Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Whatever Happened to
HRC's Elizabeth Birch?

That question came to mind today, after reading a new round of criticism about what continues to be wrong with the Democratic Party's gay division, alias the Human Rights Campaign. So much of what we are seeing play out right now at the federal level between gay Americans and the White House and U.S. Congress, are the best laid plans of the former HRC executive director Elizabeth Birch.

There are two accomplishments I will always associate with her tenure at HRC. First, there's the HRC building on Rhode Island Avenue in Washington, which was a $30 million project, and the second thing is the disastrous Millennium March of 2000. Sorry, can't think of any legislative advances for ordinary gays while Birch was in charge of HRC, and its large bank account.

Birch spoke this week at the University of Pittsburgh, according to the campus newspaper, which goofed and said she is currently head of HRC. Really, does it much matter whether it's her or Joe Solmonese or someone else at the helm of the org? No, not when HRC corporate structure is genetically wired to serve as the Stepin Faggots for the Democrats for eternity.

From the Pitt News:

Elizabeth Birch, president and director of the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, the Human Rights Campaign, will speak about issues regarding the LGBT Community today at 8:45 p.m. in room G23 of the Public Health Building.

Adam Dobson, Rainbow Alliance’s political action chair, said Birch has been an inspiration to the LGBT community, working to improve human rights.

To get a better inkling of her current agenda, I checked out the site for the Elizabeth Birch Company and learned she's a consultant, with unique skills for lucky orgs:

Elizabeth believes organizations should look from the inside out and back again. She is known for getting to the heart of a matter and transforming goals into strategic, achievable steps. She has demonstrated a special gift for communicating complex issues and goals in ways that can be absorbed by busy people inundated with information. Elizabeth helps organizations recapture or renew their missions, to keep that mission relevant and fresh.

Maybe she could help HRC renew and make relevant whatever its goals are. Or perhaps I should say, they should use her consulting services again, because according to the 2008 edition of HRC's IRS 990 filing (see page 6), they did engage Birch's expertise to the tune of $15,000.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, but as we enter the second quarter of 2010, I don't see any substantive proof that Birch's legacy and leadership is showing gay America strategic and achievable steps to end Don't Ask Don't Tell or gain passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

The former HRC leader also has something called an "eblog." Cute. Must stand for EBlog, as in Elizabeth Birch blog. Anyway, her last, and apparently only, post was in March of 2009. Doesn't seem to me she likes to blog much.

But let's put those serious issues aside and end on a funny note. At the Birch site, she's posted humorous video about her life and work, and early on, the narrator exclaims that her family didn't know when she was a kid that she "would become the queen of her people." Click here to view it, and have your political funny bone tickled.

1 comment:

Sean Strub said...

Michael, Elizabeth is also the board chair for True Child, a really terrific organization. Check it out at