Activists picket HRC dinner

by Rex Wockner

Some 50 activists, including members of the Radical Homosexual Agenda, picketed the Human Rights Campaign's annual Midtown Manhattan dinner Feb. 23, Gay City News reported.

They were upset over HRC's support for a version of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act that omits protections for transgender people. The bill has passed the House of Representatives and awaits action in the Senate.

The dinner also apparently was boycotted by every GLB elected official in New York City and many other prominent Democratic officials, GCN said.

In his address to the diners, HRC President Joe Solmonese commented: "When did we all become so impatient? When did we say to ourselves, 'OK, that civil rights thing, I'll give it a year, maybe two, then I'm done'? Let me be very clear: No, we are not done. We are in the grueling, blinding middle of this fight and the middle of this fight is the hardest part."

Many of the protesters carried pink signs in the shape of a hand flipping off HRC while others banged on drums. They chanted: "What do we want? Liberation. Fuck that assimilation."

"Time and time and time again, HRC ignores the community and ignores the wishes of local community groups," Allen Roskoff, an organizer of the boycott, told GCN.

In November, HRC supported a gay-only version of ENDA after gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said ENDA would pass the House only if "gender identity" was left out of the bill.

Hundreds of other national, state and local LGBT groups refused to support the "trans-free" ENDA, leaving HRC nearly alone in backing Frank's version.

Inside the Manhattan dinner, Ugly Betty star Vanessa Williams, who plays Wilhelmina Slater, accepted an HRC award and expressed strong support for same-sex marriage.

"Marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples is another barrier that's falling, and I couldn't be happier about that," Williams said. "I have several friends that have outlasted both of my marriages, that are raising wonderful children together, that have been together in gay unions for over 25 years, so they're doing a better job than I am."

"When my children look at a loving, committed relationship, some of their finest role models are the gay and lesbian couples that they have had in their lives," she said.

For GCN's full report, see http://tinyurl.com/2ayjmh.

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