Queers Without Borders notes:
And so our super heroes, Batman and Robin, and of course Alfred, have not been sleeping when it comes to the issue of Truth and Justice for ALL LGBTQ folks. As Robin recently noted to Batman, I guess a lot of what you said in your piece ~ Holy Matrimony, Batman is still true Batman. Our Marriage Equality rally at the US Supreme Court seems to have unearthed the truth behind some of the leading LGBT Equality organizations. I can’t believe they tried to censor the speakers about what they could say, or prohibit the displaying of banners from our various communities. Well Robin, folks say that when fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross. And now it may be that fascism comes to the LGBTQ community with the HRC symbol wrapped in the American flag! Geez Batman that is kinda scary, kinda like the so-called major LGBT equality organizations only feel the love for marriage equality and not for our trans, bi or immigrant folks. Well Robin, just ask Monica Roberts and many others who have ripped the mask off of HRC and similar organizations for their betrayal to many of our brethren and their causes! Oh yeah before I forget Batman, did you hear that our super brethren, Captain America and Superman, have renounced their US citizenship in outrage to the policies of the US government? Yes Robin that I knew, however that is for a different discussion when we talk about the fair-weather liberal and their allegiance to the State.
[Link]The Human Rights Campaign apologized (QWB comments: Yet Again) Monday for treatment of transgender and immigration rights activists at the Supreme Court last week, days after the nation’s largest LGBT group initially had sought to brush aside the criticisms.
HRC, which has been much celebrated on social media for its red marriage equality logo’s takeover of Facebook, found itself the subject of scrutiny on Tumblr and YouTube for what many saw as marginalizing transgender people and LGBT immigrants.
A Tumblr post since deleted (but shown below) detailed that transgender rights activists were asked repeatedly to remove a flag supporting transgender rights from behind the podium, a fact confirmed to BuzzFeed by multiple people. Additionally, as detailed at YouTube, an undocumented immigrant was asked to remove information about his immigration status from the speech he gave at the rally.
Although HRC initially brushed off the concerns raised in the Tumblr post, the group’s vice president referenced both incidents in an apology Monday.
In a statement on its website, HRC vice president Fred Sainz wrote Monday, “HRC regrets the incidents and offers our apologies to those who were hurt by our actions. We failed to live up to the high standard to which we hold ourselves accountable and we will strive to do better in the future.”
The incidents reignited longstanding of criticism of HRC for being overly concerned about a media-friendly picture being presented at public events and had the potential to reopen old wounds in the LGBT community about HRC’s treatment of transgender issues.
In 2007, HRC made the decision to support a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would have excluded transgender protections from the long-sought job discrimination bill. In part because, as then-HRC president Joe Solmonese noted to this reporter in a 2012 interview, then-President George W. Bush would have vetoed the bill so “there was no chance that bill was going to get signed into law,” HRC backed the trans-exclusive bill as part of “the complexities of legislative process and building a bill.”
The move, however, “was a divisive moment” that Solmonese described as “a difficult time” at HRC. “[T]he community felt as though it had been divided through that act,” he said. Although HRC has worked to repair that division over the past years, the organization has been particularly sensitive to criticism of its treatment of transgender issues in the years since the 2007 vote.
HRC’s current president, Chad Griffin, took over for Solmonese in June 2012. Though his job before this was running the American Foundation for Equal Rights — which brought the court challenge to California’s Proposition 8 marriage amendment — Griffin has made a clear effort to include non-marriage issues, and to highlight transgender issues, in his work as president. His first effort as the group’s head was a survey that looked at anti-LGBT bullying and other youth issues across the country.
Although HRC officials did not respond late this afternoon to a request for information about Griffin’s involvement in the decision to issue the apology, there’s no question that Griffin does not want questions about the group’s commitment to transgender issues to be raised again — let alone during a time in which LGBT issues, and his group, are getting particularly prominent coverage in the media.
The Trans Issue
The since-removed Tumblr post Via: foxski.tumblr.com
Despite that past, Monday's apology was a contrast from HRC's initial response, when a spokesman denied to BuzzFeed that anything inappropriate had happened regarding the flag issue. In the March 27 Tumblr post that was circulated several thousand times before being taken down by the person who posted it, the person stated that a friend had been asked to take down the trans flag because "marriage equality is not a transgender issue."On Thursday, March 28, HRC spokesman Michael Cole-Schwartz told BuzzFeed, "It was agreed that featuring American flags at our program was the best way to illustrate this unifying issue which is why when managing the area behind the podium, several people were asked to move who were carrying organizational banners, pride flags or any other flag that was not an American flag. Several people refused and they were allowed to stay. The coalition welcomed the variety of signs and flags that were throughout the plaza that demonstrated the wonderful diversity of our community.""It is a not true to suggest that any person or organization was told their flag was less important than another – this did not occur and no HRC staff member would ever tolerate such behavior. To be clear, it is the position of the Human Rights Campaign that marriage is an issue that affects everyone in the LGBT community," Cole-Schwartz added.But by Friday the coalition — which includes HRC — issued an apology for the incidents, which detailed that "the coalition has learned about the mistreatment of a few individuals who were attending and speaking at the rallies."The coalition statement continued:
"We apologize for having caused harm to the individuals involved. Apologies are being made individually and collectively and we are working to make direct amends. ...
Moving forward as a coalition we will work to achieve a society where everyone can be their full selves in an accepting and diverse community. We know that the incredible power of our community stems from our experiences and stories, and that only when all are respected and included will we achieve our goals."
The statement notes that the United for Marriage coalition is "led by the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, Family Equality Council, GetEQUAL, Marriage Equality USA and the New Organizing Institute." Although it was not clear the specific role HRC played in the drafting of the coalition's apology statement, the Friday statement would not have been issued without HRC's full support.
Cole-Schwartz said HRC decided to issue its own apology on Monday because "People did not read that to be the apology [from HRC] that we meant it to be."