Note To Queer “Radicals”: Invoking “Stonewall” While Vandalizing The HRC Doesn’t Make You LGBT Revolutionaries

Images via The New Gay

Last night a “radical LGBT group” calling themselves The Right Honorable Wicked Stepmothers’ Traveling, Drinking and Debating Society and Men’s Auxiliary “glamdalized” the Human Rights Campaign DC Action Center and Store with pink paint. Michael Cole-Schwartz, Director of Communications for the HRC said “It’s unfortunate that after a marriage win in New York that represented an unprecedented coming together of LGBT groups, some are more interested in fostering division in the community.”

In the RHWSTDDSMA’s press statement (ugh, press statements are such conformist commercialist bullshit) they called the HRC store “a god awful monstrosity”, contrasted DC’s under-budgeted LGBT services to HRC’s $50 million budget, and compared themselves to the Stonewall rioters.

Yeah, um… not so much.

From their press release:

The modern LGBT movement owes its success to three days of smashing, burning, punching, and kicking [in the Stonewall riots]—all of it happily indiscriminate—and the confrontational tactics of groups like ACT-UP that followed in the decades since. Yet, somehow we’ve forgotten our riotous roots…

Everyone: We know you mean well, but stop giving these idiots your money. Stop putting that equal sticker on your car. Stop going to their lame galas. And for the love of Judy Garland’s Ghost and Robert Mapplethorpe’s Zombie Bones, stop saying “It Gets Better” and hoping for a miracle from up on high… it’s time for us to quit with the passivity, move to action, build community and care for each other instead of hoping the Gay Non-Profit Industrial Complex will ever get anything done.

There’s so many things wrong with this statement that it’s almost beneath comment… but we’ll go there anyway.

First off, the Stonewall rioters weren’t anonymous vandals who indiscriminately threw paint at a gay business in the dark of night, they were plain LGBT citizens who fought day and night specifically against police harassment. Even ACT-UP had the guts to conduct their business in broad daylight with their faces uncovered and their convictions hanging out for all to see.

Secondly, how does splattering paint on an HRC store help “build community and care for each other”? The RHWSTDDSMA could have better used their press release to actually list things queers can do to help DC’s community. Or even better, they coulda cut the shit and created a public campaign to pressure the HRC into donating some of their millions to DC’s LGBT organizations.

But RHWSTDDSMA couldn’t do any of those things because they’re not really revolutionary; they’re reactionary. Last time I checked, specifically targeting a gay business for vandalism is a hate crime, no matter if you’re gay or not. Their action leads us to believe their press release when it says they had been “snorting ritalin and drinking whiskey all night.”

This pink paint attack also reminds us of when someone anonymously spray-prainted “Stop Leaving Queers Behind” on the HRC headquarters. No one claimed that one. And while the HRC store attack seems like the handiwork of the billboard-defacing, church-disrupting queer group Bash Back, their press releases were much more concise.

Lay off the Ritalin and whiskey, kids.

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  • Top to Bottom

    Wow, this is one of the most thoughtful and eloquent pieces I’ve ever seen on this site. I’m very impressed!

    I also agree immensely. I will say that I’m not completely on HRC’s side on anything, but the timing was terrible, the method was immature, and associating themselves with Stonewall (especially since this didn’t even happen in New York) is insulting. I can see how certain LGBT folk don’t want to be represented by HRC, but this attack doesn’t make anyone the better person.

  • Ganondorf

    While not condoning the vandalism of the ihop, let’s lay out the condemnation offered in more succinct terms: I like the status quo because the status quo is what I like. What would be a hilarious perversion of the spirit of the law is if the culprits were charged with hate crimes. Yes, stupid and blah blah, but this stuff simply doesn’t matter to gay rights, like the HRC.

  • QJ201

    Radical Queers in DC? Who knew?

  • Gregor

    At least if your going to vandalize something go a little bit further just a bunch of paint is worth no more than a laugh.

  • Fitz

    I agree about this being reactionary, but I also really REALLY hate HRC and
    the cocktail politics that they stand for.
    I don’t think I would have the balls to attack an HRC store,
    but I am more than likely to turn and look the other way if
    someone were WONDERFUL enough to attack the one that colonized
    Harvey’s store on the Castro.

  • Eric

    I thought Queerty hated HRC like that.

  • some gay atty

    Expression is not a crime: it’s protected speech. One of a myriad of dilemmas facing a coopted gay rights movement is its tendency to push for criminalization rather than engage in meaningful grassroots outreach – HRC has shoved transgender rights issues under the proverbial rug for so long that pushback is inevitable. Perhaps the most telling line of your article describes HRC as a “gay business:” the one point with which I sadly agree. The Stonewall pioneers deserve better.

  • Paul

    The name is from a series of YA novels by Patricia C. Wrede called the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. Which I like. So, pick another name, crazies.

  • LOL

    You guys have no sense of humor. No wonder people are resorting to throwing paint. The alternative is apparently to be boring?

    Also, it didn’t compare itself to Stonewall. It was done on the anniversary of Stonewall and talked about how a riotous past has been somewhat abandoned. You must be reading a different press release or not know how to read.

  • Ben Currie

    “First off, the Stonewall rioters … were plain LGBT citizens who fought day and night specifically against police harassment.”

    Huh? which riots are you talking about? Not the Stonewall ones. In those, the drag queens and femmy (boys) and bull dyke queers were compelled to scream at the “plain” LGB citizens, “Out of Bars! and Into the Streets!” It seems that this chant was not gratuitous or merely ceremonial, for while the tranies, dykes and faggots had started the riot by fighting back, the cavalry from PLAIN TROOP was not exactly on the way to the rescue, but instead needed to be coaxed from the ostensible safety of the other bars in and around Sheridan Square.

    There’s a reason it is called HRC (and was once HRCF), and never for example “The Homosexual Rights Champagne Fund” or “The Fund for Gay & Lesbian Rights.” Plainly, some PLAINS would not write checks to an organization with certain code words on its letterhead.

  • Pete Rox

    The “anarchists” are no different than bullies, cross-burners, skin heads, or gay bashers. They have grown up in a time when they think that being a gay activist means simply leaving a bitchy remark on a blog, or now, high school style vandalism. They are entitled to found their own organizations, and support whatever they want. They do not have the the right to try to silence in this manner those who contribute to HRC. They have taken a page out of”Kristelnacht” in the Third Reich, if they think that this is how speech is accommodated in a free society. They need to be caught and prosecuted. They are juvenile assholes who need spanked by the law. They have cowardly and anonymously acted in the dark of night, unlike the hundreds of thousands of true gay activists who have for years marched in the bright day, signed their names to petitions and letters, “acted up” with cameras rolling, met politicians and community leaders in public, and stood up for truth. May they be caught in the name of freedom.

  • Ganondorf

    @Pete Rox:

    A page out of kristelnacht? Godwin’s law makes its first appearance from an obvious hand wringing buffoon. You are a concern troll and a fool.

  • Ganondorf

    kristallnacht even

  • Josh

    HRC deserves what they get. Yeah it is dumb to attack them but granted the people who attacked them are probably the same people who actually get things done when real protests need to happen. Anonymous attacking of fake gay orgs is understandable, but I bet these same people aren’t so anon when it comes to going after the real enemies.

  • Kev C

    Free yourself from mental slavery. Rage against the Machine. Boycott Chiquita Bananas.

    The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies

    Dot Com

  • Poo Face

    Holy shit this is the funniest thing ever. More paint and cramming things up butts.

  • Jeffree

    These “radicals” are like those so-called anarchists out Seattle way: they act tough, ruin stuff, & make grand statements after the fact.

    Sorry, but if they’re so rad, smart & full of ideals, then why be anonymous, act under the cover of night & send out a press release?

    Being radical gets you press, but let’s not confuse one news cycle with actual results.

  • Ganondorf


    HRC or the anarchists?

  • Jeffree

    @Ganondorf: I’m not clear what your question is. Could you restate please? Queries without a verb tend to confuse me! They’re great for headlines, but lose steam in conversations:

    Examples: Innocent or guilty? Your place or mine? Lacan or Derrida? Skim vs whole milk? Kosher and Halal?

  • Ganondorf


    Nah, that’s okay. You can go back to sleep.

  • Jeffree

    @Ganondorf: Sleep? I’m at work!

  • Allen D.

    I also dislike the HRC. Nice to see so many like-minded individuals.

  • Jeffree

    @Ganondorf: So you already confused me with another commenter on another thread (Clue: my ‘nym doesn’t start with WILL), you noted the error (thanks!) and now you ask me a question with no defined subject or verb?

    Lol: yes. You’re clumsy. I get that. Now you want to be dismissive too? Cripes, I wish i had one tenth your chutzpah & twelve times your tact!

    But you did make me laugh, so your gaffes will be forgotten by mid-July. Lunch or Brunch? Closer to noon or to five? Paper or plastic?


    @Jeffree: Maybe because they don’t want to go to jail… where you know radical queers are super accepted. At least they are making people think and bringing to the fore some sort of radical thought even if I disagree with how they are doing it – personally I’d prefer if their direct actions were in collaboration with other groups including immigrant rights, anti-war, etc. who all have a vested interested in seeing HRC cease to exist.

  • Danielle

    Being a transsexual, if I were to sit here and type out a condemnation of these actions, merely based on their merit, I would be typing some pretty big lies. I condemn the paint-smearing vandalism, but I condone the message. We need more groups in the LGBT community as a whole to come out in force stating that they don’t support these champagne-loving “activists”.

    [If you don’t know the following piece of history, then you can’t call yourself an activist! Learn your history or be doomed to repeat it!]
    In 1969, New York city had this little law that prohibited “men” from wearing “women’s” clothing (and vice versa). The NYPD routinely used this as an excuse to prowl the gay bars all over the city and commence raids. June 28, we decided enough was enough. We weren’t going to take it anymore. Every queer in Greenwich Village fought back. Where were the “homophiles” that HRC caters to? Hiding in the bar, cowering in the corner. Trans girls/guys, drag queens, flaming twinks, and bull dykes fought against the NYPD with coins (to “pay them off”), beer bottles, bricks, and whatever else we could grab. Trans people STARTED the “gay” rights movement. Yet, where are we? We’re still under the bus after being thrown there sometime in the early 1970’s.

    I’m all in favor of some good, old fashioned civil disobedience. It’s healthy, gets plenty of news organizations to pay attention, and it gets the message out. If that’s what we’ve come to after getting strong-armed by “social conservatives” and “anti-big-government” types, then I say let’s have that discussion.

    Goddess knows, I’ve got more than a few choice words for the HRC, Joe Solmonese, and any other “homophile/we’re just like you” type trying to pass themselves off as “real” activists. Alas, I am a lady and my own code of honor restricts me from saying them in this forum.

  • Richard

    @Danielle: Keep fighting the good fight. Some of us are willing to get under that bus with you, even if the champagne-swilling homonorms disagree.

  • libhomo

    You should provide an alternative rather than just reflexively attacking this action. The HRC is a scam that leaches so much money from the queer community while giving nothing back in return. The HRC has made it clear that they hold all non rich queers in utter contempt.

    We need to come up with concrete strategies to deal with the problem of the HRC rather than attacking people who may not be using the correct tactics but who are completely spot on in their critique.

  • Cam

    If the community had listened to HRC recently when they and our “Allies” were telling us to sit down and shut up, there would still be no DADT repeal and the White House would not have been pressured to end defense of DOMA. Additionally, since the Hate Crimes legislation was intended as a bone to the gay community, if we hadn’t been agistating we probably wouldn’t have even gotten that.

    HRC came out against the Lawsuit to strike down Prop 8, which in the Federal district court struck it down, and it looks like we are going to get a favorable ruling from the 9th circut. Additionally they were origionally against the other lawsuits that got us marriage in other states INCLUDING Iowa. Additionally they supported the White House when they origionally said there would be no DADT repeal any time soon.

    They told us never to upset our allies or they would turn on us. Well Barney Frank told us to sit down and shut up, and the community turned on him. Barney Frank has now shut up and is strongly supporting any gay rights issue coming up without opening his big mouth. Pelosi got sit in’s in her office and responded by forcing DADT repeal down the White House’s throat depite the White House stating there would be NO repeal that year etc….

    So I get why to some it would seem as if HRC is actually working against the communities interests.

  • Danielle

    @Cam: You forgot the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (another example of trans getting thrown under the bus!). It was introduced as inclusive, with “sexual orientation” and “gender identity and/or expression” already in the language. Then, Rep. Barney Frank decided it may do better if the trans were dropped off. So, he dropped us off the bill. HRC didn’t stop him. Needless to say, that infuriated the trans population who got about 3/4 of the LGBT (mostly L&G) organizations to denounce the non-inclusive bill (thank you, NCTE!). HRC STILL wouldn’t vilify the non-inclusive language… until it started costing them money and got them bad press. THEN, they’re like “Oh, yea, this is SUCH a travesty…”. Well, the inclusive version passed the House. Then, Republicans in the Senate filibustered it and it was buried. DADT passed lame duck, but ENDA was forgotten. Where was the White House on that? Your guess is as good as mine.

    While I’m at it, I’ve got several bones to pic with GLAAD, too. That’s also an organization I’ve got some choice words for… but am too much of a lady to utter.

    @Richard: Good to have you with us. It’s a little dirty and I think I saw a spider, but should be mostly okay.

  • Kat

    “Note To Queer “Radicals”: Invoking “Stonewall” While Vandalizing The HRC Doesn’t Make You LGBT Revolutionaries”

    Note to Queerty: Claiming to be a legitimate national civil rights organization that does something other than inhale money to use to support the obscenely opulent existence of itself and its overpaid, underworked inner circle does not make HRC something other than the Bernie Madoff of civil rights.

    Second note to Queerty: Claiming to be a legitimate national LGB*T* civil rights organization and accepting membership dues and other financial contributions based on claims that the organization actualy gives a damn about whether trans people live or die – much less whether we’re included in ENDA – does not make HRC an LGB*T* anything.

    Questions to Queerty: Though I explicitly am not condoning this incident, at what point does taking direct, physical action against a criminal enterprise become justified? If HRC had backstabbed – repeatedly – on gay marriage and the vandalizers were radical marriage-seekers, would you be singing a different tune?

  • Matthew

    Eh. It wouldn’t be the first tactic I would use, it’s at least an attempt to state opposition to the liberal co-opting of the queer movement. Many charity organizations like the HRC spend a huge portion of their funds on things like galas, black tie events, lobbying, etc. This is not to say that these organizations serve no good purpose, but that they can intentionally and unintentionally detract from political movements, and often become resistant to more radical and effective tactics (if you made as much as Joe Solmonese, you might try to protect the organizations status quo too).

  • hkp

    I think it needs to be acknowledged that anonymity is sometimes necessary when we’re living in a police state that would happily prosecute these queer radicals as property-endangering ‘terrorists’. People have gone to jail for much less–animal rights activists have been jailed for simply maintaining a dissenting website. Any activist can attest to the importance of strategic anonymity: obviously it was necessary to make the attack at night to avoid being arrested, and the fact that these people have not revealed their names, ages, and addresses to the general public should not undermine the political nature of this action, whether or not you agree with the choice or target or method of vandalism. They have taken responsibility as a collective and stated their reasons for the action. They are not leaving the attack itself anonymous, which is the most important thing. I just do not think “they are cowards for keeping anonymous” is a legitimate criticism to make of any anarchists.

  • Ganondorf


    It’s because you post so much shit all of the time about nothing (usually about your painfully boring life and observations about this or that correlated to your painfully boring life) that I accidentally clicked one of your many posts to respond to the last time. You’re truly as dumb as a brick, and as funny as cancer. That attack on “raising my rainbow” was surely an accident. But here’s a tip for your burgeoning standup career. Gain a lot of weight. You’re not going to make people laugh at what you say so much as how you look. Also, if you aren’t extremely effeminate (which you probably are), try to adopt that persona. You’ll make a great gay clown. Now none of these will insure pseudo celebrity status doing shows at places no one has heard of and hosting the occasional gay event no one has heard of (including other gays), but you will go much further than nowhere you’re destined for now. This likely won’t humble you, because you’re delusional (a byproduct of this cult of self esteem, likely that misleads talentless people such as yourself). But I do advise you to go back to sleep. Again.

  • Jeffree

    @Ganondorf: My best wishes to you. It sounds like you have issues, & I hope you get whatever help you need. That kind of anger is toxic. If you have no friends, contact the Trevor Project & they will listen.

  • Drake

    All the anti-HRC folks should start an organization. This is America. Good luck! Let’s see what you all can accomplish. That’s the American way.

  • Cam

    @Drake: said…

    “All the anti-HRC folks should start an organization. This is America. Good luck! Let’s see what you all can accomplish. That’s the American way”

    They started several. That is how the bills got passed last year. HRC was saying leave Congress and our friends alone. The Grass Roots didn’t listen, got organized, put on the pressure, and got them bending. HRC came late to the party, a few days before repeal and started making phone calls just so they wouldn’t be completely labeled as traitors to gay rights.

  • Matthew

    @hkp: Great point.

  • Matthew

    @Jeffree: Let’s debate the Purloined Letter at your place drinking whole milk, please.

  • Jeffree

    @Matthew: That will have to be soy milk. Lactose issues…

  • Matthew

    @Jeffree: Soy it is. Had I known I’d be writing this comment earlier today I would have bought the published collection of essays on the Lacan & Derrida letters. It was only $16.50 (Can).

  • Jeffree

    @Matthew: Our bookshelves might look similar! Add in Foucault, too. That was a very tough set of courses. To stay close to topic, I’ll add that my “Radical Queer” friends are forever “organizing” flashmob activities, but they almost never actually happen.

    So what *did* you get at the boookstore instead?

  • ...

    rich gay men own the movement.

    dont forget about poor queers.

  • fagburn

    Good for them!
    Whoever wrote this just sounds like a wanker.

  • Haightmale

    What sanctimonious bullshit. There are gay pride celebrations all over the country, with parades, concerts, and other events and White House fetes, to celebrate 3 days of riots, vandalism, and destruction, in New York’s West Village at the Stonewall Inn. Those riots were started by drag queens and trannies who had enough. This pink baptism is meant to bring attention to how ineffective HRC is, and how out of touch many people are in our community, with their own neighbors.

    This blog post says “Stonewall rioters weren’t anonymous vandals who indiscriminately threw paint at a gay business in the dark of night, they were plain LGBT citizens who fought day and night specifically against police harassment.” This statement is FALSE! If you are going to criticise the pink paint group, and tear apart their statement, let’s see if you can live up to the same scrutiny.


  • Tommy

    The fact that this “civil rights” org had a storefront to be vandalized to begin with says all that needs to be said about the HRC.

  • Drake

    No one is compelled to give money to HRC. I can’t believe that people defend vandalism against a group of people (HRC) which is working for gay civil rights. If you disagree, PLEASE, feel free to start a new organization, and pursue the means that your organization feels are effective. It is natural in every cause (including lgbt rights) that organizations may come and go, new ones are formed for all sorts of reasons. In the LGBT movement, the Mattachine Society is no longer around. However, there is in fact quite alot of support for HRC and other groups labeled “Gay Inc”, evidenced by their successful fund raising and extremely high attendance at all sorts of functions. Politicians are listening to them, and in many cases delivering. Why can’t you “Let a thousand flowers bloom” and let HRC do its thing, and those who want to work for gay rights but who do not support HRC start a new group? HRC started small, and grew its support through lots of hard work. It is ridiculous to label HRC as the enemy. No one is forced to support HRC in any way at all. You are hardly a gay activist simply by trashing the work of other gays. Go OUT and be CONSTRUCTIVE.

  • Queer Supremacist

    I love the smell of Karma in the morning.

  • Dave

    People just make up random shit about HRC and ascribe it to them all the time. Someone a couple posters above said that HRC told people not to contact Congress about DADT? Really? Did you look that up or just repeat some other clueless keyboard fapper? I was on Capitol Hill when HRC brought in *hundreds* of awesome servicemembers to go directly to members’ offices to put the pressure on to pass that bill. Yes, not all of us agree that lobbying is the one and only strategy to success, but what’s the point in tearing people down who are advancing good things, when there are so many truly evil people out there who are actively organizing against us?

    And if you really think HRC hates trans people… why don’t you also look at what they’ve done first? Does anyone notice or care that HRC has pressured hospitals around the country into adopting nondiscrimination policies on the basis of both sexuality and gender identity? That HRC has continued to push for a “trans-inclusive ENDA” even though it knew that Congress would have passed an ENDA last year if it had been based solely on sexuality? (Congress-critters say they are still getting too much pushback from constituents who are confused about the “bathroom issue”) Maybe they actually are trying to be as inclusive as possible … even to the detriment of passing legislation that would help these gay elites you claim they’re beholden to…

  • Matthew

    @Jeffree: My apologies. It was Canada day and I spent the weekend on a beach with no wifi (only in Canada, am I right). Anyhoo, I bought nothing that time. I did convince the employee not to go to the New School for Social Research (where I went) on account of it being a ridiculous waste of money. Recently I bought a History of Terror in Revolutionary France, and a Mary McCarthy book for some lighter summer reading. I just finished Mitchell Duneier’s “Sidewalk” about street vendors on 6th Ave. It was fascinating. What are you reading? Any suggestions? Just to keep on topic, recommendations can be on the topic of “Radical Queers”

Comments are closed.