SF Politicos Recognize Boycott of Human Rights Campaign Dinner


San Francisco Supervisors Tom Ammiano and Bevan Dufty are among those local politicians supporting a boycott and protest of the Human Rights Campaign dinner in that city next month, over the organization’s failure to support a trans-inclusive employment non-discrimination bill (ENDA) last year. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “The city’s two LGBT Democratic clubs support the boycott, as does the San Francisco Labor Council. Assemblyman Mark Leno and state Sen. Carole Migden, both of San Francisco, also are not attending the event.”

TranspicketIt’s a scene that has played out in New York (pictured) and other cities.

The paper reports: “On Tuesday, San Francisco Supervisors Tom Ammiano and Bevan Dufty introduced a resolution at City Hall calling for a bill that includes transgender people and recognizing the boycott. ‘The Human Rights Campaign should not be human rights cowards,’ Ammiano said at a news conference at the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center. He said the organization seems uneasy with transgender issues. Dufty said he will skip the fundraising dinner for the first time in 23 years and instead will make dinner at his home for people protesting outside the event.”

Matt Foreman, former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, will be among those protesting outside the event. Said Foreman: “What is going on here is an emperor-has-no-clothes moment. We still don’t have one single federal law that protects gay people, let alone transgender people.”

HRC defend its actions in a statement from President Joe Solmonese: “HRC’s position is that we could not oppose – and, in fact, should support – legislation to provide crucial civil rights protections that would be brought to the House floor for a vote, even though we did not and, certainly, would not have chosen that course…At a time when our community is threatened, once again, with a cynical election-year ploy that could hurt our families, we believe that it’s time to set aside our differences and fight for what we all want.”

The HRC dinner, which will benefit marriage equality (the organization has already made an initial pledge of $500,000 to the Equality for All marriage coalition), takes place on July 26th at the Westin St. Francis hotel.

Activists to boycott gay-rights group dinner [sf chronicle]


  1. tooboot says

    The HRC is a bloated, ineffectual organization that has stayed to long at the fair. I would rather spend my hard-earned money on the NGLTF. They seem to be more effective in producing results.

  2. Shane says

    So, was the NGLTF successful in winning any one of us – G, L, B or T – equal rights? Any rights or protections at all? No? Hmm – seems like someone shouldn’t be casting stones Mr. Foreman.

  3. mike says

    it seems like HRC is always following, never leading, and I’m happy to hear it’s getting boycotted …

    HRC fumbled the ball on gays in the military and still toadied up to the Clinton White House; HRC actively discouraged those of us who wanted to take marriage to the courts (thank god we ignored them); and on given day are are about 5 years too late in regards to Human Rights issues …

  4. says

    Just waiting for the folks who don’t get why the T is there in the first place (and I bet there’s a lot of overlap with those who think it’s fine for the police to crack down on sex in “public”).

  5. GregV says

    A boycott of the HRC? This is ridiculous! The rhetoric is also misleading, since the HRC DID support protections based on gender identity while it ALSO supported protections based on sexual orientation. The problem was that separately, one had the chance to pass, but combined, both were going to fail. That’s not the HRC’s fault; it’s the fault of legislators who don’t understand the need for support on one issue or the other.
    Potentially, since not all homophobes are transphobes and not all transphobes are homophobes, we may get to a point when protections for BOTH of those issues would pass when taken separately but both would fail if voted on together. th each increment that we can get?
    Besides that, no bill will ever be fully “inclusive” of every potential issue as long as it names categories. But everyone has a sexual orientation, so everyone IS protected equally on that particular issue if we can get that bill through. Everyone also has a gender identity of one sort or another, and that’s another issue that needs to be worked on, but trying to criss-cross the issues can harm both.
    We need to take the improvements we can get, keep educating and keep moving toward full equality.

  6. Jim says

    Damn right! If we can’t stop discrimination against one group of people, we should allow it against all. I agree with these noble city supervisors- if we can’t ban discrimination against transgendered people, then it’s time to pull out the “whites only” signs and start from scratch. So what if a lesbian single mom gets fired from her job because of her sexual orientation, or a gay couple is denied housing?… the more victims we have, the more compelling of a case we can make!

    The HRC sucks. Who needs professionals who understand the legislative process and build relationships with elected officials and staff when we can scare the hell out of conservative Democrats by marching around with “trans power” signs? After all, like Obama said, it’s racist to suggest that elected officials had anything to do with past civil rights legislation, so why would they even play a role in new legislation? Our homemade signs are more effective than lobbyists, and lobbyists are evil!

  7. Bob says

    So here we are again, beating each other up while the world around us falls apart. The Christian Right must be really enjoying this.

    Does the boycott of HRC help anyone? No, it just continues and reinforces the lack of dialogue and lack of sensitivity to transgender issues within our community. Instead of whacking away at HRC, work with it to change the obstacles to full protection for transgendered people. Work with HRC to defeat Congressional candidates who wouldn’t vote for a fully inclusive ENDA.

    Fortunately, there are people at the Taskforce and HRC who recognize there is a problem on this issue, but choose to work together in spite of our differences to defeat the number one threat we face in California–the anti-gay marriage ballot amendment.

    I’m disappointed that the political leadership in SF are supporting this divisive boycott instead of working to bring everyone together on this issue. Our community, as well as those outside of our community, need to be educated about transgendered rights, or the lack of them. The boycott does nothing to further this necessary goal. It just fuels anger and bitterness. Grow up, San Franciso. Bring something positive and constructive to the table.

  8. Adam says

    But GregV, the bill without trans protections didn’t even become law. All HRC did was give in to create a high-water mark without trans protections. The Congress is lazy, and will probably just pass the version without trans protections again knowing they have the votes to pass it, rather than fight for a fully inclusive bill.

  9. Bob says

    So HRC is worthless? Who has been in the White House for the past 7+years, and who has controlled Congress during most of that time? Do you recall how many times the Federal Marriage Amendment came up for a vote, and how many times it nearly passed? HRC was in the trenches fighting to protect us at a time when our enemies were in control. Would we be celebrating marriage equality in CA if HRC hadn’t lead the fight against the marriage amendment?

    If LGBT politicians want to boycott HRC, fine, but they should be consistent. When they are up for re-election, they shouldn’t expect endorsements, money or staff support from HRC. When they sponsor bills, they shouldn’t expect HRC to back their efforts. When right wing extremists attack them, don’t expect HRC to speak out against their attackers.

    If you want war between the trans community and HRC, fine. Just be prepared to accept the collateral damage.

    This fight serves no one’s best interests. Yes, there are issues between the trans community and HRC (and likely other LGBT groups). But this kind of bashing of HRC and blaming HRC for the trans communities problems doesn’t move the issues forward.

    And btw, for years I’ve joined HRC in it’s twice yearly member lobbying efforts on capital hill. I don’t ever recall seeing anyone from the trans community participate. There have been trans people on the HRC Boards of Directors and Governors, so you can’t argue the community didn’t have access to this opportunity to make known their issues and challenges to Congress members. Where were they when the hard work was needed?

  10. JeffRob says

    This is a pretty clear cut principal vs. pragmatism debate. Since we have nothing to lose but time, principal should win this fight. It’s too bad the HRC doesn’t see it that way.

    So, as usual, good work SF. Boycott the bastards. If trans people aren’t part of ENDA, then my queer butt doesn’t want it.

    We can wait til we’re all here before we drive away.

  11. Bob says

    We have nothing to loose but time? I don’t think that would be comforting to someone, G, L, B or T, who looses their job today or tomorrow. You may be willing to wait–perhaps because you live in a state where your job is protected. What about people who live in places who don’t have any protections? How long do they have to wait?

    What are you going to do while you’re waiting in your protected job? Who is going to actually fight for inclusive legislation? Are you ready to step into the void and devote your time and money to fight for an inclusive ENDA?

    After the ENDA issue broke, HRC realized that the community faced two problems: lack of understanding of trans issues within our community, and lack of understanding of trans issues outside our community. They launched a series of new programs to attack both problems. Without that education, we won’t be able to move trans-inclusive legislation in the next Congress.

    What have you done to increase understanding of trans issues? Instead of waiting, become part of the solution.

  12. This Smells says

    “nothing to lose but time”? Tell that to the gays and lesbians in the majority of states who won’t get a job today or will be denied a promotion today or outright fired today because they have no federal job protections. Tell that to the lesbian who has to return custody of her kids to the redneck asshole male she mistakenly married before she accepted herself because her pig boss at Piggly Wiggly found out she was gay right after he found Jesus. Tell that to the homeless gay man who wouldn’t be homeless if he could pass for straight and thus get hired.

    Shame on these politicians who lived in a city and state which has the best job protections for LGBTs in the country. Shame on Foreman who had the same protection in DC before he moved to SF; as do most of those with Mad Tranny Disease who have stampeded once sensible people into self-destruction.

  13. JeffRob says

    Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

    Shame on gays and lesbians who are so quick to kick trans folks off the bus to expedite our own fight for equality. HRC does NOT stand for “Homo Rights Campaign”.

    We’ve lost our way.

  14. Randalf says

    More posturing from queer San Francisco politicians. It reminds me of the time the political groups in San Francisco stalled safe sex information from being printed because it trampled on the rights of gay men to have unprotected sex. Posture and pose. In a few months they will be knocking on HRC’s doors for money and endorsements. There is nothing wrong with HRC, they play political hardball and deal with the reality of DC everyday. Too bad we continue to fight the wrong battles.

  15. chrisnyc says


    that’s right progressives. shoot your friends for only getting something done instead of everything done. it wasn’t passing with the T in it. I’m an idealistic pragmatist…giving more people rights is always a good thing and you do it whenever you can. Turn the anger and energy into getting more dems in congress and the white house, and push to have the T added.

  16. chrisnyc says


    that’s right progressives. shoot your friends for only getting something done instead of everything done. it wasn’t passing with the T in it. I’m an idealistic pragmatist…giving more people rights is always a good thing and you do it whenever you can. Turn the anger and energy into getting more dems in congress and the white house, and push to have the T added.

  17. Lanie says

    All I have to say is what have any of you done to help the issues?! Do you volunteer to do any of the fundraisers, take part on committees for gay pride or Pridefests or Beat AIDS and so on?

    im actually enraged by this boycott as i am sure most of the ppl blogging here have never gotten off their ass to help w anything being changed in the grand scheme of things. its like saying ok yeah we hate them for doing exactly the same thing we have done – nothing. At least they try! if the ppl blogging took as much time to help rather then bitch im sure their cld be a change made. The other thing is I know I got emails and texts telling me to call the reps to vote for EDNA ONLY if it included Transgender! I made the call more then once and it was all over the sites too. So where do they get off saying that HRC did nothing to help this issue? They tried much harder then any of you did.

    Also, it’s the same as the phrase w voting you cant complain unless you vote. Don’t complain and throw stones unless you take part!

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