Members of ACT UP are organizing a protest at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual gala where the organization plans to celebrate a number of Fortune 500 companies highlighted in its problematic 2015 Corporate Equality Index. Representatives in attendance will receive awards for meeting the HRC’s guidelines that only require that corporations have basic equality measures, despite many having awful track records when it comes to their involvement in funding anti-LGBT legislation. In particular, the protesters are taking issue with the HRC’s seeming lack of widespread support for large-scale HIV awareness and prevention initiatives:
“We demand that HRC include several criteria to evaluate companies on their treatment of employees living with HIV, as well as their contributions to organizations and causes relate to reducing the incidence of HIV among LGBT Americans, particularly among the young,” the protest’s Facebook page reads. “For over 30 years, too many have been fired, harassed, outed and discriminated against at work for having HIV.” The promoters of the protest add,
“Also at this gala, many of the corporations that HRC will honor actively work against the interests of middle-class and poor Americans, including people with HIV. ACT UP denounces this frequent practice of '"pinkwashing" whereby corporations with policies and practices that undermine the people's well-being are given positive publicity in exchange for maintaining LGBT-friendly (or just equal) workplaces.
This is short-sighted and divisive. We demand that HRC develop other criteria that takes into account the impact of companies' policies on every American, not just LGBT Americans.”