Tuesday, November 18, 2008

PSP Offers Revised Logo to the HRC. Free of Charge! Please Prepare a Press Release ASAP.


Updated logo 4U!

A few weeks ago I was hanging out at the DC Eagle (it's true!), when all-of-a-sudden the place was invaded by people in tuxedos. It turned out that the Human Rights Campaign has just had their big awards ceremony or whatever at the convention center. And it pains me to write this, kinda, because I really like some of these people, but there is nothing, nothing more smug than a tuxedoed queen fresh from an HRC event.

Anyway, I was annoyed by the smugness and the patting-each-other-on-the-backness of it all, and I went on a wild tear, ranting to anyone who would listen (before they backed away slowly) about how practically the only time I ever hear about the HRC accomplishing anything, it's always a cocktail party, an expensive fundraiser, or an awards ceremony where the honors are generally given to, um, HRC members or important celebrities like Lance Bass. "What does the HRC actually do?" I wondered. My friend offered, "I think they mostly send out press releases." So true. I'll add that they also put tons and tons of work and money into... cocktail parties, awards ceremonies, and expensive fundraisers (where they raise funds to put on more cocktail parties, expensive fundraisers and awards ceremonies). I mean, rent at the convention center doesn't come cheap! They mean well, I know, but they are irrelevant.

In other words, they are practically useless. They are a glorified t-shirt/tote bag (and Equality Panda™!) vendor. Right now I'm looking at their web site, and the five items on their "latest news" thing basically amount to 1. HRC gives somebody an award. 2. HRC sends out press release. 3. HRC sends out press release. 4. HRC sends out press release. 5. HRC sends out press release. That's one exhausted fax machine!

And so it's with no small amount of satisfaction that I can report that a lot more people are starting to notice that the HRC is a cliquey, do-little organization, and this became stunningly clear recently when it was revealed just how badly they dropped the ball on that gay marriage thingy in California all the kids are talking about. Here's Andrew Sullivan (OMG, I'm linking to him again!):

Here's a simple statistic that might help shake us out of complacency: HRC claims to have spent $3.4 million* on No On 8. The Mormon church was able to spend over $20 million, by appealing to its members. Why are non-gay Mormons more capable of organizing and fund-raising on a gay rights measure than the biggest national gay rights group? I mean: they claim (absurdly, but bear with me) 725,000 supporters and members. In the summer, the major problem for No On 8 was insufficient early funding. If HRC had led, they could have thrown their money weight behind it. If every supporter had given $20 - chump change for the biggest ever battle yet for civil rights - they could have delivered $14 million overnight. So why didn't they?

...

Even now, in Washington, they are sticking with the same legislative agenda they have had for two decades: a trivial piece of hate crimes grandstanding and ENDA, which is moot in many states. They endorsed Obama on June 6 - only after the Clintons gave them permission. The endorsement was written by a low level staffer. Civil unions at a federal level? That again would require leadership. We were promised ENDA and hate crimes in the last session. What we got was an end to the HIV immigration ban - an issue HRC didn't even ask the presidential candidates about in their questionnaire, and which was pioneered by others (although HRC did come through with Congressional lobbying in the end). It's not that they do nothing; it's that it's rarely enough; and never with sufficient energy or vision.

It's time gay people realized that this group is often part of the problem, and rarely part of the solution. It needs to be swept clean of its deadwood, overhauled, or if it persists in its ways, defunded. When we are in a civil rights movement and the biggest organization is essentially a passive observer and excuse-maker, it's time to demand better.



*I wonder how much of that $3.4 million went towards "overhead."

And all those protests happening everywhere? They're all grass-roots actions, organized by people all across the nation via, you know, the Twitter, the Blogspot, the Tumblr, etc. And while I'm sure that many, if not most, HRC members are participating in this stuff, what about the HRC itself? They want you to sign a pledge. Seriously. Give me a fucking break.

OK, so that's my mean rant about the yuppie, useless, overrated and ineffectual Human Rights Campaign. I'm sure there will be all kinds of comments left by their well-meaning fans. But, you know what? Ask yourself this: can I do whatever it is I want to do for hairdresser rights without a bloated organization with huge capital overhead? Yes. Yes you can. And you don't need to give Lance Bass an award to do it.

UPDATE: If you have a hard time bringing yourself to read Sullivan, you may wish to check out Rex Wockner here.

22 comments:

rptrcub said...

You? The DC Eagle? You are turning into one of my species.

I, for one, believe similarly that HRC didn't do as much as it could. I hate to be all haterating on the inside the Beltway crowd, but seriously, they are ineffectual. ACLU and Lambda Legal, on the other hand, are two traditional advocacy organizations which are.

Honestly, I think people have those signs on their cars, mainly gay men, so that they don't have some faggy rainbow on it. I also know that yes, straight allies like to have it too, but honestly y'all, we'll invent you some sort of symbol of your own to let people know that you're not gay but you love us.

And I, for one, welcome the online revolution. Whether it keeps going remains to be seen. And why the MSM calls it "Activism 4.0" I have no idea. What were versions 1, 2, and 3?

rptrcub said...

Never mind on the versioning question. I found it from Rex Wockner.

Dennis said...

Lord knows I cannot stand Sullivan, but I've found myself agreeing with him more often lately. My eyes were opened regarding HRC with the whole ENDA debacle. Since then, I've steadily built up a lasting resentment to the entire organization, but even I would never have guessed that, after a weekend of amazing nationwide protests, the best they could come up with is a fucking pledge!

jterry said...

PSP, all self-respecting hairdressers in America owe you a drink for this post.

HRH King Friday XIII said...

Thank you, Princess! Thank you! HRC is a waste of time. When they're not busy throwing thmeselves banquets, or parading around hot military boys (evidently the hot ones are the only ones being hurt by DADT), they're fucking over the gay community by wasting our money. They're headquarters is nothing more than a self-important gift shop. I refuse to buy an equal sign mug for $100. Somebody, GLADD, anyone, PLEASE fill this void!

dguzman said...

Bravo, rrincess. Well said.

Anonymous said...

Run do not walk over to Cafe Press and post your new creation there. I will buy a gross of them!

You nail when you say capital outlay..like them individually...cocktail party..press release..

I comented over at Joe.My.God about similar and it's sad really.. but they ran right off the rails in October 2007 with ENDA.

What I think most of us tolerated became so distastful and out of touch justifying I couldn't wait to scrape that decal right off my car for good. I put a Stonewall sticker in it's spot and as they say "moved-On".

Thanks Princess-love you

Jules in Cobb

Anonymous said...

I stopped supporting them when I realized that they were never going to call out the Republican Party on their homophobia. They were too busy trying to be "bipartisan." No, thanks.

Princess Sparkle Pony said...

Wow, and there I was thinking that I'd catch a lot of grief for this post.

rptrcub said...

PSP, remember that we are a bunch of pissed off angry queens and we are ready for the revolution. The bourgeois HRC is not helping.

Carmen Sutra said...

AMEN and thank you for this post! I stopped supporting HRC so long ago that I no longer can remember what precipitated it.

My favorite thing that they did of late was to censor Margaret Cho at the DNC in Boston because, OMG so controversial!!

HRC absolutely does NOT speak for me. Harumph!

Anonymous said...

I'm so tired of celebrities I could plotz. Worst for me was hearing the painfully earnest Melissa Etheridge drone on and on about HERSELF during the HRC candidates' forum in August 2007.

samael7 said...

"But actual campaigning is so haaaarrrd!!"

Heh.

I confess, I was in DC in August at that same DC Eagle (I was also there for a convention in the convention center), and when I passed the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery, I thought of you. I even went inside, mostly because I hadn't been in there in years, and on the off chance that I caught a glimpse of Your Majesty.

That . . . sounds much stalker-er than I think it was.

P.S. I liked the Hepburn exhibit, although there was one movie loop that visitors kept playing where she sort of screams over-theatrically, and, wow, hope you couldn't hear it from where you were.

sfmike said...

Great rant. I feel the same way about most AIDS charities, to tell you the truth, which seem to funnel most of their considerable budgets to overpaid management and conferences and god knows what else. It also cannot be widely enough known that I despise all awards ceremonies, especially when I am not personally getting an award.

Sue J said...

PSP, you speak the truth. thank you!

Miss Emish said...

I agree! I am all hopey now so I've been looking into doing some volunteering and the HRC came to mind. Cuz hey, I see that damn yellow equals sign EVERYWHERE! They must be good! But then I looked into it, read me some Sullivan and was all...hell no. Getting their logo everywhere is about all they've done. They will roll over for cash. I think his point about jointheimpact.com (which I participated in and it went up faster than California burned) is strongest. Here's his post: (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/11/the-day-the-mus.html) They got that thing going in less than a week, they being largely college students, and there was a strong, peaceful protest in every single state.

Princess Sparkle Pony said...

Somebody wrote a stupid comment (which I deleted) saying, "Sounds like you're just jealous because you're not involved!"

LOL.

Yeah, I guess that's why Sullivan, Towle, Joemygod, Wockner, and everybody else are criticizing HRC, too. We're all just jealous that we don't get invited to the cocktail parties. Yup. That's it.

Anonymous said...

THE HUMAN RIGHTS CHAMPAGNE FUND

Anonymous said...

Remember Al d'Amato? Pubbie with HRC support. That's when HRC stopped getting my support. Who will take up the fight? My cash now goes to the ACLU. They've been on our side since way way way before Stonewall: http://www.aclu.org/getequal/timeline.htm.

Princess Sparkle Pony said...

I'd agree that you'd get WAY more bang for your buck by donating to the ACLU.

Rusty said...

Seems like the HRC spend too much time doing too many other things...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnZjg-NQXeM

pc said...

Back when I was a radical undergraduate, we stuck "Homosexual Retail Club" stickers all around one of their gala-party venues.

I don't know what it says about them that I often see their canvassers in my "straight" neighborhood. Gullible heterosexuals surely can't know the difference between HRC and people who do real work.