The following is in response to @PeterNorthfelt’s column “Glitter Industrial Complex Is Not Gold” regarding the Human Rights Campaign, that was published with Arizona State University’s State Press.
I find Peter Northfelt’s column simply off base. HRC is the nations largest LGBT political action group. As the founder of HRC at ASU, I was the director of this student organization in 2007 when the Employee Non Discrimination Act made HRC national news. Back then, HRC had decided to support two ENDAs. One was a fully-inclusive one that included protective language for all LGBT people.
The other only went as far as to protect LGB folks. Their support of backing both bills was a political move, part of their strategy to get the most rights as quickly as possible. It’s a pretty common political strategy, one that everyone from Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema to the belated Senator Ted Kennedy have experience in using. Shortly after that the transgender community accused HRC of leaving them behind. Not true.
They simply wanted ENDA passed by the House, and people like then-Congressman Jeff Flake supported a non-inclusive ENDA. Because of this split in the LGBT community about which bill to support, ENDA was not passed that year. HRC has since spent countless dollars and man hours educating Republicans and Democrats about the transgender community.
That’s them doing the grunt work that makes a difference in Washington. Yes, they have a “glitter industrial complex” because that’s how they fund raise and can afford to that important grunt work. Today, I am happy to say that Republicans in the Senate have stated they favor a fully inclusive ENDA and plan to vote on it when Senator Harry Reid brings it before the Senate.
What one person did at some rally isn’t a reflection of this organization as a whole. It’s pretty clear to me the Human Rights Campaign hasn’t failed the LGBTQ community, they have empowered it – and that sentiment should be obvious to someone as sophisticated as Peter Northfelt.