I’ve long been a supporter of the Human Rights Campaign. They produce a lot of great educational resources that I find very useful as someone who works with LGBT issues in higher education. I also think the equals sign is a symbol we can all get behind; in my pics you can see me wearing an HRC equals sign pendant.
But I don’t really feel like I can give my money to HRC anymore. I am just so utterly unimpressed with what they do with it. I’m not sure they properly represent our community or properly stand up for community. Joe Solmonese certainly does not.
If his comments last week about not measuring Obama’s accomplishments until January 19, 2017 weren’t enough, he also suggested in a CNN interview that the people who attended the black-tie dinner Saturday night are more politically aware:
As Pam Spaulding points out in an eloquent post (definitely worth reading in addition to this post), tickets were sold out well before Obama was speaking (to see Lady Gaga and the cast of Glee?).
Now prominent blogger Andrew Sullivan is calling for Joe Solmonese’s resignation:
I am incensed. And infuriated. And I think Solmonese should resign as soon as possible. I’m not tolerating this—none of us should tolerate this—anymore. It’s one thing to understand that we need to have a mainstream civil rights groups that can negotiate with the administration as well as a grassroots movement that can yell and scream. I understand we all have different roles to play. But when the role of the establishment is to betray the rest of us for their own access and black-tie dinners and coffee clatches at the White House, then the rest of us have to stand up and say “no more.” No more.
I can’t help but agree.
I think it is extremely important that President Obama spoke at the dinner for the sake of our movement. But I am still extremely disappointed at how low the standard is for what he has to offer. If he’s willing to support our equality, why do we not continue to push him to do better? Why do we not hold him accountable for not issuing a stop loss on DADT? Why do we applaud his language about equality of “relationships” when he refuses to support full marriage equality?
One of the things I heard Cleve Jones say at his speech on Saturday was, “There is no such thing as a fraction of equality.” In other words, we either have “full” equality or we don’t have equality at all. It seems that HRC is content to have an administration that is “good enough,” with a “let’s not be ungrateful” kind of attitude. That is exactly the attitude that keeps us where we are.
We should not be grateful until people get their heads out of their political asses and recognize this really is a human rights issue and there is absolutely no reason to delay or deny full equality now except discrimination. Nothing should be good enough until we truly have equality in rights, freedoms, and protections. If the Human Rights Campaign can’t properly stand up for human rights, then what are they good for?
Honestly, this movement should not be about political parties at all. It’s about people and our lives. Just as we call Obama a friend yet hold him accountable, so too should we be just as critical of groups like HRC who collect a lot of our money and leave us hanging. We can’t pay other people to get rights for us if we don’t feel like we can stand with them.
So, while I will continue to make use of HRC’s resources and even probably continue supporting the symbology of equality (=), I will no longer be giving any of my money to HRC. I do not want Joe Solmonese claiming me as one of the million members that somehow validate the organization’s inaction.
I hope you’ll join me in resisting the classist and racist divides that continue to needlessly drain the resources of our community. We can do better than what they have to offer.