Gay Group Takes Responsibility for HRC HQ Vandalism
The March on Washington saw a huge turnout, much greater than was expected. But it also led to friction within the GLBT community, with perhaps the most visible sign of internal strife being the vandalism directed at the headquarters of the Human Rights Campaign.
The HRC is the country’s largest GLBT lobbying organization. But not all of its decisions and priorities please everyone. That fact was brought into stark relief when the group’s Washington, D.C. headquarters building was defaced with paint in the early morning hours of Oct. 11--and that same morning, a gay group claimed to be behind what it termed the "glamdalism" of the building.
Web site Lez Get Real reported in an Oct. 11 article that the vandalism took place around 4:00 a.m. that same day. The site re-posted the note that a "radical queer" group taking responsibility had sent out.
The note said that it came "from the Forgotten," and said that the attack had been carried out by "Queers Against Assimilation."
Read the press release-styled letter, "HRC headquarters was rocked by an act of glamdalism last night by a crew of radical queer and allied folks armed with pink and black paint and glitter grenades.
"Beside the front entrance and the inscribed mission statement now reads a tag, ’Quit leaving queers behind.’"
The letter blasted the HRC, callng it undemocratic and not representative, and criticizing the group’s corporate sponsorships.
"The HRC is not a democratic or inclusive institution, especially for the people who they claim to represent.
"Just like society today, the HRC is run by a few wealthy elites who are in bed with corporate sponsors who proliferate militarism, heteronormativity, and capitalist exploitation," the manifesto went on.
"The sweatshops (Nike), war crimes (Lockheed Martin), assaults on working class people (Bank of America, Deloitte, Chase Bank, Citi Group, Wachovia Bank) and patriarchy (American Apparel) caused by their sponsors is a hypocrisy for an organization with ’human rights’ in their name.
"The queer liberation movement has been misrepresented and co-opted by the HRC," continued the letter.
"The HRC marginalizes us into a limited struggle for aspiring homosexual elites to regain the privilege that they’ve lost and climb the social ladder towards becoming bourgeoisie."
The attack came the morning following a speech by President Obama at a HRC event. The letter referred to the speech, critiquing the HRC and the Democratic party.
"Last night, Obama spoke at the HRC fundraising gala and currently the HRC website declares, ’President Obama underlines his unwavering support for LGBT Americans.’ The vast amount of organizing resources the HRC wastes on their false alliance with the Democratic party leaves radical queers on the margins to fend for themselves.
"Our struggle has always had to resist the repression of conservative tendencies in government and society to gain liberation in our lives."
The letter also criticized a perceived elitism about the gathering.
"The gourmet affair was sponsored by 48 corporations including giants Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, and Wachovia Bank. At $250 dollars a plate the HRC served our movement a rich, white, heternormative atmosphere that purposefully excludes working class queer folks."
The letter went on to reference the civil rights uprising of four decades ago and contrast that time with contemporary events.
"REMEMBER THE STONEWALL RIOTS! On the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, pigs raided a queer bar in Texas, arrested and beat our friends, and we looked towards politicians and lawyers to protect us.
"This mentality is what keeps the money flowing to the HRC and their pet Democrats, and keeps our fists in our pockets.
"Most of all we disagree that collective liberation will be granted by the state or its institutions like prisons, marriage, and the military," the letter went on.
"We need to escalate our struggle, or it will collapse."
The note was signed, "Love and Solidarity."
The vandalism was no the first sour note in the weekend-long event. Even before crowds amassed at the nation’s capital to demand GLBT equality, reported an Oct. 6 article at EDGE, Queer Liberaction, a Dallas-based group, had been scrapping in electronic forums with National Equality March organizers.
The "tagging" of the HRC headquarters building did attract some notice from attendees of the march. One blogger posted an article about it at an Equality March themed blog titled Mentioning Truth to Power.
Wrote blog contributor Leslie Ewing in an Oct. 11 posting, "Was this a hate crime against HRC?
"I doubt if this is the first time someone has politically vandalized their building. But, geez...it was kind of disconcerting to see, especially today. At approximately 6:45 in the morning... sans caffeine."
Wrote Ewing, "I do hope HRC will quit leaving queers out, and learn to make nice with people who don’t write checks. And, I hope that those who don’t write checks will come to understand that it takes ALL of us to make change happen."
The episode of vandalism notwithstanding, Ewing added, "This has been a wonderful, meaningful weekend..one that gave us all hope.
"However,we still have our work cut out for us. Heavy lifting ahead.