Guest Blogger

A Movement Moving Forward

Filed By Guest Blogger | October 15, 2009 8:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: gay rights movement, National Equality March, NEM, Rea Carey, The Task Force

Editors' Note: Guest blogger Rea Carey is the Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

The National Equality March held in Washington, D.C., last weekend resonated and refreshed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and our straight allies with new energy Thumbnail image for Rea Carey.jpgand new momentum for progressive and positive change as thousands gathered to demand action on our equality agenda. With our feet, signs and voices, we recommitted ourselves to act on behalf of LGBT aspirations for full legal equality.

Yet, even in the midst of this uplifting display of dedication to our cause and solidarity among LGBT people and straight allies, a peculiar narrative played out in both mainstream and community media: that our movement has become more divided. A "split" is now said to pit our grassroots activists against our organizational activists. According to some, the National Equality March revealed this split because the march was organized by grassroots activists, working independently of our national groups and utilizing social networking tools, fueled in large part by the defeats last November and the frustratingly slow pace of change at the federal level.

Really? A split?

I participated in the weekend's events and march until the very last speaker rallied the crowd, and while different speakers had a different take on the matter, what I heard was a unity of purpose, unity of goals, and unity of mindset. Every speaker and every marcher stepped forth for our overarching demand of full equality and full respect for all of us.

The Narrative of Division

The message I take from the National Equality March? If we want change and progress, we must all take the energy of the day, roll up our sleeves, head home and continue the work. For some of us, home is a small town in the middle of the country that has not seen a speck of LGBT protections. For others, it is a state where some, but not all, protections exist. And, yes, for some of us home is Washington, D.C., where we are fighting for marriage equality, for a real vote in Congress, for resources to fight alarming HIV/AIDS rates along with fighting for federal legislation that will improve the lives of LGBT people across this country.

A split? That's not what we are seeing in Washington state, Maine or Kalamazoo, Mich., where our staff and others who have decades of experience and activism under their belts are working day and night, side by side, with people for whom this is their first campaign. Just as some of us drove across the country for the inspiration of the National Equality March, others have driven across the country to join the grassroots efforts to protect and defend our equality in places and spaces where hard-won victories will lift us all.

The narrative of division playing out in the media ignores the history of our past national marches and the lesson that every social justice movement needs multiple tactics, insiders and outsiders, grassroots pressure and, when it comes to legislation, those who can work the halls of Congress. Each of our movement's past marches in 1979, 1987, 1993 and 2000 had its own animating issues and each energized new voices of activists who articulated our frustrations, our hopes and our determination to win. This year's march is no different.

Our Community Is Not Either/Or

The National Equality March also demonstrated the extent to which we are connected and interdependent. Scores of local, state and national organizations endorsed the march. The same generous funders who fund many of our movement's organizations (including the Task Force) also funded the march. Staff and board members from our movement's organizations were among those who spoke so powerfully from the stage. Among the thousands who put foot to pavement on Sunday were members and staff of our national, state and local organizations as well as the grassroots activists with whom we work across the country.

Federal work or state work? Grassroots or grasstops? Incrementalism or quantum leaps? You tweet or you don't tweet? Since when have we been a movement that has allowed ourselves to be framed as a set of either/or choices? Since when have we been a movement that takes a pass on pursuing equality and fighting discrimination wherever and whenever we can?

The either/or narrative that has been playing out is false. Look a young trans man in the eye and tell him we shouldn't be working on anti-bullying protections for public school students. Look a fast-food worker in the eye and tell her that her stomach must continue to churn every day as she fears losing her job simply because of who she is. Look a bisexual military service member in the eye and tell her she has to stay closeted.

State-by-state political work and localized grassroots organizing are also part of a crucial national strategy that fits exactly the design of our decentralized representational democracy. Local efforts to elect pro-LGBT officials flow upward to the state level and then, to the federal level.

A Movement Moving Forward

In the U.S., approximately 500,000 elected officials make decisions affecting our lives; only 535 of them work in the Congress and only two of them hold our highest offices of president and vice president. We need to lobby, educate, persuade, cajole, elect and re-elect local and state decision makers, both to create change at every level and to ensure that a majority of the 535 members of Congress arrive already having voted in favor of pro-LGBT legislation.

Our state and local work is foundational to achieving our federal goals. And our federal work is critical not only because it covers issues that cannot be addressed at the local and state level but also because it benefits those of us in states where protections have been denied or have not yet been achieved. As for those two top positions in the White House? We must push and push for change so second-class status for LGBT people does in fact end on President Obama's (and Congress') watch. And, that watch is ticking fast.

We need outside demonstrators; we need inside negotiators; we need constituent lobbyists in district offices; we need those who calibrate Capitol Hill persuasions to win support from key legislators; we need bloggers and tweeters; we need letter writers and phone callers; we need door knockers; we need fundraisers; we need policy wonks; we need researchers; we need organizers. This movement will succeed with all of us putting every queer shoulder to the wheel, pushing the same direction.

Here's the narrative I offer: In October 2009, the LGBT community embraced its powerful, rich and successful history and dedicated itself to its bright future. We were ready for change and progress and we vowed to do something about it. We did not waste this moment arguing over styles of activism, but rather we inspired each other and drew upon vast human resources of ourselves and our allies to transform society so that we are not simply tolerated, but rather we are celebrated, accepted and valued. Let's continue the work!

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Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | October 16, 2009 4:59 AM

A deepening split in the GLBT movements is not a rumor or an illusion, it's a reality, and one we should embrace. The title should have read "Splitting so we can move forward."

For too long the movement has been led by a sorry collection of hustlers and self appointed leaders tied to the Democrats, one of the two parties deeply opposed to our agenda.

What the march signified was the deepening of that split and the emergence of a large left wing.

It was, as predicted, an anti-Obama, anti-Democrat party and anti-Barney Frank rally. Given their record or betrayals and hostility it really couldn’t have been anything else. Democrats opposed it from day one but all the carping and whining of its White House and DNC detractors was in vain. It was a success and according to Jones, Andy Towle and police roughly 250,000 marched in spite of hard economic times and a short organizing time.

It reflected some, but not all of the diversity of the LGBT communities and was more a march of the radical elements layers of our movements than a mass march. But that’s a good start.

It forced Obama to go the HRC dinner the night before with a replay of his useless promises and lies. HRC and the DNC types deepened their dependence on the Democrats, which is like an abused spouse going back for more, and widened their alienation from the broader movement. The emerging differences between the two sides of the movement couldn’t be starker. HRC banqueters repeatedly applauded the same Obama who provided the right with all the ammo they needed to torpedo same sex marriage rights with his bigoted comment “gawd’s in the mix.”

“About halfway through the National Equality March, when it became clear that the turnout was big enough for the march to be deemed a huge success, a reporter said to Cleve Jones, 'You realize you just split the gay movement in two.'

Jones nodded and grinned.”

The march was a key development in the creation of a left wing of the LGBT movement. Its central political demand “equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states” is reasonable, easily understood and not likely to be granted with out a huge battle. Bigotry means lower wages, fewer opportunities and double exploitation. They’re never gonna give that up. (Watch the ENDA fight to see how it all works out.)

Now we need to develop a nationwide, internally democratic, activist led mass action organization. Nothing is even half as important as that.

There is clearly a split in the movement construct between those who believe in empowering a movement and those who resist a democratic, nationwide, transparent process in favor of a tightly controlled legislative strategy. It will not help us to candy coat reality in favor of a more united spin. Our own organizations have been spinning this community much better than they spin our issues externally for too long.

The bottom line is that if we want the kind of cohesion the Task Force speaks of - they and the other major national organizations - need to humble themselves to create a national coalition model (again based on transparency and public participation). We may have 1000s of organizations intertwined to various degrees as you point out, but that is not an organized national movement. While we expect 60 Senators to vote in unison, we do not have 60 lgbtiq organizations acting or talking in unison, now alone congressional numbers.

Rather than spin and cheer-lead - pick up the phone and call HRC's un-elected President - and start 1 by 1 to build a coalition. Write us again when you have 10 national organizations coordinating a call for a vote - or even a national lobbying effort - on any congressional legislation. Otherwise, the split will only grow as each one of you grandstand about your individual work (which is indeed important, but old news in a new political reality).

Where is the change we can believe it?

No more heads in the sand, please.

I disagree somewhat, Rea. As we've talked about before privately, I see a huge split between the national orgs and the grassroots. Many of us feel unsupported by the big groups when we don't get any help or involvement in our local issues. This leads to a sense of unease or distrust of the big groups by those of us in Flyover Country while we see local people we trust stepping forward to do grassroots work.

I think the whole situation is a lot more complicated than just "Gay Inc vs Grassroots" but it is an underlying problem for our community that needs to be addressed clearly and forthrightly or it's going to get worse.

I've shared with you my vision of how this should work; the grassroots supports the goals of the orgs while the orgs improve the grassroots capabilities locally. I hope you're able to help make my dream a reality.

So much in agreement--but Rea beautifully makes a point I've been trying to make for months but just can't do as well; All of these strategies are needed to get us to the end. We need the schmoozing, the radical action, the fundraising, the letter-writting, the story-telling, the blogging, the lobbying and the in-house helpin' one-another up stuff ALL to get the job done. You know I love radical action, but at what point does radical action actually get a bill written and passed? I love a good black-tie dinner too, but that also doesn't get bills passed. The lobbying is nice, but it does not create a sense of urgency for lawmakers. A boiling stew of all of these ingredients gets movement--it has on the state level at least. I like how Rea talks about putting pressure on them from all sides. For the last decade, we've been pretty darn tame (with good reason, we have to save up energy because King George certainly wasn't doing anything for us).

This year, we're in America's face every day, and what happens? Hate Crimes is about to become a reality, Domestic Partnerships Benefits and Obligations is sailing through committee, Uniting American Families Act is at critical mass. But would radical action ALONE have garnered us these results? Lobbyist have been spending the last decade greasing the wheels in congress. They've educated and moved everyone into position for this critical moment. Lawmakers have come around--by listening to the empassioned but measured and respectful pleas of lobbyists over the years.

There was a time when Debbie Stabenow was not 100% behind us, when Chuck Shumer was a "no" on marriage. When Chis Dodd was a "no" on marriage. When Olympia Snowe was a "no" on marriage. That's all changed--thanks to constant work by our ogs.

However, it is WE THE PEOPLE who create the urgency that makes Congress pay attention and want to do something. When we sit complacently and stay quiet and polite, Congress sees no reason to move. When we're going to LITERALLY be on their doorstep... well then they just have to take notice, and figure out what to do about this problem. Lucky for them, our lobbyists just happen to be waiting in the wings with some already written bills and some prepped allies to introduce and cosponsor them.

The process works if we ALL get involved and push hard enough.

And for anyone who thinks action doesn't win over the American Public, I say--I don't have any scientific polls or anything, but I've gotten a lot more "wow, good for yous!" than "what'd y'all do that for?" In fact, my dad's the only "what'd y'all do that for?"

And he voted for Reagan, Bushes four times, a Dole and McCain, so he doesn't count.

The orgs need to start actually listening to the grassroots level rather than just telling us when they need funding.
I get a lot of calls/letters/emails about the need for funding in these orgs but I do not see them asking my opinion on issues in any organized way.
I find it laughable that so many of the large organizations claim to represent me. Have they asked me for money? Yes! Do they ask for my opinion on issues? No! Do their names even include my identity? Often not! So their idea or representation is that they best know how to spend my money.
Reach out to the grassroots by trying to become aware of what we want and need, not by telling us what you think we should do.
What we need is a national organization which is diverse. It should
1) Be a large organization with smaller local chapters that are active. (PGLAG does this really well)
2) Have a neutral name that is non-exclusive and can include GLBTQ people and not try to homogenize us into Gay & Lesbian. (Only thing that HRC has going for it but that is in name only)
3) Have an online feedback poll that runs constantly and is updating results on issues. (Don't have an example of this one)
4)Do fundraising which feeds both national and local coffers with each local group keeping a significant portion of their local fundraising at their own level while the national fundraising stays mostly at that level to be directed into various battles as needed. (maybe PFLAG again)
5) Set up departments that address the big issues so that people who are interested in DOMA have an avenue as do people interested in Equal Access to Marriage as do the people interested in ENDA as do the people interested in LGBT healthcare. (nGLtf seems to get this one)
6) Have a youth division so that young people feel included rather than spoken down to. (Youth pride does this as doers GLSEN)
7) Have some realistic training programs for teaching people to do various kinds of activism. These can be as simple as on-line tutorials. (no much of this happening)
8) Have a coalition mindset attempting to bring other organizations to the table as equals rather than trying to get them to agree to work under one another. (Yep not seeing much of this, everybody needs to be in charge.)
9)Provide a venue for active discussion and education on issues and positions along with reporting on issues. (Bilerico Project provides this)
Or different orgs could plug these things into themselves and restructure to accommodate all of this, but I have serious doubts that any of our large organizations have that level of quality leadership. Or maybe we just build a new organization from the roots up or the center out.

I think Rea's point is somewhat reminiscent of the point I made in my blog a few days ago (LGBT Strategy: "My Way or the Highway"?).

I think we need both grassroots AND national orgs to make our movement work. Rather than see things as "us vs them", we need to see the movement as a whole, with different prongs and strategies. The grassroots keeps the national groups moving and on track by providing the pressure and accountability, while the national orgs have access that most can never see (an unfortunate byproduct of how out government works, but a reality nonetheless).

Do I agree with everything the National orgs do? Heck no. Which is why I use my voice and grassroots networks to pressure them to stay on course. It's about keeping them honest and connected to the everyday person they represent. I think the online & grassroots community does a pretty bang up job of that.

To me, it's two sides of the same coin. Our movement is a spectrum of strategy and goals. It's not "either/or" to me, rather "do it all."

And the goals being listed as things for national orgs to do (support local groups, training, building capacity on the ground, etc) is being done by folks like the NGLTF. Having been to Creating Change, the March, and having NGLTF help out in local fights here in Florida (like during our battle with the bigoted Mayor of Fort Lauderdale Jim Naugle or the string of hate crimes that followed), I can say from personal experience that they do good work for us grassroots folks.

Dissension and debate are good and healthy. Throwing stones, painting with broad strokes, and widening gaps or divisions without solutions will only cause more problems.

Personally, I think a lot of this was brought on by HRC's political games and NGLTF is getting hit in the crossfire to a large extent.

There are clearly many ways to being bridging this gap and I know NGLTF has been willing to explore those. If we can get everyone on board in building coalitions (the kind that will inspire trust and confidence in the average LGBT), perhaps this split can be mended before it gets bigger.

This isn't unexpected at all, though, it's a natural outgrowth of our movement and its goals. There will be those who recognize this truth and capitalize on it and those who will not. In the end, it will be up to each activist and activist organization to decide for themselves whether they want to work in concert with the rest of the activist community for the betterment of all of us or whether they want to go it alone and set themselves apart from the rest of us.

While I believe history teaches us what to expect, I suppose we can always hope for change. That seems to be really in vogue these days.

Rebecca could you be more specific in how you see NGLTF getting caught in the cross hairs due to HRC?
I was wondering because I know that I have been a very big detractor from the NGLTF before but that has always been and remains based on the actions of that organization and leadership.
I have also been a detractor from HRC and that too was based on the actions of the organization.
I've yet to see a large LGBT organization that has an inclusive name like HRC and is actually inclusive which I am told NGLTF is and works on many fronts.
Both HRC and NGLTF irritate me one because it has a non-exclusive name and is not inclusive and plays games while the other claims to be inclusive and can't seem to stop using a name that contributes to the invisibility of large sections of our community and so I see both of them as significant parts of the problem of our community continually being presented but our 'leaders' as homogeneous.
HRC I see no hope for it should just be flushed. NGLTF I once saw hope for when they were going to change the name to just Task Force and no longer have an exclusive name and turns out that they had no intention of doing it on a practical level and still use the exclusive name and they were BSing us just like always. They send emissaries to bi events and meetings and pat themselves on the back about how inclusive they are but at the end of the day they are still the NGLTF and still project that limited image. They want to call their event creating change which is laughable. If they want to create change start with their job titles, their letterhead and their website and stop homogenizing queers for butter straight consumption.
I was one of the organizers on a Bivisibility event in NY at the LGBT Center earlier this year and NGLTF seemed to have a lot to say about inclusion but they just have not been willing to back it up.
I would honestly rather deal with the open arrogance of HRC because at least that is honest and they do believe themselves. I find NGLTF to be more personally disgusting because of the lack of honesty about it. I would rather and honest jerk because there is always a chance that he or she can change than I would a dishonest BS artists who believes his or her own lies.
As things stand I continue to detract from both organizations and support grass roots efforts as much as I can. I am a very vocal detractor of both organizations on any forum that I can. I am getting ready to make my periodic posting to a queer youth site explaining why neither one nor the other of these organizations actually represent our whole community.

Rob, the way I see it as someone who's been paying attention to these groups for the last dozen years or so is that while HRC has been consistently angering the lower class, middle class, and especially the transgender portions of our community with their self-serving political games, NGLTF has been setting the example of the way things should be.

For example, NGLTF has the Transgender Law Project, headed by Lisa Mottet. They were seriously working for transgender rights long before transfolks were even on HRC's radar other than as political problems to be worked around, at a time when even HRC's Executive Director Elizabeth Birch felt comfortable enough to say publicly that transpeople would be included in ENDA "over (her) dead body".

In my experience (which begins in '97, when I came out and began living as a woman fulltime), NGLTF has always been supportive of trans rights and we have always been part of their agenda.

Conversely, the history of HRC is one of backroom deals to sell out the equality of the poorest and most disadvantaged to secure rights and benefits for themselves and others like them (i.e. the rich and politically connected).

HRC isn't trusted to advocate fairly and inclusively because they haven't done anything to earn that trust. As my Grandma used to say. "What's to trust?", or in other words, what has HRC given us to base that kind of trust on? How has HRC demonstrated that they're honestly and vigorously fighting for all of us? I think we all know the answer to that one.

Also, by no means am I saying that NGLTF is perfect, far from it. No org I know of, including the trans orgs, is one I find myself in complete agreement on every single issue on. Nevertheless, when you take the time to really compare the histories and the records here, there's just no contest.

One org falls short of the other in just about every measure you can name when it comes to really reflecting and advocating for the values they say they believe in, and none of us have to think for even a second to know which org that is.

RiFT oR No RiFt? Movement Evolution Is Underway.

The best stories are imbued with truth, but that doesn't make the message true, and this seems to be the case with the colloquies and actions seeking to limit the significance of the March within the Movement. Surely it cannot be that the shift in our community fabric being experienced by so many is a mere delusion of the press. Rather it seems to me, what we are witnessing is organizational resistance to change, grasping to mollify the dynamic forces bent on evolution, operating from a perhaps well-intended but restricted vision.

While it is true that all-too-often the debate is misconstrued with false alternatives (either or), this is also the case with defending the status quo from a real or imagined schism. In this vein, a prevalent theme permeates the airwaves intent on persuading us that everything is fine as is, that no real choice is at hand and that tomorrow will be the same as yesterday, but better. This messaging is counter-evolutionary and seeks to bend the movement toward the stagnancy that the people have clearly and loudly decried.

I perceive it differently and am trying to embrace a seemingly inescapable and profound change in the movement, between generations, between organizing methods, between timing and strategy, and between institutions and people. Fortunately, there are now two elephants in the room presenting a stark contrast, each with designs on the same Congress: Equality Across America and the Human Rights Campaign. This has many hues: new verses old, money verses poor, grassroots verses corporate, capitalist democracy verses socialist democracy, and dare I say it? Hilary vs. Obama. None of which are wholly true, or untrue. The middle is warmly filled with countless organizations bridging every imaginable connection, while familiar forces juxtapose, like a great brain torn between principle and survival, defiant confidence and genuine humility, between tradition and tomorrow. No one is really comfortable, but this is the nature of big social change, and our movement does exist in a vacuum or bubble.

Increasingly, the multitude of related but disjointed visions themselves clash like false enemies blind to the power of common cause and action. Why? Is it in our nature to smooth over social discontent and separate ourselves, rather than embrace structural change head on together? Or is this "nurture," once again cultivating assimilation? Does tranquility trump movement progress? Peace at any cost? If so, are we truly any more progressive than those who violate our human rights?

Regardless, the way forward is far from obvious, though likely at variation from more traditional movement ideology, structure and comfort. Mixner alluded to it - that old dogs can learn new tricks -- which he experienced first-hand dealing with new movement strategists and new philosophies we have yet to chart. Then - somewhat miraculously - we all saw it manifest - a hugely successful March - beyond even its most ardent supporters' wildest dreams and its opponents' worst nightmares. A march born almost of anti-organizing, but with a shared heartbeat and common intention.

How little faith we have in new dreams...

In the aftermath, minimizing differences seems a reasonable approach to "bridge different perspectives to bring folks together to get work done"* as we must, assuming that there are no new or better ways to do this. It seems reasonable, if for no other reason, than to quiet the misguided press who, typically, only skimmed the surface, or more importantly perhaps, to present a united front.

However, in this time of reconceptualization, perhaps before we sweep the March under the rug, it is better that we first strive to understand the differences it represents: what the new is saying to the old -- what the resistance is saying about the change -- and what we are preaching to each other as movement gospel verses what is inevitable and useful change. Although the individual organizational survival spirit has been the strategy for so long, perhaps the momentum at hand calls upon us to focus more on tapping into our collective community spirit, at least at the national strategic level. With a deeper understanding of the forces at work and cross-organizational dialog instead of one-way blogs, perhaps we could build even better bridges at greater heights.

Understandably, however, because most of what the Task Force says is comforting and true, traditional activists are susceptible to the lullaby. I am one of them and I agree that the March was not a referendum on all the great work by countless organizations, nor the diversity of the movement, or the many individuals who split ranks to participate. But straw arguments aside, it was a loud and defiant statement to the national organizational structure which, like Congress, has failed to lead on human rights strategy or content, or even to keep pace with its own people, or our own collective enlightenment. The overdue adjustment has only just begun and the post-March spin will not change this.

Split, shift, or polarization, the people have once again brought about change we can believe in. The dangling question is: whether the national organizations and their board members will seize the opportunity and embark on something new beyond praising the current situation as though it were the end of the strategic road. The shift solidified the minute the grass roots had to go their own way to have a March, while virtually every organization and community newspaper older than Prop. 8 missed the boat, only to awake with self-righteous indignation. "How dare they organize a March without consulting us!?" they felt. While my jet-lagged bewildered mind was thinking: "Why weren't we organizing a march already!?" The debate over whether to have the march was itself mind boggling and indicative of "the rift" already deeply present. Ignoring its relevance now is of the same elk, while down-playing it is potentially devious.

Grounded in a different wisdom, the power that the marchers represent today is the force of change, and in a predominantly positive spirit, though not exclusively, they will continue to go around or through the movement to build a congressional federation of activists with fascinating new organizational ideas. While I'm confident of this, only time will tell if the national organizations will embrace this new impetus in time to capitalize on it for our cause, or if they will continue their independent March-resistance and status-quo chant.

Despite early indications, there is still hope that the venerable organizations will begin to see the vision, explore it in earnest, and ultimately genuinely join the March they endorsed that is still in progress, well before the next major event, election or President. Because, again, the Task Force's sub-messaging is true - we need to do this together. But do what? Something big is called for.

Regrettably, the earnest plea: "Let's continue the work!"** pales in comparison to the new March energy like the worn refrain of weary dreamers. It would be much more inspiring if our movement stewards could reveal and announce a new bridge born of the spirit of the March and spanning from the Task Force to HRC to Equality Across America and into each congressional district like the rainbow that lingered magically in the rainless D.C. sky at noon on October 11, 2009.

Did you see it? Did you feel that shared amazement?

Imagine the power of congressional-district-organizing if we were to WHIP Congress together! If at every PTA, bowling league, baby shower, office party, city counsel meeting - someone stands up to say: I'm working for my friend on congressional district support for his human rights and we need your help. Imagine what we could do working together on a local congressional strategy.

Let's expand the vision. And then, continue the work.

* Quote is taken from "A Movement Moving Forward," Rea Carey, the Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
(October 15, 2009) (

** Closing line of Task Force letter.

Equality Across America looks like it is expanding and continuing. I would love to see HRC and NGLtf go down in flames and be replaced by something that I could get behind instead be afraid to let them behind and stab me in the back again.

I think it would be disaster for us if our two largest organizations with mountains of resources and capital were to go down. It would set our movement back. EAA isn't looking to bring down anyone. EAA is trying to get more people involved in the process and try to give all LGBT people and our allies ownership in our movement. If the Task Force and HRC went down, our movement would have to start over from square one on a lot of things--especially on the legislative front. We can change the big orgs without destroying them.

And there is the problem. I'm tired of waiting for the big organizations to change. I'm tired of the big organizations claiming to represent me when they do not represent me because who I am is not on their radar.
If an organization is going to claim to be LGBTQ it needs to actually represent those people and not just reach out to those other than gay/lesbian when they need money and ignore us the rest of the time. They need to not contribute to bi and trans invisibility in their very name or with everything that they say.
I can't agree. If those two organizations failed we would have to start from scratch and that would be a good thing if we could build inclusive organizations. The status quo is not cutting it and they are the status quo. Dump them, our community needs to dump them. Maybe if they collapse their leaders will help to build something in the place of them, and maybe their leaders will have learned a lesson and will actually want to be genuinely inclusive.