Yesterday Donna Rose and Jamison Green, the last two trans folk on HRC's Business Council -- which compiles the group's Corporate Equality Index. -- resigned in protest. (Rose had previously resigned her seat on HRC's board over it's support for an ENDA that excluded gender identity protections.) As Rose and Green explain:
Recent HRC policy decisions – to actively support a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that excludes our transgender brothers and sisters as well as gender-variant lesbian, gay, and bisexual people – have placed us in an untenable position. On November 8, the day after the ENDA vote in the House of Representatives, we requested an opportunity to meet personally with HRC President Joe Solmonese to share our concerns and to discuss HRC’s strategy for addressing recent legislative shortcomings before making a decision to stay or go. As the only transgender representatives on the Business Council our community expects us to have some influence, or at least to receive the courtesy of a consultation. Almost 3 weeks have passed since that request and we have heard nothing in response. This lack of response speaks volumes, so we feel compelled to take this stand today.
If you're on an advisory council and you can't get the time of day with the organization you're advising for three weeks, then it's clear they don't give a shit about you or those you represent. It's time for HRC to drop the pretense that they represent transgender interests.
That said, I'm not one of those folks screaming "put HRC out of business." While it might be emotionally satisfying, it's a waste of effort better spent elsewhere. Fact is, HRC isn't going away. We'll probably have to work with them -- I ran across the wonderful phrase "antagonistic cooperation" that describes my approach to future dealings with them -- but we don't have to support them. Sometimes they might even do things that benefit us -- like the video messages they produced for the Transgender Day of Remembrance. But we'll sure as hell should watch our backs when allied with them.
The only silver lining is that we found this out now -- when the stakes were only symbolic. Which gives us time build other alliances -- not to mention getting better about our own lobbying efforts.