Gilbert Baker, creater of the famous Rainbow Flag, shows his feelings for HRC efforts at a recent rally for the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell in New York City.
Never a big fan of the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) here. They are the self proclaimed "Face of the Movement" for gay equality. Their whole message to main stream America is "Hey we're gay, but we're just like you, so accept us, be our friends, and if it's not too much trouble (and we're asking this very nicely so as not to offend) maybe you could, like, not vote us into obscurity in the next election by taking away all our rights? That would be so awesome since we want to be just like you and everything!". How about NO. For some time now I haven't been seeing much success. You've lost every ballot measure, including Prop 8 in California (how you managed that I have no idea, although I do remember reading a post on Andrew Sullivan's blog about how while protestors were jamming the streets HRC was hosting an expensive wine tasting to raise money. And no I'm not making that up for laughs.) and have tried to thwart every effort to push gay marriage to the Supreme Court, only now trying to push your way into the current case brought by Ted Olsen after initially trying to stop it. Anti gay legislators here in Arizona are pushing a bill through that is going to push single people to the end of the line in adopting from the state system. I think we all know "single" is code for "homo". What does HRC do? They send out a plea for money and action to protect the rights of "single people". The entire campaign (at least from the message I got and the stuff on your website) does not even mention gays! You're HRC for pete's sake! If you can't even say the word gay how the hell do you think you're going to advocate for us?
HRC has been lobbying Congress to help pass health care reform. It was announced that all the provisions of the bill that were there to help LGBT people have been dropped from the final version. The biggest one, impacting my family, is the unfair practice of taxing domestic partner health benefits. What this means is that the amount of money that is covered under our health care plan for a medical visit beyond the copay is taxed as income at the end of the year. Why are we paying taxes on that when married couples aren't? That's potentially a lot of money. Apparently outraged, HRC posted this on their website:
While we are saddened that the House has abandoned provisions that would make care more accessible and affordable to our community, we recognize that the health reform measure will still help all Americans, including LGBT people. Important reforms like eliminating pre-existing condition limitations and expanding Medicaid will significantly impact people living with HIV and AIDS. We urge Congress to pass this legislation, addressing the nation’s dire need for reform in our health care system and clearing the way for Congress to act on the many issues it needs to address, including ones of great importance to the LGBT community.
OK maybe not outraged, but at least saddened. I'm saddened too, since you spent a year on this and got, as usual, absolutely nothing.
You are good at hobnobbing with Congresspersons and holding expensive A-List Gay cocktail parties and exclusive NYC galas that most of us can't afford. You're also good at the constant pleas for money and membership that flood my inbox on a weekly basis, but at this point it seems like your reason to be has risen above your reason for being. A massive amount of money is raised and donated to politicians who quite honestly are not delivering on the change we're demanding, or that you are so politely asking for. Now that I'm a father, I'm tired of waiting. I'm tired of being told to be patient. Quite frankly, I'm angry at the amount of time that has been wasted. And I'm glad to see someone else gets it too.
GetEqual has recently launched and is also tired of waiting. I applaud them for getting back to basics. We need the lobbying, but we need some old fashioned ActUp strategies to go along with it. A personal hero of mine, Lt. Dan Choi, was arrested the other day for handcuffing himself to the gates of the White House to protest Don't Ask Don't Tell. He's made so much sacrifice already, and now this. I'm so glad we have people like Lt. Choi doing what needs to be done to make change. If GetEqual had half the funding HRC has what a wonderful world we'd see.