Adam Polaski

HRC Store Vandalism Ineffectively Protests Gay, Inc.

Filed By Adam Polaski | June 29, 2011 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: blogosphere, Gay Inc, GLAAD, graffiti, Human Rights Campaign, vandalism

TheNewGayGraffiti3.jpegEarly this morning, on June 29, the Human Rights Campaign gift shop by Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. was vandalized with pink paint and graffiti. The group behind the vandalism idiotically calls itself "The Right Honorable Wicked Stepmothers' Traveling, Drinking and Debating Society and Men's Auxiliary." They specifically chose this morning as a tribute to the 42nd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

The New Gay, who reported the vandalism with glee, sarcastically described the group's press release as one that would "win them thousands of adoring fans in the relaxed, prank-loving, not-in-the-least-bit-politically-curmudgeonly gay blogosphere."

In the release, the group says it vandalized the store to send a message to "Gay, Inc." Their original plan for the vandalism, they explain, included broken windows, although The New Gay reported the only damage was the paint and graffiti.

The press release (photos below, courtesy of The New Gay):

The modern LGBT movement owes its success to three days of smashing, burning, punching, and kicking - all of it happily indiscriminate - and the confrontational tactics of groups like ACT-UP that followed in the decades since. Yet, somehow we've forgotten our riotous roots.


Why, you're asking, did we specifically target the HRC, a massive national gay rights non-profit as opposed to vomiting urine on Rick Santorum or something equally fun?
Put simply, they suck. What do they suck? Cash. Lots of it.

The HRC rakes in something approaching 50 million dollars a year in revenue--their executive director, Joe Salmonellamayonaisemanese pulls in a salary of several hundred grand. What have we gotten out of this bloated carcass? Not a thing worth mentioning and every now and then, they eagerly sell trans people up the river. Seriously, this is an organization that hordes money and does nothing useful. It's a sad, sick dinosaur.


Everyone: We know you mean well, but stop giving these idiots your money. Stop putting that equal sticker on your car. Stop going to their lame galas. And for the love of Judy Garland's Ghost and Robert Mapplethorpe's Zombie Bones, stop saying "It Gets Better" and hoping for a miracle from up on high. We don't expect you to riot (although we swear you'll love it once you get going!) but it's time for us to quit with the passivity, move to action, build community and care for each other instead of hoping the Gay Non-Profit Industrial Complex will ever get anything done.

The arguments of the group behind the vandalism are not entirely off base, but they are easily dismissed when combined with such unnecessary behavior.

TheNewGayGraffiti2.jpeg42 years ago, LGBT people didn't have much of a platform to speak out about problems plaguing the community. The riots, in response to brutal treatment by police officers, were one of the few ways for LGBT people to speak up and be heard about the incredible mistreatment they were enduring and discrimination they were facing.

That lack of an outlet is not the case today. LGBT issues are being discussed on a national scale, Democratic and Republican legislators alike are coming out in support of LGBT equality, LGBT-focused stories have broken into mainstream journalistic outlets while being dissected at greater length by the LGBT blogosphere, and visible progress is being made. There are a multitude of outlets that people can use to expose LGBT discrimination.

These same outlets can be used to hold accountable the organizations that represent the community. Just look at what happened less than two weeks ago - the LGBT blogosphere joined together and voiced the community's disapproval with GLAAD for lying and being bought off by a corporation. The conversations about GLAAD's relationship with AT&T and TheNewGayGraffiti1.jpegTroup Coronado's destructive presence on the GLAAD board were what provoked change; President Jarrett Barrios stepped down, as did seven board members, including Coronado.

Vandalism of a "Gay, Inc." store is not a courageous action or way to stick up for the underdog. It doesn't provoke the HRC into doing anything more than cleaning up the pink paint mess. It doesn't hold them accountable. And it is not an example of intelligent, critical discourse.

To equate the vandalism of the Human Rights Campaign store and the Stonewall riots is offensive, and the actions of the gay anarchist group with the unwieldy name should not be applauded.

imgs courtesy of The New Gay

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Brian Gaither | June 29, 2011 4:40 PM

Nope, they should not be applauded...but look how we're talking about them. The truth is, they found a way to get attention. And their attacks (if not their tactics) on the establishment of Gay, Inc. are supported by the relentless opposition to groups like HRC which are communicated throughout the blogosphere. Blogging about gay issues is just about as effective as is HRC'ing about gay issues. There is a need for the whole breadth and scope of activity within the movement, from commentary to action, but that is rarely discussed by either side of the Activism-Advocacy spectrum. Everyone thinks their way is the one way. Yeah, not so much.

I wrote a piece on Monday that was pretty critical of some senior representatives of the so-called "Gay Inc." groups in Albany. I am the first to say that there are groups (or rather leaders of groups), HRC included, that are at times incredibly out of touch with the everyday LGBT person. I would love for groups like HRC to be held more accountable to our community. But this just isn't the way to do it. Not only is it ineffective, but it fails to create systemic change. If we want to change the way our national strategy is handled, we need to start investing more in local, grassroots groups that know their communities better than anyone else. This action was just a high-profile distraction that in the end will likely result in the group's message being ignored.

Brian Gaither | June 29, 2011 5:03 PM

I actually predict more of this. There was an incident at Seattle's Pride Fest the other evening as well. Some people are unhappy with the pace of change and feel Gay Inc. is an obstacle to be demolished on the path to full equality. Only time will tell.

"Gay Inc" is a really misleading narrative that people happily buy into without learning the facts about what these organizations actually do (which admittedly isn't well-publicized).

When groups like this say "what have we gotten out of [HRC]? Not a thing worth mentioning," the take-away point is that the orgs need to do a better job communicating their work to the public.

Brian Gaither | June 29, 2011 5:54 PM

More than just communicate...they need to proactively reach out to disaffected activists to understand their concerns. We're all looking to get to the same goal.

It's true that advocacy work is (unfortunately) a much slower process. And advocacy work without direct action has proven itself to be insufficient in moving us forward.

Nonetheless, we should be looking for the balancing point not the counterpoint. It's never either-or.

Y'know, on the one hand, as someone who's stood in front of HRC's DC headquarters with a protest sign more than once, I can appreciate the motivation. On the other hand, I think the method, particularly the targeting, is flawed. What we hear over and over, about ENDA, about GENDA, about so many other issues of concern to LGBTs that the mainstream media never bothers to cover, is to do something noteworthy, something that will make the news take notice and cover it. Standing in front of HRC's HQ didn't make the news. Protesting their events all over the country didn't make the news. Getting thrown under the bus four times in the last decade by Democrats in New York and at least as many by federal Democrats didn't make the news. I'm not really sure they're going after the right target here, but at least people are paying attention. Maybe what's needed is a whole lot more of this kind of thing, only at the campaign offices and events of Democratic Party politicians running for reelection who talk the talk of equality but still refuse to walk the walk.

Why don't they just glitter Joe Salamies in a very public way? That way there they get their point across in a public but not so self damaging way.Damaging property is never a great way to prove your point.

I'm not a huge fan of HRC and haven't been for a very long time. But I'll be damned if I can understand why it makes sense to attack other portions of our own community instead of fighting our actual enemies. Unless it's simply more convenient. As an overarching strategy, it doesn't seem to have much going for it.

To me there is a difference between attacking one another and calling others to account. Forgive the imagery (I come from a military family) but if an officer is underperforming in battle, they are eventually brought in to answer for it. If they continue to underperform, they are relieved of duty. It doesn't matter that they were fighting for us. They failed to perform to expectations, and we don't have time for chronic dereliction of duty. This was not the right way to go about things, though. But we do need to let our groups know that if they can't lead, others can.

Using your analogy, it is not a mid level officer not achieving objectives, but instead a military state Chiefs of Staff that is underperforming to the grunts perspective. One must remember that we the grunts cannot get a Board Member of HRC replaced. They are selected for their ability to get both closeted and open rich Gays and Allies to cough up big money for HRC. The Board must reflect the priorities of those they get the big money from. So yes, they may be out of touch to the common LGBT, but they are very much in touch with their sponsors.

As Antonia says, it is time to create a Lobby thet is quite not so well funded, but has more community spirit and volunteerism and more connectedness to the rank and file LGBT.

You make an important point, but HRC is by far the biggest culprit when it comes to attacking the LGBTI community. Protests like this are reactions to HRC's relentless assaults on "undesirables" (especially trans people) whom it feels are a liability to gay rights.

Jay Kallio | June 29, 2011 6:02 PM

This group of vandals is grossly out of touch with the feelings and needs of this impoverished transman, who started out as a homeless LGBT youth 38 years ago, faced such discrimination in education and employment that I was never able to attain an education, or make more than 20K a year, and had to watch my social justice activist life partner of 35 years die a horrific death because, unlike our heterosexual counterparts, we were never able to marry and make her eligible for my employer based health insurance.

As a lifelong activist myself I want to point out to this group that many of the goals of HRC and other national groups are the product of experience and discipline in pursuing the politically possible for the highest good of LGBTQ people who more than anything else, need equal rights legislation that helps us survive. The ability to win Marriage Equality helps so many of us, and the next goal of overturning DOMA will be of enormous benefit to LGBTQ seniors, making Social Security and other benefits available to offset severe poverty in old age, when no further employment is possible for many. They deserve support, not vandalism, for the efforts to provide equality for those of us with the least power and privilege.

I am also a lifelong socialist, and I will be the first to say that Marriage Equality, DADT and other objectives are far from everything, but they will save lives and do add to conditions of social justice. The other political goals were not attainable at this time, but they will be someday. The momentum built by winning our short term political goals will build, and our additional goals become more possible as more LGBTQ people gain the economic security and protection under the law that the foundation of rights and equality gained to date will provide. It is all a work in progress. Groups such as HRC will continuously be in need of more goals to meet, to justify their own existence, and GENDA is firmly on their agenda.

Maturity and the discipline of putting on a suit and playing the game well enough to win rights for the poorest and most disadvantaged has my respect, and vandalizing those efforts does not.

"GENDA is firmly on their agenda" - Really, have they stated as much? Sorry, but I work with young trans girls - when survival sex work is just about he only way most of them can get any sort of stable income, I find HRC's marriage primacy and "we'll be back trans ladies - for real this time" hard to trust.

This is an important point -- many trans people are living very shabby lives because of discrimination, but because most people never get to hear about how poorly we are treated, they think it isn't so bad and that it is tolerable for a little while until we can get around to that. I do not support vandalism, but I also feel ill every day when I open my email and hear from people who are being treated like human garbage.

As a lifelong activist myself I want to point out to this group that many of the goals of HRC and other national groups are the product of experience and discipline in pursuing the politically possible for the highest good of LGBTQ people who more than anything else, need equal rights legislation that helps us survive.

As someone who hasn't been sucked into HRC's well-funded groupthink, I want to point out to this group that the goals of HRC and other national groups are the product of ruthlessly single-minded pursuit of the narrowly defined goals set by their "paying customers" -- upper class cis gay white men. The "highest good" of the LGBTQ community isn't even on HRC's radar.

I think the vandalism is awesome, fabulous, queer, and called for. For HRC Director of Communications Michael Cole-Schwartz to say "It’s unfortunate that after a marriage win in New York... some are more interested in fostering division in the community” is totally offensive because NOT EVERYONE AGREES THAT MARRIAGE IS AT THE TOP OF THE LIST for what queer people should be fighting for!

THEY'RE creating the divide. They're saying hey if you want to be a part of the movement WE'VE created then you better care about THESE THINGS and if you don't then you're irrelevant, a trouble maker, off-base.

Jay Kallio | June 29, 2011 6:25 PM

Honestly, if you don't care about the life and death survival needs of LGBTQ poor people, then perhaps we are really NOT on the same side. The issue is far more complex than merely "what is at the top of the agenda", it is a deeper, more experienced evaluation of what is possible to win at this point in history.

Waiting for perfection is the most lethal and self destructive position any movement can make. It delays the ultimate good by putting an end to progress. It takes experience and maturity to appreciate these processes, and patience and persistence will pay off in the end.

The divisiveness and ugly attack of vandals is like a slap in the face to impoverished LGBTQ people trying to raise families and take good care of children. UGH. You rather they wait many more years for economic equality.

Please don't phrase your comments as if you speak for all poor LGBTQ people, because you absolutely do not. As an extremely impoverished trans girl, I think direct action against HRC is entirely justified -- and I think it's entirely justified specifically because I'm an extremely impoverished trans girl.

Jake & Desiree:

Ask yourselves this: What did these people actually accomplish? What kind of effect will they have on the organization or on GLBT rights advocacy as a whole? I think a safe answer to both questions is "none." It just makes people who hate HRC -- people like you -- snicker and feel a sense of self-righteous victory, when in fact they have invalidated their own criticism of the organization by making HRC look like the victim and making themselves look like nihilistic hooligans.

Then, of course, you have to consider that the people who will actually suffer from this are the ones who work in the store and now have to clean up the mess these morons made and probably miss work hours as well.

Think of what would happen if, instead of vandalizing a gift shop, these "radical queers" had devoted efforts to helping homeless GLBT youth, HIV/AIDS patients or done something else that, you know, actually helped real people. This type of bullshit is the reason why I'll never take radical queers seriously -- they just bitch bitch bitch, but they never actually do anything constructive.

Om Kalthoum | June 29, 2011 6:26 PM

Oh look! It's kinda like a Hate Crime, isn't it?

If the HRC refuses to be held accountable to the constituency they claim to represent then they should not be angry that they are targeted like this.

Om Kalthoum | June 29, 2011 6:42 PM

Adam, you omitted the best part of this intellectually-rigorous manifesto:

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) gift shop in Dupont Circle in Washington, DC is a god awful monstrosity. We were in there yesterday and between wiping our genitals on the clothing and discovering that the snow globes wouldn’t properly fit up our bums, we got to thinking:

“This place would look great with a bit of shattered glass and splattered paint.”

So we strapped on our riot chaps, poured pink paint into light bulbs, grabbed hammers, and went party party party! all over that tacky testament to the transformation of radical queer liberation into consumer junk.

It doesn't provoke the HRC into doing anything more than cleaning up the pink paint mess. It doesn't hold them accountable. And it is not an example of intelligent, critical discourse.

This is true, but it's equally true of throwing glitter at Republicans, and most of the people here were in favor of that. Frankly, HRC deserves vandalism a hell of a lot more than the Republicans do...

I think I view this as quite different from the glittering protests.

The glittering brings specific attention to the politician. Something as silly as glittering will be written about for sure (or, at least it was the first three times - it's probably a bit tired now). And when the glittering is written about, people need to know why. The reason is simple - the politician is a noted opponent to gay rights or LGBT rights.

With this vandalism, the message is unclear because of the confusing Stonewall comparison with the graffiti, and because specific grievances or transgressions by the HRC (of which I understand there are many) are not clear.

Additionally, this vandalism is physically destructive, whereas the glittering is harmless unless, as I've noted in the past, the glitter gets in Newt Gingrich's eye or something equally unlikely.

Om Kalthoum | June 29, 2011 10:07 PM

You left out one other critical difference between the glittering and the vandalism. The latter was done anonymously. No big surprise there. People who come in the night to destroy property and threaten people rarely have the courage of their convictions. No chaining themselves to the front door with their manifesto and willingness to bear the legal consequences for this lot. They're just vandals, after all.

Animal liberation activists have argued for years that destroying property but being careful *not to* directly endanger living beings is the moral line in direct action. I don't fully agree with them, but I do agree that destroying property is a lesser act of violence than assaulting a person.

I believe the jury is out on whether HRC's actions against the trans community are sufficiently egregious to justify violent action against them, but I can't see how anyone can condemn mere property violence against HRC while supporting full-fledged assault against Gingrich.

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Well, I guess this action provided job security for an underpaid (you know the HRC pays crap) worker who got to spend a good part of their day scraping paint off a window. THAT'S some solidarity !!!

To be fair, I have taken part if a number of direct actions, and what may be considered vandalism. We were always careful to mitigate the damage done and the level of crap some worker would have to do to fix what we did. I understand the rage, but the brunt of the actions and the message it sent aren't going to matter to big daddy Joe. They will, however, roll down in a big pile of crap for someone just trying to flipping pay some rent in DC.

Om Kalthoum | June 30, 2011 3:55 AM
"Hey shitface...."

Oh my goodness! We are quite the super duper baadass, aren't we? Whole lot of willy wagging going on in that post. LOL.

People in the glittering thread were gleefully pointing out that glitter is "nearly impossible" to get out of clothes, so it is physically destructive. Suits are not cheap.

As a transgendered person, I've been disappointed with HRC and wouldn't have given them my money.

But now I have to donate to HRC. Because this batch of lazy, self-important hypocrites brings skinhead tactics into arguments within the queer community, and does it in my name. All I can do in response is work to make the tactics backfire.

I can't accept that logic, because it would imply that we now have to donate to Newt Gingrich in response to certain people in the LGBTI movement physically assaulting him with glitter.

I would understand pouring blood on draft cards or hammering on a missile silo. This is not fabulous, and it isn't protest. It is petulant children behaving badly. If this is queer, I'm happy being gay and my check to HRC is in the mail.

Has anyone else noticed that they seem to have lifted their name from a series of books that deconstruct fairy tales?

Jay Kallio | June 30, 2011 4:22 AM

I have never felt so totally alienated from the "queer" community as I do today, listening to all the justifications for this act of vandalism. This type of action is not only not "fabulous", it is one of the most shallow, self aggrandizing, narcissistic acts of immaturity and ignorance I have seen. Let me see some of these glam clowns go out and actually do some real work to bring change and betterment to the lives of LGBTQ people, like knocking on doors and actually talking to voters, organizing grassroots campaigns to elect activist politicians to introduce the legislation that creates equality, holding fundraisers to raise the enormous costs needed to bring life saving services to LGBTQ people in our communities. That's a whole lot more fabulous than the self indulgent whining about why the world hasn't been delivered to them on a silver plate. I would have a whole lot more regard for their opinions if they actually got out there and devoted years of their lives to creating change, and saw first hand how incredibly difficult, tedious, and exhausting it really is, how disappointing and heartbreaking it is, and how many betrayals and setbacks you must deal with, and still continue to fight.

Do you ever wonder why the activists who actually go to DC and to their state legislatures, all come back and counsel others to scale back their expectations? It's because much of what we would love to put at the top of out priorities is not politically viable. No amount of money is going to turn the page. No amount of screaming and vandalizing HRC is going to change those facts. Maybe if people got off their duffs and started being accountable for their own beliefs and began the hard work of talking to those who disagree, getting the legal and electoral skills to effect the changes we believe in, then in ten or twenty years we might be able to look back and see the mountain moving. But until people take a few steps out of their sequestered, queer, glam gated communities, take the courageous step of leaving their comfort zone of self affirming groupthink, and start dealing with the real world, their concepts of what is possible to achieve will be nothing more than a irrelevant fantasyland. HRC is not Santa Claus, stop blaming them because you didn't get everything on your wish list, and if you want change you better start working for it.

Honestly, if you ever want to see any real change in this country, you better first start working for campaign finance reform, and for public financing of elections. Until then, virtually nothing but tiny, incremental changes will ever happen, because the entire game is rigged. That first step alone will take 20-30 years to achieve, and if you are lucky, then your children might be able to start working on real progressive change. If you want to start talking real legislative priorities, start there.

Vandalizing HRC is shameful.

So let's see here.

A group of people commit a crime anonymously. They are, apparently, doing so to call attention to the fact that HRC has, historically, sold out people of color, bisexuals, trans folk, and immigrants.

They do so by spending their money on what appears to be the same shade of pink paint used by anti-gay forces in an African Nation that they then basically dumped all over the place (the lack of artistic merit indicates they probably aren't LGBT folks since everyone knows that pink is the wrong color for this and of course if one is going to decorate, one should do it with style and panache).

So, in the end, what we have here is people who have spent money on the HRC basically because they want other people to stop spending money on the HRC.

That strikes me as, um, well, pooh. Can't use the term that immediately comes to mind (starts with an F, has uck in there, and ends with wittery).

Even *more* interesting: they were let succeed by reportage of this incredibly asinine non-event by the media.

One doesn't end the power of HRC by spending money on it. Even to protest them. One ends the power of a lobbying group by creating a new lobbying group.

See, that's the thing. I don't see any national group as a general. Not ideally anyway. I see it as a mid-grade officer. But of course you're right about the funding. Those of us who are not rich have no pull with these groups. If we are lucky they'll let us do grunt work. You're absolutely right that we need a new group that answers to a wider community. In the end, an agenda set not by a wealthy few, but by all of us, will have more success.

Jay Kallio | June 30, 2011 2:24 PM

The agenda is more open to input than it appears, but organizations won't pursue things that are not politically feasible, there is no point. I give them more credit than you do for having their nose to the ground politically, and knowing where success lies. If people do not have experience politically, they have no way to appreciate how these efforts are decided. It's great to keep the conversation alive, but unless people get involved politically and understand the processes and limitations we won't be able to make smart choices on what you are calling the "agenda".

At some point you will either decide to trust them, or not. Please at least check things out enough not to decide that question prematurely, without a real understanding of all the difficulties we face.

Jay, my thoughts on this come from working in a Congressional office in DC. The reality is constituents change minds much more than organizations, particularly those without explicit local ties. And hearing from folks who worked in poliics in NY, in the end it was independent constituents who had the greatest impact on Senators who voted for us. The national groups, they say, had very little.

While I am not a big fan of the tactic employed, I'm also not that bothered by it. HRC is, in general, a parasite burrowed deeply within the finances of the community. And parasites have to be removed. Frankly our other critiques of HRC have been having little effect and they continue to victimize many of our community. We protest other organizations which victimize our community and so we need to hammer this one.
HRC is the example of the biggest flaws in LGBT activism. I intentionally leave off Q here because the last thing that HRC represents is anything queer or in any way touching upon queer theory. In fact I see HRC as being anti-queer. HRC is like a craigslist ad that says ---masculine, straight acting white male looking for same, must be discreet, disease free UB2---. So within our community they are very disconnected from many of us though they certainly want our money. But honestly they still have an archaic 'front door company & back door company' view.
As a political organization they are not effective because they value access to the point that they are not willing to risk a bit of it obtain success.
As far as I can tell the primary function of the people who work at HRC is to insure job security.

Marc Paige | June 30, 2011 11:24 AM

This action makes me want to go out and join HRC immediately.
Pink paint on HRC storefront in 2011 - Star of David painted on Jewish owned businesses in Germany in 1935 - looks similar to me. Yeah, let's attack our own organizations working for LGBT equality, .....and leave NOM, FRC, Focus on Family, Bachmann, Perry, Boehner, Pawlenty, Coburn, Brownback, Hatch, Cantor, Grassley, Kyl, etc. alone!

Om Kalthoum | June 30, 2011 11:47 AM

Cowards pick safe targets. And, of course, we're assuming that the vandals are members of the LGBT "community," not one of our traditional opponents. Hmmm.

I haven't read all the comments, but this observation occurs to me:

The latter Civil Rights Movement had similar occurrences when the young Blacks with a new generational consciousness became frustrated at MLK-style tactics, and put forward a more angry, radical image. Thus, we saw the rise of Black Nationalism, the Black Panthers, and the Black Power Movement -- despite the fact that Blacks by then had the attention of the mainstream press, and a maturing publications/media industry of their own.

This looks so much like history repeating itself -- and I believe commenter Brian Gaither is right -- I too predict more of this, even though I do not entirely support it.

By the way, consider the way we now look back on Black Panthers and Black Power: While the white farmers in Iowa and Illinois might still demonize them, historians of the era see that, at worst, they were a mixed bag, noting that Black Panthers/Black Power also put into place constructive programs such as tutoring black kids and other inner city programs to prepare young Blacks for future leadership. They, too, were self-affirming and radically self-respecting, and built as much in the black society as they are accused of tearing down.

The bad part of the legacy is that they played into the white fear myth of the Dangerous Angry Black Male, which fuels so much of the subsurface white racism we still have today. Some speculate that Obama's success shows that, even today, a black politician wanting beaucoup white votes better, invariably, keep the lid on.

So ... the Wicked Stepmothers et al. might continue to be mostly destructive ...

... or like ACT-UP, they might find some good things to get going, such as maybe champion the plight of our LGBT homeless youth, while simultaneously throwing more paint on HRC and GLAAD offices and trashing a few cash-wasting A-gay Oh-look-at-me-I'm-a-movie-star tuxedo parties.

Or they might just fade into the fog. As some other commenter said, time will tell.

Om Kalthoum | June 30, 2011 12:20 PM

Ah, but did the young Turks of black empowerment turn around and vandalize their more conservative organizations' property. I don't think so. They knew where to direct their anger - outward.

I can't remember any such incidents -- but we need to remember that most of the meeting spaces for the early Civil Rights Movement were black churches. I scanned over the Wikipedia entries for both Black Panthers and Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, and did not notice any such incidents.

Admittedly, I am comparing apples to oranges in the sense that the frustration with young Blacks was over social tactics and goals, while the Wicked Stepsisters here are protesting the economic exploitation, waste of resources, and an allegedly poor return on investment within the LGBT movement.

Like so much of what radical queers do, all these people will end up accomplishing is making a mess for some poor schmuck to clean up. There's a lot about HRC to criticize, and whenever I meet one of the people collecting donations on the street for it, I just tell them "I've already donated" (which I technically have, albeit years ago).

From this and the recent vandalism by radical queers in Seattle, it seems to me that they're little more than people whose emotional development came to a halt around the age of 16 and who read about the Stonewall and White Night riots and Queer Nation, but are perpetually disappointed that all that stuff happened before they were born.

The underlying message of these radical queers is that even though society is increasingly accepting of GLBT people -- which is why we have things like gays who vote Republican, same-sex marriage and corporate sponsorship of Pride parades -- we should strive to be outcasts. They're sort of like kids who go to school dressed like goths so they can bitch about all the "conformists" who make fun of their clothing.

For the record, the name comes from the first book in the Enchanted Forest chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. Wonder how she feels about this.