Friday, March 26, 2010

Video: HRC's Straight Lobbyist
Introduces Herself to Gays

The legislative director for America's largest professional political organization, the Human Rights Campaign, is a straight woman. This fact was shared with me yesterday by a little birdie in DC, and at first I was surprised to learn Allison Herwitt is not a lesbian.

But what does it matter, really, what the sexual orientation is of HRC's chief lobbyist is? There have been plenty of same-sexers running the org for the past three decades, and there isn't much to show for it.

Googling for any info on Herwitt and her agenda for gay Americans, especially at this crucial time for a number of our issues pending before the U.S. Congress, doesn't turn up items of significance. Since she is straight and worked for eleven-years at the National Abortion Rights Action League, Herwitt has no track-record on our gay issues. What are her qualifications, that she's friends with Joe Solmonese?

One thing I found from Herwitt that introduces her to the gay community, is a video she made about living with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder. She has an extensive history of advocating for people living with celiac disease, including this video:

In terms of her resourcefulness, I'm not impressed with how long it took her to realize she could surf the web to find answers to questions about her illness. Herwitt says:

Until – at the time I was engaged – until my fiancĂ© said to me, you know “Why don’t you try to find a support group?” Well hello! Yeah. I should have done that. Right from the beginning. I should have found a group of people that had been living with this disease, knew a lot more about the diet than I could, so I didn’t feel so alone, I could get some advice from people, I could figure out where to shop. So I started to look on the internet and I found a support group in my area and I went and I have to say, it was the support group that really changed my life.

Frankly, based on this bit of info, I don't have confidence that Herwitt is the creative and fierce advocate the American gay community needs right now, as our top lobbyist before the House and Senate.

Here's a radical notion for Herwitt and HRC. Make a video that is all about Herwitt, her plans for moving our gay agenda forward, and how she will engage the community. It says much about what is wrong with HRC that its legislative director has a video on the web about living with celiac disease and no comparable video about her job as our chief lobbyist on Capital Hill.

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