans response to this, but I find it odd that you can do so and still wonder if people realize how hard it is to run sch an organization, and that your comments in general seem to suggest that you, yourself, are not quite as upset with HRC as the Trans community.

I'm singling you out here, not out of animus, but in order to make a point. And that point, while it has something to do with you, really isn't about you as an individual.

The job that Mr. Solomonese has is indeed rather difficult. He's essentially the head of a multimillion dollar company with two divisions and a national scope that has a long history of questionable claims.

What exactly was the role of HRC in getting DADT repealed? Like most other major orgs, HRC opposed the Prop 8 Trial initially, and to what degree have they aided and assisted those of us who are of color?

He has a large staff, a great many things to do, and his job is to be the face and visible front of an organization that claims to be working for the broader community.

He has lied to that community. To gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. Bald faced and forward facing, and he's refused to acknowledge it or retract it or apologize for it.

Personally, I think he's done less for HRC than he did for his previous job. I think he didn't know what he was getting into. He is a lobbyist who went from the fairly benign world (at the time) of women's rights -- especially reproductive rights -- and the support of specific candidates to a more complex set of dealings.

He is, professionally speaking, a schmoozer. That's his skill. He's good at it. Is he a great administrator? Not really -- in the time of his oversight, he's managed to piss off a large chunk of the people that pay him, he's had high profile losses and pointed resignations that blamed actions he oversaw on the part of some (polls that were of questionable methodology and rapid release intended to deceive and provide spin, notably) and his own actions for the reasons for them, and the org's has laid claim to victories without any sort of effective description of how they accomplished those victories.

Meanwhile, other orgs have been doing that, and they get a tad bit upset when HRC claims such.

Was the timing of the Blend's report poor? Well, for the 2000 employees of HRC, yes. For the country as a whole, not really. As Bil noted, many of us already knew that he was stepping down. This wasn't a secret, this wasn't something that the employees were truly unprepared for.

But it was mighty inconvenient of the news to be made so loudly while they teams in charge of such were busy doing something that was more important than saving the reputation of the org.

But, most importantly, you describe yourself as agreeing withthe trans anger, and yet you don't show any of it yourself. The trans commnities are upset over being lied to -- and you've been lied to, as well. THe trans communities are upset over their needs being sacrificed and negotiated away for gains that are of little practical value in the day to day, wallet and purse sense. Your needs faced the same thing. The HRC is seen as elitist, classist, and limited to the coastal areas in terms of who counts, with flyover country being called, well, fly over country -- a place not worth looking at or dealing with because, after all, all those people should just move to the coasts.

You should be just as angry as the trans community. This is an org that has its leader stand up before thousands of US -- gay people, bi people, lesbians, straight people, cis people and trans people -- and literally stated falsehoods for the sole purpose of raising funds and hope, all the while already preparing efforts to do exactly the opposite of what they said.

He lied to gay men. He lied to people of color. And then he let it happen again, afterward. Do you honestly think that they have stopped that?

If you support the trans community, you would support that anger, and that means more than merely *saying* it. Do you realize, truly, that to the trans community, the HRC is about 190 good things away from making up just for what they did 3 years ago *still*?

And, if you support them, in this this, what have yo done to show that you are in solidarity with them, that you support them? Words? "I support them!"

That's what Joe said. And then did the opposite. Words, Viktor, are no longer enough.

Thank you, Antonia. I do understand your point.

2000? I'm pretty sure HRC has less than 200 employees.

Was the timing of the Blend's report poor? Well, for the 2000 employees of HRC, yes.

The LGBT community at large has no moral duty whatsoever towards HRC employees -- they are just as much the enemy as the Tea Party is. If anything, we have a moral duty to harm them (within the limits of the law) in order to eliminate HRC as an obstruction to trans rights.

You know there are plenty of great people that work at HRC. And you are talking about harming them? Absolutely disgusting.

Within the limits of the law, yes. That means not with violence, but with social punishment -- they work for the enemy, they work for the bad guys, and it should be made clear to them that this is Not Okay.

Basically, those who work for HRC should be treated the same way we treat those who work for NOM or any other bigot organization. Because that's what HRC is; it's basically an organization that represents an aggressively transphobic rich gay white male viewpoint.

Desiree, I'm sorry, but that is ridiculous. The entire HRC is not the enemy. I'm quite bothered by responses in here. Not only are you proving my point about leadership, but you are presenting poor examples of yourselves and the community. I'm very dishearten by this.

Chitown Kev | August 29, 2011 1:18 PM

Viktor...I do know that there is no love lost between you and Pam Spaulding.

Do you think that might be clouding your take on this specific issue just a little bit?

Having said that...having a somewhat positive public image IS a part of the job and as far as PR WITHIN the LGBT community, Joe Solomnese does not have a good record.

Outside of the LGBT community seems to be a bit of a different story then again...the non-LGBT community may be their audience?

And that may be part of the problem here?

Good point, Kev. Maybe that is the difference - they're playing for a different audience than we'd assume.

LOL Bil, dear man, you should be a tad more forthcoming and a bit less circumspect.

You know damn well that it is not a "maybe" situation. And I know that you know.

Of course, this does mean that I now know that you know that I know that you know.

Ya know?

Hi Kev,

Actually, I have respect for Pam and I appreciate her work. I was just put off by that statement of hers. However, I think Joe's image is mixed within our community. I don't many are completely upset with him.

How ironic that Pam states that The Blade, "doesn't know how to fact check".

As evident on her most recent post here, her mode of operation has always been to get credit at the expense of accuracy, fairness, or compassion.  Sadly, personal agendas typically compromise one's integrity and character.

It has been common knowledge that Joe would not renew his contract and it's common knowledge that the Board asked for six months notice.  Just because Ms. Spaulding figured that Joe would therefore need to provide notice in September or October and she jumped the gun, it's laughable that she feels she should get the credit.

We can do the math too.  But, for Ms. Spaulding to not have the most important parts of the story to be accurate (departure date, interim President, successor selected) and demand "credit" for what everyone already knew is utterly sad.

For most bloggers, such as Ms. Spaulding, to attempt to elevate themselves to journalists is equally laughable.  I guess anything is possible especially when people actually think FOX News produces anything newsworthy or anything resembling news.

And to those posting comments, if you don't expand your sources of information, don't blame it on HRC if you don't know what they have actually done on securing or helping to secure marriage equality at the state level and the District.  It's all out there, including what's been achieved legislatively and administratively.  Expand your mind and don't be a hypocrite condemning the right-wing of only relying on a single source of information.  Just because somebody wrote it or says it, doesn't make it true.

Maybe their Galas are dressy and attract a certain demographic of our community, but that doesn't mean they're only advocating for that demographic only.  That is an insult to the thousands of volunteers who produce these Gala Dinners in their home city each and every year.

Lastly, I'm glad to see people are so compassionate here.  While HRC employees are worrying about their homes, lives, family, and loved ones, to add unneeded anxiety and stress based on inaccurate information, is being cry-babies?  Wow!  Really?!

Really??? Are you serious??? The debacle here in MD was confirmed by numerous sources and the fact that HRC along with other national organizations had their hands in it. It is ultimately what caused the director of EQMD to lose her job and why that organization is in dire financial straits. As for things on the national level Joe was being a lap dog to the administration signing of on trying to push DADT to a vote this year. It was only the push from true liberal groups that the administration finally got on board for a vote last year.
As for the transgender community HRC has constantly thrown them under the bus. Do you dispute that because there is plenty of proof there including stuff in the posts above.

I'm talking about Pam's inaccurate information. Can you please slow down and read, instead of reacting. And, just because someone may have a different viewpoint or opinion, it doesn't mean s/he is an enemy.

Also I support the Trans community. I understand why the Trans community is upset with HRC. I agree with that.

Joe will be joining Barney Frank's reelection staff. Remember, you heard it first here. Michele Bachmann tried to hire him but God sent Irene as a message to Joe that her presidential campaign is full of hot air. Besides, Barney's got more money in his various PAC's than HRC's annual budget and far less staff.

Now why would any woman be surprised by what Joe did in 2007? Weren't you taught by your mother that the words "I'll still respect you" are always a lie whenever a man is asking for something?

The comments from transgenders on this thread is sad and pathetic.

It is really, really a shame what transgender activism has become; mean, nasty, threats, blame......narcissistic victimhood.

I know many share my thoughts and have given up on civilized behavior or dialog that they can be proud of to join in as transgenders. Maybe sometime soon it will turn around, but that is a long, long, way away.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 30, 2011 2:29 AM

In the long run, and probably in the short run, HRC just doesn't matter. HRCs time is over. What Pam did in writing her story was perfectly correct - it's called journalism, and too bad if it upsets some people.

HRC is a failure because it's a front group for the Democrats. That wasn't always as pronounced as it is now.

In 1996 when Clinton ran his disgusting reelection ads boasting about his role in signing DOMA and getting it passed even HRC felt called upon to protest, however feebly. Since then they've dived so deeply into the swamp of Democrat Party politics that they'll extricate themselves. Their sleazy role in the gutting of ENDA, the passage of Prop 8 and beating the drum for Obama are cases in point.

The partisan loyalty of groups like Stonewall Democrats, HRC and EQCA to the Democrats, who are enemies of LGBT equality, will doom them, just as the loyalty of Log Cabin and GOProud to the Republican party will doom them.

Bil,
I would have cut him some slack if I truly believed it was a mistake on his part. I think he chose not to give Pam credit and only corrected it when there was an outcry. I think many in print media do not give bloggers credit as journalists. And as a few others have pointed out in this thread you really seem to have a chip on your shoulder about Pam. I read both of your sites and enjoy them both. Why a post which amounts to a hit piece on her?

We did see a few equal signs on cars with out of state plates near then end of the struggle for marriage equality in New York. Just in time for press conferences and releases.

A lot of the women who worked for that, not HRC connected, sat in homes linked by conference calls watching the vote that night, a wonderful evening. We had bets going on how long it would take the HRC to claim a major part...

That said, the HRC did play a major part in the Hate Crimes Bill.
and of course, who can ever forget the triumph of the Anniversary of Stonewall a few years ago when Joe and the Prez memorialised the Rental Truck Equality Memorandum for Federal Employees--what could possibly top that?

And all of the wonderful things that they have done to/for/on behalf of/to thwart trans people.

And we Lesbians are eternally grateful for all of the fine things that HRC did on our behalf for joint child custody, child care, Lesbian Women's Health Initiatives like...well, there was....ummm...didn't they, no wait, .....

Look for the comment of the week, drawn from this post, tonight at 7pm. Happy holiday, everyone!

When Joe sold out the trans community again, on ENDA, for a vote which would mean nothing anyway, since even if past it would be vetoed by Bush, I along with the rest of the trans community dropped out of HRC and have never looked back. The organization is a money making racket as far as I'm concerned. Just posing for the limelight while accomplishing nothing.
Tammi Dee Voytek