A few hours after Obama spoke to the gay lobby, a group of queers going by the name "Queers Against Assimilation" (to the point) tagged HRC's building with the sentence "Quit leaving queers behind." Their statement is after the jump.
Andrew Sullivan also called on Joe Solmonese to resign, because he says the group is ineffective. This follows years of him complaining that HRC generally favors Democrats over Republicans, as if there was no reason for them to do so. (He's also complained that ENDA was "the sole focus of the gay rights movement for the last two decades, at the expense of military service and marriage rights," so you know where he's coming from.)
Rex Wockner reported that Cleve Jones was happy with the assessment that he "just split the gay movement in two," one side being reformist grassroots folks at the NEM, the other being reformist establishment folks at the HRC dinner.
There are transgender people and their supporters, who've been justifiably frustrated with HRC since long before HRC wanted to split the community and drop them from ENDA in 2007.
And then there's Gay Patriot, representative of many gay Republicans, who dismiss HRC because they bashed Bush.
The point is, there are lots of people in the community coming from lots of different ideologies, and the emerging, over-simplified media narrative of "establishment" vs. "grassroots" just doesn't describe the current climate. Long before Prop 8 there were queers who were mad at HRC and Gay, Inc., and long before there even was HRC there were ideological splits among gay activists.
And just because someone is mad at HRC or other LGBT nonprofit corporations doesn't mean that they're coming from a different ideological perspective. Sometimes the difference is in strategy, not goals. The fact that both the National Equality March's goals and HRC's goals are almost identical indicates that they're not really that far from each other ideologically, which probably explains why HRC endorsed the NEM.
It doesn't help that HRC's response to criticism is usually to circle the wagons and then circle jerk to the tune of "[We're] more politically aware and had a better sense of maybe, you know, what's at stake and what needs to be done." Sure, they came out and said it this time, but other times of protest against HRC, like the ENDA split from 2007, were met with pretty much the same response. Then it was a cynical deployment of "incrementalism," now they're saying they just know more.
I wish there was more ideological debate going on in the LGBT community (outside of Bilerico), but it seems like strategic debate - as well as the hunts for traitors - is what we're going to have to settle for.
Here's QAA's statement on the vandalism.
Communique from the Forgotton:
Human Rights Campaign HQ Glamdalized By Queers Against Assimilation
HRC headquarters was rocked by an act of glamdalism last night by a crew of radical queer and allied folks armed with pink and black paint and glitter grenades. Beside the front entrance and the inscribed mission statement now reads a tag, "Quit leaving queers behind."
The HRC is not a democratic or inclusive institution, especially for the people who they claim to represent. Just like society today, the HRC is run by a few wealthy elites who are in bed with corporate sponsors who proliferate militarism, heteronormativity, and capitalist exploitation. The sweatshops (Nike), war crimes (Lockheed Martin), assaults on working class people (Bank of America, Deloitte, Chase Bank, Citi Group, Wachovia Bank) and patriarchy (American Apparel) caused by their sponsors is a hypocrisy for an organization with "human rights" in their name.
The queer liberation movement has been misrepresented and co-opted by the HRC. The HRC marginalizes us into a limited struggle for aspiring homosexual elites to regain the privilege that they've lost and climb the social ladder towards becoming bourgeoisie.
Last night, Obama spoke at the HRC fundraising gala and currently the HRC website declares, "President Obama underlines his unwavering support for LGBT Americans." The vast amount of organizing resources the HRC wastes on their false alliance with the Democratic party leaves radical queers on the margins to fend for themselves. Our struggle has always had to resist the repression of conservative tendencies in government and society to gain liberation in our lives.
The gourmet affair was sponsored by 48 corporations including giants Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, and Wachovia Bank. At $250 dollars a plate the HRC served our movement a rich, white, heternormative atmosphere that purposefully excludes working class queer folks.
REMEMBER THE STONEWALL RIOTS! On the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, pigs raided a queer bar in Texas, arrested and beat our friends, and we looked towards politicians and lawyers to protect us. This mentality is what keeps the money flowing to the HRC and their pet Democrats, and keeps our fists in our pockets.
Most of all we disagree that collective liberation will be granted by the state or its institutions like prisons, marriage, and the military. We need to escalate our struggle, or it will collapse.
~~Love and Solidarity~~