Human Rights Campaign Shop Vandalized by Radical LGBT Group

A group calling itself 'The Right Honorable Wicked Stepmothers’ Traveling, Drinking and Debating Society and Men’s Auxiliary' vandalized the HRC Store in Washington D.C.'s Dupont Circle on Tuesday night with pink paint, coating the windows and writing the word "Stonewall" across the front sidewalk, the Washington Blade reports.

Hrc The group left a lengthy message on the website outlining its reasons for doing so:

This week marks the 42nd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots…

…The modern LGBT movement owes its success to three days of smashing, burning, punching, and kicking–all of it happily indiscriminate–and the confrontational tactics of groups like ACT-UP that followed in the decades since. Yet, somehow we've forgotten our riotous roots.

The group also explained why it was targeting its own community:

Why, you're asking, did we specifically target the HRC, a massive national gay rights non-profit as opposed to vomiting urine on Rick Santorum or something equally fun?

Put simply, they suck. What do they suck? Cash. Lots of it.

The HRC rakes in something approaching 50 million dollars a year in revenue–their executive director, Joe Salmonellamayonaisemanese pulls in a salary of several hundred grand. What have we gotten out of this bloated carcass? Not a thing worth mentioning and every now and then, they eagerly sell trans people up the river. Seriously, this is an organization that hordes money and does nothing useful. It's a sad, sick dinosaur.

And, ripped establishment LGBT orgs:

Everyone: We know you mean well, but stop giving these idiots your money. Stop putting that equal sticker on your car. Stop going to their lame galas. And for the love of Judy Garland's Ghost and Robert Mapplethorpe's Zombie Bones, stop saying "It Gets Better" and hoping for a miracle from up on high. We don't expect you to riot (although we swear you'll love it once you get going!) but it's time for us to quit with the passivity, move to action, build community and care for each other instead of hoping the Gay Non-Profit Industrial Complex will ever get anything done.

Said HRC's Michael Cole to the Blade: "It’s unfortunate that after a marriage win in New York that represented an unprecedented coming together of LGBT groups, some are more interested in fostering division in the community."

(image michael key washington blade)


  1. Paul R says

    Something similar seems to be happening in San Francisco. Someone spray painted “I [heart] U” on the sidewalk in front of my place yesterday, and there were similar incidents in the Castro. Kind of dull and annoying.

  2. A.G. says

    The vandals’ actions stir an opposite reaction in me.

    I have not previously donated to the HRC, but I will be visiting their website shortly to make a donation.

  3. CKNJ says

    Seriously? Radical for the sake of radical does not achieve ANYTHING… If they don’t like the way HRC works, they should create a CONSTRUCTIVE alternative, instead of being directionless, radical, anarchistic vandals…

  4. says

    I’m not sure if calling this group of children a “Radical LGBT Group” is really all that accurate. Tossing paint in the dead of night isn’t radical, nor is it an effective statement. It’s cowardly and yawnworthy. All it says is “there are morons out there, and they snort ritalin and drink whisky.”

  5. CJ says

    While I may not jive behind this group’s tactics, HRC is horrible and I grew tired of listening to their lame, unaccomplished pitch for the last 15 years and getting nothing out of it. So, I’ve stopped giving them my money.

  6. Action says

    Then post a radical manifesto and give the community ideas on how to act. How to organize on the individual level. Don’t do things to make us feel less safe on the outside. Don’t you understand why we externalize responsibility in the first place? Fear. So respond with information. I’m fed up too. But there’s something more effective than childish vandalism.

  7. uffda says

    How extremely interesting! A gay Martin Luther point of view up against the “Catholic” HRC. The worm that wiggles down inside the established Order – so Western Civilization. Polarizations that cause change. Yet the several calls (above) to more creative and healthy responses than anarchy and property destruction shows are by far the most reasonable responses.

  8. Lysana says

    Have to agree. HRC is a bunch of rich cis gays who can’t imagine placing the lives of trans people ahead of their tax breaks. And bisexuals? Hah. We should take our crumbs and be happy they don’t boot us out of the movement.

  9. Ben says

    As silly as a fringe group like this might seem, in an ideal brew, they help keep the bigger organizations on topic and proactive. LGBTQ groups should learn the GOP/Tea Party lesson – absorb, assimilate, ascend. The GOP has sucked down the Tea Party and become surprisingly more influential despite the Tea Party being a bunch of fringe loonies with minimal real numbers.

  10. Robert says

    “Misguided Straights”? Not sure how we could ever tell but the core issue (apart from the “appropriateness” of their methods) is whether their message is correct…and I have to agree with other posters – they are correct. HRC under Joe has turned into a money sucking machine that delivers nothing of substantive value to us…they jumped on the “Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” bandwagon very late in the game (after had done all the heavy lifting), they have not focused sufficiently on bisexuals and transgendered individuals. Joe is about ego and HRC has morphed into a personal cash flow machine for that ego. HRC needs to get back to grass roots and stop being political and catering to wealthy gays. Joe must go!

  11. Al says

    HRC = reason gays continue to get thrown under the bus. HRC has ensured that we lose every time. They need to be abolished! They’re Uncle Toms, and a complete embarrassment. All they do is throw cocktail parties, and party with the elite. They do nothing for us. You can blame Prop. 8’s passage on them. They are a front company.

    What happened in NY was not thanks to them. They are worthless.

  12. says

    I take a lot of flack for being too gay radical – even my husband has asked me to tone it down now and then – but God Dam* it, gay people can be down right sissified when it comes to speaking out. I applaud the thoughts comveyed by the TRHWS. Speak up people, QUIT funding those who give you lip service and move to action.

  13. kodiak says

    When I read this, I was of two minds: I was glad and I was sad.
    I was glad because I feel like rioting. I was sad because we hit our own. I don’t know much about the HRC, but it probably does much less damage than other people and groups such as ex-gay therapists, Uganda politicians calling for gays to be killed to be law, Michelle Bachman and her husband, etc. A significant factor in NY marriage equality being passed was that Cuomo mandated the differing gay organizations he was working with to stop the infighting and agree to work together. I mean, when a vandal spray paints “FAG” on your house, it means one thing. But what does it mean when a fag spray paints”FAG” on your house? I also feel roiling up within me an urge to protest, to put my physical self out there in the midst of all the political and personal repression. So this group taps into my passion, I like the sense of humor the name of the organization implies, but I don’t think the action lives up to the name. They need to look at how Act Up and other gay organizations took it to the streets. The first gay pride “parade” was a March.

  14. Matt says

    Say what you want about HRC but they were a big part getting marriage passed in NY. Their people were manning the phone banks, canvassing neighborhoods and getting tens of thousands of postcards to senators.

  15. Jack says

    I really didn’t like HRC’s response. It boiled down to “Anyone who doesn’t agree with us is wrong.” It would have been better to say something like “We disagree with the tactics of this group, but understand that there are many paths towards freedom and equality, and that others may may choose actions that we would not.”

  16. daftpunkydavid says

    ok, i’m ready for the hate coming my way…. all of you criticizing the hrc: i live in new york. i was here in 07, when the marriage bill was introduced the first time in the assembly; i was here in 09 when it failed in the senate; let me tell you, this year, hrc BROUGHT it. of course, it was in association with many other groups: espa, lcr, meny, etc. but they did an amazing job. do you think the ny victory came about just b/c of andrew cuomo? in ur dreams. we needed those villains at the hrc too.

    those celebrity videos with their drip-drip supportive announcements? hrc. that canvassing in districts whose senators could be persuaded? hrc. that visibility on the streets, signing up volunteers? hrc. that phonebanking with modern equipment? hrc.

    so yeah, we all love to hate it, and we may be right, but dumping paint on their offices without even a modicum of an alternative set of proposals or actions, coward.

  17. FernLaPlante says

    I am sure that the people the vandalized the HRC shop think they are awesome radicals that are going to change the face of the movement but in fact they are probably a group of immature college kids that have seen “V for Vendetta” one too many times. If they actually wanted to make progress and don’t like HRC then they should start a positive counter group. Not break the law by vandalizing which is a pretty lazy thing to do.

  18. John says

    I’m frankly disgusted by the number of commenters on this post who are condoning this cowardly act of vandalism. Say what you will about HRC: their leaders, fundraising, etc. but to vandalize their store at night in a gayborhood is not an act of bravery, as these thugs attempted to compare to Stonewall. This is a petty, stupid criminal act and I hope these punks were caught on camera.

  19. SteveC says

    I disagree with senseless vandalism but in principle I agree with the vandals.
    The HRC is utterly useless and refuses to be held accountable to the LGBT population it pretends to represent.

  20. Daya says

    My only two-cents on this — the only part of HRC people are familiar with is the political part. What we never talk about is all the out-reach work that is done in local communities. It’s like the UN (yeah, lots of people thinks that a waste of money too) — we hear about the peace-keeping forces and Libya… but what about all the UNICEF work.
    Disagree with HRC, tell them how bad they are, show how Joe is over-paid, but vandalism against your own just does not make sense… disagreement and debate, even going separate ways can be good. Violence is not good (I’m an ex-Vietname protester, when it turned to viloence, I got turned off… think Kent State)

  21. Michael says

    All I have to say about the HRC is please spare me. If you want to see real advocacy look at the NRA. When a pol goes against their perceived interpretation of the 2nd Amendment they knee cap the pol immediately. When a pol goes against queer rights HRC sends them a thank you note. Over ten years ago I stopped giving to HRC because they truly don’t want to upset the apple cart. They want access just for access sake and the queers be damned.

  22. ratbastard says

    HRC are a gay ‘elite’. They’re made up of people no different than any other elite. They do the same kind of things all people who’re on the inside do. And I’ve no doubt they hob knob and socialize with other ‘elites’ in government, business, academia, African American elite ‘advocates’, Hispanic elite ‘advocates’, etc.

    If you’ve never read Animal Farm, read it. HRC are the pigs.

  23. Bryan says

    As any community matures, self criticism and internal conflict are essential to prevent stagnation, ensure continued relevance, and discourage complacency. Social movements, in particular, are like sharks: they suffocate if they stop moving.

    Organizations – like organisms – have a lifespan. Questioning whether HRC and other such institutions have outlived their usefulness is valid, healthy, and necessary. The resulting conflicts encourage debate and evolution. The alternative is parasitic institutions that end up preying on their hosts.

    I agree with everything quoted above. HRC, GLAAD, GlamFar… it’s the nature of such organizations to want to continue, regardless of whether they’ve become irrelevant or even a burden to the communities they claim to support. It’s extraordinarily rare for anyone within such an organization admit that it’s time has passed and suggest moving on, so any such impulse has to come from outside.

    HRC has always defined disagreement – and therefore difference – as “divisive.” In order to get and maintain power, they’ve attempted to reconceive queer people as a conformist, homogenous voting block in righteous pursuit of hetero notions of respectability. Not only have they and many other gay rights groups been willing to throw the fringe under the bus, they’ve implicitly promulgated the absurd notion that there are LGBTQ people who _aren’t_ “fringe.” They’ve encouraged us to define our identity as a community by an “anything they have we must have too” agenda without any examination of the alleged prize.

    For example, I’ve yet to hear anyone within mainstream gay politics note that while marriage equality is an ethically unimpeachable concept, that says nothing at all about the value of its goal. HRC, other similar organizations, and most of us have willfully ignored one of our mother’s most annoying questions. To paraphrase, “If all the straight people jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, I suppose you will too?”

    Consider just a few points…

    • American marriage appears at this point in history to be a social and economic failure. Couples who work 80 hours a week and turn their offspring over to minimum wage slaves are neither actualized as adults nor doing a good job rearing children. Is obsessing with one’s right to buy a ticket on the Titanic wise or even sane?

    • Marriage is de facto mandatory. Any unmarried woman over 30 is considered damaged goods, and any man in the same position is regarded with suspicion. Marriage, like the states and religions that support it, requires that everyone conform.

    • Marriage is a tool by which church and state use to influence intimate relationships, and both church and state have historically been utterly hostile to gay people.

    • Modern marriage is in large part based on a female sexual agenda, and perhaps – even more narrowly – a heterosexual female agenda. What are the ramifications of adoption of such an institution by relationships that include no heterosexual females, or no women at all?

    • Gay men have created community by using sex to form a complex and robust extended network of relationships, and unlike the larger culture, have tended to do so openly and honestly. Marriage requires monogamy which encourages frustration and resentment on the one hand, and secrecy, shame, and dishonesty on the other. How will this effect our viability as a community? Will gay men become essentially straight people who just happen to engage in homosexual acts?

    LGBTQ people need to face the fact that our origins guarantee that nearly all of us are desperate to finally be chosen first for basketball – so desperate that to pause and ask whether or not basketball is a worthy pursuit has become taboo.

    Certainly organizations like HRC are unlikely to survive such introspection. They’re they’re imaginatively crippled, eternally focused on reacting, and seldom able to take any creative action. A complex, diffuse, organic network of diverse individuals won’t serve their purposes at all. For them to succeed and retain their power, influence, and wealth, they need at least the appearance of a homogenous product they can sell to the mass market of America.

    We should cherish our radicals. They embody our imaginations, impulse to play, willingness to face difficult questions, and ability to embrace a future that may be quite unlike the present. A messed up store front is a very small price to pay for all that and more.

  24. sarah says

    I love their logic: “the revolution started with kicking and punching, therefore, it should end with kicking and punching!”

    So, should we kick and punch the president? Will that get us somewhere? How about I kick and punch that uppity fag for not being trans-inclusive – that’ll really get him on my side!

  25. sarah says

    The fact of the matter is, people like this just enjoy kicking and punching, but they need an outlet of self-righteousness in order to do it.

  26. missanthrope says


    The HRC has it’s role in lobbying, but it doesn’t that it needs $50 million in donations or that Joe Scamelomese needs a six-figure salary. They suck up resources without delivering much in results.

    My friends have experienced when the HRC has come in to participate in local state campaigns to put their damn logo everywhere and get quotes in the paper. Meanwhile, they provide no resources, no help, no training in the local campaign and then take the credit when 90% on the work was done by locals.

    Just because an organization does a bit of good in some places and then wastes momentous amounts of resources and time in other places on inneffective lobbying efforts doesn’t mean that it’s good overall.

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