"It no longer symbolized equality to me..."

Trans Leader Returns HRC Award

Human Rights Campaign got dissed last weekend. President Joe Solmonese flew to San Francisco in an effort to make peace with angry trans advocates, who still feel jilted after the non-profit abandoned them during the ENDA debacle of 2007. While some people were receptive to Solmonese’s offerings, police commission president Theresa Sparks wasn’t buying it. In fact, the trans woman remains so disgusted with HRC, she returned her 2004 Equality Award.

The transgender president of the San Francisco Police Commission bluntly returned the Equality Award she received from the Human Rights Campaign during what was described as a tense meeting last weekend between members of the Bay Area trans community and HRC President Joe Solmonese.

“It no longer symbolized equality to me,” [said] Commission President Theresa Sparks… “It’s a matter of their integrity and not following through and my own integrity.”

Sparks said that she could no longer stand to even look at the etched glass award when it was on her credenza.

Sparks called the Solmonese meeting “balanced,” but hopes he got the message: “…We’re not happy, we believe we’ve been betrayed and question whether to trust HRC going forward.”

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  • bboy

    Bravo! Compare this with the internalized transphobia of Susan “I’m not really comfortable with the transfolk” Stanton. Just goes to show how far advanced the thinking is on the Left Coast. Ah, why again did I move to New York…

  • Rupunzel

    Way to go Theresa! Regardless, Joe Solmonese and some of HRC still won’t get it or do they even care. I’m still so pissed off at the old boy network of Barney Fran, Nancy P and those who came up with this half baked idea of some EDNA is better than no EDNA.

    Fact is, HRC has a long history of disregard, lack of interest and understanding towards trans folks.

  • todd

    BRAVO!!! I would have done the same. Politicians think they can sell some of the people down the river to appease some others. But it rarely works that way.

  • zeami99

    How sad the real triumph of that legislation for gay rights is being pissed on by others who still have more work to do to obtain rights themselves. Barney Frank and HRC are hardly “traitors” who ” threw people down the river”.
    And what classy act of leadership is Tranny Sparks doing to counter what she calls being’ thrown under the bus” ?
    Throwing HRC under the bus.
    Way to stick together, Tranny Sparks! Now, go finish the work that needs to be done to get trans rights, instead of thinking that including them and not passing legislation is an accomplishment.
    Get real, and get to work, and others will work for you. Everything has its time, and requires hard work, and in fact, GLB rights have been fought for for longer. They deserve they day of victory unspoiled by anyone. This legislation passing paves the way for you; it does not deny you.

  • praenomenal

    Jesus, zeami99, your bigot is showing.

    “Tranny Sparks” You fucking bigot.

    You want people to give LBG folks rights, treat them like people? But hey, Transgender’s are not people so fuck em right.

  • Rupunzel

    What the gay & lesbian community, Joe Solmonese, Barney Frank and others within the queer establishment does not appear to understand is most of the discrimination experience by the LGBTI community is based on perceived gender. An individual’s sexual orientation is not an aspect of one’s personality that is readily visible to the world, while gender expression and perceived gender is always visible to the world. The gay & lesbian community are so focused on their sexual orientation that they have been blinded to the fact it is their perceived gender that makes them vulnerable to discrimination, not their sexual orientation most of the time.

    This is the reason why a non-gender identity inclusive EDNA is nearly useless and will do little to nothing to help those who need legal
    protection most.

  • zeami99

    I am not at all a bigot, but all the hatred in your email says something about you. I would like trans rights to pass not fail, and certainly don’t want the legislative aspect of the battle for LGB rights not to pass because of a too-early legislative push for trans rights. I think Tranny Sparks ( what exactly is bigoted about that? ) is a hypocrite however betrayed she may feel. I never said anything about trannies not being people. YOU wrote that.

  • Heather_L_James

    Umm zeami, you are wrong. You are a bigot. Calling someone “Tranny” anything is bigoted. It is the same as calling Barney Frank, “Fag” Frank, or Barack Obama, “Nigger” Obama. And don’t tell me “Tranny” isn’t offensive, because I am transsexual and I am telling you it offends me. And on that particular issue I own the only opinion that counts.

  • zeami99

    sorry Heather, you are not the only opinion who counts…and I am not a bigot, but your total writing of people off says you are. I support trans rights, but with attitudes some of you are showing: attacking people who have histories of helping, your support will deservedly slack off. Tranny is a term rising from the gay community and it is not offensive…it is used all the time in advertsiements, editorials and the gay press.
    But…be offended as you want. Yours is the only opinion whose matters…that will realy get the GLB community around your cause.

  • zeami99

    do a web search on “tranny” and see how the word is used. It is entirely complimentary and usually celebratory – which is how I used it. I went through several pages and found not one reference negative. I did not use the word in a neagtive sense – just as many many others did not, and and surprised to hear how angry some of you are. That was never intended, and a lot of other people using the word use it the same positive way I do.

  • Heather_L_James

    No, wrong again. A., writing people off isn’t “bigoted”, but using offensive language to describe someone is. B., I didn’t write anyone off, I am simply calling out you for using “Tranny” in a derogatory way. As far as owning the only opinion that counts; when it comes to using offensive language to describe who I am, you have no say. Zero, none, zip, nada.

    We can debate political strategy to the end of the day, and sometimes it can even be an enjoyable and mind opening experience. What can not be debated is the fact that your use of “Tranny” is offensive. Res ipsa loquitur, zeami, it is taught on the first day of your first year of law school, and it means simply “the thing speaks for itself”. I am transsexual, and, along with many other transsexual men and women, am offended by your usage of “Tranny”, ergo it is offensive. You have no valid defense to refute that claim because you have no perogative to speak for a group of which you are not a member.

  • zeami99

    Nonsense. I did not use tranny in a derogatory way, and offered you a web full of examples of such use. You are just offended buy something that is not in itself offensive, but you make it so. Do the web search “tranny” and then call everyone a bigot – none of whom were using the word in a hostile way. No, you don’t own the meaning and useage of the word. I am not a bigot. The word is used in a positive way in the majority of uses and I have shown many examples for you. You are hellbent on being offended and so you are. Own your offense. It is not from me.
    It is sad when people supposedly of a community, complaining of not being included, like you, are making a grand point about us not being in your community. I thought the complaint was that T was part of the GLB community, but you say we are not. Your life is a negative self-fulfilling prophecy. The misery is of your own making. How sad.
    I have every defense I choose. you are not just a transexual, you are illogical, and angry.

  • zeami99

    you are not the voice of all transexuals, either, do a little research and get off your horse

  • Ash

    Zeami99- Either admit you’re an asshole and you used an offensive slur or shut up already.

  • seitan-on-a-stick

    Can the State of New York return to HRC (the ‘C’ is for Champagne in case we forgeteth) your endorsement of Al D’Amato for US Senator (now Albany’s biggest Republican (read anti-gay marriage) lobbyist and Senator Joseph Lieberman (the Democratic turncoat) and pro-torture, anti-lgbt independent who ran against a progressive gay-friendly Democrat in Connecticut, Ned Lamont with the aid of an HRC endorsement. With friends like HRC, do we need enemies? You be the Judge, Judy and Executioner!

  • drakyn

    Tranny, when used to degrade or mock trans* folks, is most certainly an offensive term. Yes, tranny is often reclaimed and used in a neutral or positive manner. YOU did not use it that way; YOU used it in a very mocking manner.
    Moreover, zeami99, you need to learn your history. Look up Silvia Rivera and Stonewall and then tell me who was fighting first. Sure, the homophile movement was in the US in 1950, but if you look at Hirschfeld’s Institute in Germany you’ll see that he and his allies were working for glbT rights until Hitler and the Nazis destroyed the movement and their research.

  • Becca

    YAY Ms. Sparks!

    This morning I returned my membership renewal form to HRC and wrote on it that I am not renewing my membership because of their horrible handling of ENDA.

  • The.SS.Fab


    Here is why “Tranny” is bigoted and offensive:

    It’s dehumanising. In our society, calling someone by the gender they’re not is an insult, yes? Well, unfortunately we assume who people are by the bodies they have. Those born with a body/brain conflict are punished with social pressure, unemployment, even violence and murder.

    “Tranny” is a way of saying “No matter what you know about yourself, I know better and I’m going to keep you in your place. I’m going to remind you of the most horrifying experience in your life and tell you that time is what you deserve. It’s what you are to me.”

  • The.SS.Fab

    @Becca: Have you spoken up about the HRC’s LGB”T” rating?

  • The.SS.Fab

    @Rupunzel: *applauds Rupunzel* You’ve cut to the quick of it. Well done.

  • Chris


    I agree! This current bill does pave the way for the trans community and it IS finally time for the GLB community to get some recognition for equal rights in employment. I’m not saying that the trans community doesn’t deserve equal rights, but the trans community has a LOT of issues that need to be addressed and sorted out first.

  • The.SS.Fab


    We have ‘a LOT of issues that need to be addressed’ before we can/should/deserve to have safety, employment, equal rights? Exactly what issues would those be?

Comments are closed.