FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LEFT OUT PARTY ORGANIZERS JOIN BOSTON’S QUEERTODAY.COM, DALLAS’S TRANSGENDER ADVOCATES AND ALLIES, AND THE TEXAS GENDER ADVOCACY AND INFORMATION NETWORK TO DEMAND THAT HRC ADDRESS DISSENT AT FUTURE FUNDRAISERS WITH NON-VIOLENCE AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS
Left OUT, Hale Thompson, 415.310.8569
QueerToday.com, Ethan St. Pierre, 978.518.1835
Texas Gender Advocacy and Information Network, Vanessa Edwards Foster, 832.483.9901
Dallas Transgender Advocates and Allies, Kelli Anne Busey 214.226.7080
AUGUST 15, 2008
A national coalition of LGBT organizations have come together in response to HRC’s disturbing pattern of enlisting potential force to address dissent within its own communities. In the wake of the ENDA debacle, HRC has demonstrated a reliance on force to address possible dissenters—LGBT ones-- at their gala fundraising events. In Houston last spring, HRC requested riot police for less than a dozen transgender and allied activists. In San Francisco, private security guards forcefully removed a dissenting attendee, Catherine Cusic.
Brutality and violence are unacceptable ways for any organization, let alone the largest LGBT human rights organization, to deal with dissent or even disruptiveness within its own communities. The incident inside the San Francisco HRC Gala dinner should be fully investigated and in the meantime, HRC should develop a set of protocols in anticipation of future confrontations with dissent that outline humane ways to address dissidence within and outside its events.
Dissent is a critical part of both the political process and political change and calling the police on or using force against fellow LGBT protesters to squash dissent is unacceptable. Clearly with HRC Galas planned for Boston, Minneapolis, Dallas and D.C. in the upcoming months, there will likely be protests, parties, and possibly disruptiveness from persons in our communities who feel excluded by or misrepresented by HRC, and HRC should be fully prepared to address them thoughtfully, humanely and peacefully.
The struggle for civil rights requires solidarity as well as dissent. If any organization should understand and respect that notion, it should be the Human Rights Campaign. Not everyone in our communities can afford to or even wants to enlist HRC in this movement. This coalition calls on our communities, and in particular, HRC, to approach our struggles for civil rights and full protections under the law non-violently and in solidarity.