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08/19/2008

QT challenges HRC; vowels glad to be left alone

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 2-174The folks at QueerToday.com, who've long captured our hearts and minds by being one of the biggest thorns in the side of the radically anti-gay MassResistance group, are now turning their sites to an organization that conventional wisdom would say is less likely to earn pro-gay ire: The Human Rights Campaign. Because of what QueerToday's Mark Snyder describes as HRC's "lack of grassroots organizing and coalition building, support for a non-inclusive ENDA, and endorsements of pro-war, anti-labor, anti-choice, and anti-immigrant candidates," he and his fellow Massachusetts-based gay rights activists are organizing a protest of an HRC gala that's scheduled to be held in Boston on 10/25.

Full release after the jump:

Boston - QueerToday.com activists are organizing a protest of the HRC Gala to be held October 25th 2008 at the Sheraton in Boston. QueerToday.com plans to build a broad coalition of activists to protest HRC's lack of grassroots organizing and coalition building, support for a non-inclusive ENDA, and endorsements of pro-war, anti-labor, anti-choice, and anti-immigrant candidates.

Just a few weeks ago Brad Luna, spokesperson for HRC, said the protests of their Galas have "nothing to do with organized labor," this week HRC has moved their Boston Gala from the Hynes Convention Center to the Sheraton because of Organized Labor's protests of Aramark. HRC has historically allowed their dinners to be catered by Aramark despite the fact that HRC themselves gave the company one of the lowest "Equality Index" scores, and organized labors ongoing protests of the corporation's discriminatory practices. One of the groups heavily involved in pressuring HRC to move their event was Unite Here Local 26, a union that joined with QueerToday.com activists in protesting the 2007 Boston Pride theme.

In San Francisco the keynote speaker for their HRC Gala, the mayor of Los Angeles, backed out at the last minute citing his refusal to cross labor picket lines. The event was protested by Pride At Work, a queer labor group that has endorsed QueerToday's Boston boycott.

The anti-war movement is involved in boycotting HRC as well. At the 2007 New York City Gala the anti-war group Code Pink joined forces with queer activists to speak out about HRC's pro-war endorsements (Joe Lieberman among others) and supporters.

Most pressing, in almost every city protests organized by transgender activists have occurred or are planned in response to HRC's wishy washy support for a trans-inclusive version of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA). Over 300 organizations including PFLAG and NGLTF have signed the United ENDA document calling for one voice supporting one inclusive ENDA.

In the wake of the ENDA debacle, HRC has demonstrated a reliance on force to address possible dissenters -LGBT ones- at their gala fundraising events. In Houston last spring, HRC requested riot police for less than a dozen transgender and allied activists. In San Francisco, private security guards forcefully removed a dissenting attendee, Catherine Cusic. A national coalition including QueerToday.com, Texas Gender Advocacy and Information Network, and Left OUT, has formed to call on HRC to treat protestors with compassion, and recognize that dissent is an important element of our community's history.

Several organizations including Queers Without Borders, Pride At Work, and KnowThyNeighbor.org have already endorsed the protest of HRC's Boston Gala. They are calling on local activists and organizations like MassEquality to withdraw support of HRC at once.

More information can be found at h
ttp://www.queertoday.com.

Boston HRC Gala PROTEST [QT]

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Your thoughts

To the guy who said "queertoday spends money" I have to laugh - queertoday spends 15 dollars a year on a domain name, everything else is accomplished through volunteer hours and a budget of $0.

One day you gay men will be harassed on the street because you appear too feminine and you will understand that gender protections are super important for you too and you will understand how we are all connected in these struggles together, and we must not abandon each other.

Speaking out and encouraging the bigger mainstream gay rights groups to address the needs of the community is an honrable role for a small lefty group to play - its a necessary role for people to play.

Posted by: mark | Aug 20, 2008 12:31:35 PM

Nancy...Well "Trannies" as I call them is a common term stop being so uptight...I guess your responsible for the TrannyShack closing in SF arent you ..haha (levity). While maybe a lot of organizations were behind it it was the Trannies who were behind that. How can you label me an anti-trans gay man. Im all for Trannies, Love em..in all ther varied form pre -op, post -op, angry, bitchy, et al, forms. I am tired of their whinning.

I think what Im representing and think about this (mean this nicely) is the disconnect between the LGBT community and the Queer Community... They are not one in the same.

The Queer community appears (my humble opinion) to be far more left leaning than the LGBT community, example Jasons post far above "actually i think that being queer does mean we need to have a greater analysis of systems of oppression". While I understand what he is saying, I myself and lots of LGBT's do not go that far...

Most LGBT's are not that far left leaning and tend to be more pragmatic. So when this historic event came about and was derailed by Trannies, we felt hijscked.

Im not asking you to agree but can you understand???

Posted by: ethan | Aug 20, 2008 12:58:23 PM

"If Congress doesn't understand such a simple principle as this, don't blame trans-people, don't blame those who do understand, blame Congress. If the HRC can't sell this basic American concept to Congress, again, don't blame trans-people and dont' blame the rest of us who will stand with trans-people as fellow human beings and fellow Americans."

I don't blame you. Be as passionate as necessary to further your goals for Trans but don't hold the rest of us back because Congress isn't willing to go along right now. Why shouldn't we pass a non-inclusive ENDA now and amend it later when the will exists in Congress for Trans? Mind you, we aren't talking about Republicans here, most were opposed to any form of ENDA, but Democrats who refused to sign off for Trans too. It's not even just ENDA, what about DADT? Should we wait on repealing this because Trans are not included? If you think opposition exists to gays openly serving, it is nothing compared to Trans in uniform. I say pass what we can now and amend it later.

Posted by: John | Aug 20, 2008 1:30:11 PM

"Most gay activists were against a non-inclusive ENDA."

Which differs markedly from your average GLB.

http://www.advocate.com/news_detail_ektid50267.asp

Posted by: John | Aug 20, 2008 1:32:41 PM

I don't have a problem with the word "trannies," per se, it's like the "n" word of course. To be used within the community, not by those outside it.

I think you're absolutely right, there is a giant disconnect between the LG community (haven't really heard many bisexuals speak one way or the other on this divide) and the larger queer community. I think queerness is all about understanding multiple oppressions, understanding the interconnectedness of different facets of our identities, and understanding that other peoples' oppressions ARE my oppressions, whether I directly suffer with them or not.

The LG side is more interested in working for their own rights than working toward the (more difficult, messier, more painful) bigger picture.

Psychoanalysis and Sexology, Radical and Liberal Feminism, Trans-inclusive and anti-Trans camps within the community, the divide has always been there, and it's always been the same one. Do people see only their own suffering, or do they see all oppression as one? The more radical view may not be that pragmatic in the short term, but in the end I think we can see that radical feminism has actually accomplished a lot of what it said it would do, far beyond the wildest dreams of typical liberal feminism. So will a trans-inclusive GLBTQIA politics.

The division is rooted in misogyny, make no mistake about it.

Posted by: Nancy | Aug 21, 2008 11:18:51 AM

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