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HRC Now Squatting In Harvey Milk’s Castro Camera Shop

Harvey Milk’s famed Castro Camera shop on Castro Street was a place where the city supervisor congregated with fellow activists to plot strategy in the 1970s. Today, it’ll be where the Human Rights Campaign’s San Francisco Action Center is headquartered: the group just snapped up the lease to the historic storefront. There, HRC will sell logo-emblazened bumper stickers, coffee mugs, and maybe even let passers-by sign up for its Visa card. Opines local resident Michael Petrelis: “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.”

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  • gregger

    I stopped giving to those asshats a long time ago and I tell everyone I know not to give to those asshats. They really need to do like the Mattachine Society and disband.

  • Ian

    HRC’s time of effectiveness is long past done. I bet they won’t be able to make their rent selling their cheap trinkety crap & the national org will have to cover the cost of rent to keep them open. As a once and future returning resident of SF I hope by the time I’m back they are gone.

    Face it HRC, you are lapdogs that get nothing done. Let GetEQUAL replace you and we will be better for it.


    HRC endorses republicans and conservative democrats who do not support full equality, who have terrible records on womens rights, the environment, and beyond. They have repeatedly stepped on the toes of labor activists, excluded the trans community, and prioritized the political agenda of the elite of the needs of the poor. Harvey Milk would have been one of their biggest critics. Add your voice to

  • Ian The exclusion of the trans community by HRC has always been something that has pi$$ed me off, total agreement.

  • Clint

    Blasphemy. Protest that shit.

  • SteveC


    The HRC trying to co-opt history to disguise its utter uselessness.

  • hephaestion

    Maybe the HRC could make part of the shop a little museum showing how it looked when Harvey Milk was there. The site deserves to be a museum or historic site, with some kind of display for the many pilgrims who make their way there from across America and the world.

  • GetBusyGetEqual

    Make sure you see my comments at:

    I am not going to take any more shit from HRC and those rich white gays. I only make $100,000 a year, but you can trust me. I am going to put HRC out of business. I am serious and the White House should be nervous, too.

  • Alex

    That’s ridiculous!

    They’re so out of touch… like I’m sure that camera store (and the castro in general) were awesome and revolutionary in their day, but they’re revolutionary to the last generation of world changers.

    It’s like how they have a starbucks on haight-ashburry… really?? a STARBUCKS????

  • Dollie

    What happened to the DARLING store that occupied that space (at least as of earlier this year)?! They sold some neat items, and the staff was so personable and FUN!! I’m sure Mr. Milk would have appreciated their presence much more… The HRC doesn’t care about equality, they care about money and red carpet events. They are goal-less and out of touch.

  • divkid

    Jesus christ, why the backbiting. Surely its self evident you need mainstream friendly orgs such as hrc, or stonewall, as a shop front for the project **must not say trojan horse**. Even their moderate brand of gay-lite is seen by our enemies as the advance guard for the legions of the cloven footed one. That these crazies are becoming ever more regarded as fringe is due in part to these moderates’ efforts. All liberation movements need Dr king AND Malcolm X

    My sympathies lie on the X end of the spectrum. But I long ago got over my genuine shock that the gays didn’t universalise their own situation to other kinds of oppression. But the fact is they don’t. And god damn it, some are even socially conservative, right wing, hawkish, or racists; don’t care about poverty or women’s rights. And these cunts need representing too: because as a minority were all about the numbers. And the radical big tent just wont encompass them. Our movement is a marriage of convenience. We do not live in a perfect world, and life and politics is about squalid compromise If the aim is an achievable goal.

    Yes, we need a much stronger voice for the radical agenda but thats not the hrc are for. There doing what there meant to do–Without frightening the horses. They’re not shutting you out. They need you alongside them at a tactical distance to do the nasty work.

    Whats really fucking sad is that many of the complaints about GAYINC are by people with an axe to grind namely RADICALGAYINC, forgetting about the bigger picture in the unseemly competition for $$$ and as a cynical business strategy doing down their perceived business competition to gain market-share. Or maybe just pay the rent. Id be interested to know if you are paid for any of your brand of advocacy/ activist work? If so, the motives for your stance are open to question.

  • justiceontherocks

    @DIVKID – you miss the point completely. No one is complainign about HRC being a “mainstream” organization. What we complain about is that they do it so badly, so condescendingly, and seem more interested in cocktail parites and donor solicitation than in hard work and results.

  • Jaroslaw

    I still give to HRC and I read their magazine. They seem to be doing something. It seems to me that this “hate the HRC” campaign caught on and nothing good can be said about HRC here. Does anyone posting all this negative stuff really know what happens at HRC on an hour by hour, day by day basis? I truly doubt it. I think any organization that big makes mistakes and can be criticized and the “Amen” corner here can chime in. I could completely wrong and naive but until I’m convinced by hard data (no pun intended!) I’m going to support them. Annual dues aren’t that much.

  • SteveC

    Why do you give to HRC Jaroslaw?

    All HRC do is donate money to political candidates who think you are not equal.

    HRC through their hideous Uncle-Tomism have massively damaged the quest for LGBT equality through their pathetic, self-serving sucking up to people who hate them.

    It’s no coincidence that our homophobic bigot of a President Obama, uses the HRC to try to downplay the disgusting hypocritical homophobia of his party and administrattion.

  • Adam

    The last time I was in San Francisco, Castro Camera was an empty store with pictures of Harvey Milk in the window, and a sign that said they didn’t have a current owner. At least someone is taking it over, and that it’s something in line with its heritage than Starbucks.

  • divkid

    @justiceontherocks: with respect what i said was in relation to Look at his site he is clearly attacking hrc for being too mainstream or not radical enough. thats the gist. He has a shopping list of grievances/demands. (all of which are noble and beautiful progressive sentiments I otherwise share but they are radical ones at least in America, and thus divisive and are more effectively tackled elsewhere.) i.e. He’s saying don’t support hrc because: it’s not pro environmental,… because it doesn’t have an anti-war stance.. .etc.. But neither the hrc nor any other group have to fulfil any such criteria in order to be effective in its limited aim which is simply to achieve that full civil rights equality thing. Thats all. I say lets make common cause with our right wing gay brother onto victory. THEN shoot him like a pig.

    As for hrc effectiveness. I just assumed the best. I really don’t know enough.
    I should have confined my thoughts to uk and Stonewall which Im more familiar with. i thought that it was a relevant comparison because stonewall was tarred with similar criticisms i.e. too interested in respectability, ass kissing the establishment and power, compromising ,ineffectual,settling for crumbs, betrayals, …etc

    That we made so much progress in the uk (much more to do) shows their tactics worked .( in a pincer movement with the more radical groups.) And now the gay agenda has thoroughly infiltrated the political establishment EVEN in the right wing party of thatcher! That was unthinkable. Believe me that took plenty of cocktail swilling and whoring for donor dollar. Isn’t that the job description of a lobbyist?

    People talk like joe solomese is actively trying to sabotage the cause. It sounds unlikely. Anyways, its too late in the day to have dissension in the ranks, you are in the front line of the culture war and cant put it all on the shoulders of the hrc in order that you can blame them when it goes tits up. Rather, you need to augment the army with street fighters. It’s time to get militant again. Remember that?

  • Jaroslaw

    SteveC why do I give? I said the HRC SEEMS to be doing something. I admitted I could be naive. I explained DIVKID already said there is a purpose for a less radical organization to hobnob in Washington and not scare the horses! At least Obama is speaking to a Gay group and mentioning us. The previous occupant said something like “if I had a Gay child I would tell him to live his life but not to talk about to Grandpa” something like that.

  • divkid

    @ all

    Oh, and I’d like to apologise for No.11.

    I was tired and emotional (yep’ read drunk).

  • divkid

    @Jaroslaw: the world is a better place for people like you, willing to see the best motives in people until confronted with contrary evidence. Don’t ever change lad.

    Its sooo easy and lazy to hit the cynical aloof button. Because it’s an excuse to DO NOTHING — they’re all crooks…conning us…. just in it for themselves…. whats the point?

    Now Imagine if the aids crises was only just beginning now. .WOULDNT.STAND.A.FUCKING.CHANCE.

  • Sammy


    You justify supporting HRC because you DON’T know what they
    do on a daily basis? You justify your support b/c they
    seem to be doing something, even if you can’t say exactly
    what that is?

    Look, what we know for certain is that HRC sucks in
    $40 million per year and yet has failed to pass key items
    that have been on its legislative agenda since 1980. We also know that they refuse to hire or retain well-placed lobbyists
    (such as former members of Congress and former senior staff
    members) from both parties. Instead, they grossly overpay
    their top officers and two in-house lobbyists who lack relevant
    experience and personal connections on the Hill. Mahybe, just maybe, if we had had on retainer one of Sen. Reid’s former staffers or one of his lobbyist sons, or maybe if we had had someone well connected with Sen. Collins, we would have repealed DADT by now. But that would steer money away from the feeding trough.

    There is nothing wrong with an insider approach to pursuing
    gay rights, but there is everything wrong with wasting a vast fortune on an organization that has failed in that approach for 3 decades.

  • Jaroslaw

    Sammy don’t be so condescending. I responded on a blog; I did not submit a doctoral thesis. I said I read their magazine, HRC was spoken highly of at our local Gay center and I follow along in the media what is going on and one has to make a decision based on something. You have completely distorted what I meant when I said “no one knows what is going on daily” and you know it.

  • Jaroslaw


  • BB

    HRC is doing SOMETHING in favor of equality. THAT I support. They do have our best interest at heart. THAT I support. They care to some capacity about gays being treated as equals. THAT I care about. The folks criticizing HRC are the same who ridicule GLAAD and any other mainstream gay oriented orginization. You just want to argue for the sake of arguing instead of seeing who the REAL enemies are. It’s not HRC. They aren’t promoting a vote against gay rights. How vocal some of you get at your very own verses some TRUE haters out there you simply brush off.

  • tristane.


    you ONLY make 100,000 a year? poor you.

    ps I fucking hate HRC too but lets not pretend that 100,000 a year isn’t a ton of money.


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