Protest, HRC, and My Investment Portfolio

I like to think of my advocacy/political work in much of the same way as I think of how to invest my money. I see activism as an investment in my community and my future. With that in mind, I have to say that I don’t see the benefit in protesting the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). There are so many national organizations that support transgender people and support gender identity in ENDA (National Stonewall Democrats, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Pride At Work, for example), I think it’s a waste of time to try and get an organization to love us, that has shown repeatedly that it doesn’t.

Protests do have their place. I totally supported the HRC/Nancy Pelosi Dinner protest because ENDA was pending in the House. The media exposure could have had an effect on the outcome of the legislation. But I don’t see the same result from these kind of protests/boycotts.

The best thing transgender people can do to move legislation forward is to be diverse in their activism, and support those who support gender identity inclusion. Instead of buying 100% percent of HRC stock, DIVERSIFY, DIVERSIFY, DIVERSIFY!

Speaking of support, according to PageOneQ, Barney Frank is going to be on the Michealangelo Signorile Show to respond to Matt Foreman’s comment that Barney Frank “has always been pretty squeamish on the trans issue.”

It’ll be interesting to hear what he has to say. Frank’s “penises in showers” outburst in 2000 is legendary in transactivist circles.

Regardless, it’ll be interesting to listen to. Frank and the Human Rights Campaign are in an odd position. Two out of three possible candidates for President of the United States support inclusion of gender identity in ENDA, but the most senior gay House member doesn’t.

Marti Abernathey is the founder of the Transadvocate and the previous managing editor. Abernathey has worn many different hats, including that of podcaster, activist, and radiologic technologist. She's been a part of various internet radio ventures such as TSR Live!, The T-Party, and The Radical Trannies, TransFM, and Sodium Pentathol Sunday. As an advocate she's previously been involved with the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance, Rock Indiana Campaign for Equality, and the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition. She's taken vital roles as a grass roots community organizer in The Indianapolis Tax Day Protest (2003), The Indy Pride HRC Protest (2004), Transgender Day of Remembrance (2004), Indiana's Witch Hunt (2005), and the Rally At The Statehouse (the largest ever GLBT protest in Indiana - 3/2005). In 2008 she was a delegate from Indiana to the Democratic National Convention and a member of Barack Obama's LGBT Steering and Policy Committee. Abernathey currently hosts the Youtube Channel "The T-Party with Marti Abernathey."


  1. Strange – my pooter missed a bit! The post after the 🙂 should read, “LOL@ Pick your poison.” Here’s a few more to add to the list . . .

  2. Strange – my pooter missed a bit! The post after the 🙂 should read, “LOL@ Pick you poison.” Here’s a few more to add to the list . . .

  3. Wise words, Monica. 🙂 trans issues involving young people, sex workers, ethnic minorities, senior citizens, equal opportunities policies, prisons, the world!

  4. We have to be careful about putting all our activism efforts into one and only one “basket.” Protests, EIs, letter writing, E-mails, phone calls, office visits, townhalls, political fund raisers, political conventions, political parties, vigils, homeless shelters, HIV/AIDS activism, breast cancer prevention, support groups, veterans issues, locals equality groups, trans political groups, churches, etc, etc, etc.

    I’m not suggesting you get involved with all of these, but you can work on some of these part of a time and some of these other times. Pick your poison. We can use all of you spread everywhere. I say to any of you who do even one of these things, “Thank you so very much.”

  5. I have to agree with with the Bear of the Artic – diversification includes protesting those who work to keep you out of civil rights legislation. Especially when they’re presenting themselves to elected officials as THE voice on these issues. Many of those officials don’t know about this exclusion till told – and many people attending those dinners – that’s the only thing they do all year. Lot’s of people find out what their money is going to support because people make the effort to tell them at that dinner.

    It’s also a bit sweet to have elected officials tell HRC that they’re on the wrong side of the civil rights debate at their own event. Some even asked – should I not go to the dinner?

    You challenge discrimination everywhere.

  6. I do support protests and EIs against HRC, since, by their actions, they stand in our way. But, as Marti states, we should be diverse in our advocacy. Protest HRC if you have time to, and it’s close – there are many good reasons why they’re bad for the entire GLBT community – the money they steal from state and local orgs with their massive galas (that rarely comes back to your community)is a good start. However, when you’re not protesting, be sure you’re taking care of advocacy business in DC, your state capitol, and your city hall. And support organizations that support your work. Support politicians that support us.

  7. Wow, I am shocked. I’m not sure what discussion that comment is referring to, but I’m fairly glad Leigh is done here. I didn’t think this dialogue was particularly useful to continue participating in, but I didn’t realize it was becoming dangerous.

    I mean, usually racist comments are vieled and comparisons to nazis are left to unjustified hyperbole. I’ve only encountered one or two people who actually claim the nazis had the right idea.


    Calls to genocidal extermination of folks who aren’t white anglo saxon… I never thought I’d see something like that on a trans blog.

  8. I don’t think HRC or the folks who go to an HRC dinner need educated, so no I don’t support them. I know I’m in the minority on that though.

  9. Do you support Educational Initiatives? They are not protests, but a chance to educate the people who support HRC on the needs of the transgender community by going to events where HRC supporters hange out, like their dinners. There will be one at Charlotte, NC this weekend and there have been one in Austin and Phillie so far.

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