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HRC’s Self-Parody

Jim Burroway

November 11th, 2008

As angry protests continue to erupt across California in the wake of Prop 8′s passage, our so-called leaders at the “Human Rights Champagne” is ready to mix it up with — get this — spa night:

HRC invites you to an evening of pampering and relaxation while you sip wine, snack on appetizers, and mingle with friends! We are proud to partner with Nickel Spa on this evening spa event.

…Note: There is a 50 person maximum for this event, you must be on the list to attend! Receiving a service is not required to attend. 20% of proceeds from spa services to benefit the Human Rights Campaign.

The HRC’s tepid response to ballot measures is now 0-30, their accomplishments on Capital Hill are minuscule — they are in serious danger of becoming completely irrelevant. With this, they are now reduced to self-parody. It’s like they’re not even trying anymore.

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Ben in Oakland
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

Bang on.

I have been telling them for years that they get no money from me as long as they continue with their in-the-closet strategies.

Willie Hewes
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

I could be overlooking something, but I don’t even remember an HRC statement on the loss on prop 8. Nor a comment on the current protests.

*shakes head*

Ben in Oakland
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

They did send out some emails. I told them they need to talk to me aobut what went wrong. so far, they haven’t asked. They are too busy throwing spa parties and feeling “saddened”.

AJD
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

I was starting to think that I and Larry Kramer were the only ones critical of these guys.

werdna
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

AJD-Don’t forget Andrew Sullivan and Michael Petrelis, among many others. Sullivan can be a bit over the top with his criticism (especially when it overlaps with his obsession with the other HRC, Hillary Rodham Clinton) but there’s a lot to dislike about HRC, the way they work and their long record of few accomplishments.

jOHN
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

Too bad…sooo Sad!

I guess it is all about raising money to pay the employees that no longer want to step on toes and get things done.

I am sure that it is many organizations that operate like this but I am only aware of the gay organizations. Does anyone really know how much of every dollar raised at AIDS Walks really go to the charities and how much goes to the organization that runs the walk with all the volunteers and products that are given to them? And with this program the HRC is getting 20% the Nickle Spa is the one making out here going from maybe 25 people in a night to 50…give me a break.

fannie
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

Great HRC. Way to maximize the All Gays Are Rich And Don’t Need Equal Rights stereotype.

Jeff in Surprise, AZ
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

I guess it’s time to remove my HRC sticker.

Pender
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

Stop giving money to HRC; they’re a useless organization. Give it instead to organizations like GLAAD, Lambda Legal, and the Equality groups.

Jeff in Surprise, AZ
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

Here an event that’s happening without HRC involement. Check out this: http://www.jointheimpact.com

Louie
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

I’ve never given 1 red cent to HRC and now, I NEVER will!

Yes, my money is much better spent on Lambda Legal and other groups that are fighting our causes in the courts.

Political lobbying has gotten us nowhere, fast! Political sentiment changes almost daily.

We WILL NEVER gain our equal and fair “CIVIL” rights via popular vote!

No other minority group has ever gained their “CIVIL” rights via popular vote.

That Sound You Just Heard Was me being Buried After Having Died Laughing « ENDAblog
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

[...] begin to describe the Rhode Island Avenue Cesspool of Transphobia.  But, I’ll cut Jim Burroway at BTB some slack: As angry protests continue to erupt across California in the wake of Prop 8’s passage, [...]

AJD
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

werdna, I was being somewhat facetious, but yeah, it’s good to see criticism of HRC becoming more acceptable. I’ve long had an issue with them and their notion of activism.

DrewDrew
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

I don’t particularly like rich people either, but we need their money. This campaign wouldn’t have even been close without it. So if spa night makes them give, we should be holding more of them.

Let’s not be stupid and burn down our own institutions because we dislike losing. No, HRC isn’t perfect. No, big money fundraisers by white folks and their friends aren’t sufficient to win a campaign. But they are necessary. We have to buy TV time, or we lose.

That’s not to say that HRC should be the only GLBT organization. There’s room — and a need — for us to start our own grassrootsy organizations that can actually put together a ground game in addition to the HRC-Equality big-money TV campaigns.

But we will never have a chance if we don’t have those TV ads and those annoying rich people’s money.

And finally, as a matter of general strategy, if we on the more radical side of the community sound like haters, we drive people away from our cause. That’s fine if our goal is to express our moral superiority. It’s not if our goal is winning next time around.

Marsha
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

I dropped my support from HRC 4 or 5 years ago. I can’t remember what made me realize that HRC wasn’t an organization I wanted to support, but since then they’ve given me several reasons.

I did give through their PAC this time and I sure hope, as they promised, all the money truly got to Equality For All. (it was a donor match too).

Timothy Kincaid
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

Regardless of what we may feel about HRC’s effectivity, let’s remember that we absolutely MUST have a voice and presence in Washington.

Al W.
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

“I am wanting to cancel because I am not satisfied with the visibility of the HRC during this critical election season. It seems to me that an organization as large as the HRC should have been considerably more “in front” of the Proposition 8 effort in California, and Florida and Arizona were pretty much entirely ignored. Yet, I just saw that there is a spa event planned. Please cancel my recurring contribution immediately.”

I just sent that. We’ll see how quickly they get around to actually doing it.

homer
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

What exactly has HRC accomplished? Anything?

PDuff
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

I can think of few gay organizations more useless than HRC. People attend their events so they can delude themselves into believing they’re part of the solution, but they only prolong the problem, which is a combination of bad strategy, turf protection and cowardice.

johnson
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

This is EXACTLY why I would never give a dime to HRC. They are much more concerned with cocktail parties, expensive catering, and swank social gatherings than with ensuring true equality for GLBT people. Feel free to disagree and criticize me, but that has been my perception of the organization.

Jason D
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

let’s handle this the gay way. No need to yell and scream at HRC.

Just send the buzz about town that HRC is Soooo last season. Everyone who’s anyone is donating to NO on Prop 8 (or whatever the new orgs are). HRC is simply not fierce enough, gurrl.

Okay, now that my partner is shaking his head at me and considering his other romantic options….They do need to start listening to us and stop acting like some Unofficial Gay UN. You’re here because of us, you’re here for us, so LISTEN To us!!

Parker W
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

I do have to step up and defend HRC’s involvement in the CA ‘No on Prop 8′ campaign. HRC was the second largest donor to the campaign. They raised just under $4 million from sources mostly outside of CA. No other group even came close to this.

As far as leadership, HRC is in ta tough spot when it comes to statewide issues. If they come into a state and take over they are seen by the local groups as being pushy, arrogant, and taking away $ that could be spent locally. HRC offerred to do whatever the CA coalition asked, They were there to help with polling, focus groups, mobilize members to phone bank, rally, Get out the vote efforts, and much more. The ‘Equality for All’ coalition was not about any one group. It was about all the groups coming together for a common cause.

It is true that this time, we lost. But in the process, we have found a new voice. All those people that have said for months that there is no way we would lose have been shocked into taking part and getting involved. For the first time in US history, a constitutional amendment has been used to take rights AWAY from a group of people. This means it is time for us to step up more. Stop feeding on ourselves and start focusing on those who want to relegate us to second class status.

Parker W
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

By the way.

I agree thaqt the Spa Day was a bad idea. But that was the decision of the local group and it was probably scheduled way before the results of the election were known.

AJD
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

I’m as critical as all of you of HRC, and I think it’s useless in its present form. However, Tim is right — we need to have an organization sticking up for us Washington.

I think a better idea would be to start a big letter-writing campaign to pressure the HRC to do more and employ more effective ways to do it.

Parker W
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

If you care to see the effectiveness of HRC in this election cycle. go to:

http://dc.hrc.org/files/Electoral_W-v3.pdf

I think you will be surprised with the scope of election/lobbying work that HRC is actually doing. Much of it not out in the forefront but working on campaigns all across the country and contributing to some significant wins this year.

The biggest being the defeat of Marilyn Musgrave in CO, she was the original author of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Parker W
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

The best way to change something is to get involved and make it happen. Voluntter for HRC and make the changes you want to see.

Joel
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

“Regardless of what we may feel about HRC’s effectivity, let’s remember that we absolutely MUST have a voice and presence in Washington.”

Doesn’t seem like their doing much, specially at this time that everyones united under the passing o prop 8. If they want to help the gay community be heard, best join them in the best way they can. But… it seems like their going to si thtis one out. Their apparant indifference sends shivers up my spine, is THIS what the gay community is counting one to be hear in washington?…

Geoff
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

I kinda bailed on HRC a bazillion years ago when they made a campaign contribution to an anti-choice Republican Senator (Al D’Amato) because it was important to play the game. Maybe it was a good strategy at the time, but its not for me.

If you want to work with a more grass roots organization in Washington check out The Task Force.

http://www.thetaskforce.org/

Dave
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

Tim Kincaid:

“Regardless of what we may feel about HRC’s effectivity, let’s remember that we absolutely MUST have a voice and presence in Washington.”

Who is the we to which you refer?

The HRC is an adjunct of the Democratic Party.

Harvey Hussein Milk
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

OUT with HRC; IN with Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the ACLU. HRC is just so milquetoast. Lambda Legal actually gets things done.

Paul In SF
November 12th, 2008 | LINK


Timothy Kincaid
November 11th, 2008 | LINK

Regardless of what we may feel about HRC’s effectivity, let’s remember that we absolutely MUST have a voice and presence in Washington.

Yes we must. When do you suppose we will get around to getting one?

David Ehrenstein
November 12th, 2008 | LINK

HRC IS completely irrelevant — and has been for years.

OUT OF THE SUITES AND INTO THE STREETS!!!!!!

Scooter
November 12th, 2008 | LINK

The week prior to the election, I received an impressive mailer from HRC outlining the work that is being done and listing the names of the major donors and Federal Club members.

Nice, but like much of HRC, it seems like donor money was spent on “preaching to the choir” rather than reaching outside their comfort zone. Besides, the list was more than 8 months old by the time of the printing.

Can someone please provide me with some coomentary in the activity that HRC did with respect to the Prop 8 fight?

Patrick Monette-Shaw
November 12th, 2008 | LINK

If jOHN wants to “know how much of every dollar raised at AIDS Walks really go to the charities and how much goes to the organization that runs the walk with all the volunteers and products that are given to them?” he might visit http://www.thelastwatch.com.

While I haven’t updated data on that site for some time, there’s an analysis of the reduction in the amount of money the San Francisco AIDS Foundation shares with other smaller Bay Area AIDS agencies SFAF purports are “beneficiaries” of the AIDS Walk.

Emily K
November 12th, 2008 | LINK

Well Dave, good luck getting any conservative party (such as the GOP) to acknowledge our presence in the scope of humanity in any positive way.

Stop bitching and moaning and get out and make a damn difference.

Frank
November 12th, 2008 | LINK

I won’t pretend to know what the people who are commenting here have done, whether time or financial resources, to defeat Proposition 8. I wish these same people would stop pretending they knew what HRC does or doesn’t do. It is quite clear that posters have no clue and is a disservice to our community to spread misleading and in some cases, outright lies.

HRC is a national political advocacy group, not a state organization. They provide resources, human and/or financial, to the state advocacy groups. In California, they donated over $4 million and six staff members to No on 8. The No on 8 campaign was run by a broad group of organizations, including Equality California, National Center for Lesbian Rights, The Task Force, among many others. To somehow select and pick on HRC solely for the passage of Prop 8 is disingenuous. As a matter of fact, HRC was one of the largest contributors to No on 8 despite the fact that California, specifically San Francisco, was the most vocal against HRC and staged boycotts where fundraisers were held to benefit No on 8.

The success stories of HRC can be found in the 2006 and our most current election cycles. The well-respected National Journal rated HRC the second most effective PAC (out of 27 or so) in the 2006 elections. I suspect they will also rate highly in this election cycle.

We Californians are spoiled and especially in San Francisco, we pretty much get what we want. Therein lies the problem. We are too complacent. People didn’t jump on the No on 8 bandwagon until it was too late. 50% of San Franciscans couldn’t even bother to go and vote.

We are too self-centered and naive to think that Washington is just like Sacramento. The U.S. Congress comprise of members from ALL 50 different states. Therefore, passing legislation is much more difficult especially if there is a Republican President and Congress.

To HRC’s credit, they defeated the Federal Marriage Amendment not once, not twice, but three times during a Republican era. No one else took on this fight but HRC. If the FMA passed, it would have been the law of the land as Federal laws trump state laws. In other words, the fight for marriage in states is possible and winning (Connecticut) because the FMA was defeated.

There are tons more examples of HRC success stories, such as being the key organizations in helping to change the make-up of Congress (notice very little anti-LGBT legislation?), the make-up in State Houses resulting in passage of non-discrimination laws, partner recognition, and most recently in New York, where marriage may be possible now, advocating for Ryan-White funds, eliminating the taxes on deceased partners retirement funds, ridding the discriminatory policy of not allowing people with HIV/AIDS into the U.S., and setting the foundation for eventual passage of an inclusive ENDA and Hate Crimes Legislation.

I hope to see these same posters come back and praise HRC when significant pieces of legislation is passed and signed into law during the Obama Presidency.

Lastly, don’t tear down our only lobbying organization on Capitol Hill until there is a viable alternative. Let’s act sensibly and don’t play into our enemy’s hands. We have people out there who really want to tear our community apart and hurt us. HRC isn’t our enemy.

Rick Garcia
November 12th, 2008 | LINK

“HRC is in serious danger of becoming completely irrelevant”…Honey, they have been completely irrelevant for years.
But too many of us are too nice to tell the loser charlatans to get out of town.

The suggestion that we should give HRC a pass because we need “a voice and presence in Washington” is ridiculous.

Better no voice, better no presence than a ‘voice’ that sells us out, and a ‘presence’ that is nothing more than window dressing – and it ain’t a pretty window!

Let’s get out the scale: For all the money HRC has collected and spent what are the legislative and adminstrative victories that it can claim?

I think I’ll have a spa night myself…but it won’t benefit HRC.

And let’s support those who accomplish something for us Lambda, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and NGLTF.

HRC SF Supporter
November 12th, 2008 | LINK

I helped organize this event and other HRC events in the SF Bay Area. I donate a lot of my personal time and resources to HRC, and it’s difficult to read some of the conclusions drawn about this event.

I can tell you this event was planned 3 months ago, and was strictly for social purposes. It was not done as a flippant “oh let’s get facials” event to “move past” Proposition 8.

HRC has been extremely involved in the campaign.

HRC was a member of the Executive Steering Committee for Non on 8 – along with EQCA, NCLR, and several other organizations.

For those of you who “wonder” what HRC “did” for No on 8 – in addition to manning endless phone banks and working in critical areas across the state in the San Fernando Valley, San Diego, and more – HRC:

- Raised and donated $3.4 million to the No on 8 campaign.

- HRC dedicated 8 field staff to the campaign, who were spread across the state working with EQCA and other organizations.

- HRC mobilized a massive amount of volunteers in lobbying, phone banks, events on campuses across the state – the list goes on.

All LGBT people (including me) are angry, distraught, and emotional about what feels like a slap in the face from 52% of Californians. It hurt us, and made us feel like 2nd class citizens. It’s painful. Extremely painful.

But attacking and blaming HRC or any of the other LGBT organizations who worked hard – VERY hard on the campaign to save our rights – is not the answer.

Dave
November 13th, 2008 | LINK

Emily K,

If you’re going to respond to my comments, you should do me the courtesy of responding in ways that are related to what I said!

Tim said ‘we need representation in DC.’ Since the HRC function more like a pro-Democrat, pro-leftist group than a gay issues group, I asked just what people he meant by “we.” That is all.

I did no bitching and no moaning.

bp3xs
November 17th, 2008 | LINK

You people make me very, very sad. Divisiveness is not going to get us anywhere. It’s an old adage but a true one: United we stand; divided we fall.

HRC’s successes and commitment to the nation-wide LGBT community are well documented. So are the successes of NGLTF, NCLR, GLAAD, ECQA — to name a few. (It’s a shame you people can’t do your homework before writing incendiary and dishonest postings to any blog.) Our civil rights movement would not be as far without all of those organizations. I give time and / or the little extra money I have to all of them because I think it’s that important.

Buck up, people. And, grow up. We need to CONTINUE to build an effective collation, work together, or we will certainly lose the fight.

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