as the Human Rights Campaign exhibits their typical lack of inclusivity…
By Cathy Kristofferson, March 29, 2013.
During the SCOTUS trials the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) convinced many in the Facebook world to change their avatars to red. Following the hearings many activists are seeing a different red now that two incidents – insulting both the trans and the queer immigrant communities – have come to light.
A trans flag was brought to the demonstrations outside the Supreme Court building on the DOMA day and placed near the podium. C.D. Kirven, GetEQUAL board member, was waving that trans flag most prominently when we, GetEQUAL, were challenging Westboro Baptist Church. HRC asked that the trans flag be removed, in defiance Kirven ignored the request and continuing waving it for the remainder of the rally but the insult had been lodged – the trans crowd was not welcome to be seen!
Various posts on Facebook and Tumblr asserted that the HRC staffer also asked transgender community members to remove the transgender flag from the podium area and said, according to one post, that “marriage equality is not a transgender issue.”
Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project (QUIP) of United We Dream member, Jerssay Arredondo, was asked by HRC to speak at the DOMA day rally. Jerssay has now come out to say that HRC “shoved him back in the closet” by telling him to revise his speech just prior to getting on stage to NOT include that he was undocumented!
HRC Communications Director Michael Cole-Schwartz issued a statement to qnotes in response to the allegations.
“It was agreed that featuring American flags at our program was the best way to illustrate this unifying issue which is why when managing the area behind the podium, several people were asked to move who were carrying organizational banners, pride flags or any other flag that was not an American flag,” the statement read. “Several people refused and they were allowed to stay. The coalition welcomed the variety of signs and flags that were throughout the plaza that demonstrated the wonderful diversity of our community.”
HRC added, “It is a not true to suggest that any person or organization was told their flag was less important than another — this did not occur and no HRC staff member would ever tolerate such behavior. To be clear, it is the position of the Human Rights Campaign that marriage is an issue that affects everyone in the LGBT community.”
However we were there ourselves, and Michael Cole-Schwartz is speculating or perhaps has not spoken directly to those who witnessed the incidents, including writers for this BLOG. Perhaps HRC should specifically ask its staffers what they said before commenting in speculative fashion. One also wonders about the statement “we agreed” – as one may ask “who agreed?” Who is included in the “we?”
Many in the gay and trans communities are still looking for both an apology from HRC and restitution for yet another example of their total lack of inclusivity towards all communities. The least they can do now is help in the ongoing immigration and employments fights and towards full federal equality.
QUIP has released a video explaining the incident and calling on HRC for a public apology
- Statement from the United For Marriage Coalition on events March 27th, 2013
- GetEQUAL: Heart to Heart with the LGBTQ Community