QUOTE: It’s Time To “Occupy” The HRC, GLAAD And Other Huge LGBT Non-Profits

In the LGBT community, there is a whole lot of listening that institutions would do well to engage in. Longtime activist David Mixner last week suggested that the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign (HRC) hold a series of town hall meetings nationwide as it undergoes its search process to replace its president, Joe Solmonese, who leaves early next year. Top executives at multi-million dollar non-profits are not chosen by plebiscite nor is there likely time for the group to organize ground-level input that would meaningfully influence its choice.

But tossing out logistical or process objections to Mixner’s idea should not mask its essential truth –– that HRC and other leading LGBT and AIDS advocacy groups serving our community devote far too little attention to activating but also listening to the grassroots. The occasional marquee activist like Dan Choi can sustain interest and media attention, but most demands for accountability go unheeded. Many institutions have become skilled at soliciting participation in events that match their agenda, but opening up the playbook for popular comment is not often in the cards.

– Paul Schindler of Gay City News discussing what the LGBT community should learn from the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Image via uvw916a

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  • christopher di spirito

    I agree. At least with regard to the Human Rights Campaign.

    Despite a staggering 17% revenue drop (gay ATMs are closed to the HRC) Joe Solmonese’s 2010 salary was $304,000.

    If you believe in the concept of meritocracy as a benchmark for salary, then how is it possible Solmonese is paid MORE than Vice President Joe Biden who received $220,000 in 2010.

    Occupy the Human Rights Campaign. They are useless.

  • Riker

    If you do, the for God’s sake don’t wear EFG masks while you do it. Anonymous is not involved in OWS, and wants nothing to do with moralfags.

  • My Problem

    This has been my problem with most gay advocacy groups and even gay media: they’re didactic. These organizations don’t reflect the people, they reflect themselves and speak for the people saying ‘everyone’s like us’. The end result is a growing distance between the masses and the self-appointed rulers.

  • Shannon1981

    I like that these organizations give us visibility, but, good riddance to Joe, say. Seriously. He has run this movement into the toilet, and if I weren’t a creature of habit, I’d have stopped donating long ago, more than likely. I say make an angry street activist president of HRC. We’d get shit done.

  • GOD (gay old dude)

    Yeah, sure, go right ahead, as long as you’re willing to have the world look at us as petulant whiners who think camping (and shitting and pissing and fucking) in public parks is a means to equality. “Occupying” anything is nothing but a churlish cry for attention and will result in changes in absolutely nothing. If these people put as much energy into positive actions like DOING something about the economy rather than bitching about it all the time then something might arise from their actions, but they obviuously have no mantra other than “Give me more free shit and give it to me now.”

  • CBRad

    @GOD (gay old dude): But…but…it MUST be a cool thing! Some of them are wearing V masks !

  • Cam

    @GOD (gay old dude): said…

    “Yeah, sure, go right ahead, as long as you’re willing to have the world look at us as petulant whiners who think camping (and shitting and pissing and fucking) in public parks is a means to equality.”

    You’ve been on here complaining about ANYTHING that seems remotely pro gay. I call Troll Alert. If not, then let me as you this.

    Considering that during the time HRC had it’s way…in other words, no marches, no protests no complaints, we had ZERO movement on gay rights. Is THAT what you want? The ONLY movement we got at all during those times, was from lawsuits…and remember, HRC tried to get the people who filed the lawsuits that got us marriage in a handful of states to drop them.

    Joe Solomnase was called out on CNN for attempting to sheild Obama and the Dems from criticism at the expense of gay rights. He sent out memo’s telling gays to sit down and be quiet. He backed up the White House when they said there would be no movement on DADT.

    Then those loud whiny activists you hate so much took to the streets, did a sit in in Pelosi’s office and the next thing you know, Pelosi is shoving DADT repeal down the Shite House’s throat.

    You seem to think our civil rights are a dinner party, and if nobody spills soup we get everything we want.

  • Riker

    @CBRad: EFG masks show exactly what is wrong with the movement.

  • CBRad

    @Riker: Well, I’m really not against the OWS movement overall. Even though the goals seem a little too vague and vast to me, I agree with a lot of it. But those masks are just silly.

  • Kev C

    I hope David Mixner does this. It would be interesting to see how many straight allies join him.

    Was it over when the German’s bombed Pearl Harbor? Who’s with me? Let’s do this!

  • randy

    Any large intsitution exists solely to perpetuate itself. HRC is concerned with one thing — raising money. It will do the minimum it needs to do to accomplish our goals and look busy doing it. But they don’t actually want to accomplish any goals or they will be out of business.

    Example: During the whole DADT process, they were happy to let the White House push this off to this year where there would be no hope of getting it repealed. If we had followed their strategy, it would be in place for the next several years. They are claiming credit for repealing it now, of course, in order to chase more donations.

  • christopher di spirito

    @GOD (gay old dude): Your remarkably uninformed and ignorant comment gives “gay” and “old” and “dude” a bad name. You can return to your twink porn now.

  • Mike in Asheville

    What an idiotic non sequitur! It is insulting to the efforts of OWS and the annoyed-with-Gay, Inc.-crowd.

    Wall Street and the rampant greed it is begetting and its attack upon the middle class is the focus of the OWS protesters. Wall Street has/is becoming an enemy of democracy, and is rightfully the subject of ire and protest.

    Gay, Inc., with its many problems and sometimes hapless approaches, is not the enemy of gays and lesbians. I AM NO GREAT FAN OF HRC, my hubby and I stopped contributing to them in the mid 1990s for accepting DADT, DOMA, and for not endorsing marriage equity as the struggle began with a Supreme Court victory in Hawaii.

    NONETHELESS, it is and remains hypocritical so-called “good” religious piety from the Catholic Cult, the Moron Church, Ultra Orthodox (Senile) Jews, and their collection of pandering politicians WHO ARE THE ENEMY.

    If you are mad about the status of gay rights, OCCUPY NOM, OCCUPY AFA, OCCUPY FRC, OCCUPY NRC.

    When I was 20 and attended my first gay pride in SF, 1980, having sex with other men was illegal in more states than not. When I traveled for work, I had to check with the Damron Guide to see whether I could be arrested if caught with another men — that was humiliating. But we didn’t protest California gay businesses, we protested the anti-gays. HRC/Gay, Inc., yes are at times hapless, BUT today, something that never seemed possible does exist, same-sex marriage. Imperfect as it is, tomorrow it will become ever less imperfect.

  • Kurt

    The National Stonewall Democrats, to their credit, is the only national group in our movement that actually has local chapters, with regular meetings and election of officers. Rather than complain about HRC, folks should join their local NSD affilate and start going to meetings. (But I suspect many of the complainers will never do so).

  • Ray

    I find it odd that so many Queerty readers try to turn everything into and anti-OWS tirade. I find it hard to believe there are that many queens that don’t have a pot to piss in, that would work against their own best interests and support the republicans. You’re saying the exact same things about this movement as the idiots on Fox News are posting on their boards.

  • Cam


    There are one or two Trolls using a few screenames to do it.

  • xander

    @Cam @ Ray : You’re so right about the influx of trolls on these related threads. I smell ‘talking points’ and hidden agendas.
    HRC has consistently been unable to get s#it done, too beholden to power and out of touch with the non-elites. Without fire in their bellies, they’re ineffective. They need to focus on their base, not just the DC crowd.

  • Dan

    Donate to your local and regional LGBTA groups if you dislike national ones. There are plenty of great state/regional groups. For instance, if you do not like national GLSEN -(purely as an example) – over 45 states in the USA have state groups that help LGBTA students.

    Also, if you do not like HRC or the Task Force, then pick a topic specific group at the national level like Freedom To Marry, Freedom To ,or Lambda Legal – groups dedicated to a specific goal (marriage, ENDA, legal advancement, respectively).

  • Dan

    “…Freedom To Marry, Freedom To Work, or Lambda Legal…”

  • GOD (gay old dude)

    So ….. I gather from the above comments that I’m a “troll”, that I peruse these sites under various screen names for purposes of right-wing talking points, and that I’m a regular Anita Bryant for questioning the validity of the Wall Street tramps. (And here I thought I was going to be attacked for having a dissenting opinion)

    Which proves my original theory: You radicals are such broken souls. When the going gets tough, the left goes protesting. Wanna make a difference in liberal-land? Don’t actually DO something, just bitch about how no one else is doing it for you, and hopefully those who do have money from earning a living will give it to you. And if they don’t? I smell a protest becoming a riot real quick.

  • Ian

    @GOD (gay old dude): I wouldn’t call you a “troll”. But I will say that your comments in this thread are asinine and clear evidence of your ignorance of the OWS movement.

  • missanthrope


    What, so you can go and discuss how excited gays are about Barack “I’m evolving” Obama is?

  • missanthrope

    @GOD (gay old dude):

    “You radicals are such broken souls.”

    One good thing about ad-hom attacks on people who you don’t even know: you can always convince yourself that you’re right.

  • Lefty

    @GOD (gay old dude): “Don’t actually DO something, just bitch…”


  • Mike in Asheville

    @GOD (gay old dude): I’m not sure whether you qualify as a troll, but I am comfortable labeling you a dolt.

    Tea Party thugs have high-jacked reasonable and needed oversight of the wreckless unbridled greed money movers have used to steel trillions of dollars from the middle class through government bailouts of corporate losses while cut taxes on corporate profits. It is a scheme extraorinaire of privatizing profits while burdening losses on the public.

    The very rich have been very clever hiding their handiwork out-in-the-open: no-bid contracts worth hundred of billions for Dick Cheney’s corporate friends, fighting unlimited wars, hiding hundreds of billions in expenditures by using out-sourcing, protecting oil company profits with the blood of the American military, tax breaks for moving jobs out-of-the-country.

    Assholes like you have milked the rest of us of our money, not content, you want more. And Wall Street sees one more huge opportunity and are working feverently to get more Repugnantans in Congress/White House so they can screw the fuck out of social security — trillions of untapped money for “free market” schemes that only make the super rich more rich in profits, and will leave the burden on the failed ponzi scheme on the public.

    Just because someone is gay does not make them a good nor decent human. Just another asshole who sucks dick.

  • WillBFair

    Being easily distracted from this topic to ows is one reason we can’t find decent leadership. We can’t keep our attention on one topic for more than three seconds. We’re also too obsessed with looks to recognize competence. We also don’t care enough about the issue to actually research our lobbyists, and too lazy to move our support to those that do the best job and that accept input from the community. Thus, we’ll be stuck with the self promoting crowd feathering their own nests into the forseeable future.

  • WillBFair

    We actually have the leadership we deserve.

  • Riker

    @Dan: Exactly. When I stopped my monthly donations to HRC a few years ago, I started donating an identical amount to Marriage Equality New York, the group that actually helped get shit done (mass mailings, phone banks, protest marches, petitions delivered to state senators etc) while the HRC threw cocktail parties.

  • GOD (gay old dude)

    @Mike in Asheville: How shocking (shocking I say!) that you’ve been brainwashed with every liberal talking-point out there (although I think you left out that Republicans are responsoble for the oceans rising ten feet per minute due to global warming—that’s their fault too, right?). And what role, exactly, do you figure Obama and the other millionaire Democrats assumed in all this economic disaster? Any at all? I’m sure from your point of view they’re as big a victim as you are, and that you get all of your political prowess from the likes of Rachel Maddow, which renders your opinion pointless.

  • jeff4justice

    I am working to start a nationwide LGBT group that focuses on bettering the LGBT community in 4 key ways:

    -organizing social events
    -enabling LGBTs to access mental & physical health resources
    -enabling LGBTs to engage with community involvement
    -empowering LGBTs to become advocates in their community

    We can not reply on equal rights alone to better the lives of LGBT people. Just as black Americans still endure a disproportionate degree of hardships, LGBTs will too for quite some time. Equality is indeed crucial but it’s not a magical solution to make LGBTs have entirely better lives.

    Many rural, suburb, small town LGBTs are often ignored by the mega LGBT groups (until there’s a horrible incident to react to) and also the big-city LGBT communities where there are LGBT centers, organizations, accepting places of worship, and bars.

    The LGBT community endures so much suffering as the result of a prevailing homophobic society. However we also endure a lot of LGBT on LGBT abuse with LGBT segregation, classism, elitism, racism, and the glorification of the superficial.

    In order to create LGBT activists, we first have to build a social climate in which LGBTs come together and develop friendships and support networks to feel they have the support to ever go out and engage as activists.

    Regarding a national social-focused LGBT group, there appears to only be the drag-performer Court group. They do great work but they have a limited scope and, despite being one of the oldest LGBT groups in America, they are not known nationally on the level the LGBT political groups are known. The only other type of national LGBT groups are support-focused groups like PFLAG and GSAs.

    Regarding the political groups, they tent to duplicate the same objectives and expenses, pay their EDs so much money it seems counter-incentive to achieving equality expediently, and they limit the scope of their focus. They also tend to ignore the fact that you can’t just expect activists to exist without developing a strong social network.

    Except EQCA back when they had the county-chapter structure around 2005-2006, no mega LGBT group has ever been in my hometown despite the fact that there is a population of 250,000 people where and we’re located between Chico and Sacramento in CA. After the chapter structure ended in 2006, we haven’t seen EQCA here since.

    I have 10 years community organizing and political activism experience. I was also employed as a volunteer recruiter and trainer with NO on 8 (I was low-level staff so don’t blame me for messaging and losing please).

    If you agree that we need to build a stronger, more united, multi-focused, region-chapter-based LGBT group focused on organizing socials, enabling access mental & physical health resources, enabling community involvement, and empowering LGBTs to become advocates in their community, at [email protected] I can be reached. Feel free to call me at 530-329-3501.

    Thanks for considering.

    PS: At you can see a documentary I appear in about the LGBT community I have served in my hometown.

  • Cam

    @GOD (gay old dude): said…

    “How shocking (shocking I say!) that you’ve been brainwashed with every liberal talking-point out there (although I think you left out that Republicans are responsoble for the oceans rising ten feet per minute due to global warming—that’s their fault too, right?). And what role, exactly, do you figure Obama and the other millionaire Democrats assumed in all this economic disaster?”

    Funny isn’t it? The economy collapsed while Bush was president “Remember, McCAin Suspended his campaign to rush back to Washington to push through the TARP Giveaway?” This was after 8 years of Bush, and after the GOP had controlled both houses for over a decade and only lost them a few months before and yet Obama is somehow responsible for it. Yeeeeaaaahhhhh…..We had a surplus, after Bush the economy collapsed, so try again.

    Oh and by the way, we may need to push the Dems to do what we want, but I’d rather deal with a group we have to force to do what we want over a group that want our existence to be illegal.

    But then again, you’re like that self hating person who is so excited that the country club even let you in to clean the toilets.

  • Pickles55

    GLAAD is a media watch organization. That is its job. It’s not an advocacy organization or a direct services organization.

    The primary focus of GLAAD is to monitor media and document visibility and representation of LGBT folks across said media. To literally count the instances of LGBT characters and to provide guidance to networks/filmmakers/producers, etc and also call them out when they F up

    Why do folks lump it in with HRC and other orgs who have a political, advocacy, charitable or direct services mission?

    GLAAD does what it’s supposed to do very well.

    HRC, NGLTF, et all are completely different types of organization.

  • Interesting

    @Ray: This site attracts, as do sites like Towleroad a lot of gays who are not in the main stream as far as comments. If you look at opinion polls typically you can see the variance. Many gays according to the polls to tend to be on the left, and yet, here, you read views that are to the reactionary right. I can see being conservative and gay, but these views go beyond conservative. I have friends who are conservative who while not agreeing with everything OWS does- do get the point and are for what the debate is about regarding economic justice. The only people I know who are this virulently against OWS are extremist on the right. Many of them are either Tea Party or Libertarian (with a capital L because that means Randian types). So, I w ould not be bothered so much with some of the comments.

  • Kurt

    @missanthrope: You can discuss anything you want. But as I find in many matters, the best way to shut up an overly opinioned person is to actually suggest they go before a body of their peers, make their case, and put it to a vote.

  • Rudolf

    @Kev C: “The German’s bombed Pearl Harbor?”
    The day you step up to protest for anything is the day that movement is laughed into the toilet bowl.
    I imagine you were too busy learning about King and King to give a damn about your countries history? Hence, I understand, and it merely supports my advocacy to quarantine homosexuals and force them through 1958 style, 1st Grade History lessons.
    I imagine too, that your one of those numbskulls certain that airplanes didn’t “really” fly into the towers? Or, have you heard about 911 yet?
    Let me tell ya’ something. If you people weren’t so boldly pro-communist, and more about keeping the United States the MORAL influential powerhouse it once was, you might be able to drum some respect. You may be winning your rights now, but I can guarantee you, the resulting homosexual acts that spin forth from those rights, are VERY soon going to turn this nation into one of the most ANTI-HOMOSEXUAL nations on the planet. Because the truth is, you people don’t give a damn about others, you’re selfish, you’re arrogant and hate everything that’s good and wholesome. And oddly, you proudly boast those things. Hence, you’re merely building the trail that (THANKFULLY) will be your course back to the closet. Please leave the nails and hammer on the outside so we can NAIL them up. You flippin’ idiots, you might as well be jumping off bridges the way you’re arrogantly selfishly going about this.

  • Kev C

    @Rudolf: WTF are you blabbing about? Go back to the North Pole.

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