it's war

Dan Choi to HRC: You’re Useless, You’re Irrelevant, And You Can Go Fuck Yourselves

If one thing is clear from last week’s Dan Choi-Get Equal events, it’s that the new groundswell of Active Activism is at war with Gay Inc.’s way of doing things. As Choi and Robin McGehee have shown, this is a war for equal rights. And while the Human Rights Campaign thought it would use Choi as just another puppet in its self-serving mission of soft, ineffective tactics, the Army lieutenant just made the bold step of telling them to fuck off.

What HRC is engaged in is Inactive Activism. Lots of “pretty pleases” and “sir would you permit mes.” As Choi tells Newsweek: “Why not now? Within the gay community so many leaders want acceptance from polite society. I think there’s been a betrayal of what is down inside of us in order to achieve what looks popular, what look enviable. The movement seems to be centered around how to become an elite. There is a deep schism [in the gay-rights movement], everyone knows this. But this shouldn’t be about which group has better branding. There is a tremor right now in every gay and transgender youth that these groups are not grasping. I would say to them—you do not represent us if all you are looking for is a ladder in to elite society. When I get messages from people who want to be a part of this I ask back: what are you willing to sacrifice? We are tired of being stereotyped as privileged, bourgeois elites. Is someone willing to give up their career, their relationships with powerful people, their Rolodex, or their parents’ love to stand up for who they are? I’m giving up my military rank, my unit—which to me is a family—my veterans’ benefits, my health care, so what are you willing to sacrifice?”

There are those already arguing that Choi, by handcuffing himself to the White House fence, turned himself into a punchline — and useless to the DADT repeal effort, because who can take seriously the guy who handcuffs himself to the White House. And that, as a still-enlisted service member, his behavior was reckless and disgraced the uniform he wears. But there’s something so refreshing about seeing a determined man, who is personally affected by a discriminatory policy, mobilize at the very moment when HRC refuses. And it’s not refreshing — it’s courageous — to see this man do so while upholding his promise to serve his country and keep his fellow Americans safe. Because that is what this fight is about.

“Why now?,” Choi asks rhetorically. “Because you get tired of talking. [Over the past two years] I’ve done 50 live interviews, a hundred other interviews, how much more talk am I expected to produce? When I heard Kathy Griffin was going to be a spokeswoman for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, I wondered about that. I have great respect for her as an advocate. But if [the Human Rights Campaign] thinks that having a rally at Freedom Plaza with a comedienne is the right approach, I have to wonder. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is not a joking matter to me. To be at Freedom Plaza and not at the White House or Congress? Who are they trying to influence? I felt like they were just trying to speak to themselves. If that’s the best the lobbying groups and HRC can do, then I don’t know how these powerful groups are supposed to represent our community. Kathy Griffin and [HRC president] Jay Solmonese said they would march with me to the White House but didn’t. I feel so betrayed by them. We all know the political reality now. The only way for the repeal to go through is for the president to take leadership and put it in the Defense Authorization Bill. There’s a sunset on this, and it’s happening quickly. Obama told us at the HRC dinner last year, you need to put pressure on me. I was there at that dinner, in uniform. So this is my mission; the president said to pressure him and I heard that as a warning order.”

The Human Rights Campaign, meanwhile, heard that as a cash register ringing.

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  • Jude

    I love the article but did it occur to anyone that the title might lead some people to believe that Lt. Dan Choi spoke those words? The man is an eloquent speaker.
    Have some class, Queery.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    His statement is brilliant. It reflects a fundamental divide, which is actually not new, between those gays who are seeking to become part of the elite and those who are seeking equality under the law for all.

    The separation between the two views have reared its head both before and after Stonewall if you read the history. Quite a few gay men really don’t want to be considered a minority group. What they want , especially if they are white, is to be considered a part of the majority. That’s why the “we are just like you” is both right on some levels and dangerous on others.

    On the level of equality, we all should be equal. On the level of subtext, for some they really mean “But for the fact I am gay I really want to be able to discriminate against others and be treated as one of the elite just like you.”

    Whether it comes in the form of Johh Avarosis attacking transgender rights or the bar where you see discrimination based on race or class or both. Whether it appears when you look at the early history of HIV and AIDS. Whether it appeared when men like Harvey Milk had to come up against the gay establishment in SF when he ran for office.

    I first became aware this divide, when I read the Mayor of Castro Street. I was struck when I read that book as a gay black man about how many of the story resonated although the events happened 20 plus years before I read the book. It is a fight that continues. The irony being that those gay men who seek to be elitist win by our sweat more than we win by their cowardice.

  • Sammie

    I love his quotes, and I couldn’t agree with him more. The president did ask for people to pressure him and since HRC wasn’t doing a good job of it for years now, why should that stop Dan from trying? He not only tried to do that, he inspired many people, me included.

    HRC and Kathy Griffin (who I enjoy) at Freedom Plaza isn’t real pressure. And civil disobedience has its place in activism. I don’t think anyone can deny that the President knows who Dan Choi is, by name and face recognition, and he also knows what Dan did outside of his own home. Dan’s got the president’s attention. But now others must as well!

  • Dame Helga von Ornstein

    Over the last ten years the HRC has evolved into a present day Mattachine Society with one misguided step after another. I think it long overdue that the gay media start printing just who makes up the HRC committee and their qualifying credentials.

    I am really curious what type of background these people who are now tasked with being the spokespeople for the gay population of the USA have had. Lets get a bit more indepth with the “leadership”.

  • AndrewW

    Dan Choi had already lost his rank, his unit and veteran benefits BEFORE he did this publicity Stunt. The handcuffs don’t mean courage – they mean attention.

    Yes, he got a little attention (Newsweek Blog), but to what end? To let America know he was upset or even angry? Does Choi really believe that American’s care if HE is angry. Our struggle effects millions. It is difficult. HE is not alone.

    This attention grabbing stunt doesn’t change any votes in the Congress. It doesn’t change any minds in America. It doesn’t encourage or inspire our fellow citizens to stand with us. It doesn’t garner support.

    What the fuck does it do? In a small way, it created some attention, but, it has been mostly limited to our community.

    Choi’s rationale was that the President said to “keep the pressure on him.” How did this stunt do that? Did it embarrass the President like it did our community? Or how about the childish sit-ins at Pelosi’s office? We bitch-slapped the Speaker of the House and she was one of our FRIENDS. Why?

    In the future I hope Choi will consider the value and the potential consequences of these stunts before agreeing to participate in a stunt for GetEqual fund raising.

  • AndrewW

    @D’oh, The Magnificent: It is 2010. History is interesting, but the world has changed. Grow up.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    Can I ask that no one respond to Andrew? He does this in every article on the subject, and 70 comments later in every comment sections in which people fruitlessly engage him, you will find nothing comes of it.

    I am not trying to control anyone. I simply think nothing comes of engaging him, and I want others to know that he has done this in each diary on the subject of fighting for equality.

    I just would like to see more positive constructive analysis rather than the comments section become “We must prove this to Andrew” and the rest of the detractors parade. There is nothing anyone needs to prove. They will either get it or they won’t.

  • AndrewW

    GetEqual wants to be the LGBTeaBaggers.

    Let them know if you think that is a good idea or a scary idea.

    Plus, ask them to provide some reasoning about their publicity stunts. Ask them to tell you HOW they help US.

    I’m sorry Dan Choi and his very real frustration allowed him to trust GetEqual. It was an unfortunate mistake. It wasn’t good for him personally, and it wasn’t good for us.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    Exhibit A of what I mean- now he’s becoming even more desperate to get someone to respond in his post number 8. Please ignore him.

  • Distingue Traces

    I hope he doesn’t spend too much energy on this sort of infighting.

    If someone is truly irrelevant, there is little reason to tell them so.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Distingue Traces: People can be irrelevant for one thing, and not another. They can be the go-to guys on when the establishment wants to control the gay rights movement, and yet, not get anything done for the gay rights movement. In former, they are relevant for the purposes that the esblishment wants, and in the later, they are not. I suspect you are just Andrew with a new tactic, but just in case, this point should be self evident from everything he said in total.

  • Chance

    Andreww, I hope you keep it up. D’oh probably won’t ever open his eyes to your mantra of accountability, but as I look around the blogs I see that people are taking notice. They’re at least recognizing the pressure to explain themselves, even if they haven’t started actually, you know, splainin themselves.

    It’s really remarkable how all of these people – Choi, Mixner, GetEQUAL, D’oh – so easily identify how HRC can’t possibly get the job done, but are completely unwilling or unable to turn that same critical eye on themselves. No one’s actions are above rationalization or justification. This relentless resistance to accountability makes McGeehee and Choi no better than HRC.

    No wonder no one’s in the movement, if that’s the best we can do.

  • Chance

    @Distingue Traces: If only that were true. The trouble is, we don’t have any organizations that have shown themselves to be relevant. What does that leave us with?

  • Mike L.

    This is really Inspiring, what I don’t remember reading about African American solely relying on the good of some legislators to get their civil rights recognized, I remember reading about protests, sit ins, boycots, etc etc.

    Why can’t there be diferent ways in which we can engage them, but no HRC has to be THE ONE and only way. I say f’k then if they think they can just shut competition down they’re looking like they are money and status hungry.

    Rallies, protests, walkouts, boycots, letters, phone calls, MONEY it it all serves a purpose. I’m sure we can be far more civilized than other groups who have been so divisive and down right rude.

    GO DAN Your my hero!

    Sadly we need far more people that were affected by DADT like Dan to speak our, and no not all have do what Dan’s done.

    I would like also to point out that HRC should think before throwing the first disparaging punch, I know they like their back alley deals with congress and the Pres but do they have to be mean ass bitches about some competition.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    A follow up: A number of the screen names like Chance are actually just Andrew pretending to be someone else.

    By the way, much of this debate, exactly mirrors what MLK faced when he pushed for non-violent disobedience from members of the black civil rights mainstream who felt his was the wrong strategy.

    Nor, was MLK’s era the first civil rights struggle for blacks. There were others earlier in the 20th Century that we don’t hear much about now.

    My point is- that the irony is not lost on me that exactly as MLK was being told that his actions were not going to help, we are being told now that Choi’s actions will not help by the same sorts of fear mongering.

    People cling to their beliefs even if history proves them wrong. Luckily we have men like Choi who are willing to adapt.

  • Mike L.

    Crap I really should check my posts for mistakes and spelling errors before posting XD

  • Kieran

    If annoying and raunchy media-whore Kathy Griffin is now the official face of the Gay Rights Movement in America, we all better get used to our usual seats at the back of the bus.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Mike L.: No, there were those who criticized MLK as well. We don’t hear about them now because of Malcolm X and MLK’s success although some revisionists at one point claimed that MLK and Malcolm X were not successful in terms of creating pressure. The point is there is nothing new under the sun. The gay movement is surprisingly similar to dynamics found in other movements when you read up on it. I only recently realized that MLK had his detractors similar to HRC in that they advocated going slow, and not rocking the boat. They wanted to work through the process. That’s part of the reason why he discusses the whole aspects of civil rights where people kept saying “wait.’ This was a big issue that I grew up hearing about, but didn’t fully understand until I was older. It was not just outside of the black community from white people that blacks heard this. They heard it from fellow blacks as well, including amongst some of the black elite.

  • stt

    true true true and radically refreshing to hear.

  • beezus

    HRC is a total sham. stop giving your money to rich power hungry queers who don’t give a shit about civil rights and equality. they want you to keep watching reality TV, instead of getting up and taking action. stop buying the lie, and wake up already.

  • AlwaysGay

    @Kieran: Exactly.

  • jeffree

    Kathy Griffin is funny and she speaks up and out –good for her– *but* she has “no skin in the game.” She can marry a man, can’t lose a job because the boss hates gays, and she could join the military if she wanted to & if she could pass the physical! I don’t have those advantages.

    And yes its very smart to just ignore the guy whose many aliases write the exact same things on every single thread here. Do not feed the trolls.

  • Chitown Kev

    @D’oh, The Magnificent:

    Oh, yeah.

    We can talk about King and the SCLC v. Wilkins and the NAACP [whom the Rev. C. L Franklin (yes, Arethea’s father) referred to as “Uncle Tom Negroes”].

    We can talk about the SCLC v. the SNCC (remember, they censored John Lewis’ speech at the MOW in 1963).

    Of course, there would have been no Brown v. Board in 1954 if it weren’t for the NAACP and a few black organizations (now defunct) battling against Jim Crow schooling in the North in the 1930’s and the 1940’s.

    Some of which came back to bite King in the 1960’s when he came to the North and met A LOT of resistance.

    Sure, those fissures in movements were there in the black civil rights movement, they were there in the labor movement, they were there in the women’s rights movement.

    Why should our movement be any different?

  • Gay Rights Now

    The fact is Marches & Civil Disobedience works! – they are much more effective than fancy HRC dinners to get people to notice our cause. Look at how effective ACT-UP marches were in the 90s to get the FDA to fast-approve anti-hiv drugs. Look at how effective Al Sharpton was with Marches & Civil Disobedience to get people to notice Black Civil Rights Issues (even when at times there wasn’t one). Al Sharpton is a dickhead, but he knows how to get press and get bigots to back off. If the gay community were smart, they would hire someone like him to help progress our civil rights.

  • Gay Rights Now

    We need to take a page out of Harvey Milk’s book and fight back. We need to get angry and march for our Civil Rights! It’s time to show people we will no longer be pushed to the back of the bus!

  • Lincoln Rose

    I was wandering the blogs and think I’ve figured out AndrewW’s thing y’all.

    On another blog commentary area (Bilerico, I think?), he told someone he has licensed some new things that are going to practically guarantee (I have no idea how to spell that word right) we get our equality.

    I think he wanders around saying all our other tactics won’t work because he’s praying we’ll beg him to tell us why so he can talk about his new McQuality product.

    Unless it’s still all under wraps with Intellectual Property law. He is awfully vague about when it will roll out.

  • jeffree

    @Lincoln Rose: Interesting! It’s still an unhelpful troll (AW not you) & whatever it’s selling i ain’t buying! so far it’s only managed to p**s off everyone who attempts to reason with it, so its strategey is completely NOT working. For someone so obsessed with strategy it sure has picked a bad one !! :-D

    thanx 4 the info!

  • Chandler in Las Vegas

    JAY Solomonese?

    Does anyone proof these?

  • Daniel

    Since AndrewW still is just complaining without providing anything practical for people to do, you can see where legislation impacting GLBTA people stands by visiting which tells you who you need to speak with to get the ball going in Congress, as well as who needs to be replaced in Congress.

  • Griff

    I stopped giving money to the HRC years ago, when they sold my name and address to everybody and their gay uncle.

  • jeffree

    @Daniel: thanks for the website!

    BTW ignore the troll and its aliases. It has no strategy, no ideas, no heart and a sick brain. It feeds on attention. It has no ideas & no allies except 4 the ones it invents.

  • Robert

    @D’oh, The Magnificent:

    Your comment, D’oh, sounds racist: “especially if they are white.” YOUR racism is part of the problem, NOT a part of the solution.

  • Robert

    #15 Your paranoia is showing…pathetic. Did it ever occur to you that more than one person opposes your ideas because they MIGHT BE OFF? And even if Andrew and Chance were together, your posting messages ABOUT HIM instead of the topic is not helping anyone. And even though your comments reflect some level of critical thinking, they are also tinged with the bitterness and hypocrisy of someone who feels they have been “left out” of the elite. I sense from comment 2 that is your real issue here, a perception that you are not a part of the Gay-Rights elite.

  • wondermann

    @AndrewW: You make a lot of sense. I’m not sure if Dan’s actions really did anything to make any change.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Chitown Kev: Thanks for filling in the details so that others (the non-trolls) can know a little bit about the history of social movements. Part of the issue is that many do not know the history within the gay rights movement perhaps. It was refreshing to see Choi reference some of those social movements. The whole point is to learn to take liberally from those other movements.

  • Tim W

    It sounds like HRC has sent their staff here to drum up support and more money for themselves. The fact of the matter is how many times can we be lied to by the HRC before we realize they are ineffective weasels. How many times have we heard from Joe Solomonese that the president has a clear plan to repeal to repeal DADT. He said it about 6 months ago then it was discovered he didn’t. Then we were told he had a clear plan after the SOTU. Now we hear from members of Congress that the president really has no plan and in fact doesn’t want to see it repealed this year.
    Fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me. HRC is a sham plain and simple. They have nothing to show for all the money they’ve taken in other than a shiny new headquarters and lots of nice expensive parties.

  • Matt

    Seems like Dan has inspired and motivated a lot of people. When’s the last time HRC did that?

  • DR

    To me, this is very simple.

    No one has been able to convince me that the HRC is doing anything helpful. We have so many LGBT vets who have made the news, and the HRC effectively neuters them. There is no reason in my mind for running to Kathy Griffin’s reality TV show to take a stand on DADT; if anything, it turns me off.

    On the other hand, almost a week later, and those pics of Dan and Jim and Robin are still very powerful. People are still talking about them.

    We need to rally around our own who are willing to stand up and do something which most won’t instead of holding rallies for a reality tv show. Dan’s right, it’s absolutely a smack in the face to our community to have that reality TV show become the face of gay rights.

    The HRC is a joke.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    I want to be clear here- I am not dumping on HRC. I don’t think that serves any purpose. People donate to HRC by choice. I don’t agree with them getting all that money, but some people like HRC.

    They do serve a purpose. You need someone like HRC to exist. In fact, if it didn’t exist, I would say you need to create one. You need that kind of inside the beltway lobby organization.

    However, the problem has been for a long time that they are ONLY face of the movement.

  • Thomas Johnson

    Was anybody else at the SLDN dinner on Saturday? Never once was Dan’s name mentioned. This is a man that says HRC let him down…I think Eric Alva was at the very event Dan was not invited to—for DADT.

  • DR

    D’oh, I’d agree with you if I thought the HRC was at all effective at lobbying, its actual job. Doesn’t seem to me they’re very good at it. And while they’re failing at their main job, they’re tearing into anyone else who tries to infringe publicly on their turf.

  • AndrewW

    Queerty said:

    “the new groundswell of Active Activism is at war with Gay Inc.’s way of doing things. As Choi and Robin McGehee have shown, this is a war for equal rights.”

    Two publicity stunts directed at Obama and Pelosi, by a dozen of the same characters and you call this a groundswell?

    These are our LGBTeaBaggers.

    Today, GetEqual is supposed to publish the rationale for these stunts on their website. If these actions are helpful or effective in 2010, they need to tell us how.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @DR: Well, I agree, they don’t see very good at their actual job. I see Dan’s job as different from their job. His is to be the street activist and the radical pressure on the insiders. The problem with the insiders is that they don’t seem to be motivated to even do the part that they are responsible for. I will never forget the letter in which HRC said that by 2017 we will be happy with the president. I thought – look, what the fuck kind of statement is that? Let’s say you meant be patient or something like that?

    SInce when has the mantra of even an inside the beltway rights organization been “let’s hurry up and wait until 7 years from now.” It was absolutely an elitist attitude of let them eat cake, and coming from the rights group no less. It was screwed up as a statement. That’s not the function of a lobbying group to protect the president from criticism. That’s the function of the president’s team to advocate its own position. Not that of gay rights groups fighting for equality.

    I can not imagine NOW or the abortion rights groups or NRA saying that about guns. Even on its own terms, that of lobby organization, they leave something to be desired. What I was trying to get at , and you seem to agree, is that there does need to be a lobbying group. It is just , as you point out, that HRC is lacking even on its own terms.

  • Tim W

    Again the HRC staff chimes in to keep the money rolling in by villifying those who are sick of the HRC and their weaselily tactics.

  • Sam

    @D’oh, The Magnificent: Only PUBLIC face of the movement. State and local LGBT groups have been out there fighting and getting things done for decades. Problem is, they don’t have huge staffs who can dominate the media coverage, so they do all the heavy lifting, and when they get something passed, HRC blankets the media with press releases “lauding” the achievement, implying that they had something to do with it, when in fact, they did nothing.

    Ask anyone involved in state-level organizing and they’ll tell you this is true. HRC provides little support, but is always there to take the credit. And throw a fundraiser. Leeches and vultures, if you ask me.

    I’d like to see more of this direct action from small, nimble groups. I don’t know if it will be effective, but you have to try it to see, and it certainly can’t be less effective than HRC has been…

  • lanjier

    The gay movement needs some of the spirit of the tea party movement. Right now, be are the bitch bottom party.

    If Joe Solomonese takes a job in the Administration, it will call into question as to why he was locked in complete silence in criticizing the Obama Administration for years. HRC is simply too close to the Democratic Party, and it is compromising the cause. HRC has permitted our issues to go behind in line due to back room promises by the Administration.

  • RomanHans

    D’Oh, thanks for the warning about Andrew. I have a hard time believing people can be so stupid, but there it is, in the flesh.

    As I saw it, black people were fighting for civil rights on two fronts: the nonviolent, nice way with MLK, and the angry, scary way with Malcolm X.

    Eventually, of course, they won their fight . . . but who’s responsible? Malcolm X. Nobody listened to MLK, because nobody had too. March, talk, march, talk. Go ahead, the white folks said. When Malcolm X appeared, though, he *couldn’t* be ignored. His radical talk scared white people shitless, so they said, “Hey, maybe we should listen to that nice negro, so the scary one will go away.”

    In short? We need all sorts of people fighting for gay rights. Reason people, fine. Rational people, okay. But probably the MOST important will be the scary faggots who make the heteros say, “Uh, maybe we *do* need to do something about this problem, just to make the radicals go away.”

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Sam: I know a little bit about the issue based on marriage equality, which I understand that at the start, HRC fought against as a civil rights issue. This is only my recollection of what others when interviewed said on the subject. But, I may be wrong so don’t take my memory for it. The point is that HRC has never apparently done its job well.

    This is going to sound like a strange analogy, but it somewhat fits- they are like BET- Black Entertainment Television. That network for its owner made a lot of money, not for being good, but for being biggest and most well known. Its product sucks, but people have heard of it. The same with HRC in terms of selling itself as “the gay organization.”

    ” It actually has a vested interest in blocking out other organizations and movements it seems. In the black community, we refer to this mind set as the “I got mine” mentality or if you prefer elitism, accept it goes a step further, it tries to keep others like Dan Choi pushing for more inclusion out. Since they believe that including others will harm their bottom line, just like the “I got mine” type in the AA community believe that if more blacks are involved in the organization they are in, then that means they will be harmed because the resources of the organization will not just be going to the one person who is black.

  • Gay Historian

    @Dame Helga von Ornstein:

    You are totally wrong in your implied criticism of the Mattachine Society. For its time, the organization was totally revolutionary, there was NOTHING like it before. It was considered to be shockingly OUt and PUBLIC about a condition of human nature, being GAY, that NO ONE spoke of publicly.

    We need MORE gay organizations today, doing all sorts of things. The HRC is very important, but why do you put all oyur eggs in one basket?? Someone like you ought to start a new organization that is more ACTIVIST and not as establishment. Go Do It, and quit bitching !!!!!

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    By the way, having talked to women of all strips, this “I got mine” and I am going to keep other women out, is also something that they experience in organizations. I think maybe the issue with HRC is that they are trying to maintain as Dan says their status of importance by killing off any other movements.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Gay Historian: a) Calling yourself a historian is a joke right? b) this article is precisely about folks doing what you say they should quit bitching about so your admonishing them to start a new organization is bullshit. The issue as described is whether or not other organizations like HRC are trying to kill off newer forms of activism by actively attacking the newer efforts. I think that’s a very real issue, and that’s the historical analogy that’s relevant here. The people who attacked Milk were at one point probably correct for the times say in the 50s, but by the 70s, they were out of touch to the realities on the ground.

  • Cam

    No. 5 · AndrewW
    Dan Choi had already lost his rank, his unit and veteran benefits BEFORE he did this publicity Stunt. The handcuffs don’t mean courage – they mean attention.

    Yes, and he gave them up by voluntarily coming out. AND if DADT is repealed he lost the ability to get reinstated by handcuffing himself to the fence. He made a sacrifice, especially since he’d been somewhat reinstated already.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Cam: It is interesting to watch the attempts to demonize Choi. The stories and attempts differ. Over at the political blogs like Daily Kos, it was that he’s in the military, and it was wrong. Really those people were saying all this to defend the president. So, they attacked Choi on the level of he was in uniform, and blah, blah, blah.

    Now, with the HRC people, it is well “he’s a glory hound”

    I believe it was you who pointed out that this is the same game that they tried to pull with regard to the number in attendance at the equality march last year? I don’t think Andrew is a real poster. I think he’s just some troll trying to demonize any actual gay rights efforts.

  • DR

    Some more thoughts on this subject. I’ll probably post them on my own blog later today…

    Dan is absolutely correct in his conclusions regarding the HRC. They run to a DList celebrity and ignore the LGBT activists in the trenches doing the work. They sponsor cocktail parties which most LGBTs can’t attend, and when you try to volunteer your time and services to the HRC, you get a request for cash in response. While I understand what Chitown Kev says about needing work on both fronts, the fact of the matter is that the HRC has been ineffective in its job for years now, same with the NGLTF. Do they have any real meaning? They used to run the Pride circuits, even in small towns to enlist folks to work. Not so much any more. They’ve become too focused on the cash and who they perceive as the “A List” gays, which usually means “who makes the biggest donations”.

    The real problem with this is when this model of so-called “leadership” then trickles down to the local level, where once again, it becomes not a case of “what can you do” or “what are you willing to sacrifice”, but a matter of “who do you know” and “how much can you give”. That’s nonsense. Energetic men and women should not be turned away because they don’t hang in the right social circles, and that’s exactly what’s happening in many small towns around the country.

    Our movement can no longer be about “who you know” or the size of your wallet. There are LGBT folk all over the US who want to do something besides give money they don’t have, but there aren’t many opportunities. I hope that Dan’s enthusiasm, Jim Pietrangelo’s enthusiasm, and Robin McGhee’s enthusiasm yields results.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @DR: The problem is that you don’t necessarily live in an era of community good. We have a president who was elected because he made people feel good. Not because he was ever supposed to do anything. This issue starts at the top and moves down hill from there. I am not sure if there is a solution.

  • Chitown Kev


    Agreed to a large extent. And let’s take, for example, HCR.

    If HRC (and all of Gay, Inc. really) were all of that, some or all of the LGBT-specific items would have remained in the final bill.

    That’s a failure of lobbying.

    Now I will maintain that we do need lobbyists for our issues up on the Hill; HRC is a necessary evil (although it doesn’t have to necessarily be HRC doing the lobbying).

  • Bill

    Joe Solomonese of HRC made a salary of over $400,000.00 last year.

    What else needs to be said.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Chitown Kev: Agree completely with this.

  • DR

    @D’oh, The Magnificent: See, I have to disagree. Back in the days that certain people don’t acknowledge even existed, grassroots movements were powerful. Or at least they stood for something. I remember back in the 90’s when you could call the HRC or the NGLTF and get reps to show up at Pride events in small town Pennsylvania. They don’t do that any more. I think that many LGBTs are tired of this trickle-down theory of politics. It wasn’t great as an economic theory, and it’s a poor way to handle political action. I think that Get Equal is trying to empower the folks at the grassroots levels because we’re tired of being left out in the cold when it comes to politics. Or at least I am.

    @Chitown Kev: I agree we need lobbying and a presence on the Hill. I just think we also need to hold those lobbying groups accountable for lack of action and what appears to be a total unwillingness to get their hands dirty or work with the average gay person. And the sad thing is that Gay, Inc’s attitude is becoming the attitude of the small organizations now. At the last local Pride event, I signed up with four local LGBT groups and none of them have materialized with solid plans to get the local people working. One was actually misrepresenting laws, and the others basically held on to the “social class” attitude we see form HRC and the NGLTF. I’m never going to be an “A List” gay, but I have a law degree and know how to organize and delegate and lead, and it’s a shame that Gay, Inc is more interested in what I look like or who I know rather than what I am capable of as a professional. I know that makes me sound a bit bitter, but it’s very frustrating when you know you have skills which groups can use, or even just the desire to work, and no one wants to hear from you.

  • jeffree

    HRC doesnt speak for me or anyone whos not upper middle class, white, urban professional or under 30. And probably male….

    Go to any college gay event and where is Hrc or Glaad? Nope, u won’t see them.
    U will see people handing out messages about curing gays and how we r going to hell.

    For those of us who are trying to keep our jobs despite antigay bosses, are rural/suburban, in highschool or college, want to get into the military, non white, female/trans, poor or middle class, under 30, etc., (i’m 4 of those) they don’t include me or show any effort to understand.

    so now Lt. Choi did something unapproved by hrc & they try to marginalise him. He’s prob going to lose his job anyway, but he has been fighting to keep his job.

    their *play nice* politics forget that not all gays / lesbians have the ability to fit in at work at school or where we live.

    i’m not saying they should go away, but that they shouldn’t ignore the struggle that their non-ELITE brothers and sisters face every single day. Theres room for “active activism”, because this passive “inactive activism” isnt getting things done!!!

    somebody scream AMEN !! :-D

  • Daniel


  • DR

    Jeffree, with all due respect, I’m professional, over thirty, male, and white, and the HRC doesn’t speak to me, either. Please don’t assume that all of us in that demographic agree on everything.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @DR: Well, you are right about all demographics not agreeing on everything, but they study demographics in marketing for a reason- and that is because of generalities really do exist. That does not excuse anyone assuming, but really part of the reason why diversity is so important is to hopefully capture some of the divergent voices out there. Not that it always works. You can get a class Trojan Horse like the last few democratic presidencies where their biographies suggested one thing, but their actual policies favored the elite classes.

  • jeffree

    @DR: Please accept an apology: my rant was more on who they exlcude: & yes I agree they will also exclude white men over 30 who don’t fit their priorities or tactics. No offense was meant so I hope none was taken…. I just get infuriated that they dont seem to care about anything other then press releases and dinners and playing the “let’s feel good about our progress” speech over & over again without remembering that many of us cannot afford their membership, attend their events, or be confidant that if we lose our jobs SOMEONE, ANYONE will help us out, From what you say, you face similar challenges & I hope they support U also!

    i also forgot to mention the issue of immigration and the effort to allow same sex partners from foriegn countries 2 be unified with their American mates. immigration is a HOT TOPIC & although it doesnt affect me personally, I want HRC to *step up* and fight to unify people who cant get married but still want to live love with their partners!

  • AndrewW

    It seems Kip Williams and Robin McGehee from GetEqual have a few dozen different screen names promoting their new charity.

    The only thing that will befit GetEqual is to provide some rationale for “demanding equality” and engaging in civil disobedience.”

    MOST of us know this is 2010 and the world has changed.

    Communication has replaced demonstration.

    Let the opposition have the crazy TeaBaggers, we don’t need LGBTeaBaggers. There is no sense inviting people to laugh at us, too.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @jeffree: Especially since Schumer has said he will include it, and thus, now is the time to be keeping up the pressure regarding gay rights and immigration reform.

  • Cam

    HRC attacked the march and rally a few months ago over and over again. Now, when Kathy Griffin asks, they have a rally, and they are currently planning a march for May 11th. At first they had no response to why there march was any different. Well they finally came up with one. “Oh, the other march was on a weekend and congress isn’t there and OUR March is going to be on a Tuesday so congress will be there!”.

    I have news for them, getting the extra tens of thousands of people by having it on a weekend so you make the news, is much more effective than marching on the national Mall on a Tuesday and not having a large turnout because people have to work. Additionally, Congress’s office don’t overlook the Mall so unless you are planning to march through their office buildings they won’t see you…they do however watch the news.

  • jeffree

    @D’oh, The Magnificent: Schumer’s support came as a shock, but a good one! Unless I missed something, Queerty missed reporting Schumer’s stance with immigration & the unkind things Anorexia Coulter said about Gays in her speech in Canada. Let’s be honest, Miley Cyrus is more important !!

  • jamison

    @AndrewW: you sound like a troll (read a lot of your comments) and i would even go as far as to say you might be recruited to spread hate on here. i’m on to you!

  • DR

    @jeffree: Oh, no offense taken at all. I only wanted to point out that even some of the typical demographic for the HRC members are not happy with this at all.

  • Sum0ne2l0ve

    Kieran – I agree with you 100%

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @jeffree: Yes, but we have to be careful here because the Democrats have been playing the ‘rotating villians’ game (Term coined recently by Glenn Greenwald) on issues since the president took office. Right now, they are reporting on DADT that the DOD is dragging their feet even as the president and the Democratic Congress claims to be moving “forward.” The same could be true here. Schumer could be saying he supports it because he knows someone else waits in the wings to say no on the Democratic side. That’s why pressure is important.

  • jason

    Dan Choi is so right about HRC. I foresee a split in the gay rights movement, with the party political wing (the HRC) being reduced to a rump. True gays – ie those who are truly concerned about gay rights regardless of party politics – will become the predominant wing.

  • missanthrope

    “you sound like a troll (read a lot of your comments) and i would even go as far as to say you might be recruited to spread hate on here. i’m on to you!”

    He’s a troll but not a right wing troll, he posts to many LGBT blog spouting his carp that LGBT people can be saved through clever press releases and press releases only.

    But it take multiple people working in many areas keeping the pressure up for change, from Choi engaging in civil disobedience, to talking to your neighbors/family, phone banking whatever.

    The problem with our movement is that we’ve developed a whole class of professional activists whom we think we can send money to every couple of years and win equality, we got complacent in the ’90s and ’00s and now we’re paying for it by suffering fools at the HRC acting like they’re are god’s annointed spokes people for gay people.

    Andrew will come here asking to name one congressperson’s vote this has changed, but Nancy Pelosi and the chairperson of committee presiding over ENDA have reacted to these events, so that’s pretty irrelevant since we we’ve gotten something when the former methods have gotten absolutely nothing over a year even if it’s a empty press release, it means they have to answer for what they are doing and they they have our attention. That’s more than what we had a week ago.

    And the idea the demonstrations are obsolete is a pretty boneheaded thing to say after the Tea Party crazies have controled the direction of the debate over Health care for nearly a year through public protests.

    Go peddle your ideas to people who care Andrew. You’ll probably find them in a nice new building on Rhode Island Ave.

  • hephaestion

    It would be nice if the HRC would have an event for normal non-rich people for once. To go to their banquets you have to own a tux, or be willing to rent one.

    Well, guess what HRC: Some of us can’t afford that, and would be willing to donate more if we felt like we might actually get to go to an HRC banquet one day, see some supportive celebrities, without having a tux. I don’t even have a suit right now. Does that make me any less gay & second class?

  • Taylor Siluwé

    LGBTeabaggers?! Andrew, you are hilarious.

    I can even articulate how offense it is to compare Dan Choi’s bold, heroic, sacrificial actions for the equality of all LGBT Americans … to those of the toothless, hay-straw chewin’, slugs of America who don’t even know what they are protesting for or against – but they do know our President is a black socialist fascist nazi faggot and must be stopped.

    Andrew, you are priceless. ;-)

  • ItsPat

    Two issues here: HRC’s usefulness, and Dan Choi’s whining.

    We already know the HRC has lots its effectiveness. Its Taj Mahal in DC led me to stop donating years ago.

    But Choi… Do you think MLK or Gandhi whined like a bitch, like Choi? So they didn’t march with you, Dan. Man up and move on. Hell, even Rosa Parks went it alone — and she was even more effective than an establishment.

  • Joseph

    This is how you know that HRC has lost its focus and understanding of civil rights and in fact, does more harm than good to the Gay Civil Rights movement.

    Civil Disobedience, or deliberately breaking law and accepting punishment, draws attention to injustice and makes the challenging of law possible. Without the Dan Choi’s, how can the courts come to the conclusion that Gays need protection?

    To give an elitist impression, as HRC does, or wishes us to do, gives courts cause to reject the notion that LGBT individuals need the protection of a minority group.

    Some have mentioned the past Activist groups, but not nearly as loudly as should be. If it was not for groups like Act Up during the beginning of the AIDS crises, where would we be today? Their actions put the issue on the evening news in front of millions of Americans, if not daily, then weekly. The legislature, American public as well as the courts could not ignore what was happening. Anyone interested in this movement must read And The Band Played On, which chronicles the early days of the AIDS epidemic. It is powerful beyond words and shows what can happen if we are silent and what can happen when we are not

    Good Cop/Bad Cop works, but only when the two work together. The bad cop creates a harm that the good cop can fight for in the background through the courts and Congress. But when the good cop repeatedly bashes the bad cop as a means to bolster itself, the process for Equal rights and justice will fail.

    Its time to work together and it is time to tell Obama enough already. Last weekend their was a March here in Washington for Immigration reform. At the rally, there was a recorded message from Mr. Obama and it was introduced by saying Immigration reform was the civil rights fight of our time. Where was Mr Obama during the March and Rally in Washington last October? Why was he so silent on our struggles? How did Immigration reform become the civil rights fight of this generation, when LGBT individuals began their fight in the 40’s.

    Successful fights for Civil rights are always remembered in the main stream for the bad cops. They are successful because the good cops understand that those rights are more important than their image or legacy. When the 2 work together, the bad cops never forget the role the good cops play, and make certain that those within its community never forget as well.

    If HRC cannot understand this and is unwilling to play the role of the good cop, then it is time to find someone who will. It is far past time for the bad cop to once again let its voice be heard. Its time to once again hear the chant “ACT-UP!” on the evening news, all across the country and for people to realize we mean business and no longer will we accept being the only minority group in this country without the civil rights every other minority in this country is allowed. If we are not ONE nation, under God, then ALL minority groups should stand together and let their voices be heard for liberty and justice, for ALL.

  • George M Melby

    Based on the comments I have read (all of them), it surprises me that we have gotten as far as we have in the last 35+ years. We are still divided into several cliques and mini-groups. Dan Choi’s and the efforts of thousands like him will be lost if we do not quit fighting each other in our quest for freedom, through example and unity.

  • Linda Idstein

    I am done fighting for your rights I am just going to go fuck myself as Daniel Choi said. Good luck I could give a rats ass anymore, thanks for wasting 20 yrs of my life fighting for your rights.

  • Jean Rich

    Yep you guys are so much better off without others speaking for you, do it on your own, keep shitting on those that are trying to help keep trash talking them, I am going to move on to other civil rights that don’t shit on those that are trying to help. Oh and Daniel Choi should me Court Martialed just like any other soldier that disobeys an order. You want to be treated like equals thats a start. If you make excuses then you are no better than anyone else.

  • Ian

    I’m pretty sure that Harvey Milk wouldn’t have been a lapdog who proverbially BJ’s the Democratic establishment asking for scraps like Joe Solomonese and the HRC seems to. The HRC has beaten wife syndrome and simply wants to be invited to the fancy parties.

    GetEQUAL on the other hand seems MUCH more in line with Harvey’s ideology, NON-violent but in your face activism and the DEMANDING of one’s EQUAL rights.

    GetEQUAL has replaced the HRC in terms of relevance.

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