(See spaceykate’s original post here.)
My own feelings about the Human Rights Campaign live somewhere between squick and rage, honestly. Put jokingly, this largely has to do with my having the memory of an elephant and my Moon in Scorpio. I remember things, and I hella hold grudges. ;)
Put more seriously: As an activist, I have been working with people and communities and organizations that have had horrific interactions with the HRC since about 1996.
I still remember (and I will never fucking forget) when Elizabeth Birch (who was the Executive Director of the HRC in 1998) referred to Carmen Vasquez as:
1) “you and your kind,” and
2) “a maggot in a barrel of rice”
in an OPEN LETTER. This is pretty well-documented and public. (I have print-outs of both Vasquez and Birch’s letters in a box in my parents’ basement, actually. I should probably dig them up.)
Birch did this because Vasquez dared to bring up:
1) race and racism in the LGBT community in general, and
2) the intense racism in the HRC’s choice to back Al D’Amato’s* candidacy in New York.
And, just, like, C’MON. For a middle-class white woman to refer to a working-class Latina activist as “a maggot,” as “you and your people,” just… It is all, simply put, fucking UGLY.
I was 15 at the time that I was watching this from the queer organizing sidelines. I saw it for the racist bullshit that it was. I was also working with a lot of older queer activists who really knew what they were doing, and who schooled me well. And I remember, very clearly, just having this moment of “God. No. No. No, this is not right. No, this is not about the larger queer community. No, this is not about supporting the people who need it the most. No, I can never support anything this organization does. At least not unless they make some serious amends to the communities they’ve hurt.”
And that hasn’t happened. So.
*More info here, especially: “HRC’s endorsement of New York Republican Al D’Amato in his 1998 campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate brought more criticism. HRC defended the endorsement because of D’Amato’s support for ENDA and repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. However, many liberal LGBT leaders did not welcome D’Amato’s many conservative stances, including his opposition to affirmative action and abortion rights.”