It’s no secret that I’ve been critical of some of the decisions made by the Human Rights Campaign (“HRC”) and comments made by their spokespeople, but what should also be apparent is, like any organization, the HRC was developed with people power. Like me, all of those people are fallible. Mistakes can and do happen. It took me a long time to recognize that for myself. Sometimes, I speak for me, sometimes I speak for an organization – at no time is my speech necessarily correct.
Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva (Ret.) was the first American wounded in the war in Iraq when, on March 21, 2003, while traveling to Basra, he stepped on a land mine. In 2006, Sgt. Alva began working with the Human Rights Campaign, the “largest” LGBT Rights organization, to speak out against the military’s now (but likely temporarily) halted “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (DADT). He now tours nationally for the organization and continues to lecture about DADT.
Before you start reading below, I would like to caveat this. While I’m frustrated and angry with the “Human Rights Campaign” for disregarding “We the People,” I acknowledge that they do very important work. Indirect action matters as much as direct action, but frankly, I can’t afford to go to HRC events.
Even a summary of Allyson Robinson’s life and work within the LGBT community would fill a book. Allyson is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, a pastor with a Masters in divinity, the Associate Director of Diversity for the Human Rights Campaign, a wife and a mother. Allyson is also transgender. In this episode of Closet Talk, we discussed Allyson’s life before coming out/transitioning and her life now.
Just because those of us who blog like to think we know everything, doesn’t mean we do – so here’s your chance to help me learn a thing or two. My guest this week on Closet Talk will be Allyson Robinson, Association Director of Diversity for HRC. We will be discussion Allyson’s transition process and I’ll be getting a lot of questions about the transcommunity answered for myself.
Coalition Reports Gay Bias Killings Up in U.S. – The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports that the number of people of the LGBT community killed in bias-motivated incidents increased by 28% in 2008. This is the greatest increase documented by the Coalition since 1999. Although the FBI reports slightly different figures – “the FBI doesn’t record bias crimes against transgendered people because gender identity isn’t covered by federal hate-crime law”. The figures reported by both the FBI and the Coalition might be a little lower than reality because some (understandably) fear retribution and do not report the crimes at all. Some victims also do not report the crimes because they are not ready to out themselves to the police – possibly fearing bias from the authorities themselves. Sharon Stapel theorized that some of the violence from 2008 was due to backlash against issues from the presidential campaign. She said, “The more visibility there is the more likely we’re going to see backlash, and that’s exactly what we see here.” Whether or not that is the reason for the increase – hopefully the Hate Crimes Bill will pass in the Senate and there will be more justice and less hate.