Human Rights Campaign got little love at its annual New York dinner this weekend.
Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Midtown Hilton to protect HRC’s wavering position during the ENDA debacle of last year. The angry crowd certainly made their grievances heard, shouting: “What do we want? Liberation. Fuck that assimilation.” Perhaps its this unwelcome wagon which led nearly all of New York’s politicians to avoid the event:
…Of numerous elected officials who in past years attended but were not there this time, only Micah Kellner, an openly bisexual East Side Democratic assemblyman, attributed his absence to the boycott. Others insisted, on the record, that they had scheduling conflicts, though Kellner’s statement to Gay City News and off-the-record comments by staff members of several elected officials, pointed to a conscious effort to avoid the HRC event.
Christine Quinn, the out lesbian speaker of the City Council who addressed the HRC dinner in past years, attributed her absence to “scheduling conflicts.” In an email statement to Gay City News, a spokesperson for Quinn added, “However, the Speaker has also made clear that she was very disappointed that the action taken by Congress with the Employment and Non-Discrimination Act did not include gender identity. Moreover, the Speaker is stunned that the Human Rights Campaign is penalizing those Congressmembers who support a pro-LGBT agenda, and who voted against the Act because it didn’t include transgenders. The Speaker applauds her colleagues from New York — Congressmembers Clarke, Nadler, Towns, Velazquez, and Weiner — for their stand.”
HRC honcho Joe Solmonese attempted to clean up the mess during his speech, saying that he and his colleagues are committed to fighting the long, good fight:
I understand and I hear every day that some members of our community are feeling forgotten or left behind. It is easy to understand why… We have to overlook our differences and we have got to see instead of our individual wants and immediate desires… a vision for the America that we all want to live in..
Let me be very clear: No, we are not done. We are in the grueling, blinding middle of this fight and the middle of this fight is the hardest part.”
Some of us may want to stand back or check out, but there is no standing back. There is no checking out. Because sometimes — and I know this is frustrating — the fight for our rights feels like hell, but as Winston Churchill so aptly put it, ‘When you are going through hell the most important thing is to keep going.’
How and when, of course, remains open for debate.