The Sound of Silence: The HRC National Dinner Protest

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October 9, 2008

The Sound of Silence: The HRC National Dinner Protest

Last week I received an email from the Human Rights Campaign informing me that Joe Biden will be speaking at the the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner on October 4th, 2008.  Since that time I’ve expected to hear about an organized protest of this event from the transgender activist community in Washington D.C. Protests have already happened from coast to coast (and everywhere in between). Last Feburary the New York City protest caused many prominent local politicians to boycott the New York City HRC Dinner. In July the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, Pride at Work, And Castro For All, the Lou Sullian Society (FTM SF), and the Trans March came together to boycott the Human Rights Campaign Dinner. Such a strong presence of organized labor was especially important. The key note speaker for the San Francisco dinner, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, dropped out of the event because of labor’s involvement.

You can see video from the San Francisco protest here:

At upcoming Boston HRC dinner on October 25th, protesters are looking to build on the San Francisco success. From Left in SF:

“The group is working to build a coalition of trans and queer activists, anti-war activists, and women’s rights activists to protest HRC’s lack of grassroots coalition building, support for pro-war and anti-choice candidates, and support of a non-inclusive version of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA).

‘It’s time to show HRC what real solidarity looks like,” said Trevor Wright of QueerToday.com, ‘transgender and labor activists united in San Francisco to build the largest protest ever of HRC, and we plan to show the country Boston can too!'”

When contacted for comment about the upcoming National HRC Dinner, Pride At Work Executive Director,  Jeremy Bishop, said

At Pride at Work  we’re going to push it as hard as possible to make sure Obama is in office, but an inclusive ENDA is one of his top priorities. That’s kind of where we’re focusing some of our energy. Also educating Congressional folks so that when the next ENDA comes to their desk and we have a larger Democratic majority,  the problems we had last year will not be recreated.

Boston transgender activist, Ethan St. Pierre, sees it differently.

“Even though other organizations dropped the ball last year, the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition had a two week notice to pick up the slack and move forward with a protest, and it was still a fairly successful event.

Last October’s HRC national dinner protest was the kick off to the nations HRC dinner
protests that have taken place across the country. We are now busy organizing protests
in our own cities. Considering that this is the one year anniversary of HRC’s betrayal, that  Joe Biden is speaking at the HRC national dinner in DC,  and that the DC dinner takes in the MOST money, that the activists who live in the DC area would have done something on their own.”

Can we all agree that United ENDA is dead? The major organizations of “United ENDA” are located in the Washington D.C. area, yet the Human Rights Campaign is having a dinner without the voice of protest of the transgender community. The only transgender representation at the dinner will be on the inside. Founding member and current NCTE board member, Dana Beyer, is a table captain at the dinner. According to the HRC Dinner website:

Table Captains are the heart of the National Dinner’s attendance. Each Table Captain strives to fill a table of 12, creating their own guest list and spending an inspirational evening surrounded with friends and family. As a ‘thank you’ for helping to support the drive for equality, Table Captains are listed in Dinner advertisements, invitations and program books.

Where are the grass roots activists? Where are the protesters? The silence coming from Washington D.C. is deafening.

8 Comments

  1. Frank says:

    What are you wanting HRC to do that they have not already said or done? They had been pretty clear on the focus moving forward; that once Obama is in, and a fair minded Congress, they are supportive of an Inclusive-ENDA

    What would you like to be said, or to be done, that has not already been said or done by HRC?

    I am certain that the desires you have are heard and acknowledged, but protesting a year old issue, with the same dribble will get you the same reply from HRC. They (HRC) want to pass an Inclusive-ENDA too, they have said it.

    Dana Beyer may be a board member of NCTE but she is also a Board of Governor at HRC.

    You are become a broken record.

  2. Frank says:

    What are you wanting HRC to do that they have not already said or done? They had been pretty clear on the focus moving forward; that once Obama is in, and a fair minded Congress, they are supportive of an Inclusive-ENDA

    What would you like to be said, or to be done, that has not already been said or done by HRC?

    I am certain that the desires you have are heard and acknowledged, but protesting a year old issue, with the same dribble will get you the same reply from HRC. They (HRC) want to pass an Inclusive-ENDA too, they have said it.

    Dana Beyer may be a board member of NCTE but she is also a Board of Governor at HRC.

    You are become a broken record.

  3. [quote comment=””][quote comment=””]What are you wanting HRC to do that they have not already said or done? They had been pretty clear on the focus moving forward; that once Obama is in, and a fair minded Congress, they are supportive of an Inclusive-ENDA

    What would you like to be said, or to be done, that has not already been said or done by HRC?

    I am certain that the desires you have are heard and acknowledged, but protesting a year old issue, with the same dribble will get you the same reply from HRC. They (HRC) want to pass an Inclusive-ENDA too, they have said it.

    Dana Beyer may be a board member of NCTE but she is also a Board of Governor at HRC.

    You are become a broken record.[/quote][/quote]

    Hey Frank, you want to know why this sounds like a broken record? Because for the past seven years or so we’ve gotten nothing but bait-and-switch deceit from the likes of HRC!

    HRC has never trusted the transgender rank-and-file and groups like NTAC that aren’t their apologist lapdogs. That’s their prerogative as we can’t force them to trust us. However, we’ve never been given the opportunity, much less used that opportunity, to disempower, lobbying for ourselves at their expense, work to discredit us in Congress, and betray while all the while lying to our faces of their “alleged” support.

    Our distrust of them is concrete — not just some “gut sense of not liking them. We have specific, repeated and well-demonstrated acts on their part that create this. And just as they continue exercising their prerogative of distrusting us, keeping us out of the loop and rendering us voiceless, we will continue exercising our prerogative to distrust anything coming from them, and do everything in our power to return the same discreditation and mistrust from those outside GLBT America. It doesn’t matter what they say or what they do, this will continue and you and other HRC-supporters need to accept the new reality. It’s been well-earned.

    Which brings me to a question: why is it, if HRC can choose who will and will not be representatives of the transgender community is it that we should not do likewise? We should be choosing who should represent the gay and lesbian community based upon our trust of them. HRC will never achieve this. They need to give it up. In fact, very few in the LGBT community have even gone out of their way to demonstrate this trustworthiness — even in some organizations that mouth the words.

    We should be likewise choosing who represents your voice, your issues and your lives based upon our comfort with these people — at least if all things are considered equal. Then again, maybe that’s presuming you think we’re being treated or should have right to be equal (the egalitarian version — not “equality”).

  4. [quote comment=””][quote comment=””]What are you wanting HRC to do that they have not already said or done? They had been pretty clear on the focus moving forward; that once Obama is in, and a fair minded Congress, they are supportive of an Inclusive-ENDA

    What would you like to be said, or to be done, that has not already been said or done by HRC?

    I am certain that the desires you have are heard and acknowledged, but protesting a year old issue, with the same dribble will get you the same reply from HRC. They (HRC) want to pass an Inclusive-ENDA too, they have said it.

    Dana Beyer may be a board member of NCTE but she is also a Board of Governor at HRC.

    You are become a broken record.[/quote][/quote]

    Hey Frank, you want to know why this sounds like a broken record? Because for the past seven years or so we’ve gotten nothing but bait-and-switch deceit from the likes of HRC!

    HRC has never trusted the transgender rank-and-file and groups like NTAC that aren’t their apologist lapdogs. That’s their prerogative as we can’t force them to trust us. However, we’ve never been given the opportunity, much less used that opportunity, to disempower, lobbying for ourselves at their expense, work to discredit us in Congress, and betray while all the while lying to our faces of their “alleged” support.

    Our distrust of them is concrete — not just some “gut sense of not liking them. We have specific, repeated and well-demonstrated acts on their part that create this. And just as they continue exercising their prerogative of distrusting us, keeping us out of the loop and rendering us voiceless, we will continue exercising our prerogative to distrust anything coming from them, and do everything in our power to return the same discreditation and mistrust from those outside GLBT America. It doesn’t matter what they say or what they do, this will continue and you and other HRC-supporters need to accept the new reality. It’s been well-earned.

    Which brings me to a question: why is it, if HRC can choose who will and will not be representatives of the transgender community is it that we should not do likewise? We should be choosing who should represent the gay and lesbian community based upon our trust of them. HRC will never achieve this. They need to give it up. In fact, very few in the LGBT community have even gone out of their way to demonstrate this trustworthiness — even in some organizations that mouth the words.

    We should be likewise choosing who represents your voice, your issues and your lives based upon our comfort with these people — at least if all things are considered equal. Then again, maybe that’s presuming you think we’re being treated or should have right to be equal (the egalitarian version — not “equality”).

  5. Marti Abernathey says:

    @ Frank:

    Um, the post wasn’t about HRC, but the lack of a protest. And you’re incorrect. HRC’s position, as given by Joe Solmonese, not a few weeks ago, was that they’d work TOWARDS an inclusive ENDA (meaning a separate ENDA bill in the future, as a opposed to an all inclusive bill in the next Congress).

  6. Marti Abernathey says:

    @ Frank:

    Um, the post wasn’t about HRC, but the lack of a protest. And you’re incorrect. HRC’s position, as given by Joe Solmonese, not a few weeks ago, was that they’d work TOWARDS an inclusive ENDA (meaning a separate ENDA bill in the future, as a opposed to an all inclusive bill in the next Congress).

  7. [quote comment=””][quote comment=””][quote comment=””]What are you wanting HRC to do that they have not already said or done? They had been pretty clear on the focus moving forward; that once Obama is in, and a fair minded Congress, they are supportive of an Inclusive-ENDA

    What would you like to be said, or to be done, that has not already been said or done by HRC?

    I am certain that the desires you have are heard and acknowledged, but protesting a year old issue, with the same dribble will get you the same reply from HRC. They (HRC) want to pass an Inclusive-ENDA too, they have said it.

    Dana Beyer may be a board member of NCTE but she is also a Board of Governor at HRC.

    You are become a broken record.[/quote][/quote]

    Hey Frank, you want to know why this sounds like a broken record? Because for the past seven years or so we’ve gotten nothing but bait-and-switch deceit from the likes of HRC!

    HRC has never trusted the transgender rank-and-file and groups like NTAC that aren’t their apologist lapdogs. That’s their prerogative as we can’t force them to trust us. However, we’ve never been given the opportunity, much less used that opportunity, to disempower, lobbying for ourselves at their expense, work to discredit us in Congress, and betray while all the while lying to our faces of their “alleged” support.

    Our distrust of them is concrete — not just some “gut sense of not liking them. We have specific, repeated and well-demonstrated acts on their part that create this. And just as they continue exercising their prerogative of distrusting us, keeping us out of the loop and rendering us voiceless, we will continue exercising our prerogative to distrust anything coming from them, and do everything in our power to return the same discreditation and mistrust from those outside GLBT America. It doesn’t matter what they say or what they do, this will continue and you and other HRC-supporters need to accept the new reality. It’s been well-earned.

    Which brings me to a question: why is it, if HRC can choose who will and will not be representatives of the transgender community is it that we should not do likewise? We should be choosing who should represent the gay and lesbian community based upon our trust of them. HRC will never achieve this. They need to give it up. In fact, very few in the LGBT community have even gone out of their way to demonstrate this trustworthiness — even in some organizations that mouth the words.

    We should be likewise choosing who represents your voice, your issues and your lives based upon our comfort with these people — at least if all things are considered equal. Then again, maybe that’s presuming you think we’re being treated or should have right to be equal (the egalitarian version — not “equality”).[/quote]

  8. [quote comment=””][quote comment=””][quote comment=””]What are you wanting HRC to do that they have not already said or done? They had been pretty clear on the focus moving forward; that once Obama is in, and a fair minded Congress, they are supportive of an Inclusive-ENDA

    What would you like to be said, or to be done, that has not already been said or done by HRC?

    I am certain that the desires you have are heard and acknowledged, but protesting a year old issue, with the same dribble will get you the same reply from HRC. They (HRC) want to pass an Inclusive-ENDA too, they have said it.

    Dana Beyer may be a board member of NCTE but she is also a Board of Governor at HRC.

    You are become a broken record.[/quote][/quote]

    Hey Frank, you want to know why this sounds like a broken record? Because for the past seven years or so we’ve gotten nothing but bait-and-switch deceit from the likes of HRC!

    HRC has never trusted the transgender rank-and-file and groups like NTAC that aren’t their apologist lapdogs. That’s their prerogative as we can’t force them to trust us. However, we’ve never been given the opportunity, much less used that opportunity, to disempower, lobbying for ourselves at their expense, work to discredit us in Congress, and betray while all the while lying to our faces of their “alleged” support.

    Our distrust of them is concrete — not just some “gut sense of not liking them. We have specific, repeated and well-demonstrated acts on their part that create this. And just as they continue exercising their prerogative of distrusting us, keeping us out of the loop and rendering us voiceless, we will continue exercising our prerogative to distrust anything coming from them, and do everything in our power to return the same discreditation and mistrust from those outside GLBT America. It doesn’t matter what they say or what they do, this will continue and you and other HRC-supporters need to accept the new reality. It’s been well-earned.

    Which brings me to a question: why is it, if HRC can choose who will and will not be representatives of the transgender community is it that we should not do likewise? We should be choosing who should represent the gay and lesbian community based upon our trust of them. HRC will never achieve this. They need to give it up. In fact, very few in the LGBT community have even gone out of their way to demonstrate this trustworthiness — even in some organizations that mouth the words.

    We should be likewise choosing who represents your voice, your issues and your lives based upon our comfort with these people — at least if all things are considered equal. Then again, maybe that’s presuming you think we’re being treated or should have right to be equal (the egalitarian version — not “equality”).[/quote]

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