LA Mayor Explains HRC Absence

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa released a statement yesterday on why he chose not to attend HRC’s boycotted gala:

The Human Rights Campaign is on the frontlines of the fight for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights and I fully support its important mission at this critical moment in history.

It has come to my attention that the San Francisco Labor Council has voted to formally boycott HRC’s annual fundraising gala and regretfully, I cannot attend this years event.

As Mayor of the largest city in California, I am committed to creating a world in which no member or group in society is denied full and equal rights. It is my hope that this time next year will find us all united by victory in the fight against Proposition 8 and ever more determined to establish equal rights, with no exceptions, for every one of us.

And peace shall reign…

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  • Grace Duncan

    Don’t worry Tony. I’m sure you’ll never be invited to another HRC event. And now you won’t have to count all those dollars the gays have foolishly been sending you.

  • crazylove

    I love the way that people here are offended that he’s not attending a dinner out of protest over how we treated transgendered people. On the hand , you want to be treated fairly, but on the other, you have no problem treating others unfairly. Apparently equal for some of you means “equal for me.” I am sure your dollars aren’t what got him in office, and I doubt many will see his not attend the HRC event based on the reasons for not attending as a reason to not support him. Afterall, the reason for your protest is that you are saying you are okay with discrimination, and he’s saying he’s not.

  • emb

    Um, can someone let me know what the SF Labor Council has against HRC?

  • emb

    Oh never mind–I see it’s more ENDA fallout: the gift that keeps on giving.

  • Tex...

    He did the right thing.The HRC is only full of angry white wealthy gay men who are self selving and self important. My HRC “=” stickers decorate my curbside trash can.

  • Charley

    Marlee Matlin was also a speaker who gave a keynote address. Guess she is deaf regarding transgender issues.

  • mark

    HRC brought this upon themselves through their sheer cowardice.

  • hrcsupporter95126

    I was at the HRC Gala last night and can answer comment 3. Pride at Work and a few other LGBT labor organizations were able to convince the SF Labor Council to classify the boycott as a labor strike.

    The boycott was far from a labor strike of course, but this was done as a tactic, knowing that it would force the Mayor of L.A. to withdraw his participation because he would not be able to cross a union picket line.

    It had nothing to do with ENDA.

    It is very sad to watch our community attack itself like this – we are getting attacked by so many other groups.

    There is certainly a lot of conversation and healing to do around ENDA, and it is not going to happen overnight. That said, as a community we must keep conversation and dialogue open with HRC, and we must work together. We are all part of the same family.

    With 3 transgender staff members on HRC’s staff – several of whom are receiving physical threats of violence from the transcommunity – which is extremely upsetting to hear – neither HRC or Marlee Matlin as referenced above are deaf on transgender issues.

    HRC wants an inclusive version of ENDA as much as everyone else does. It mystifies me why HRC has been made the scapegoat here, but the members of Congress HRC tried diligently to persuade who stripped gender identity out of the bill anyway – have not been a focus at all.

    HRC cannot pass legislation. Only members of Congress can.

    As a community we have got to stop with the anger, the rage, and the attacks against each other, and channel that energy into other vehicles like education and lobbying of Congress, to help educate our Congressional leaders on why ENDA and other pieces of legislation MUST include protections based on gender identity.

  • crazylove

    They can’t pass legislation, but they shouldn’t be in a place where they are telling parts of the coalition that they will toss them under the bus. The reality is that this is what destroys coalitions. That’s not idealism. As this lesson should hopefully start to teach them- that’s reality. The only reason why people put up with each other is that they expect to get something from it. The minute you tell them that they want- things unravel.

  • Darth Paul

    Tex…is funny.

  • fri

    HRCSUPPORTER, you seem to be a little confused. the boycott IS a labor strike because it involves labor issues, namely, HRC’s backing of legislation that permits discrimination against transgender workers.

    you are also wrong in suggesting that having some token trans people on staff doesn’t mean they’re supporting trans issues.

    it also seems downright patronizing to me to say that HRC “wants an inclusive version of ENDA as much as everyone else does.” give me a break. it doesn’t matter what they theoretically want, since their actions show otherwise. if they really “wanted it as much” as those who boycott the current trans-free ENDA legislation, they would boycott it as well.

    with all this in mind slogans like “we are all part of the same family” ring not only empty but insulting. what kind of messed up, abusive family are you talking about? why is the HRC “family” led by rich white gay men? as a queer, i believe in chosen family… you say that we “need to work with HRC”, but it seems to me that they’re no longer relevant to many of us and there’s many alternatives in terms of organizations to support.

    finally, it’s generally a good rule of thumb to never trust an organization with “human rights” in the name that sells goods made in sweatshops. really now.

  • fri

    correction: “you are also wrong in suggesting that having some token trans people on staff means they’re supporting trans issues.”

  • Cam

    Tex Said …
    He did the right thing.The HRC is only full of angry white wealthy gay men who are self selving and self important. My HRC “=” stickers decorate my curbside trash can.

    Actually if you look HRC has been dominated by lesbians in the past. So you will have to think of other reasons to blame them for making decisions you don’t like other than the fact that you obviously seem to hate white guys.

  • crazylove

    Really- I didn’t know the head of HRC is a lesbian?

  • hrcsupporter95126

    Fri, thank you for your comments. I respect the energy and passion you have, and am glad there are people like you that have the courage to speak out and push issues like this. Thank you.

    That said, attacking me, implying I don’t understand, etc. is not a way to build relationships or communicate successfully with people. I respect your views, and am not going to attack you, I just ask that you respect mine. Like you, I want to help and fight for the same protections.

    I did not mean that having transgender staff is the only thing HRC is doing to advance transgender legislation.

    HRC held and drove hearings in Congress just last month on transgender protections. HRC just recently a publication educating people on what it means to be transgender. HRC works tirelessly with individual corporations to ensure their policies include trans protections as well. HRC even has a community of faith program focused specifically on the transgender community. The list goes on.

    HRC did not “oppose” the noninclusive ENDA – that’s really what it comes down too. They were told if they did oppose it, a.) they would be cut out of all conversations about both the non-inclusive and inclusive version, and b.) that this legislation would not resurface for a vote again in Congress for 3 to 5 years.

    Do I think HRC should have had more communication about the above and involved its allies more – absolutely I do, I was not happy with how it was communicated and shared within our community.

    But that said – how would you have handled the above with Congress? Would you have had done?

    Politics are complicated, frustrating, but unfortunately are the rules by which this country and others are run by. Most people don’t “like” politics, and it’s why most of us choose not to get involved. Politics are emotional, frustrating, and can make us all feel pretty darn helpless at times.

    Again, only Congress can pass legislation that is inclusive in the end. We need to focus more of our efforts together on getting Congress to understand a.) what it means to be transgender and b.) why transgender people deserve the exact same protections and rights as everyone else.

    Thank you for listening.

  • Chris

    To those of you who are angry and badmouthing the only political organization that has done anything to promote LGBT rights, I ask – what have YOU done?

    Have you raised countless amounts of money to support LGBT rights? Have you gone to The Hill to lobby Congress? Have you created programs to help drive businesses to be more inclusive of LGBT people?

    It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and complain, protest, and get angry with what someone else does. If you were really that upset about something in the world, you’d DO something about it.

    And by “DO” I don’t mean complain about and protest an organization that has absolutely no decision-making authority to bring about the change you want. If you’re really this upset, write your Congress people, go to Washington and protest Congress, raise money to support an organization you feel will better represent what you want. But don’t waste all of your energy on actions that will not bring about the change you’re looking for.

  • mark

    chris and other HRC apologists/supporters,

    I gave donations to HRC annually since it began, so SHUT THE F*CK UP about what have those people angry over HRC cowardice on ENDA DONE?
    I won’t give HRC another dime until leadership changes, and even then I’ll be wary.

  • Chris

    Mark – ok, so you’ve said what you “won’t” do as a result of ENDA, but what are you “doing” to make an all-inclusive ENDA pass?

    It’s great you’ve given money to HRC in the past. And if you no longer agree with how HRC is run, then by all means no longer support them with donations.

    But if you’re angry about ENDA, what are you “doing” to get an all-inclusive bill passed?

    By the way, do you feel Barney Frank is a coward as well? He’s the one who proposed the non-inclusive bill. You realize HRC didn’t prompt him right? That HRC just agreed to “not oppose” his approach. Would you oppose Barney Frank?

    Also, you realize HRC and other organizations are still working to get an inclusive ENDA passed right?

  • crazylove

    HRC isn’t the only gay organization. If you think that, then you are the ignorant one.

  • Konrad

    “HRC’s backing of legislation that permits discrimination against transgender workers.”

    Do you even know how to tell the truth?

    HRC didn’t back any bill that permitted discrimination of transgender workers. There was a bill up for a vote that enacted protections of some gays and lesbians. HRC took no position. Some assholes said HRC should oppose the bill because it did not include transgendered workers but these same assholes were okay with the fact the millions of other workers were left out.

  • Chris

    Crazylove – good catch on the typo – I meant to say “one of the.” Yes, there are many other LGBT organizations out there – in terms of the political clout they hold to influence Congress however, HRC is the one of if not the primary organization supporting our rights.

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