Gay City News: HRC Troops MIA, HRC PAC Files Scrutinized
One thing that has long bothered me about the Human Rights Campaign, and other mainstream advocacy groups, is their sheer disinterest in all forms of activism and unwillingness to hit the streets more often, or engage their members and donors in visible actions that other gays and lesbian organize.
I think HRC, which claims more than half a million members, many of whom live in American urban areas, should be able to turn out a few bodies for public displays of advocacy such as picket lines, candle light vigils, and even occasionally street marches to demand equality. But HRC leaders and the alleged hundreds of thousands of members never seem to be out for equality unless they're attending rubber-chicken dinner or attending a scripted news conference, and their whole approach to winning equality seems to be waged only through a Democratic Party insider approach.
An excellent example of how HRC members and all the folks on staff or the assorted boards and bodies don't deliver on their rhetoric of leading is contained in a story this week from Gay City News, written by Andy Humm, about a black lesbian's mistreatment at a restaurant in Manhattan:
The Caliente Cab Company in Greenwich Village is allegedly stonewalling negotiations in the case of Khadijah Farmer, 27, a lesbian who was thrown out of the restaurant on LGBT Pride Day. Farmer, who was dining with friends, was using the women's room when a bouncer mistook her for a male, charged into the restroom, and refused to let her show identification before making her pay her full tab and leave without being served all of her meal.On Sunday, July 15, members of the new Queer Justice League picketed the restaurant at Seventh Avenue South and Bleecker, urging a boycott of Caliente there and at its other two Manhattan locations until the owners apologize to Farmer, compensate her for the mistreatment and humiliation she suffered, adopt a policy of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in line with New York City law . . .
Joey Nelson, also of the League, said that they reached out to established LGBT civil rights groups including the Empire State Pride Agenda, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and got encouragement but no troops for their picket.
There's disappointing (if not surprising) news on the fate of a gay-inclusive hate crimes bill in the U.S. Senate. According to HRC's Back Story blog, the debate on Iraq has dragged down with it the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention/Local Law Enforcement Act, the bill's official title . . .All this still begs the question of why in the first place HRC and its Democratic allies in the Senate chose to burden the hate crimes bill by linking it to easily the most controversial piece of legislation in Congress . . .And yet once again, like so many times before, through years when Democrats controlled one or both houses of Congress and even the White House, gay rights bills wallow as low priority items. There's no talk of votes in the House and Senate for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act either, even though it has majority support in both chambers. We shouldn't be surprised. Democrats and their lackies at HRC have been hinting privately since January that "the deal" with the party's leadership is that only hate crimes would get a vote this year, so this "frustrating delay" fits the pattern.
From Federal Election Commission files for the HRC political director:
Washington, DC 20016
[Contribution] DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE