Friday, May 22, 2009

Dallas Principles: AIDS is Over?
Confusion With Denver Principles

This note was sent to Pam Spaulding, the creator of PamsHouseBlend blog, who, up until now, I would never have associated her with an invitation-only, closed-door strategy session organized by disgruntled former employees of HRC and the DNC, and A-gays who have lots of bucks.

To bring folks up to speed, last weekend in an air-conditioned hotel conference room, 24 LGBT consultants and bloggers, with nary a street organizing activist among them, met in Texas to create the Dallas Principles. These principles are designed to motivate the White House , Congress and political institutions, oh, and the LGBT community, into action for equality.

If you have an addy for the other Dallas meeting attendees, please share this with them:
Hi Pam,

I'm addressing this note to you, since you're the one organizer of the Dallas Principles and last weekend's meeting who I'm familiar with and have an addy for.

As you must know, HIV/AIDS cases, new infections and deaths in America are primarily among gay men, and this health crisis for a significant portion of of the LGBT population, is far from over.

The CDC reported in December the good news that HIV transmission rates in the United States have dramatically declined, and these excerpts from the agency's study need to be repeated today:
Declines in HIV transmission rates reflect the success of prevention efforts across the US, on a national, community, and an individual level ...

These findings add to several recent signs of success in HIV prevention ...

Despite these successes, we must remember that the fight against HIV is far from over ...

HIV continues to take a severe toll on multiple communities in the US, with gay and bisexual men of all races, African Americans, and Latinos bearing the heaviest burden. Waging a continued battle against HIV will take a continued commitment across the country to address HIV among these populations ...
I'm quite disappointed you and the other leaders at the Dallas meeting didn't see fit to mention HIV/AIDS and its continuing impact on the gay male community in any of the papers you've issued.

The omission of HIV/AIDS from all of your documents and demands sends a not-so-subtle underlying message to the community and all of America that is over, and not worth even a passing reference in the Dallas Principles.

Why are HIV/AIDS issues not included in your call to action?

The second thing I wish to raise with you is the confusion some PWAs, persons with AIDS, have mentioned to me regarding the Denver Principles and the Dallas Principles.

What are the Denver Principles? The National Association of People With AIDS explains:
In 1983, a group of people living with AIDS got together in Denver and wrote a manifesto of self empowerment—known as the Denver Principles—for those living with HIV. The Denver Principles demanded that the voices of people living with HIV be heard. It asserted the right of people living with HIV to participate in the decision-making processes—at all levels—that would fundamentally affect their lives.
A concerted effort by PWAs, NAPWA, HIV groups, gay and women's health advocates, recently launched a campaign to modernize the Denver Principles, an effort I fully endorse.

I wonder if you and your colleagues have plans to clearly distinguish your principles' project from the Denver Principles. Maybe you can amend your effort's name to the Texas Project for LGBT Americans. Have you considered a name change?

Finally, I want to share with you a note from a widely-respect reporter at a California gay paper, which raised vital accountability and transparency concerns:
I don't see much new in the so-called Dallas Principles (besides being confusing with the PWAs' Denver Principles project. Also, I find it somewhat arrogant that 24 gay leaders (mostly from the coasts) can secretly meet in Dallas and come up with something the community is supposed to automatically buy into. Definitely not very transparent, when that's what everyone's complained about re: No on 8 campaign, etc.
It is generally accepted among lots of CA gay marriage advocates, that a huge problem with the losing strategy of the No on 8 committee was that it was a bunch of self-appointed LGBT leaders, with an invitation-only, closed-door meetings, A-gays only, way of operating.

This lesson from the No on 8 debacle doesn't appear to be something the organizers and attendees of your meeting in Dallas have learned. I hope that quickly changes.

I hope you or your Dallas meeting colleagues will address my concerns.

Best regards,

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