Friday, March 29, 2013

Quote of the Day

. . . Not everyone appreciates how the HRC has been lent high legitimacy as the organization representing the entire movement when their actions have consistently proven otherwise. Going further, some people have reservations that a large number of people – especially economically well-off, able-bodied, gender conforming, non-immigrant and white (read: relatively privileged) gay and lesbian Americans – will disengage from the many other institutional and social changes necessary for full inclusion of LGBT communities.

That may very well not be the case. But who comprises the majority of the Human Rights Campaign's staff and donor base? The same white, gay and lesbian people previously described. For many of these folks and some others, marriage equality is the last major step to becoming "fully privileged" citizens relative to their heterosexual peers (well, save perhaps for employment protections).

Just the sight of the HRC logo recalls that scary possibility of broader disengagement given how the organization has represented itself so far – and what's below only scratches the surface.

The HRC has appeared more concerned with praising corporations and financial institutions that continue to oppress the poor and play reverse Robin Hood to screw many folks (LGBT* included) out of homes and livelihoods.

The HRC has yet to make a strong, substantive appeal on youth homelessness, which disproportionately impacts LGBT communities.

The HRC has a long history of throwing trans people under the bus. Many folks still remember them dropping the "T" while attempting to push the Employment Non-Discrimination Act through Congress in 2007... and it still failed to capture enough votes to pass in the Senate and become law. They've since reverted to supporting a trans-inclusive bill, yet many still feel the sting.

The HRC has tokenized and otherwise has given lip service to issues pertaining to LGBT communities of color. Racial justice (or even an allusion to it) isn't even listed on their website's "issues" tab as part of a broader strategy. And dare we not address how that functions from within, given the racism many people experience in LGBT spaces and forums.

Yet the HRC has thrown almost the full weight of their strategy, fundraising moolah and public platform on the issue of marriage equality. And they've done it for a while now.

It's as if the organization can't make fully-voiced statements and actions to push forward other pressing issues. I'm sure many folks can appreciate that they've at least tried with employment protections and addressing bullying. But, more often than not, you won't hear HRC's voice on issues other than marriage. A quick perusal of its Facebook posts over the past year confirms that.

With marriage equality occupying so much space in the conversation, many people have grown tired of the perfunctory strategies that eat up time, money and resources to address surface-level issues rather than work intersectionally to address the root cause of systemic issues impacting LGBT communities. That's not to say marriage doesn't matter – it's indeed a big step that'll move us closer to achieving equality – but the high, high level of its prioritization is troubling to many.

When people openly express their discomfort about the red HRC logo heavily populating their Facebook and Twitter news feeds, they're doing more than simply raging against the Gay Inc. machine. Scrutinizing marriage as an institution and acknowledging broader community issues while supporting marriage as an option for all couples are not mutually exclusive ideas or actions.

If anything, it's a plea for recognition that the marriage issue is one part of a larger strategy for equality and not the ultimate end goal. . . .

– Derrick Clifton

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Seeing Red
A Lose/Lose Situation

Related Off-site Links:
Gay Marriage Equality Box Spreads on Social Media – Leanne Italie (Associated Press via Yahoo! News, March 27, 2013).
I’m Going To Rant About Those Little Equal Sign Facebook Profile Pics Now – Mira (, March 27, 2013).

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