Forget Targeting Lawmakers. Now Everyone Is Complaining About HRC’s Inaction!


Homosexual and heterosexual websites published by independent creators are banding together, in a “blog swarm,” to take on the evil Human Rights Campaign because it is a farce of an organization with laughable effectiveness and a leader less concerned about transparency than window glass. This is beautiful! It is also ridiculous.

Not ridiculous in the “What a stupid idea” sense. But ridiculous in a “Has LGBT equality legislation failed so bad that we must now target our efforts on Gay Inc. rather than on the legislators responsible for actually making decisions?” sense.

And the answer — say bloggers like Pam Spaulding, Joe Jervis, John Aravosis, Andy Towle, and Dan Savage — is yes.

Yes, HRC must. be. targeted! These blogs are asking you to email or call HRC (at their front desk, where a low-level receptionist paid by the hour will answer) and let your frustration be known. Amusing, because these are the very same tactics HRC tells its “citizen lobbyists” (that’s you, BTW) to utilize when contacting legislators.

This effort to pressure HRC, of course, assumes that the organization exhibits any real power in Washington. And if the past thirty years have told us anything, it’s that such an assumption could very well be a giant leap.

This website has, since its inception in 2005, been critical of HRC, which bills itself as the largest LGBT advocacy organization in the nation. Five years later, reports The Advocate‘s Kerry Eleveld, we’re in the same place with better circumstances. In this Thomas Roberts-hosted clip, it’s Larry Kramer who delivers the most excoriating report card.

[stream provider=video img=x:/www.queerty.com/wp/docs/2010/02/joesoladvvid.jpg flv=x:/www.queerty.com/wp/docs/2010/02/hrcreport.mov embed=true share=true width=650 height=340 dock=true controlbar=over skin=dangdang.swf bandwidth=med autostart=false /]

(NB: Gotta love Hilary Rosen’s defense of HRC in this clip.)

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  • Jon


    HRC Front Desk: (202) 628-4160
    TTY: (202) 216-1572
    Toll-Free: (800) 777-4723
    HRC Web site comment page: http://www.hrc.org/12022.htm
    General membership email at hrc: [email protected]

  • Rob

    Although I have never been an official member, I’ve shopped at the little HRC boutique on DuPont Circle over the years thinking my purchases supported a good cause. I would usually leave a few extra dollars in their cash kitty. I guess it was a good cause, but not money well spent.

    Now that Lambda Rising has closed, and I will no longer be shopping at HRC, where will I spend my money on the Circle. Suggestions, anyone?


    Rob, you are what’s wrong with the equality movement. Instead of wondering what to BUY with your gay dollars, why not wonder/ask what you can DO? People like you think a fucking t-shirt makes you an out, proud activist. It doesn’t…it makes you a sucker…and HRC has been raking in suckers for decades.

    Wake up and DO something.


  • Lucas

    Great move by the blogs in my opinion. HRC is going to send its house homos to every site listed and try to ridicule and sway people from doing the right thing.

    I’m calling right away

  • Chris

    HRC has become a joke. I used to see their bumper stickers and think “there’s a ‘mo that’s politically and socially active!”. Now I see their stickers and say “there’s another sucker throwing their money away”.

    WE, the gay community, are now our own advocates. When we show up in numbers and protest or speak out about oppression we’re doing HRC’s job for them. They need to “poop or get off the pot” as we say here in the South.

  • Brian NJ

    I think there may be corruption, and should be investigated. If Obama gives them appointments, it will raise the question of whether they are being rewarded for being so totally non-critical of the Administration.

  • Rob

    @YCKTR: I’m afraid that you are probably right, and I needed to hear that. I never thought of it that way. Thanks for the swat.

  • LJ

    I always did think that HRC was a feel good kind of organization with little mojo. I assumed that the reason they didn’t get results was because they are impotent. I don’t know if a swarm will do any good. I guess we’ll find out.

  • Brian NYC

    It doesn’t matter how many calls or emails HRC receives, they are powerless. Positions on LGBT-issues are NOT negotiable. That has been HRC’s scam – make people believe they can actually do something when they cannot.

    We have wasted +$550 million on HRC and we have nothing to show for it. Well, except for those cruising stickers. Wow.

  • AndrewW

    More of this silly idea that phone calls and emails make a difference – they don’t.

    I’m curious, what “pressure” can HRC apply on politicians? What will they do tell the President they’re upset or unhappy? As if the President doesn’t already know this?

    For politicians, LGBT-issues are not negotiable. They are based on the beliefs of their constituents. The 111th Congress never had enough pro-LGBT members to pass anything. Phone calls, emails, marches and now HRC wagging their well-funded finger at them will accomplish NOTHING.

    The lesson from this “Blog Swarm” will be the realization that HRC has NO influence on LGBT-related legislation and neither do we.

    There is no political solution to LGBT issues. The sooner we learn that, the sooner we focus on the real work of creating equality.

    Obama knows the repeal of DADT is not possible with the Congress and all he promised was to “work with the Congress.” Dick Cheney didn’t say he supported the repeal of DADT, either. He said he was listening to the military and that the policy should be “reviewed.” Welcome to many years of review, not repeal.

    The votes are not there for the repeal of DADT or DOMA or ENDA. They never were there. You can lobby, shame and harass all you want – it doesn’t work.

  • DR

    You really are better off calling or writing your legislators. HRC isn’t good for much besides throwing expensive cocktail parties for the “right” people and looking dumb when we ask them to do something.

    This is a nice gesture, but time would be better spent with our elected officials.

  • AndrewW

    @DR: Gee whiz, if just make ENOUGH phone calls to legislators, we will prevail. Victory is just ____ calls away.

    If all we needed to do was make more calls, or send more emails, or write more letters – why wouldn’t we just hire Kelly Temps to do that for us?

    MATH: HRC spends $50 million a year. That would give us 2,500 full-time working-activists. These workers would be able to send, call and write 8 hours a day. They could press “redial” and “send” all day long.

    The result would be more than 25 million calls, and emails EVERY MONTH. Would THAT be enough? Or should we take the funds we give to GLAAD and NGLTF, too? Is it 50 million calls/emails a month? How many do we need? (That information would be very helpful).

    It is beyond silly to actually believe that somewhere, somebody is counting calls, emails or letters and THEN deciding what to do or how to vote. Polls make up their minds.

    I hope people don’t waste their time on this ridiculous idea of calling HRC or calling politicians. Instead, they would be better off figuring out what WILL work. Figuring out HOW and WHEN we can actually WIN.

  • Forrest

    Hey now! I have gotten some great sex by having an hrc bumpersticker hrc works for me! Thanks Joe!

  • Sam

    @AndrewW: Your ignorance of the political process is as laughable as your assertion that lobbying doesn’t work. It’s the only thing that works.

    An idiot speed dialing a member of Congress all day won’t do shit. What does work is a large number of CONSTITUENTS all contacting their member of Congress. And it doesn’t even have to be that large of a number. 100 people calling about the same issue in one day is enough for the average House member’s staff to take notice. If each LGBT person in the country called their members of Congress and then got 3 of their straight friends to do the same, we’d have ENDA passed and DADT repealed in no time. But we don’t. We don’t ask our friends to help us and get other LGBT people active because it’s easier to sit and bitch on blogs.

    The problem with HRC is that they don’t lobby EFFECTIVELY. Because they’re still operating under the 1990’s Elizabeth Birch model that it’s more important to have “access” than results, so don’t piss anyone off. It’s 2010, assholes. We’ve got fucking access. We need results. And I don’t care who you have to piss off to get them.

    When I worked for Planned Parenthood, we wouldn’t endorse a member of Congress for re-election unless they had a PERFECT record on choice. That’s 100% pro-choice. Not a single vote against. HRC has endorsed incumbents with 57% ratings before and regularly endorses candidates in the 70’s and 80’s. That means members of Congress KNOW they can vote against us a few times and still get the support of the LGBT community (through HRC. It’s like a get out of jail free card, and it needs to be revoked.

    It’s time for hardball, fellas, and if HRC can’t figure out how to play, they need to be replaced.

  • Brian NJ

    No more fucking letters. They got the memo. But the Democrats laziness and fear has kept them from ACTING. To get them to act, we now need to withdraw support, and let them feel what that feels like. Calls and letters are white noise, as is the constant support of the gay community. They need to see a contrast, or they won’t see us at all.

  • Charles Merrill

    The name Human Rights Campaign Fund is misleading from the getco. “Human Rights”. That includes the whole third world’s treatment of women and children and aid to earthquake/tsunami victims. When Sec. of State Hilary Clinton says we have to fight for human rights in the world, she isn’t talking about us queers although most LGBT’s think she is. The broad name “HRC” doesnt’t define our fight for LGBT equal rights.

  • Lukas P.

    Anyone notice that BRIAN NYC and ANDREWW type exactly the same way and use identical vocabulary?

    Still, I agree with him/them about HRC being a waste of money and, um, hot air. I quit donating to them about 5 years ago after asking them to demonstrate accountability for their spending/earmarks and initiatives—you know, the same standards that more effective non-profits try to demonstrate cost-effectiveness and can be judged by.

    I specifically asked HRC to remove me from their mailing lists and it took almost two years and a few phone calls for them to stop filling my mailbox. That’s how “careful” they are about their budget.

  • AndrewW

    @Sam: That’s bullshit. Please provide some evidence that lobbying (HRC or private citizens) has changed a single US Senators mind about LGBT issues.

    Lobbying regarding LGBT issues does not work. Anti-LGBT Senators have positions based on their constituents beliefs, not phone calls, emails or visits from HRC. To believe otherwise is just naively childish.

  • AndrewW

    @Lukas P.: Brian NYC gets it. I think you do, too. Until we wake up and understand how ineffective most of what we call our “movement” or “fight” really is, we won’t focus on new ideas to actually win. 50 years is enough.

  • Lukas P.

    @AndrewW/Brian NYC: My problem with so many professional activists and their organizations is that they provide a comforting illusion that if we donate to their cause, we’re “doing something” and don’t need to do anything else.

    My personal solution — meaning this is what I do and not what I’m telling you or anyone else to do — is to donate my time, possessions, “talent” and money to specific projects or programs where I can see if there are any results. At the moment they’re mostly local. I can’t say I wouldn’t throw myself into something national if it made sense, but I admit to having soured on the Washington DC “gay issues only” lobbyist crews, their inability to create change and influence votes.

    I don’t discourage people from sending letters to legislators, but if we think that’s the best strategy available or that it’s “good enough,” I’m skeptical.

  • Sam

    @AndrewW: I guess the evidence was too much for you.

  • MikeUT

    I’m afraid to e-mail the HRC and ask for accountability- they might add me to to their more than “725,000” members.

  • A now confused John from England (used to be just John but there are other John's)

    Money talks.

    What about contacting all those super rich gay guys like the Quark guy?

  • AndrewW

    @Sam: Gee whiz Sam, you need to do better research.

    Most telling is the number of lawmakers, Republicans especially, who have said they will use a review of the policy, due at the end of the year, to define their own stance. On the Senate Armed Forces Committee, for example, Sens. Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham and George LeMieux have all said they are open to repealing DADT if the military study concludes they should.

    You call her someone that has changed her mind because of lobbying? Really? It doesn’t seem changed. Plus, she was silent during the Prop 1 battle in Maine. Changed, huh?

    Source: http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/02/how-mullen-changed-the-future-of-gays-in-the-military.php?ref=mp

  • AndrewW

    @Sam: Plus, Senator Collins has NEVER called for the repeal of DADT. She credited an Admiral with getting her to “think about” the policy.

    Please provide an example of lobbying changing a politicians mind/vote about an LGBT-related issue. A few have endorsed the idea that LGBT shouldn’t be discriminated against, but they’re still anti-LGBT.

    Since you seem to believe that lobbying is magical and effective, you must have plenty of examples. I just want one. Just one. That should be easy, Sam.

  • Lukas P.

    Word to the wise: Do not provide *any* organization that you’re not completely sold on with your home address, phone number or most-active email account address. As we all know, they sell the lists and do NOT respect your wish to avoid receiving their desperate calls/postcards/letters etc. It’s a waste of your time, minutes, bandwidth and a bunch of trees.

  • Markie-Mark

    I don’t believe that letters work. The proof of that is the TARP bailout. Polls showed that 90% of Americans were against it and they flooded DC with letters, calls and emails. But Congress voted the way that corporations wanted. And that is only going to get worse now that the S.Court has taken the limits off corporate spending.

    I think the answer is with our vote. Our movement was hurt by all the people who voted for Obama or Hillary. They are both against gay marriage. There is no self respect in voting against your own interest. I know it’s difficult to allow a Republican to win, but the Democrats would change their positions and actions rather quickly after they lose a couple of times. And other Democratic voters need to see gays as a valuable part of their coalition; in other words, if they don’t have our votes, they can’t win.

    But, in the end we need to discuss these issues and come to a consensus. And we need lgbt leaders who will lead. HRC is not that.

  • Charles Merrill

    @Lukas P.: Sincere activists give their first and last names on blogs. Otherwise you are clandestine. probably paranoid and in the closet. Therefore, what you say has no credibility.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    I’m with Larry Kramer on this one.

    How about this HRC. Lets have a vote on ENDA and DADT. You know one of those stand alone thingys. And if Mary Landrieu doesn’t want to vote on it in an election year, tough. And if it fails, we can deal with that. At least then we will know who to third party in the next election. If Chris Carney, Elsworth, Ben Nelson, or Mark Pryor want to run against a Republican and a third party Gay challenger, then we can work on that too. Lets see you keep your marginal seats with 5% of the vote going elsewhere.

    The problem is that HRC apparently thinks that they should have all the access and make the decisions for everyone. Who elected them? No one.

    HRC is worse than access of action. It appears to me that they value their own access over anything else.

  • AndrewW

    @Lukas P.: I like your phrasing – “comforting illusion.” That’s what lobbying is – it doesn’t work, but people believe it does. That hamster running for hours on a wheel-to-nowhere thinks he getting somewhere, too.

  • AndrewW

    @Charles Merrill: Gee Charles, it would take a little more effort to comment on the words or ideas than to simply dismiss someone for not wanting to invite the useless vitriol of many blogs. Just because you use your full name it doesn’t give your words any more meaning or value.

    Keep thinking Lukas and keep contributing.

  • Lukas P.

    @Charles Merrill: Your point is still unclear to me. Kindly elaborate. I thank you in advance.

    You did not address the contents of my comment, but merely its sender. Will you advocate suicide yet again? Will you lapse into ad hominem attacks instead of the subject of the thread? Have you no shame, honor or dignity.

  • Cam

    It isn’t whether HRC has or doesn’t have power. It’s that they were telling gays to stay quiet and not do anything. As Soon as gays threatened to boycott DNC fundraisers, gay federal workers got additional protections. As soon as we started jumping on HRC and marching, DADT gets added to the defense bill etc… So whether or not HRC would have had power is moot, they never once tried to flex their muscle or do anything.

  • AndrewW

    @Cam: You seem to be suggesting HRC does have power but they haven’t “flexed their muscle.”

    Don’t confuse access, with power.

    If you do believe they have power, power to do what?

  • Cam

    No. 35 · AndrewW said…
    @Cam: You seem to be suggesting HRC does have power but they haven’t “flexed their muscle.”

    Don’t confuse access, with power.

    If you do believe they have power, power to do what?

    I didn’t say they had power. I said that whether or not they would have had power is moot because they never actually attempted to do anything.

  • autahteddybear

    Today I did a Wikipedia search and noticed how many
    gay support organizations there are!
    Makes me wonder how may are legit and do much good?

    Seems the only ones I see do the most are ,
    Lambda Legal

    I do not really see the others do much, is
    collect money and send out stickers!


  • Justin

    @autahteddybear: Only LAMBDA has actually accomplished anything. HRC has been a waste of $500 million. We’re stupid.

Comments are closed.