Saturday, March 20, 2010

I've Lost That HRC Feeling (Again)

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.


Jon said...

I completely agree with you. we have been supporting this organization for years with monthly contributions but stopped them this year. I believe they have become too big, bloated, and have lost their purpose. Very much an A-list country club environment. Solomon has got to go, if he hasn't already. The truth is they have done ZERO for gay rights and they are much too cozy with the Obama administration, which you may agree or not, have also been slackers when standing up for gay rights. I'm afraid if Obama doesn't do something radical this year for the community, he will have lost us completely. HRC needs to get very radical very quickly or they will be obsolete in no time.

Tim and Louie said...

Ditto here for Tim and I.

HRC has hounded us for a long time to join them, but we always declined because they just don't seem to be effective.

Another reason is that HRC President Joe Solmonese gets paid over $300,000 per year (as of 2008) to serve as President of HRC.

See this link:

In this depressed economy, where many of us are unemployed through no fault of our own or have been forced to take minimum wage jobs just to survive, Joe Solmonese getting paid over $300,000 per year is an OUTRAGE!

- Louie

Mickey said...

I can feel your anger and frustration. Proposition Hate pissed me off more than I thought it would. I'm not American, but I love visiting California (in fact we're taking little Blake to his first Disneyland visit next month).

I always believed that we should demand equality. Not ask for it and certainly not beg for it.

W, J and R said...

Great post! What's always bothered me the most about the HRC is how little they do with so much money. They are by far the best funded LGBT organization, and yet they accomplish so little. Either bad management, the wrong strategy or both is really impeding the organizations ability to be effective.

Leah said...

Very interesting. I didn't realize the stance of the Human Rights Campaign. I thought they were just out there fighting for human rights, which it sounds like they are, but they are doing it at the price of who they are.

I think our administration isn't doing enough. (the same administration I voted for) I think unless there are EQUAL rights, that not enough is being done.

mommy3 said...

I didn't realize how ineffective the HRC really has become and am pissed at myself for not investigating sooner, despite contributing. I'm usually better at my pre-contribution investigation. Great post. I've followed Lt. Dan Choi's situation and respect him highly. Still shaking my head about the HRC, darn.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info on HRC. They seem to be the gay conservative voice in Washington. I give money to They seem to represent my values best.

Anonymous said...

I will occasionally do the "send an e-mail to your congressperson" things the HRC sends me, but I just ignore their requests for money. For one thing, I think they have a lot more of it than I do. For another, I've never been a fan of the "we should please be equal because we're really just the same as the rest of you middle to upper class white folks (or occasional non-threatening ethnic person)". We deserve equal rights because we're all human, not because we're all the same.

I mean, my wife and I are effectively white and middle class and frankly, a lot of strangers probably thing we're straight, unless we're holding hands or something. It's not so much that we're trying to be assimilationists as that, well, that's just kind of how we are. But that doesn't mean that all our friends are the same way, and even if they were, that wouldn't change the fact that equal is supposed to mean everyone, not just the people who look or act a lot like me.

I didn't know that the domestic partner health care tax was part of the bill, but now I'm really pissed that it was taken out. My wife's health insurance is through my work, and I estimate that I pay approximately twice as much for it as a straight person in the same situation. Ask me how pleased I am about that. Thanks, HRC, for doing such a stellar job representing my interests. Oh, and while you're at it, thanks for throwing my trans friends under the bus in general.

As far as the "single" being code for "homo", it probably largely is (since we all know the gays can't get married), but the law probably is actually also aimed at single people. Because we all know that single mothers, especially those who are such deliberately, are vile degenerates. And who ever heard of a single man who wanted to be a father? Wanting babies is women's work. (Please note: the only part of that paragraph that was not said sarcastically was the first sentence.)