Changing Hearts and Minds: The 2008 IFGE Conference
April 9, 2008
NCTE Lobby Days: Where’s Waldo, HRC, or Barney Frank?
April 18, 2008

Equality Through Intimidation? The Houston HRC Dinner Protest

I just recieved this from Phyllis Frye:

By calling the Houston Police, national HRC deliberately set in motion a police over response. HRC used government and taxpayer monies to intimidate the hell out of TG and gender variant people who drove in to participate, but were scared away.

I hope the Advocate or Blade or Voice do a freedom of information act request to determine how much money was used to cover the HRC “false alarm.” I think the City of Houston should bill National HRC for the knowing “false alarm.”

Only 11 folks were brave enough to show when driving in and seeing the police riot set up that HRC had triggered. Three were from out of town. A threat, we were not! THERE WERE NO INCIDENTS.

The tenor I’ve heard from other national GLBT leaders (including some leading Executive Directors) is that Phyllis Frye is either mistaken or dishonest in her belief that HRC is trying to intimidate transgender people. I’ve been told that it is S.O.P. (standard operating procedure) when there is a protest of an HRC dinner that the police are called by the local HRC that hosts the event. That being said, do you think that this is an appropriate response to 11 transactivists?

I’ve organized or co-organized many a protest (see my about page for a list) and we’ve never had more than a few officers. We always alerted the ACLU and they sent monitors:

At our “Rally at the State House” in Indianapolis we had almost 1000 people, yet didn’t have six mounted police officers.

If HRC is trying to mend fences or wants to bring transgender people back into the fold, intimidation is not going to help do that. It only reinforces the idea that we are pawns, to be moved and ordered as the HRC wills us to.

Marti Abernathey
Marti Abernathey
Marti Abernathey is the founder of the Transadvocate and the previous managing editor. Abernathey has worn many different hats, including that of podcaster, activist, and radiologic technologist. She's been a part of various internet radio ventures such as TSR Live!, The T-Party, and The Radical Trannies, TransFM, and Sodium Pentathol Sunday. As an advocate she's previously been involved with the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance, Rock Indiana Campaign for Equality, and the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition. She's taken vital roles as a grass roots community organizer in The Indianapolis Tax Day Protest (2003), The Indy Pride HRC Protest (2004), Transgender Day of Remembrance (2004), Indiana's Witch Hunt (2005), and the Rally At The Statehouse (the largest ever GLBT protest in Indiana - 3/2005). In 2008 she was a delegate from Indiana to the Democratic National Convention and a member of Barack Obama's LGBT Steering and Policy Committee.
  • It’s pretty hard to mend fences with a community of people to whom HRC has lied to, blatantly, openly, captured for posterity on Youtube. Then, not only do they lie some more and not attempt to make amends, they then attempt to silence through intimidation. Keep in mind that this isn’t the first time they’ve tried intimidation. They did it to Monica Helms, leafleting an event in Atlanta, in January. Lying, of course, is something HRC has been doing to and about the T community for a decade and a half now.

    HRC now has a real problem. They might have been protested before, but only in cities with a transgender presence and leadership. Now, they will be facing protests everywhere they have events, and probably at more than just the galas. If they demand security like what was deployed in Houston, they will eventually have trouble finding hotels willing to deal with the security costs and concerns. And whatever HRC says in defense will not be believed by any T people, because, well, HRC is a pack of liars whose words cannot be believed. Trust is essential to doing business, and the T community absolutely cannot trust HRC to do anything but evil.

    Does HRC really think they can win a PR battle with this community? Are the puppeteers who pull Solmonese’s strings that stupid? Do they think we will give up? Yes, I think they are that fucking stupid.

    Your slide show is cool – good work.