Human Rights Campaign | Joe Solmonese | News

Joe vs. The Volcano

The volcano, in the case of this Washington Post profile on HRC President Joe Solmonese, is not the Eyjafjallajökull glacier currently isolating him in London, but the angry bloggers and activists who pressure "Gay Inc" to get the job done.

Solmonese "But when the [hospital rights] directive was issued, Solmonese, currently stuck in London because of volcanic ash, says he couldn't fully give himself over to joy, because he knew it would be followed by strong critical reaction. He's not talking about conservative groups such as Focus on the Family. Solmonese is not talking about the haters. He's talking about the furious: Gay activists and bloggers who think well-heeled nonprofits like HRC are too appeasing, too accepting of incremental change, too insidery. They have coined a term for their derision: 'Gay Inc.'"

Because we're all supposed to be satisfied with a bone while everyone else in the country gets a full meal, apparently.

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  1. What an asshat.

    Posted by: Darren | Apr 20, 2010 11:46:19 AM

  2. Any chance of keeping Solmonese out of the country indefinitely? Just askin...

    Posted by: Alexander | Apr 20, 2010 11:46:50 AM

  3. Any student of civil rights movements in the past knows that neither insiders nor outsiders can win the fight alone. HRC is the epitome of "insider" - and it's a) really important that they do what they do from the inside and b) equally important that they are pressured by outsiders to do more, never be satisfied, never rest until the job is done. And, it should go without saying, it's up to the outsiders to do their own advocacy work as only they can.

    This is a symbiotic relationship, and if people on both sides of the inside/outside divide would worry less about criticizing the other for how they do things, we might realize that we're all on the same side, just fighting on multiple fronts. Perspective, people ... perspective.

    Posted by: Red Seven | Apr 20, 2010 12:03:18 PM

  4. Kudos Andy T, for not being awed by the few crumbs thrown our way.

    Here's what's happening: the right-wing in America have now moved so far to the right that simply being gay disqualifies you as an American citizen. That's not an understatement. Look at what just happened to Lindsey Graham yesterday.

    I get that gays are social pariah's. I get that we're political Kryptonite. But I also believe that you get as much freedom as you take. Bullies don't fear or respect calls for mediation or shivering plea's. They respect force of numbers and might. We have to insist, loudly and repeatedly, that the time has come for legal equality. We need not apologize to anyone for insisting on what are after all equal rights.

    Posted by: yonkersconquers | Apr 20, 2010 12:03:47 PM

  5. What continues to baffle me is how people expect the HRC to do EVERYTHING. Am I happy with how much progress has been made so far in the Obama administration in terms of gay rights? No. Do I blame it all on the HRC? Again no. Advocacy organizations need to specialize, and they do. So there's a space--and need-- for a political organization like the HRC that has close ties to Congress and the Administration. If such an organization didn't existed, we'd be screwed. Then there Lambda Legal, that focuses on legal advocacy; etc. If you think the HRC should be organizing mass protests, sit-ins, etc, you're wrong: YOU should. The HRC needs to be on good terms with Congress and making things happen that way, not in the streets. If you want to do other things, organize them yourself! Fighting amongst ourselves isn't going to help; more action from all of us IS going to help.

    Posted by: Chris | Apr 20, 2010 12:06:01 PM

  6. Maybe they should host a fundraiser to raise money for a return trip by ocean liner.

    Posted by: Trev | Apr 20, 2010 12:07:22 PM

  7. Call me to practical. When you are building a house, you don't use just one tool. If you tried building a house with just a hammer... well not everything is a nail.
    We need HRC... and SDLN, ACTUP, GetEQUAL, GLAAD, GLAD, Dignity, GLSEN, LambdaLegal, PFLAG, Stonewall Democrats, Logcabin Republicans... each of these organizations are all working in different ways for our CIVIL RIGHTS.

    I have used the example of the Freedom movement in India in the 1930s and 1940s. Gandhi is well known for his Non-violence Non-cooperation. But there was also Bhagat Singh, who with his organization was blowing up British holdings all over India. Because of Bhagat Singh, the British were pushed into working with Gahdhi.

    There isn't one way nor one way for all.
    We need to stop yelling at each other and pointing out each other's faults and helping each other become better at what we do. Yes, HRC does some things I don't care for but there are so many other things that they do that are not immediately visible but are very important and that have helped us get to where we are today. And I will defend all those that talk against Lt. dan Choi -- this man has heart and is putting his life out there for others. Each is important, each moves us forward.

    Posted by: Daya | Apr 20, 2010 12:09:41 PM

  8. Sorry but if HRC was doing what it should be doing many of you would be correct. But instead of calling out our allies when they betray us Joe and HRC have been like a lap dog giving this administration political cover from things like their foot dragging on DADT.
    I believe it is time that the GLBT community stops giving money to the HRC until they grow a backbone. I don't need them on the streets protesting. What I need them to do is hold our supposed allies accountable for their lack of action. Only them will they being fufilling their duty.

    Posted by: Tim W | Apr 20, 2010 12:17:53 PM

  9. I am a Democrat. I spend the vast majority of my day working on a grassroots progressive Democratic agenda. Every night when I would rather be at home, I'm making sure my state stays Democratic because I know my Senator and other Democratic reps are on our side.

    The last thing I need is Gay Inc going behind my back to my reps and telling them that the activists that I work with (Dan, Robin, Alan, etc..) are not to be paid attention to. They say they are non partisan , yet, they always have their noses in my party's business. To make matters worse, a large percentage of them are Republicans. They hate Obama and my Senator. Yet, because is is SO not PC to openly be a Gay Republican, they use Gay Inc as a cover. In essence they are playing both sides of the fence while shoving a big ole "DONATE NOW!" Button up our asses while telling us that they are doing what's best for us, so, just stay quiet.

    Fuck that.

    I am not, and will never be, a Spook By The Door for any party and especially not Gay Inc.

    In a few short months, Gay Inc has been brought to a point of crisis by a few dozen people around the country who have awakened a sleeping giant of LGBT folks who are just tired.

    Tired of being treated like illegals in our own country.

    Tired of having people say they want government out of our lives while insisting the government regulate discrimination against us.

    Tired of being equated to pedophiles and goat fuckers when some church or politician needs to raise a few pieces of silver.

    And we are tired of Gay Inc taking millions of dollars from the local community where we could have spent the last 30 years training a diverse generation of politicians and school board members and activists for our causes and then building Taj Mahals in DC so that their $1,000 suits would have a place to go everyday.

    We are tired.

    And we are not going to take it anymore.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Apr 20, 2010 12:22:27 PM

  10. While I see a need for groups like HRC, I think Solmonese is an idiot, and every time he opens his mouth I dislike him more.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Apr 20, 2010 12:34:31 PM

  11. Enough with the HRC apologists. Sheesh. Perspective!? Not all LBG and yes T (!) have middle class incomes or wish to emulate hetero norms. Gay, Inc. on the outside, seems to only really represent them selves, who are mostly white, 'main stream' and middle class. Mr. Joe showed his true colors two years ago when he changed his mind and decided that our trans brothers and sister aren't first class citizens. He's been predictable ever since.

    Posted by: Mr. E | Apr 20, 2010 12:40:36 PM

  12. A full meal? Ask Latinos if they are happy with their full meal on immigration. Ask African Americans if they have received a full meal from this administration. Ask women's groups if they have. The truth is that gays are one group of many that Obama wants to deliver for. Change takes time and he has already done more than any President ever.

    Posted by: brian | Apr 20, 2010 12:48:59 PM

  13. @ Red Seven


    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Apr 20, 2010 12:52:22 PM

  14. No one disputes the need for "inside the beltway" groups to lobby on our behalf. The problem is that HRC happens to be lousy at it. Their record is unblemished - zero accomplishments. The job needs to be done; it needs to be done much better than these idiots are capable of doing it.

    Posted by: JusticeontheRocks | Apr 20, 2010 12:56:42 PM

  15. and yourself Andy or the editors of this blog thought it was "Significant" when you touted it in a number of posts?

    What Gives? I think there is many issues and examples you can critize (Or tear down HRC which is the reason d'etre of you and "the swarm") but be consistent. Either it's "SIGNIFICANT" or "CRUMBS".

    Posted by: MCnNYC | Apr 20, 2010 1:00:41 PM

  16. @Red Seven & Derek Washington

    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Apr 20, 2010 1:01:25 PM

  17. I agree with Derek Washington.

    Posted by: chasmader | Apr 20, 2010 1:07:31 PM

  18. @ YonkersConquers...
    ANDY has been practically fawning over this visition rights "memo" do a search on here...he only calls it a crumb weeks later in this context.
    Don't get me wrong I like Andy and Cory's political coverage and I respect his blog here for the variety of topics of concern but you can't applaud the memo as SIGNIFICANT then just crumbs a week later.

    for the record...I commented last week that I thought it was a small consolation prize and a shallow victory for how we got screwed by the Democrats and Obama in the Health Care Reform Bill

    Posted by: MCnNYC | Apr 20, 2010 1:09:15 PM

  19. A little lesson in political strategy folks. The new names that you don't recognize are not "apologists" or "Trolls". They are part of "Rapid Response" teams that Gay Inc has recently started.

    It's a perfectly acceptable way of turning the conversation back to your side. To me, it should have been done quite some time ago. It shows, yet again, that Gay Inc is too bloated to adopt and adapt in ways that are up to the minute as the battle progresses.

    They are up against insurgents using big war tactics.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Apr 20, 2010 1:09:24 PM

  20. True to form, Solmonese has been trying to get home by offering to sit in the back of the plane.

    Posted by: Jon | Apr 20, 2010 1:22:32 PM

  21. Andy, Towleroad is one of my favorite blogs and I generally really the coverage. I think the open bias against HRC, combined with the snarky comments, are generally beneath you and the product you maintain. HRC's not a perfect organization, but there are a lot of hard working smart people there who do their best for the community each day. HRC play's it's part and activists outside play their part too. I'd point out that the blogswarm that you and others hosted against HRC only generated 400 emails and 100 phone calls - which is a demonstration of why the community needs an organization like HRC to organize and provide infrastructure to thousands of LGBT and straight allied people so their voices can be heard in Congress in thoughtful, meaningful ways.

    Posted by: Mark | Apr 20, 2010 1:37:12 PM

  22. Ohmigod, Joe is going to miss a bunch of cocktail parties!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by: homer | Apr 20, 2010 1:41:59 PM

  23. @HOMER I knew I loved you for a reason...

    Posted by: Alexander | Apr 20, 2010 1:52:35 PM

  24. " I'd point out that the blogswarm that you and others hosted against HRC only generated 400 emails and 100 phone calls - which is a demonstration of why the community needs an organization like HRC to organize and provide infrastructure to thousands of LGBT and straight allied people so their voices can be heard in Congress in thoughtful, meaningful ways."

    Dude, you just insulted 500 people, some of the most influential LGBT non MSM bloggers and you don't even realize it. Fail.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Apr 20, 2010 1:54:52 PM

  25. Sorry Derrick then why wasn;t I contacted?
    How do you know who these people are?
    MAybe they are the HRC Board member and donor who gave you more than half of your funds to hold October's March?

    You don't call out Andy, or Joe or Joe or Pam or Sully when they all get together and coordinate their bias. Maybe their presence can actually help in the dialogue beyond the usual bitchiness that passes for some commentary here.

    I'll ask again. Was the memo "Significant" on Thursday and Crumbs today?

    Here's how the swarm can be like teabaggers...cause no matter WHAT HRC won't get them anywhere with them.
    Nothing less than total destruction is on their mind. I don't think Towleroad has crossed into crazyland like Sully or Avarosis or JMG. And I hope it never does.

    Posted by: MCnNYC | Apr 20, 2010 2:00:48 PM

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