Monday, December 06, 2010

Gay Perversion:
HRC Co-Opts Harvey's Camera Shop

(Milk's ashes, in a box wrapped with daily comics that he loved. Credit: Daniel Nicoletta.)

Did you know that gay icon Harvey Milk was cremated, and his ashes dispersed according to his wishes? Well, those ashes are revolting in disgust at the news from Washington today that the incompetent and wasteful Human Rights Campaign is taking over the lease of his former camera shop on San Francisco's Castro Street.

This latest perversion of genuine grassroots activism by the over-paid executives at HRC should upset anyone concerned with gay history and how it used by the group for Democratic Party purposes.

Harvey, who was known for engaging the community with public forums, such as his debates with John Briggs to defeat Prop 6, who also had no hefty price to be paid or velvet rope to jump over before anyone could enter his camera shop/community center, would be critical of HRC's elitism.

In taking over the lease of Harvey's old shop, HRC is showing us again how desperate they are to develop some bona fide grassroots credibility, by moving half a block in the Castro from their current "action center's" location. That move will not transform HRC into an effective advocate for the gays.

That center, BTW, has never been the site for an open forum or series of meetings by HRC's San Francisco local organizing committee. It's just a gift store outlet whose sole purpose is to take local gay dollars and ship them to DC, to pay for HRC's headquarters and robust executive salaries.

HRC co-opting Harvey and his old store is a shameful act, but what else is news under the gay sun?

(Trans and accountability activists protested at HRC's clothing outlet in San Francisco in July 2008. Credit: Petrelis Files.)


Paul Barwick said...

I have a pretty good idea where Harvey would stand on extending the tax cuts for the rich. What I don't know is where those rich asshats at HRC, taking home $300,000 plus salaries diverted from donations to fight for equality, are on that issue.

Harvey Milk was never described thusly:

ELEGANT ACTIVIST: Joe Solmonese. The president of the Human Rights Campaign favors designers Ann Demeulemeester, Billy Reid, and Dolce and Gabbana.

Mark said...

We at are appalled by this recent development and will plan a campaign/demonstration promptly.

Unknown said...

hi mark,

keep me informed of your plans, and i will join your protest. will also promote any actions against the HRC taking over milk's camera story. HRC has no shame, and they have no real accomplishments of their own. harvey would be protesting this inept group.

Anonymous said...

HRC is not just useless. It is a net negative for gay equality. It sits like a black hole at the center of the gay political galaxy and sucks in vast sums of finite donor money on an annual basis. Not only are these funds unavailable to deploy where needed (ex., Iowa retention battle, NY State senate battle), but the donors are deceived into thinking that they have actually contributed to the cause and are thus less likely to give elsewhere. It is unlikely that even 10 cents on every HRC dollar are actually put to effective use.

I hope that you guys hold so many demos in front of that store, that you give new meaning to the term "action center". said...

I'm a devout athiest, but if there's such a thing as sacrilege this is it.

Anonymous said...

Finally people are recognizing what a waste of time and money the HRC has become. The only thing it does is raise money and write toothless protest letters to politicians who throw them away. The HRC accomplishes nothing, and, in diverting money from real grass-roots organizations that CAN accomplish change, the HRC probably does more harm than good.

If all the money donated to HRC over the years had instead gone to real-work groups like Marriage Equality, Broadway Impact or Fight Back New York, we would be much closer to true equality.