The Media Is Really Starting to Hate on Joe Solmonese. Who Will Defend Him?


When Andrew Sullivan merely “suggested” Joe Solmonese resign as the president of the Human Rights Campaign, do you know how that made Joe feel? Neither do we! Because when he went on a satellite radio show yesterday to defend himself, he repeated the same talking points we’ve heard 100 times before.

As Barack Obama‘s lapdog, it’s Joe’s job to come to the White House’s defense. That’s what Joe has been doing since Obama addressed HRC’s annual dinner on Saturday. Appearing on Michelangelo Signorile’s show Wednesday, Solmonese found himself in unfriendly territory:

Signorile took Solmonese to task for his laudatory attitude toward President Barack Obama, who gave a long-awaited speech to attendees of the HRC annual fund-raiser on the eve of the National March for Equality in Washington, D.C. While Obama did repeat that he is in favor of repealing the military’s ban on openly gay service members, “nothing new” was said, Signorile pointed out.

“Obama reiterated that he’s working with military leadership and Congress, that he’s working to overturn ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” Solmonese said. “No matter what bill goes we want to make law, it still has to go through the same process.”

He added that he had worked alongside members of Congress like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who insisted that in order for hate-crimes legislation to pass by October, it had to be attached to the Department of Defense spending bill. Other pieces of legislation, which must be passed legislatively, would have to use the same strategy to pass, he said.

Solmonese was also asked about a letter sent to HRC members earlier this week, saying that people cannot assess Obama’s track record on gay rights until his administration is over in 2012, or possibly 2017.

“What I was trying to say is that 2017 is a jarring number, it’s so far down the road, but in the context of our movement, its a narrow window…maybe it’ll be 2012,” he said.

(UPDATE: Audio of the interview here.)

Why, oh why, does Joe keep doing this to himself? Signorile has been slamming Solmonese for years. To his face. On his own radio show, even! In 2007, Signorile went after him for HRC’s flip-flopping on ENDA. And back when Joe rebuffed claims that he had a secret arrangement with Obama to punt on certain gay rights legislation, Signorile was there with his own proof Joe was lying.

Joe may think he represents the entire LGBT community, but it’s clear he doesn’t represent the entire LGBT media.

So we’ve got Signorile, Sullivan, and this website pointing out Joe’s obvious flaws. Even CNN is getting in on the action now. How long before anytime that anyone covering the Gs mentions Joe’s name, it’ll be in a vociferous negative tone?

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  • walt

    Mr A gay, I have your latte.

    (don’t tell him I spit in it)

  • Mike

    This latest “Joe has to go” round has done nothing to diminish my respect for the man. As a matter of fact it caused me to send a few extra dollars to HRC. I heard Joe on Sirius yesterday. I thought he did fine. I enjoyed how Michaelangelo waited until AFTER Joe was off to suddenly have all these questions about what he just said. That was typical of him and cheap. Michaelangelo does not like Joe, never has.

    HRC is a lobbying group. They play the political game and thanks to them, as well as several other groups as well as the community, we are about to make several gay major advances. When hate crimes goes through it will be the first time ANY pro-gay legislation has made it through our government. THAT is huge.

  • Brian NJ

    Joe has blown the HRC wad on parties for the democrats. Now that they have sipped all the HRC wine, and downed all those desserts, the democratic party doesn’t feel any special urgency (maybe 2017?) to stop dumping gay vets or blocking federal recognition of state gay marriages. Well FUCK THEM! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWHjCwtryVg

  • Fitz

    I agree with a lot of what has been said– but not about the crap about his pay. Heads of large fund raising agencies make good money. It’s proportional to the kind of funds he brings in. If you think you can raise those kinds of bucks, and are willing to do it for 40 or 50 grand, then please sign up. And the wine and cheese parties are essential to gathering the right kind of support.

  • Andrew

    HRC donations have stopped. 29 years and $300 million is enough. They have nothing to show for our money and our time.

  • Jeffrey Taylor

    National average for non-profit CEO’s is around 3% of the org’s operational budget. Solmonese’s salary is not out of line. The salaries may seem bloated, but the idea is to attract talent with decent salaries in order to entice people from the private sector.

    However, the talent has to be worth the money, and I’m not clear that Solmonese is visible enough, forward-thinking enough, well-spoken enough and adaptive to the changing activist environment enough for us to say he’s truly earning his salary. The HRC needs to take steps to express they are working for US and that they are taking steps to integrate street activism and the gay netroots into their efforts. This person should also be seen as THE go-to person for the press on LGBT issues instead of folks like Dan Savage and Andrew Sullivan. The public should know the head of HRC like they know Julian Bond, the head of the NAACP.

  • Cinci Chris

    I won’t be donating to the HRC anymore either. I would encourage others to donate to local grassroots causes that are doing the real work. I live in a fairly large city, and the HRC hardly does crap around here. Us grassroots organizations have spawned more press discussing LGBTQ issues in my city than the HRC, and our budget is pretty much nothing.

    I think it would be in the best interest of the HRC to replace Joe with someone who can bridge the gap between the younger and older generations. Right now, he is intensely polarizing and is killing the HRC brand they have worked so long to build. Also, when your marketing strategy is “let’s just throw our cute little yellow equal sign everywhere we possibly can,” you’re not impressing anyone.

  • Brian NJ

    All of the relationship building was fine when the HRC and the democrats were outsiders, but now the democratic party controls the entire legislative process from soup to nuts, and has for about a year. HRC had to change tactics to put extreme pressure on Barry, Harry and Nancy to repeal DADT and DOMA right away. But the HRC lost its independence by being too close to the democratic party. As an insider, they agreed to put off OUR priorities in favor of the PRIORITIES OF THE PARTY. When they became indistinguishable from the democratic party, as was evident when they gave Commander Fucktard multiple standing ovations, they highlighted that they were standing in the way of change, lowering the pressure on the democratically controlled government to less than ZERO.

    With no leverage, the democrats will put off change indefinitely. That has got to change. Gays need to tell the government that we will not turn out for the midterm elections if something does not happen and happen quick.

    Remember, that DADT and DOMA are COMPLETELY DISCREDITED LAWS. They deny full faith and credit to pro-gay state laws, and violate the equal protection of the laws. They harm veterans, and discrace all the vets that have died for this country. That the democratic party is protecting discredited laws is OUTRAGEOUS.

  • Fitz

    Brian- very well said– where HRC is failing is by forgetting who it works for. If it is a DNC booster-group, it’s useless to me.

  • A nonny mouse

    “As an insider, they agreed to put off OUR priorities in favor of the PRIORITIES OF THE PARTY.”

    Equality California has done the same thing with the Repeal of Proposition 8. Inside sources tell me the state democratic leadership turned the screws on EQCA to have them advocate for a 2012 repeal, although a majority of the community wants to go for 2010. They have divided the California LGBT activist community in order to preserve their position with the California Democratic party. Disgusting.

  • Cam

    With his salary of over $300,000 of our money, I’m sure he can hire a nice PR firm to defend himself.

  • Brian

    Solmonese is a whimp. HRC is not effective.


  • Lady Ga-Gasp

    We gays, we love an underdog and dog the successful. That’s why we love Madonna — cause she’s a hot tranny mess and successful at the same time. Same with Liza and Elizabeth and Diana. Joe? He’s Joe lunch bucket, granted with a nice lunch bucket and good suits. We dog him because he’s not mutt enough, like dear old frumpy Andrew, and his plumpness in Congress. But you know what? It still doesn’t add up to a nickel’s worth of fairy dust and a dash of spray paint on a building. HRC will continue to be the largest and most effective org in its class. Long after we’re done gone and buried in gold lame and Absolut.

  • Miguel

    I think people who criticize Joe obviously do not understand that in politics being an extremist WILL NOT HELP. Joe’s HRC Presidency is making efforts toward equality by showing GLBT are citizens like any other, and his posture is of diplomacy. Unfortunately, some people who want everything NOW, don’t understand that if the president of HRC were a man who’d start a “war” against Obama just because he won’t do everything quickly, that would ONLY infuriate the Right Wing even more to stop whatever efforts, don’t you GET IT?!

  • Cam

    We gays, we love an underdog and dog the successful. HRC will continue to be the largest and most effective org in its class. Long after we’re done gone and buried in gold lame and Absolut.

    Your point leaves out two things.
    1. HRC has had no sucesses
    2. We love the organizations that assisted us to win rights in various states, you know, the ones with sucess.

    It is so ridiculous and condescending to say that we don’t like Joe solemases because we somehow want to dog his and HRC’s sucess. He makes over $300,000 a year and all he has to do is tell us to shut up until 2017.

    They may tell us that nothing ever gets done by pushing, but the funny thing is, the only examples the gay community has of sucess came from pushing. the Mattachine society asked for tolerance and were ignored, however the Stonewall riots greatly reduced the police raids on gay bars. Gays asked that AIDS drugs be researched and approved faster, nothing happened, ACT UP had several major protests and the FDA started approving drugs faster. Barney Frank tells us to be quiet, gays start boycotting his fundraiser and a day later he says that he will introduce legislation to repeal DADT, then a day after that Obama says he will give Federal employees some protections. Gays annouce they will March on Washington to protest the White house’s inaction and a bit after that Obama agrees to speak to a large gay group and reaffirms his supposed positions on DADT and DOMA.

  • Charlotte

    Joe Solmonese is just the George W Bush of our LGBT community.
    The real interesting thing would be to find OUT who’s pulling
    the strings at HRC and who is controlling the purse strings?

  • Andrew

    Based on some of the comments here,
    I have decided to List HRC’s accomplishments:

  • John

    Here’s what…

    I understand the frustration Queery so consistently voices with the HRC and Joe Solmonese. I too would like to see more, and faster, action on any number of domestic gay rights issues. But do you really think your scathing critiques are helping anybody?

    In the HRC and Solomonese, the community at least has something of an “in” with the President of the United States. That’s no small thing. Please remember that we are only 10 months into this Presidency, and already hate crimes legistlation is on its way to the President’s desk, where he will sign it into law. That is also no small thing, and it is certainly many years overdue. Obama does have it in his power to suspend the implementation of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell pending a formal review and, no doubt, subsequent overturn by Congress. He should do it now, and Congress needs to make it official before any challenge to the strong Democratic majority is reached (2012). But before you (or Andrew Sullivan or others of his ilk) make moves to pressure Joe Solomonese out of his office, consider that perhaps he and the President simply have a more honest, realistic view of how government, and (in the case of Obama) the military, work.

    Obama should suspend implementation ASAP pending the review of Congress. But do you really want this to happen at the cost of losing a majority in the Congress or even the Presidency in 2012? Radicalism does not have a strong tradition of support in America. You and I may not think it radical to make sweeping changes in favor of gay rights, but enough Americans will that it becomes a political risk. A worthwhile one? To us: absolutely! But should HRC jump the shark, foresake its open door relationship with the President, and press forward in a way that could alienate the many straight allies we as a movement need to continue the pursuit of our equal rights? There are enough people on the fence regarding gay rights that so much as putting the idea into their heads that gay rights could somehow alienate their own rights could risk our community losing everything. Consider California, where before campaigning Prop 8 was losing by an impressive margin. Schubert Flint, the PR people who ran the Yes on 8 campaign, ran it as a “no” campaign; the idea being to create just enough apprehension among Californians on the fence that they would (secretly?) vote “Yes” when they would have otherwise voted no.

    If we make the slightest misstep, we as a community could risk being knocked down just as we are about to move forward.

    Progress does not happen overnight, and yes it is overdue, and America is probably ready. Key word: probably. I know you at Queerty hate hearing it, but there is a lot on the the American plate right now. If our allies out there see the community as attempting to foresake their rights (to healthcare, to jobs, to economic recovery), in pressing our own, we as a community become suspect enough, our intentions as good Americans questioned, that it could make moving forward that much harder.

    Also, constructive criticism is one thing; attacking is another. We don’t look very united when we are “glitter-bombing” our largest civil rights organization. We need to be (or at least appear to be) a united front.

    I suppose all I’m really trying to say is, give it a minute; we’re all on the same side here.

  • QueerTodaydotcom

    Repeat my mantra with me: HRC endorses pro-war, anti-immigrant, anti-choice, anti-labor candidates. In doing so they pit us all against each other and divide us from our allies in the fight for social justice. HRC is by and for corporate insiders.

  • Lady Ga-Gasp

    Yes, Miguel, they get it, but they prefer to bitch about it (while probably sitting on their butts or spray painting buildings.

  • Orpheus_lost


    Good job, Mike. The extra money you sent should help pay for another round of mini quiche or a bottle of Grey Goose at HRC’s next cocktail party. That’ll show Congress and the Whitehouse how serious we are about our rights! LOL!

    Seriously, man, in 29 years HRC has accomplished exactly NOTHING! There’s no lobbying group out there with a worse track record of accomplishments that’s still in business. I’m not saying they can never be an effective voice for the GLBT community, but as long Dinner Jacket Joe is throwing all your donations at caterers, it wont. It’s time to replace him with a real advocate.

  • The Swimmer


    Thank you sir! I’ve been saying this for years. The money that HRC uses to bottom for Washington Dems could have toppled the opposition in California to repeal Prop 8. It could have been used to give Oregon, Maine, Colorado and other states a fighting chance in the marriage war. It could have gone to helping alleviate the damage caused to homeless youth kicked out by their parents for coming out. It could have done so many things but instead it is constantly going to Barack Obama’s reelection and warmongering Senators like Joe Lieberman who funded the occupation that led to anti-gay genocide.

    Andrew, don’t let any of the haters get you down. You are an intelligent person who calls out bullshit when he sees it. The gay community needs to stop bending over for glitzy politicians and start holding their feet to the fire.

  • Orpheus_lost


    John, you lost all credibility the moment you asked whether it was worth losing a Democratic congress to halt DADT – for 2 reasons:

    1.) What is it about a program that the VAST MAJORITY of US citizens want to see ended that makes you think it would single-handedly cost 40 seats in the house and 10 in the senate? Do Americans usually vote out the party that does what the majority wants and that they campaigned to do?

    2.) Even if they did, amazingly, lose control of both houses, isn’t that what we pay them to do – you know, stand up for the civil rights guaranteed us in the Constitution?

    I don’t vote for a candidate so that I can see my team win. I vote for a person who says they will work to enact the policies I believe in. If they can’t find a way to do that once they find themselves in a cushy congressional chair, then they won’t get my vote a second time. If they get yours then you’re a fool.

  • Adam

    Then We Are All Failures, By Adam Bink
    Written last week debunking the “HRC has done nothing” bitches.

    Andrew Sullivan wrote a fairly scathing piece last night mocking Obama’s upcoming speech this weekend to the Human Rights Campaign Dinner, echoing the same tired criticism that HRC has failed to accomplish anything. Usually, the criticism refers to the federal level. In his case, it’s “in the twenty years I’ve been observing them”, but I’ve heard “since they were founded in 1980”. Putting aside that HRC has dumped lots of resources into successful state campaigns and helped elect pro-LGBT candidates up and down the ballot, let’s take a closer look at this.

    When elections happen that change control of the White House or Congress, advocates always say things like “the Supreme Court is at stake!” or “the future of our environment hinges on it!” Then, when a major electoral victory occurs, like George W. Bush winning the White House, advocates sorrowfully say things like “well, health care reform is off the table for the next four years”. And generally, they’re right.

    HRC is seemingly the only group excluded from this. Back in 2000, I heard “well, we’re definitely going nowhere on LGBT rights under Bush” and then, eight years later, “HRC has accomplished nothing!!” from the exact same people. It doesn’t add up.

    I have my own share of problems with HRC, and I think they’ve made mistakes in the past, but I don’t get why some of my friends in the LGBT rights movement think it’s okay to give a free pass to environmental/pro-choice/health care advocates/others when Republicans are in charge… yet repeat the line that HRC has failed to accomplish anything over the same time period. Take 2001-2007. What exactly has ANY progressive issue movement legislatively accomplished, excluding successfully playing defense (e.g. Social Security privatization) in six years of conservative Republican control of Congress and a conservative Republican in the White House? I haven’t seen anything major. I don’t think I should be surprised, either.

    And it’s not just during 2001-2007 that were the dark ages for progressive issue movement. Health care advocates “failed” in 1993-94. The environmental lobby “failed” to pass Kyoto out of the Senate in the late 90s. Yet I haven’t seen anything like the vitriol that is spewed at HRC, year in and year out, without regard to the political dynamics around their existence. It’s not like HRC was handed a pro-LGBT Congress and President and hundreds of millions for the last 29 years and they managed to fumble the ball, so stop talking like that’s what happened.

    In fact, only for two years and eight months of its existence since 1980 has there been a Democratic trifecta, and only eight months of that I would actually consider a pro-LGBT Congress- e.g., 2009. Considering that some 90%+ of Congressional Republicans routinely vote against LGBT rights, and that we’ve had homophobes like Reagan and Bush inhabiting the White House, it is kind of pretty important that Democrats control the branches of government for LGBT rights to advance, so it’s not exactly what I would call a fair playing field for arguing HRC has squandered millions or whatever.

    OK, some would say, what about today? We’re nine months into a new administration and have zero to show for it. Sure. But there are a zillion other issues on the agenda that are of more important to most Americans and the Dem leadership- and frankly, there probably should be. HRC doesn’t have any weapons in its arsenal to make more Americans care about hate crimes than they do about getting laid off, or health insurance. For many Americans, LGBT rights will- like medical marijuana, or Electoral College reform- always be just below whether their recycling gets picked up once or twice per week on the list of issues they care about. And this is HRC’s fault how? And if they do get blame, why don’t I hear other groups get the same blame?

    If HRC is to blame for Republican control of the House that prevented any LGBT rights legislation from coming to the floor, or an anti-LGBT President being elected multiple times, then we are all accountable for allowing that situation to occur. It’s not like HRC was the only player on our team in elections progressives have lost. Stop pointing fingers at HRC and look around.

    I am all for accountability. But sometimes I think advocates look for someone/something to blame when there really is no one actor at fault (or themselves), so they point to the biggest player with the biggest name recognition and the most amount of money and shout “they screwed up!” Some in the netroots are currently doing this with Health Care for America Now. It accomplishes exactly nothing. If there is a major strategic mistake when an organization had the opportunity, then say so. Otherwise, stop the “they have failed to accomplish” without including most of the progressive movement in that, and without taking political dynamics into account.

  • Cam

    No. 24 · Adam said….

    Say whatever you want, but HRC origionally was telling couples not to sue for Marriage equality and saying that DOMA and DADT were not things to fight for instead they have been talking about Hate crimes for around 15 years.

    And what has happened? Those couples suing have brought us marriage in 4 states and they still haven’t managed to do anything with over 300 million dollars. Please don’t try to tell me that if we had given even a THIRD of that money to one of the big K St. Lobbying firms that they wouldn’t have gotten us something. Those firms are tied in to BOTH Dems and the GOP, and whats more, THOSE firms don’t go out of business if we get gay rights passed, they just move on to the next assignment.

  • Orpheus_lost


    That screed is nothing but an overly long way of saying “He didn’t do it, either!” Groups like the Sierra Club and NOW have been very successful in changing their tactics to work at the state level when the fed is run by republicans, but HRC has managed to get absolutely nothing done on that level as well – even in states completely run by democrats. Why is that? Oh! Its because straight people don’t care about our rights! Somehow that didn’t stop African-Americans from obtaining their civil rights when white people didn’t care about them, but it must be different for us. Right?

    My only real question is how much of Mike’s money were you paid by HRC to write that pile of excrement?

  • John


    Listen, I understand your point completely, and you are right to the extent that the majority of American’s DO support ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, though I don’t know how “VAST” that majority is…

    However, I think you’re overstating just how tight a lock the Democratic party has on Congress. It might seem as though it would be difficult to lose that majority, but I really doubt it is… especially the filibuster-proof majority we have now.

    Obama rode in on 75+ percent approval rating, and that is now down to 56. That’s a lot and fast for a popular president.

    I’m not saying don’t move forward, I’m saying do so with caution. You seem reasonable and politically-minded. You have to know that the movement is walking a very fine line right now with the very allies who will be instrumental in furthering our rights beyond and after Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. My caution is that to appear over-radical, which I think is the generalized fear that is causing the inaction we all percieve on the part of HRC, is to jeopardize everything after DADT.

  • Cam

    No. 27 · John said..
    Obama rode in on 75+ percent approval rating, and that is now down to 56. That’s a lot and fast for a popular president.

    Yes, but did it ever occur to you that the reason the numbers are dropping is because people in his own party are getting irritated at the lack of action. The Dems in congress are so terrified that the GOP may look at them cross-eyed that they are paralyzed. Bush managed to get things passed with a MUCH smaller majority than Obama has, yet nothing is happening now, hence the fall in numbers.

  • michael

    “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be DEMANDED by the oppressed”. Dr. M.L. King.

    The HRC asks for our freedom and when those, such as the members of our community that marched, DEMANDED it, they are told to stop, shut up, be patient, continue to play the game that an organization that has had 0 success, other than finally getting a president to come to their little party. And when Obama selected to address the HRC with the same ole B.S. he always has and ignore the people who marched, dismiss them as an internet fringe group, he showed us what he really thinks of our “little movement”.

    But we do not have to accept this. We are not victims here. We do not have to follow the dictates of the HRC. We do not have to accept being attached to another bill as if our rights were some sort of sewer project. We have more dignity, worth and value than to be treated like that. We must take a new resolve, continue to protest, continue to make our voices heard. Let the president know that we do not give a fuck what his definition, based on his religious beliefs or those he panders to are but we expect, we demand to have them anyway. We must do the same to our congressional and senate members and the party that is standing in our way. We must tell them that no money will come from us, that they will not get our votes. Yes, thats a risk, but if we are not free then why should anyone else be? We have to put ourselves first for once. We must feel differently about ourselves and let them know that we do. I don’t care anymore about Joe S. salary, or their fancy partys, or whatever, they have shown us over and over what they are made of and their record of accomplishments. They are not in control unless we allow them to be.

  • wondermann

    If folks are that upset at the HRC then do something about it.

    All this hate is foolish and the media isn’t attacking Joe, just Dan Savage and Mike S. and that’s hardly “media”.

  • Cam

    No. 30 · wondermann said,,,
    All this hate is foolish and the media isn’t attacking Joe, just Dan Savage and Mike S. and that’s hardly “media”.

    He was recently on a news show and after he was off the two co-hosts joked that he sounded more like the press secretary from the Administration than somebody from an outside group. They are starting to get the message.

  • Orpheus_lost


    “VAST” is over 60% approval for ending DADT and enacting ENDA. That’s pretty vast, wouldn’t you say? As for losing our “filibuster proof majority”, I really don’t give a fuck. If that super-majority isn’t there to establish my rights as a tax-paying citizen of the United States, then it has no claim to my loyalty or my vote. And when a “filibuster proof majority” can’t work up enough spine to enact wildly popular legislation that most of them campaigned on then they deserve little more than my disdain. I’m not here to root for my team, I’m here to see that legislation is enacted that benefits real people. I don’t see the democrats doing that right now.

    I also agree with Cam. Obama’s ratings are dropping because people like myself, who donated, worked and voted for him are incredibly disgusted upon realizing that he lied to us. And just to make it plain, he isn’t being cautious – he LIED to us. He said he’d stop DADT immediately but changed that as soon as he got into office. His half-ass excuses aren’t even any good since he’s used executive orders and signing statements to block several acts of congress in his 9 months in office.

    This president is a complete failure on human rights so far and anyone saying otherwise is either very foolish or has an alternative agenda.

  • Orpheus_lost


    We ARE doing something. We are withholding our donations and we are speaking out against the mismanagement of what could be a very effective organization. What else would you suggest?

  • wondermann

    I think we should get or create a group similar to the HRC. We need a group just as effective and savy as they are.

    Or we work with the HRC, voice our concerns, and smooth out our differences.

    HRC is a powerful group, I think we can work out a lot of our differences. But if that fails, we need another group to take their place.

  • thomas johnson

    Love this banter. Here is what most of you on this site fail to recognize. The majority of Americans and Gay Americans don’t know what Queerty is. You sit here and read and then write to a limited audience…basically to each other. Step away from the computer and (if you are so compelled) give your $20 a year to a local state organization. HRC does not need the money from the constituency of Queerty. Laughable!

  • Fritz

    Okay guys. So we stand around and demand! DEMAND DEMAND DEMAND! That’s what you keep saying. What do we do? Stand in the streets and just demand? Do we sit at home and post on gay websites “WE WANT OUR RIGHTS!!!”

    Or do get people to work the system? Do we get an organization to help elect officials that will work for our goals?

    Please guide me to the gay group out there that has made progress simply demanding. I want to see thie effective group so I can put my support behind them.

  • Cinci Chris

    What we really need to do is establish a campaign where LGBTQ individuals and allies will vow to not vote for Obama in the 2012 election if certain promises are not met. We won’t vote Republican. We won’t vote Democrat. We just won’t vote at all. Make a big enough movement of it, and that might get him to listen.

  • Brian

    HRC has done nothing in 29 years EXCEPT spending $300 million. Why does anyone want to continue to waste our money?

    This year alone, HRC will waste $40 million.

  • Orpheus_lost

    @ Thomas Johnson

    I knew at least one of you would show up with your snide comments designed to make those of us who actually want to see movement feel isolated and small. What you either don’t understand, or don’t want to admit, is that the refrain you’re hearing at Queerty is being echoed throughout the GLBT community all over the country. Queerty is just one place of many where people are united to make their voices heard.

    Or maybe you didn’t notice a little march in D.C. last weekend. There were only 200,000 or so…

  • Cam

    No. 35 · thomas johnson said…
    Love this banter. Here is what most of you on this site fail to recognize. The majority of Americans and Gay Americans don’t know what Queerty is. You sit here and read and then write to a limited audience…basically to each other.

    Funny, that description works for HRC just as well.

  • thomas johnson

    @ Orpheus_Lost
    I think I know all about it…I was there marching with about 150K people. The real question I need to ask you. So many people marched, and stood in solidarity, and then went home. This is where the work begins. We should not be attacking Joe Solmonese, we should be talking about what is next, and how the harness the energy from the march to produce results. Nobody is blogging about that.

  • Orpheus_lost


    It’s hard to work with an organization that has only two modes: Hand out/mind closed. People like myself have been working for years to change HRC from the inside, but unless you’re in D.C. and have a lot more disposable cash than I do, they just don’t care.

    I do agree that other, more assertive groups are needed and I think that the NEM march heralded in the beginning of a more outspoken and forceful GLBT organization. It’ll take time, but I’m much more willing to get these new groups a few months to do something than I am to give HRC another 29 years.

  • Orpheus_lost

    @ Thomas Johnson

    You’re half right. This ISN’T the time to go home and sit on our hands. Luckily, that isn’t happening. People are still working on campaigns around the country to bring about our human rights.

    Where you’re wrong is when you say we shouldn’t be attacking Dinner Jacket Joe. As long as he continues to send emails begging for our finite resources just so he can order up another lobster tail dinner for him and his friends while the rest of us work on shoe-string budgets, he should be attacked. He is competing with operations that are actually doing something and is therefore an impediment to our success.

    I received an email from him just yesterday begging for $200,000 on the merit of getting Obama to come to his office and give the same Damned speech he’s given since getting elected. The entire NEM march cost that much and was more effective at getting our message out there than HRC has been in its entire existence. It’s time to dump either Joe or HRC one. Take your pick.

  • what

    leave the man alone :( why are you piling on him (and obama) they’re doing what they can

  • thomas johnson

    @ Orpheus_Lost
    The budget for the march was around 250K…do you know who gave half of that? A board member from HRC.
    And, more importantly, are you telling me that HRC does nothing in the local communities? Nothing in getting fair-minded candidates elected in the House and Senate? Nothing in Corporate America.
    Again, I am all for a smattering of groups, but back off of Joe and HRC and focus on your groups moving forward. I am not dumping either.
    Oh, and I can’t wait to come to your organization to see you in a dinner jacket, eating lobster (which has never happened at an HRC event)—even better, when you are invited to the white house, let me know, I will be there to shake your hand.

  • Brian NJ

    How DARE anyone complain about the lack of patience of anyone furious that gay soldiers — and all soldiers — are dismissed every day while the commander in chief will no do anything about it. He was elected a year ago. Patience fucking over. It is a discrace to our vets and every vet who has died for this country. Those standing ovations by the HRC were sickening.

  • michael

    This is how you demand. What did they do during the civil rights movement? They marched in the places that were the worst. Can you imagine if bus loads of us descended upon places like Arkansas when they banned gay adoption. Thousand upon thousands of LGBT’s taking over their streets. Or Nashville Tn. where a whopping 81% of the voters chose to ban gay marriage. Sit in’s marches, etc. all over, not just Washington. Show our faces and protest in the areas of California that voted against us. When there is a gay bashing, or as in the recent case of the woman in Miami who was not allowed to see her partner in the hospital, we should be their in the streets, raising holy fucking hell. And to the person who thinks that all people who comment on internet blogs are not working and giving elsewhere then your obviously very narrow minded
    and have an ignorant scope of peoples abilities. I am sure there are many, like myself, who marched, speak at rallies, give money, etc. and make their voices heard here and other places. So my question is what the fuck are you doing?

  • Orpheus_lost

    @Thomas Johnson

    You said nothing that helped your cause with your last comments. OK, you say an HRC board member gave half the funds for the march. If true (something I don’t know, yet) does that mean HRC had involvement? No. Does it mean HRC can take any credit? No. Does it mean HRC didn’t try to stop it? No. All it means is that someone who happens to sit on the board of HRC disagreed with them so strongly he was willing to put up a small fortune despite their protests.

    As for the rest of your comments, they really mean even less than the distraction I just corrected so I’ll just leave them as that – meaningless distractions in an attempt to change the subject from where it should be. Classic losing strategy.

  • Pete

    Neither Obama nor HRC can wave a magic wand and make life perfect for gays. We need lots more action on state and local levels, as well as on the federal level, where HRC works. Dems in COngress are nervous about supporting gay rights because in 29 states, same sex marriage has been constitutionally banned. This is something that needs addressed on a local level, not on a federal level.
    However, one very big thing that HRC accomplished is “Coming Out Day”. My niece in Michigan called me on Sunday to tell me that all her friends went to a Coming Out Day rally to support three kids in her school that were coming out. Isn’t that great? That didn’t exist when I was in high school. HRC has won trust and respect on Capital Hill, and with the President of the United States who has publicly committed to advancing our agenda over the course of his entire administration. Yes, I am impatient that we don’t yet have legal equality, but I agree that we all should be working and taking action.
    As for those who say we will withhold votes from Dems. Think gain, We need lots of Democratic appointed and confirmed federal judges and Supreme Court Justices. If all the progressives and liberals in Florida who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 had instead voted for Gore, Gore would have won the election, not Bush.
    Sorry dreamers, but all the anti-gay bigotry did not appear in a mere ten months in America, and it’s going to take longer than 10 months for Obama to deliver for us.

  • thomas johnson

    @ Orpheus_Lost
    First of all, the post is titled “The Media is Starting to Hate on Joe Solmonese, Who Will Defend him?”
    What do you consider media is my question.
    On to your post. And you need to check your facts.
    1) An HRC Board Member did give almost half of the funds for the march.
    2) HRC has never tried to take any credit for the march.
    3) HRC NEVER tried to stop the march and in fact, Joe Solmonese endorsed the march long before may other leaders of the national orgs.
    4) HRC gave two office spaces to march coordinators so they would have working offices in DC—rent free.
    5) HRC paid for and printed material for marchers to take back to their districts so they can beinn the work at home.
    6) And finally, the HRC Board Member in question did not disagree with anything re: the March. And your argument is flawed because everything in your post is false.

    The problem with this blog is that if gives people who have not done any homework a voice. Check each of the points I made above and then we can have a rational conversation.

  • A-Gay

    National average for non-profit CEO’s is around 3% of the org’s operational budget. Solmonese’s salary is not out of line.

    If that’s true, then Solmonese is terribly underpaid. HRC’s budget is $46 million. 3% of that is $1.38 million, but Solmonese is paid $240,000 a year. Oh, and less than a week after his speech at HRC promising to move on DADT, Obama has just filled a key position on implementing the repeal.

    Not that anyone here will care. See, the real issue isn’t HRC or Solmonese. It’s that someone, somewhere is more affluent than you are. It drives you batshit crazy with envy and resentment, and instead of facing the guy in the mirror you look for someone else to blame.

  • Ace

    Joe’s great if you’re white and rich.

  • Orpheus_lost


    You really manage to pack a lot of bullshit into a small space, don’t you? Gosh! Where to begin…

    I’m so glad your niece could go to a Coming Out Rally. I really am. Coming out day is a wonderful day of celebration and an being able to come out in such a way is a great way to build self-confidence and pride in oneself. It’s just a shame you had to try to foist it off as an HRC accomplishment when they had nothing to do with creating the event. Here’s a little history for you:
    HRC does manage some events for Coming Out Day but they also use it as a recruitment tool to bolster their very shady numbers and to beg for cash so it’s hardly an act of altruism, is it?

    And I LOVE to play the Nader Game! Hmm… If votes hadn’t been fraudulently taken from Gore and given to Buchanan, Gore would have won. If all the votes had actually been counted, Gore would have won. If we had a popular vote instead of electoral voting, Gore would have won. If Gore had won his home state, Gore would have won. If the Supreme Court had one more liberal, Gore would have won. If pigs could fly,Gore…. See, we can play the Nader Game all day and the truth is still that its only idiots looking for an easy guilt trip to play who take it seriously. I’ll be very clear for you. If democrats do not vote for our civil rights then we should not vote for them. You can call it single issue voting but its a pretty fucking big issue.

    Sorry, shill, we know that all the anti-gay bigotry didn’t start 10 months ago. We’ve been getting bashed, fired, insulted and killed for 2000 years because of this bullshit. We’re saying its time to end the lame excuses and spineless quivering. It’s time for us to get our equal rights. If you can’t join us then stop trying to get in our way.

  • Brian NJ

    The inbreeding makes me want to barf. That’s how we got to the bottom of the to do list of the democratic government. I can just hear that banjo in Deliverance. Time for Joe’s golden parachute into a federal appointment.

  • Orpheus_lost

    @Thomas Johnson

    Sorry, Thomas, you’re right. I just went to HRC’s homepage and saw all the info about the march – links to pics, comments from marchers, information on who thought of it… – all right there. It was like a dream.

    Oops! It WAS a dream. None of that is there, but there is a nice link to Obama’s silly ass speech that occurred the night before. Strange, huh? I agree, it is a shame when people can come to a blog and post about shit they know nothing about.

    As for who is the media? I’d say CNN is the media and when even they’re asking if Dinner Jacket Joe is a mouthpiece for this administration, there’s a problem.

    Oh! And as for these “facts” you keep coming up with, even if true, they make no difference when HRC didn’t endorse the march. What’s so tricky to understand about this?

  • michael

    NO. 51, A gay, your so full of shit. Your such a wannabe. Keep sucking up. I can tell your not one of the folks you are defending, you might be their hairdresser, but your not one of them. So cut the act because every time you post you become more pathetic. You remind me of every decorator, hairdresser, sales person my mother ever dealt with.

  • John

    @ A-Gay

    Thanks for bringing up the most relevant of points (even if the biting remark that follows is a little rough – the political discussion that’s been going on on this board may get a little heated, but no need for name-calling or assumptions). Anyways, thanks for pointing out that Obama did make a recent step forward on ending DADT by appointing Marine General Clifford Stanley. A major problem with so much political discourse is that people, all people, tend to take up a position and resist hearing any points that counter that position. Obama may be taking his time, and some may not like it (and I agree with so many here that he should make an executive order stopping enforcement until Congress reviews, and no doubt overturns, the policy), but he is playing the game of politics the way a smart man plays cards, close to the vest.

    I especially like this part of the Politico piece, “[Obama’s appointment is]being hailed by a key group that represents gay soldiers as a major advance toward repeal — suggesting the White House is moving closer to backing legislation that would reverse the measure.”

    Now, Orpheus_Lost, I dare say that while I respect your idealized notion of the Democracy we live in, you need to learn to exist within the actual Democracy that we polulate. It’s all well and good to “not give a [email protected]*k” (also, swearing is not called for – unless you are at a bar – it has no place in a political discussion) about maintaining a Democratic supermajority; however, again, consider what comes next. You want DOMA repealed; there needs to be a supermajority. You want federal recognition of your civil rights right now, in 2009, as opposed to 2020; we need that supermajority. And we also need a sympathetic President, which I think Obama is. But he is also a politician. What you need to realize can best be illustrated by those mock T-shirts that cut the U.S. in half and join it with Canada, declaring one half the “United States of Canada” and the other half “Jesusland.” What you may not care to think about is that Obama is (minus Canada) the President of both. And if we want our rights to move forward, sooner rather than later, he needs to stay that way (save the unique situation that he doesn’t run in 2012 and an even more left-skewing politico run – but they won’t win, because of the divisive nature of America, and then we are REALLY screwed). I urge caution (not inaction, there’s a difference – its about how things are handled, not waiting) because if he jumps the shark and ends up losing in 2012 to a Republican because he loses in swing states that are on the fence, then our rights are shelved entirlely. It won’t be about waiting 10 months, it will (again) be about wating years, if not having to undo whatever mess a less fair-minded polico might do should they take the highest office.

    I’m with so many of you in theory, but not necessarily in practice, because the realities of the situation are extrememly complex – even if you don’t want to hear it.

    Also, in response to Cam, I think Obama’s decreasing popularity has more to do with the healthcare divide than anything else and has less to do with perceived inaction by his own party (though that is no doubt some of it, but certainly not all). Healthcare is yet another divicive issue that is hammering his administation right now. He remains much more popular than any other president in recent history, though, and that should give him some leverage moving forward.

  • Orpheus_lost



    I’m not really big on supernannies who try to tell other people what words they can use and where. So fuck that!


    Now we can get onto your discussion points. If you re-read my comments, you will find that I mentioned DADT and ENDA as being well within reach if our spineless democrats will get off their fucking asses and do their fucking jobs. With over 60% of the country favoring our side on both, there’s absolutely no excuse for congress not to push it. If they can’t get it through a fucking filibuster then they need to make the fuckers who won’t vote for fucking cloture stand on the floor of the fucking senate and make themselves known. Let’s see exactly who’s on our fucking side.

    There’s also a solid majority in favor of repealing fucking DOMA but since its not quite 60% I didn’t mentioned it. It’s a fucking shame you didn’t read my “idealistic” comments more closely, huh?

    (Seriously, anyone who whines about the word “fuck” on a site that talks about the act in every other posting is a fucking moron).

  • SteveMD2

    HRC has a hard job. But most people do not realize how very involved they are in many state campaigns, as well as helping to build the federal infrastructure for progress on gay equality, by helping get gay people into high level positions.

    I volunteer at HRC re maine, and have done so on other campaigns. HRC brings a lot of wealthy men and women into the movement, and those funds get spent helping state organizations. Often in ways that are not very visible. And they can’t be our “fire and brimstone” type of advocate, because if they were hell raisers, the President and others would not want to be involved with them – they have to be kind of like our Senate- very “proper” in the way they do things.

    You simply have to be there and understand how they work, and then the complaints will dry up. A lot of the complaints represent frustration within the community, I understand it. But unfortunately Pr. Obama has his hands full, he is not a dictator – he has by 0 or 1 vote to spare in the senate the chance to pass certain legislation – it is that close. And every rep and senator has to deal with their constituency.

    The terrible facts of political life. But if you look back over the lasmt couple years there has been terrific progress – especially laying the groundwork for more.

    And if we screw up Obama and the repubs take over, and fill the supreme court with the Popes men, it will be decades of going backwards. The sad fact of political life.

    And maybe Joe S could do better. Or maybe he is actually creating small miracles, given the right wing hate machine that runs the repub party for the most part – our own Inquisition. Allied with the people who created slavery and segregation in the Name of God, and whose culture still prevails in parts of the country.

  • schlukitz

    @ No. 1 Walt:

    Or that I spit into it as well. ;D

  • buster

    A-hole gay, Maybe folks have been looking in the mirror and realized that they have been giving their power and money over to an organization that has given them little return on their investment. It is time to lay off them and take responsibility and power back and forge ahead.

    and A-hole gay I must concur with Michael, the only class you have has been purchased with a credit cards and you are obviously way over your limits.

  • Kropotkin

    Joe Solmonese doesn’t represent my interests and neither does the HRC. In fact, I consider the HRC an enemy because during the 2007 round of ENDA they lobbied against my rights.

    If you think they are fighting for you with that new multi-million dollar headquarters on Rhode Island Avenue and Solmonese’s $300,000 salary, then you’re delusional.

  • Brian NJ

    You can work together too much. That is what has happened with the HRC and the democratic powers that be. They have worked together so much that gay people lost all leverage with the democratic party. The democratic party is so comfortable and confident with their leadership on gay issues, that they can actually fail to repeal two discredited laws, and feel like a success, instead of a failure. Joe Cinderella has lavished so much praise, and thrown so many banquets, that the ability for any legislation to move forward is ZERO.

    Gays will always work hard to elect democrats, right? The HRC will never back off their unwavering support for the 2012 elections for the democrats, right? So why can’t the gay issues go to the bottom of the to do list? They should go to the bottom of the to do list, because gays are so patient, gays are so nice, gays work so hard to work with us. Gays are on are side.

    Gays are so weak. Gays are so abused that the abnormal has become normal, just like in an abuse situation. We are so afraid of the conservatives getting power, we have not made any demands of the democratic supermajority. You want proof? Find me one critical word from Joe Banquet waiter critical of Obama and his supermajority for failing to take action while the democrats can actually do it — which is right now. All yo hear are the lame, pathetic excuses of a loser, who will not make a demand, or walk out the door forever.

    We are not working with them anymore. We are being played.

  • schlukitz

    @ No. 62 Kropotkin:


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