BOYCOTT HRC’s BOSTON GALA Calls For Endorsements: Share Widely

Click Here To RSVP & Endorse

Contact: Trevor Wright

A coalition of people who believe in the principles of social and environmental justice for all are coming together in protest of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Gala to be held on October 25, 2008 at the Sheraton in Boston.

Similar protests have been conducted in other cities nationwide since 2007. This year in San Francisco several prominent politicians joined the boycott led by queer labor activists including previously scheduled keynote speaker, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. In New York City every LGBT elected official decided not to attend.

In the spirit of solidarity, we are calling on local activists, politicians, and organizations to endorse a boycott and protest of the HRC GALA. We especially ask for your support and honor of our transgender community who continue to face severe discrimination and violence.

Here are three good reasons to protest HRC.

1. HRC supported a strategy of passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that did not include protections for gender identity and expression. Over 300 LGBT organizations signed the United ENDA document ( in opposition to this strategy. Transgender activists across the country have been protesting HRC’s historically shaky history with the trans community. HRC has lost their only transgender board member due to this debacle.

2. HRC has a history of endorsing conservatives who support policies that directly harm the LGBT community, and our allied movements. This strategy divides us and weakens our collective political power. HRC has endorsed Susan Collins of Maine, a Republican who supported George Bush’s Supreme Court nominations. HRC has also endorsed Joe Lieberman, a staunch supporter of the occupation of Iraq and a supporter of John McCain for president.

3. HRC has a history of not working well with organized labor. HRC has refused to endorse the Employee Free Choice Act which has been endorsed by organizations ranging from the National Center for Transgender Equality to the NAACP. HRC has only recently decided to change venues from the Hynes Convention Center to the Sheraton after months of protest from Local 26 Unite Here! (hotel workers union). HRC hires non-unionized venues and caterers. One caterer, Aramark, has a long history of bad labor practices and discriminating against the LGBT community. Ironically, they have even received several very low scores from HRC's own "equality index." HRC partners with and promotes companies that sell goods that are produced by sweatshops, profit from war, discriminate, and donate to candidates who discriminate.

Our Statement of Unity:

1. We recognize the interconnectedness of the struggles of oppressed people. We stand up in solidarity for a world free of racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, classism, ageism, adultism, and all other forms of oppression.
2. We recognize and honor courageous transgender activists who have historically and continue to be at the forefront of the LGBT rights movement.
3. We oppose HRC's strategies for passing legislation that leaves out members of our community, and their endorsements of candidates who do not uphold a commitment to end oppression.

Click Here To RSVP & Endorse

“It has come to my attention that the San Francisco Labor Council has voted to formally boycott HRC's annual fundraising gala and regretfully, I cannot attend this years event. As Mayor of the largest city in California, I am committed to creating a world in which no member or group in society is denied full and equal rights. It is my hope that this time next year will find us all united by victory in the fight against Proposition 8 and ever more determined to establish equal rights, with no exceptions, for every one of us.” – Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

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Comment by Arianna Davis on August 26, 2008 at 3:45pm
The world Gender Coalition stands for equality, non judgemental health care, freedom from violence and the unequivical right toGender Identity for Trans and Intersex people. The HRC has promulgated mistrust through it's past and most recent actions which run counter to most of the above values, it is for that reason that the World Gender Coaliton must strongly voice it's objections regarding these actions by the HRC and join this boycott and collective condemnation.

Arianna Davis PhD
World Gender Coalition
Comment by Richard on September 16, 2008 at 6:32pm
Queers Without Borders is coming to Boston. Are there any rules that we should know about so we can plan.
Comment by Ethan St.Pierre on September 16, 2008 at 9:34pm
There are always a few rules but nothing difficult.
We can't block any entrances, we can't block the sidewalk so people can't move freely,
we have to continue walking around...etc.
Of course, there will be no violence and no profanity.
We can go over the other stuff once everyone gets there. Like who will be talking to the press, etc.

We will have space for a Left Out party after the protest, details are being ironed out
and I will post all the info once things are set.

Thanks for the support!!
Comment by Richard on September 17, 2008 at 9:52am
Thanks Ethan

I get those rules as always. I should have asked how about can our signs be on sticks or must they be on cardboard tubes. Some places have rules about carrying sticks, wearing masks, loud noise, etc. Is there any overhang from the building such an a awning that we have to walk under. Thinking of too tall signs. Sometime let us know about those type of things so at the QWB working meeting we can get ready. Can't wait to meet you as I have heard wonderful things from Jeri.
Comment by Ethan St.Pierre on September 17, 2008 at 7:24pm
Good question about the sticks and masks. I know that at every other protest event I have attended we just didn't take the chance and used poster board or attached our signs to a thicker material. I have seen other protest events here in Massachusetts where sticks were used to prop up signs but I'd rather not give anyone ammunition.
I am going to the location next week to check out the sight and speak to management.
I'll also talk to other fellow protesters about the issue of wearing a mask.

Looking forward to meeting you too and tell Jerimarie that I better see her in Boston waving that flag, she is an inspiration for sure!
Comment by Richard on September 18, 2008 at 10:04am
Hi everyone

I reposted this article over at Queers Without Borders and the following comment came in. Come on over and give a response if you wish.

Will { 09.17.08 at 12:27 pm }"So how much money has HRC put into the election to defeat Propostion 8 and how much have you donated? My understanding is that HRC has sent a total of $600,000 plus many volunteers to help defeat this measure. Seems like it would be better to actually fight against the people who want to deny us our rights. Also, wasn't there a recent hearing on transgender rights on the Hill that HRC help to organize? (I know there was as two of my transgender friends testified and are HRC members)."

Let us know what we at QWB can do to help out. The question about masks is for one of our members who likes to make very "interesting outfits" to wear and usually decorates his glasses. I know some cities have strick rules about sticks and masks, spitting on the sidewalk, using bull horns without a permit and everything else the powers that be can think up. And those calling for a demo always have their rules too. QWB always wants to be aware of the regulations before joining others demos.
Comment by Mark Daniel Snyder on September 18, 2008 at 1:07pm
I've been involved in many protests in boston where both sticks and masks were used without issue...
Comment by Ethan St.Pierre on September 22, 2008 at 7:34pm
Sorry for the delayed reaction, I was distracted by the total inaction of the people in Washington, DC who have yet to organize a Dinner protest even though Joe Biden will be speaking!

Anyway, Mark is right, both sticks and masks have been used in the past and without incident. Trevor has told me that he will be getting a permit for the use of a bullhorn as well as a permit for the protest itself.

I will go over to QWB to comment on the post by Will. But just to clarify, there was only one member of HRC who testified at the Congressional hearing and that was Diego Sanchez.
I support proposition 8 but do NOT support the same type of legislation in States that do not have fully inclusive nondiscrimination laws first. That includes Massachusetts. My money goes to organizations who are fighting for FULLY inclusive nondiscrimination laws and not laws that will only help those who don't have to worry about employment, housing, credit, etc..


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