Occupy Wall Street to protest HRC

I get the desire to light a fire under HRC. And it does seem odd timing of HRC to honor Goldman Sachs now. Though I could do without the newest alphabet soup “Queer/LGBTIQA2Z.” (Pretty soon the gay community is going to be everything but gay.)

OWS’ main gripe with HRC seems to be:

“After 60 years of struggle, there is still not a single federal non-discrimination law protecting LGBT Americans from discrimination. More incredibly, HRC, the corporate entity that controls our strategy, is not even seeking equal protection for our community.”

It’s not entirely clear what that second sentence means (it’s hard to seek anything legislative at the federal level with a GOP House – having said that, there still is a lot that could be done PR-wise for a lot of federal legislation like DOMA and ENDA).

I would say, more generally, that I’m not entirely sure what HRC’s current goals are, besides helping the President get re-elected. Are they working on all the state marriage and DOMA battles coming up this year? Are they pushing for the President to come out for marriage equality, and/or issue an executive order on ENDA and federal contractors, before the election? It’s anyone’s guess. HRC, like far too many groups, needs to do a better telegraphing exactly what it is they do and are doing. Also, more generally, I’ve found that it never hurts for a national organization to have its own “moon misson,” as it were – meaning, a grand lofty legislative (or otherwise) goal that might take a few years to achieve. What is HRC’s? (And saying their goal is “full equality” isn’t enough – I mean, literally, what is the next big thing on their agenda, to get ENDA passed in 2013, or what?)

QUEER OWS TO PROTEST HRC NYC GALA

QUEER OCCUPIERS DENOUNCE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN FOR HONORING GOLDMAN SACHS & FAILING TO DEMAND FULL FEDERAL EQUALITY

New York, NY, February 1, 2012 – Queer/LGBTIQA2Z Occupy Wall Street, a caucus of the NYC based Occupy Wall Street movement, announced today that it will protest a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Gala honoring Goldman Sachs on Saturday February 4, 2012 at the Waldorf Astoria.

In contrast to the $650 a plate Gala, the Queer/LGBTIQA2Z Caucus will host a “Guerrilla Potluck” on the sidewalk outside of the prestigious hotel at 50th Street & Park Avenue from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Queer Caucus: 1. Condemns HRC for honoring Goldman Sachs, 2. Calls upon HRC to adopt a strategy of Full Equality by 2014, and 3. Demands that HRC create a transparent process that includes the grassroots.

1. The Queer Caucus condemns HRC’s decision to honor Goldman Sachs in a time of financial collapse caused by their unethical business practices and greed, and deplores the use of our cause and suffering for corporate public relations. HRC honoring Goldman Sachs at this time reveals all one needs to know about the corporate LGBT lobby, and its disconnect from the 99% and the LGBT people it purports to represent.

2. The Queer Caucus calls upon HRC to embrace the grassroots demand for Full Federal Equality by 2014 – the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

After 60 years of struggle, there is still not a single federal non-discrimination law protecting LGBT Americans from discrimination. More incredibly, HRC, the corporate entity that controls our strategy, is not even seeking equal protection for our community.

To address this, the Queer Caucus calls on HRC to take The Pledge for Full LGBT Equality to seek and secure full non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identify for all people.

The right to be protected from discrimination secures a core liberty interest. And it is the duty of government to protect LGBT Americans from the harm caused by discrimination as a matter of public welfare, law and conscience, as it has for decades for all other oppressed groups.

As HRC restrains the demand for equality, discrimination takes its insidious toll on LGBT Americans who suffer vast psychological harm rejected by their families and society, driven to suicide at 5 times the heterosexual norm by tormenting, minority stress afflictions, and lost hope.

A whopping 40% of homeless youth identity as LGBT, 66% of Transgender people have been fired or not hired for a job, 60% of our youth are taunted and feel unsafe at school, and LGBT people are 6x more likely to have multiple mental stress disorders due to societal discrimination.

“Homo/transphobia in America is a public health and economic emergency for our community” said Michael Tikile, an occupier and Duke University graduate. “We are not safe in school, work or housing. How are we supposed to live, pursue happiness or achieve economic equality?”

3. The Queer Caucus also demand that HRC open the process with transparency and grassroots inclusion.

Currently, HRC operates under a closed, hierarchical system, controlled by a financial elite, insulated from grassroots input. Likewise, in Congress, Democrat House members Barney Frank, Jared Polis and Tammy Baldwin, keep the grassroots out of the conversation, protecting the DNC strategy from movement agitation and impact.

With this structure in place, queer occupiers know that only a handful of privileged voices are setting the national queer agenda and strategy, defining what “LGBT equality” means and who our friends are.

For example, HRC’s key sponsors includes a long list of big businesses that contributed to recent economic and environmental distress, including Citi Bank, Bank of America, Chevron, BP, Shell, Morgan Stanley, MetLife, Deloitte, Lexus, Prudential, and Ernst & Young.

“With all of these companies, you’d expect the power to be on our side! But instead, our community is simply a tool and pawn in the political system” said Tanya Walker, an original occupier and tireless transgender activist.

Simply put, the Queer Caucus demands equal non-discrimination protections under the 1964 Civil Rights Act because equality is the only true antidote to LGBT abuse – like it has proven to be for race, sex, national origin, religion, age and disability – long protected from discrimination by law.

“Equality and non-discrimination are universal values that define basic human dignity” said Todd (Tif) Fernandez, a human rights lawyer and grassroots activist. “It is our civic duty as Americans to protect and respect the LGBT community immediately.”

Please Take the Pledge for Full LGBT Equality (by 2014) (http://bit.ly/the2014pledge).

Join the Guerrilla Potluck (http://on.fb.me/GuerrillaPotluck). Bring flashlights.

Join Queer/LGBTIQA2Z OWS Caucus organizing, Sundays at 1pm, 60 Wall Street or on FB http://on.fb.me/QueerOWS.

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About the Queer/LGBTIQA2Z Caucus of Occupy Wall Street
QOWS began meeting as a group in Zuccotti Park in mid-October 2011. The group strives for economic, political, and social equality for LGBTQ people both locally and nationwide.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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