Rebecca Juro

Why The Human Rights Campaign Is Wrong And Always Has Been

Filed By Rebecca Juro | January 10, 2008 4:48 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, The Movement
Tags: America, HRC, lesbian, LGBT, politics, queer, transgender

Imagine if one day you went to vote in your state or local primary election and you were told “Oh, I’m sorry, but you didn’t donate enough money to the Party this year to have the right to vote in our primary election. We’re really sorry about that, but hey, don’t worry…we’ll be sure to let you know how it comes out.”

Sound ridiculous? Maybe, but that’s pretty much exactly how the leadership of the Human Rights Campaign operates. If you want a vote in the political agenda of HRC, you need to pony up fifty grand or more to the organization’s operating budget in order to have one.

Consider what the reaction might be if the scenario above actually happened in real life. You’d be hearing words like “undemocratic”, “unfair”, and “un-American”. There would protests and violence in the streets, lawsuits, commentary and coverage in the media. Average, working-class American voters would be demanding blood.

And guess what? That’s exactly what’s now happening on a somewhat smaller scale within in the LGBT community in regard to how the way HRC operates is seen by the greater American LGBT community. It’s hardly surprising when you consider that this kind of politics is exactly what the American people have risen up and fought against throughout our history, over and over again. The history of activism and civil rights progress in the United States tells this same story repeatedly, and so it’s really not so surprising that it’s retelling itself yet again today.

It’s important to remember that when our country was founded, as much we as may honor those fabled words we all know and remember, all men were not actually created equal in the eyes of our government. Only wealthy property owners were allowed to vote. Black men were considered slaves, the property of their white owners, and women were considered the property of their husbands. Neither group were allowed a voice in the government or politics of this country. When this country was founded, and for the better part of a century afterward, it was only rich, white, property-owning men who had any voice in the governing of our country and the way it was run.

Over the course of our history, we learned that treating our fellow citizens that way was wrong and that it wasn’t in keeping with what the Founding Fathers had really intended, even though the original federal laws written at the time reflected the realities and beliefs of those times. The men who created our Constitution and initial set of laws understood that it could not possibly last forever in its original form, that it had to be a foundation which could be built upon, expanded, and amended to keep up with the changing realities of a future they could not possibly imagine at the time, and so they made sure that the ability to do so was an integral part of the foundation of our laws and our government.

The Human Rights Campaign operates in much the same way, treating the vast majority of the American LGBT community in much the same way as our original government treated the vast majority of the American people. Only the very wealthiest and most influential get a say in how it’s run, but the rest of us are expected to just fall in line and obey the rules and guidelines they set out. Neither our participation nor our opinions are welcomed or wanted, but at the same time, we are still being asked to pay for and promote it.

What we’ve been seeing here with the HRC and it’s “advocacy” over the last few months isn’t a bunch of radical extremists taking on the establishment as some would like to cast it. It’s yet another group of persecuted and devalued American citizens standing up to tyranny and demanding a voice in how our country and our movement is run. It’s the very best of American history repeating itself yet again, the true story of what it really means to be an American retelling itself for a modern audience.

Any student of American history knows how it worked out last time, the time before that, and the time before that. It’ll work out the same way this time, too. The real question here is whether HRC will eventually find the courage to place themselves firmly on the side of justice, or will continue to eagerly and enthusiastically ally themselves with our harshest oppressors. It’s the question of whether HRC’s leadership will finally become willing to share the power of our movement’s government with the people, or, like King George II, will eventually find itself with no power at all as the people find their own voice, turn their backs on authoritarianism and the voices of the status quo, and go our own way toward a better future which includes everyone.

The Human Rights Campaign is wrong, it’s always been wrong, and most importantly of all, it’s downright un-American. It’s time for the winds of change to once again blow this kind of authoritarian politics back into the dustbin of history, where it belongs.

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I appreciate the sentiment behind this post, but I think you should lose the "that is un-American" ra-ra-rhetoric.

I disagree, Nick. I think it's right on the money, and our history has conclusively proven who's on the side of the angels here.

Hi Rebecca,
You and I know HRC won't change until they are forced to. The way that is accomplished is airing their dirty laundry and attacking their sources of income.

Hay lady what is on the Show tonight?

Take care

beergoggles | January 10, 2008 5:48 PM

Meh, HRC is a private organization. They have every right to set up their membership donation thresholds and agenda.

Don't like it? Don't participate or setup your own organization or support one that you do. There are specific organizations for gay soldiers, trans folks, legal issues, etc. Pick some of them. Harping on and on about HRC gives me the impression that you don't see the myriad gay interest groups out there due to your obsession.

Spouting stuff that we're supposed to toe whatever line that HRC regurgitates is bollocks and we all know it

My thoughts also beergoggles, dont like it dont give them money.
Give money to the organizations that hold to your beliefs and what you want to get accomplished. There are countless organizations that will take your money for countless numbers of issues.

I agree in practice, BG, that if we don't like an org the best thing to do is to give our time and energy and money and resources to other groups or endeavors that we do like.

But I don't know if I'd go as far as to use the language of private property here with HRC or any other self-described civil rights group. We can say that they're just one group all we want, but they do use our name to lobby all the time. They say that they act for the whole "LGBT community" because of the power implicit in saying that they're representative of more people....

And we can see it after the HRC/Logo debate, when the presidential candidates considered the gays done, or when Hillary did an interview with The Advocate and that was it for the gay media. People want to have a go-to group among LGBT's because of our collective power in terms of votes, agitation, and money, and HRC takes to represent us along that line, whether we donate money to them or not.

I think that ultimately a "live and let die" mentality with the way these organizations work privatizes modes of identity and sells them off to the highest bidder, sort of like selling mining or water rights. What was public is now private and owned....

Hmmm, this is sounding like a separate wank-a-rific post.

"Meh, HRC is a private organization. They have every right to set up their membership donation thresholds and agenda."

The Mafia feels that way too. However, the RICO statutes beg to differ.

HRC has been doing more than simply acting in a way that trans people don't like; they've been doing so while saying that they were doing the opposite - and making money off of the false representation. Numerous aspects of law - in addition to, of course, ethics and common decency - stand in opposition to what HRC has been doing.

Alex, you have a point about how it translates to politics, but also consider that it is because HRC has the money and ultimately in politics, that is what counts. Consider if all the anti-HRC folks managed to hijack the Victory Fund and a bunch of other political funding gay organizations, you could achieve more political clout - which is sorta the point I'm making. Gay people are either too lazy to support other organizations or they're quite happy with what HRC is doing despite all the bitching we do at the fringes.

Kat, RICO statutes have far more leeway than you give them credit for or else political and religious groups would have all been jailed by now for doing far more than HRC has.

Only the very wealthiest and most influential get a say in how it’s run, but the rest of us are expected to just fall in line and obey the rules and guidelines they set out.

This has always been one of my biggest complaints about the org. If you don't have the money to buy a small island, you don't sit on the board. The board isn't chosen for worthiness so much as financial standing.

HRC acts like a government entity in that it accepts our money (taxes/donations), and it says it represents us and our interests as citizens. Yet, unlike our country, none of us are allowed a vote or even to seek a redress of grievances. HRC gives us what they want to give us, does as it pleases, and still expects us to pay the freight to let them do it. Yet, we can't vote them out of office or have any influence on their agenda. It absolutely is, at its core, un-American, in the way it operates, and in the way they cast themselves as our representatives while doing so.


Since ENDA what are we doing???? The Transgender community has run amuck! What we are now doing stinks! What we as the Trans-community have now ended up doing is no less than acting out the strife that HRC and the greater GLBt wants us to portray. By our infighting and tearing apart of our bonds they become strong. Their self-absorbed and elitist vision for power and control is what drives HRC and the militant gay community. Please, understand that I am not talking about the loving and kind gay community, rather, the Sturmabteilung and backroom body grabbers the likes of Barney Frank and ilk. It is all about diverting the public's attention from their moving into power positions within corporate America and its wealth for strictly self-serving means. It is not about equality. One cannot proclaim equality and ignore others who should share in the rights of common wellbeing. When B. Frank spoke on the floor, he literally was speaking treason and against the very fabric of our constitution and Bill of Rights. It can be said no other way, as the courts have already defined that stance, and, as in the days of Gov. George Wallace, a matter of unconstitutional and discriminatory practice. HRC and the thugs surrounding Joe Solmonese are telling us that we are not welcome to use the public toilets and that we cannot drink from the public fountain.

They are telling us that we are not fit to hold meaningful jobs; that we are freaks who are not acceptable to society. They did this publically, and in the backroom worked up a plan to keep us divisive so as to be seen as freaks by society. There is no way around the matter. We are the propaganda tool for the "New Elite" or "pan-Aryan" mentality. We are the ones chosen to be maligned and abused so the money - and power-laden gay aristocracy can go unchallenged and unnoticed. While they slide into more and more of the fabric of society carefully showing themselves as relative conservatives in middle-of-the-road family living. We on the other hand are daily sliding into the realm of the bizarre and perceived danger zone. A gay Boy Scout leader is almost now acceptable, but a GID father is to be literally sent to the concentration camps of despair and sure death. It is bigotry, inequality, intolerance, unfairness, chauvinism, sexism, racism, bias, insularity, prejudice…. it is "Discrimination" – Do You Get It?

The very organization that claims the throne for equality is the single most active force in denying the Transgender simple subsistence. It is the new gay sectarian snobbery, which has worked to control other gay and lesbian enclaves and subordinate them. Worse, they have actively separated and divided the Trans-community so as to use us as a diversion. We are HRC millions behind in ability, and legislatively separated (segregated), and we are ripping each others clothes off exposing our weaknesses. History is repeating itself in an awful way.

Everyone may see this as radical, but it follows history in great detail. It is a political strategy that has worked. It is working now! I remember clearly the comments of a child of the Holocaust; he said he was dumbfounded to discover that his own father, a minister in 30's Germany, was duped by the propaganda of the era. First it was the Transgender / Effeminates who were singled out, followed by spurious fringe groups, then political threats and press, educators, the church and finally the Jews. I have no doubt that we are duped, and so is the public. No doubt at all.