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    • October 4, 2007 5:23 AM BST
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      Donna Rose has been a good and supportive friend to me. Always positive in her feedback to me, and a hug from her is most welcome when I see her. A couple of years ago, the community was ecouraged by her appointment to the HRC Board of Directors. Maybe now we would get our voice in Washington. She fought bravely in the vicious arena of Washington politics, but when push came to shove, she was forced to make a choice, and she made the right choice. The choice to stand with her conscience, and with her sisters and brothers, her community.

      Today, in the wake of HRC's betrayal of the transgender community in the struggle for an inclusive version of the Employment Non Discrimination Act, and her most valiant efforts to effect a positive result from the inside, Donna Rose, a true community advocate, tendered her resignation from the HRC Board of Directors. Her thoughts and her letter of resignation follow:

      Wednesday, October 3, 2007

      It's odd how things happen in your life to truly put things into
      perspective. I have been dealing with the weight of what has been happening
      with ENDA and made a call to a friend that I haven't heard from in a
      while. She answered and we made some small-talk but I could tell from
      the sound of her voice that there was something wrong. I asked if she
      was really doing ok, and she thought for a second, and proceeded to tell
      me that no, everything's not ok. She's a single parent of a 14-year
      old daughter and she explained that she had spent the entire previous
      night at the hospital in the Emergency Room because her daughter had
      overdosed on Ritalin. Apparently, her daughter indicated that she was
      trying to hurt herself, but as the effects of the overdose started to happen
      she got scared and woke up her mom. When they got to the hospital she
      was turning purple, was incoherent and couldn't move very well.&nbp; It
      was too late to pump her stomach, so they hooked her up to IV's in an
      attempt to flush her system and began other efforts to keep her from
      slipping into a coma. She's going to be ok, but her mom is racked with
      sadness, guilt, and confusion.

      Somehow, big decisions seem small when compared to the realities we
      face in life.

      With that preface, it became easy for me to make a very difficult
      decision. Yesterday morning I crafted a letter of resignation from the HRC
      Board of Directors. It came from my heart, and somehow the words
      seemed to flow in a way that I really can't explain. I sat on that letter,
      wanting to be sure I was doing the right thing, weighing all the
      seemingly complex factors that needed to be considered before truly deciding
      what to do. But in the end, I realized that each of us needs to put
      what we're feeling into action. The opening paragraph of my statement
      truly captures the essence of what I beliee. And, knowing what I know
      and feeling what I feel, the answer became clear.

      You can read my full statement here[...]ity.htm

      That being said, there may be other machines in motion. There may be
      things at play that I don't know. In fact, I'd hope that were so. But
      once I get past that the confusing conflict of emotion and reason to
      truly put things in perspective I knew what I had to do. And I did it.

      I hope I'm wrong. The thing I'd be happiest about is for whatever
      strategy that Joe and the rest of the leadership at HRC are pursuing to
      lead to a fully inclusive ENDA. I'd happily eat his "I told you so's"
      until I was ready to explode. But the reality is that his efforts will
      work or not work irregardless of what I do. An if I follow my heart
      I'll know that at least this one conflicted person has done the right

      The people at HRC have become like family to me. They're not simply a
      cold, calculating political money-making machine as so many seem bent
      on portraying them to be. They're people who come from all over the
      country with the fire of making this world a better place for GLBT people
      burning brightly in their eyes. They have embraced me and I have
      embraced them right back. They have believed in me, trusted me, confided in
      me, and made me feel as though I had found a safe haven from the
      sometimes stormy seas of activism. Oddly, the same drive to follow my heart
      and to support the organization when others accused me of selling-out,
      of copping-out, and of being one of "them" is the same drive that has
      driven me to do what I did this morning. None of us can be reproached
      for doing what we feel is right. I want to believe that Joe,the
      leadership at HRC, and the Board truly believes that. I know I do.

      I hold no animosity, and in fact I see this as a family feud more than
      a divorce. But there's a difference between being a worker bee, a foot
      soldier, or a supportive resource and being in a position of
      accountability for the leadership decisions of the organization. I can't speak
      for anyone else, but I know I'm good with things. I suppose time will
      tell if that sentiment is returned in kind.

      What happens now is anyone's guess. I remain open to possibility and
      opportunity. I don't believe that all is done yet. But that doesn't
      change the fact that I'm letting the difficult reality of what I've done
      soak in. And I'll figure out what to do next.

      I'm supposed to be in Washington tomorrow to attend Business Council
      meetings and I'm really going to try to mke that happen. Besides all of
      this I actually have a job to do and this is a critical week for my
      project. I've got fires burning on all sides and I'm trying manage
      communication, deal with escalation, coordinate resources, and generally
      keep the boat floating and moving. As I say, with all of the churn around
      all this stuff happening so far away, life still happens. I wouldn't
      have it any other way.



      October 3, 2007

      My statement in response to the recently announced Human Rights
      Campaign position on ENDA:

      Community. Integrity. Leadership. Vision. These are the
      foundational pillars of Equality. These are the values that draw many of us into
      advocacy roles. Those tenets provide a clear roadmap when things like
      politics, expediency, agenda, and power cloud the picture as they so
      often do. Thy pave the way to the moral high-ground, and those who
      follow them with trust and patience will ultimately find their efforts

      My name is Donna Rose, and I am the first and only openly transgender
      member of the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Campaign. I am the
      national co-chair for Diversity. I am the co-chair appointee-elect
      for the Business Council. I have spoken at events around the country on
      behalf of the organization, and I am a respected advocate for the
      transgender community.

      My participation on the HRC Board has been a heavy burden. The
      relationship between HRC and the transgender community is one scarred by
      betrayal, distrust, and anger. I have become a focal point for much of that
      frustration and I accepted that responsibility with the hope that I
      could help to change it. In some very real ways I think I have been able
      to do that, or at least to help make that happen, and am tremendously
      prod of all we have achieved.

      HRC has done some wonderful work to support the transgender community.
      Workplaces around the country are recognizing the unique challenges
      faced by transgender employees and are moving in record numbers to
      protect them as valued members of an inclusive workforce. Educational tools
      to help demystify our lives and to provide a human perspective have
      paved to way to a better understanding of who we are and our challenges.
      We have set high standards and we have held others accountable to
      them. The question at hand is whether we, as an organization, hold
      ourselves accountable to those same high expectations.

      Transgender is not simply the `T' in GLBT. It is people who, for
      one reason or another, may not express their gender in ways that conform
      to traditional gender norms or expectations. That covers everyone
      from transsexuals, to queer youth, to feminine acting men, to masculine
      appearing women.&nbs; It is a broad label that cannot be confined to a
      specific silo of people. It is anyone who chooses to live authentically. To
      think that the work that we are doing on behalf of the entire GLBT
      community simply benefits or protects part of us is to choose a simplistic
      view of a complex community. In a very real way, the T is anyone who
      expresses themselves differently. To some it is about gender. To me,
      it is about freedom.

      The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is a core piece of
      legislation. It would guarantee that GLBT people will not get fired from
      their jobs because of discrimination and prejudice. It makes a strong
      statement that discrimination of any kind is unacceptable, and it
      recognizes the critical role of employment and career as something more than
      simply a paycheck. It is a source of pride, of achievement, of belonging,
      of security, and in a very real way it is a validation of person-hood.

      Uemployment and under-employment is the single most significant issue
      facing transgender people today. The high-profile case of Susan
      Stanton, city manager from Largo, FL who was fired early this year after an
      exemplary 17-year career there simply because she was outed as being
      transgender, demonstrates the continuing experience that many of us
      continue to face each and every day in workplaces around this country.
      Although workplaces have made tremendous strides in enacting supportive
      policy, bad things still happen and the overall message being sent is that
      we're somehow expendable. In years past these things happened
      quietly, going unnoticed. Those days are numbered.

      That's why ENDA is so important. It is more than simply a statement
      that it's not ok to fire GLBT people for reasons unrelated to work
      performance. It's a statement that we are a commuity. It's
      recognition of people who may not express their gender in traditional ways
      does not affect a person's ability to contribute as simply another part
      of a diverse workforce. It's a validation of those foundational
      pillars that line the moral high ground. And, it's recognition that each
      of us has value, and none of us will be left behind.

      The current situation regarding ENDA is nothing short of a politically
      misguided tragedy. A tool that could and should be a unifying beacon
      on the heels of the historic passage of fully inclusive Hate Crime
      legislation has been split. Transgender brothers and sisters again find
      themselves separated, isolated, and disempowered. People in positions of
      power have decided that their personal legacy and the promise of
      political expediency are more important than protecting our entire beautiful
      community. The time is here to make a strong statement to demonstrate
      to them that they are wong.

      In 2004 the HRC Board voted to support only fully-inclusive Federal
      legislation. That decision paved the way to my participation with the
      organization, and was a significant step in the healing process. Since
      that time we have worked together tirelessly towards a goal of Equality
      for all. Less than a month ago HRC President Joe Solmonese stood before
      almost 900 transgender people at the Southern Comfort Conference in
      Atlanta to pledge ongoing support and solidarity. In his keynote address
      he indicated that not only would HRC support only a fully inclusive
      ENDA, but that it would actively oppose anything less. That single
      pledge changed hearts and minds that day, and the ripple affect throughout
      the transgender community was that we finally were one single GLBT
      community working together. Sadly, recent events indicate that those
      promiseswere hollow.

      An impressive coalition of local and national organizations has lined
      up to actively oppose the divisive strategy that would leave some of our
      brothers and sisters without workplace protections. This effort has
      galvanized community spirit and commitment in ways few could have
      imagined, and it has demonstrated to those who would divide us that anything
      less than full inclusion is unacceptable Organization after
      organization has seized the moral high ground knowing that this is a historic
      opportunity that cannot be squandered, and that it is our moral obligation
      to ourselves and to generations that will follow to make a loud,
      clear, unmistakable statement that we are a community and we will not be
      divided. There is a single significant organization glaringly missing
      from that list. The Human Rights Campaign has chosen not to be there.

      It is impossible to remove passion and emotion from what has happened.
      Indeed, thos are the fuels that propel us. That being said please
      know that this entire situation has affected me deeply and profoundly.
      Still, I will not sling mud at the organization to who I have given my
      heart, my energies, and my trust. I will not give in to my frustration
      and disappointment that Joe's words of less than a month ago have
      proven to be hollow promises. This unfortunate turn of events has forced
      me to make some very difficult personal decisions about integrity,
      character, community, and leadership. Although I can find any number of
      logical and personal reasons to continue in my capacity as a board
      member, I cannot escape the moral implications of the decision before me.
      Using that as my guide, as difficult as it is for me to make, the
      decision is an obvious one.

      I hereby submit my resignation from my post on the Board of the Human
      Rights Campaign effective Monday Oct. 8, 2007. I call on other
      like-minded board members steering committee leaders, donors, corporate
      sponsors, and volunteers to think long and hard about whether this
      organization still stands for your values and to take decisive action as well.
      More than simply a question of organization policy, this is a test of
      principle and integrity and although it pains me greatly to see what has
      happened it is clear to me that there can only be one path. Character
      is not for compromise. I cannot align myself with an organization that
      I can't trust to stand-up for all of us. More than that, I cannot
      give half-hearted support to an organization that has now chosen to
      forsake the tenets that have guided my efforts from day one.

      I align myself and my energies with the groundswell of community
      sentiment that has universally stood to oppose this divisive strategy. I
      wish my friends and colleagues from the Human Rights Campaign the best,
      and I expect that time will prove their decision to take a neutra stance
      and to fracture our community to be short-sighted and misguided. I
      accept the notion that we all want the same thing. It's just that I
      couldn't disagree more with this destructive strategy to get there. I
      urge the board and the leadership to reconsider their position and the
      join a unified community that supports a single all-inclusive bill.

      History teaches painful lessons. Any celebration of rights gained at
      the expense of others is not a celebration. It is a failure of
      effective leadership. It is to offer the promise of a tomorrow that you know
      in your heart will never come. It is to choose to turn your back on
      those who need you most, who do not have the voice or the stature to speak
      for themselves.

      The time is here for leaders to lead, for those who say they stand for
      community to act forcefully and with purpose. Anything less is to
      forsake the pillars of Equality for the empty promise of somethingless.
      The word that we have for that in our language is "Courage". It's
      the kind of courage it takes for GLBT people to show up for work each
      and every day, living authentically, wondering if that will be their
      last day. I call on my brothers and sisters at the Human Rights Campaign,
      for Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Frank, and for equality-minded
      leaders everywhere to lead by example and to do the right thing.

      In Solidarity for Equality,

      Donna Rose


      Messages in this topic (1) Reply (via web post) | Start
    • October 4, 2007 1:46 PM BST
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      It's apparent that Donna knows something we don't. Robbi Cohn also resigned from HRC's North Carolina Advisory Committee, and it's worth noting that HRC was conspicuously absent from the list of over 90 advocacy organizations that signed the letter of solidarity in opposition to a non inclusive ENDA. Do you need a lift to Saturday's demonstration in DC, Wendy?
    • October 4, 2007 3:28 PM BST
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      Sounds like the HRC have been brought to disrepute. What do they stand for again? I’m confused!!!!! LOL
    • October 4, 2007 5:24 PM BST
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      The acronym stands for Human Rights campaign. They are basically a big corporation that advocates and lobbies for LGB causes in an effort to justify the huge salaries of its management. In light of the upcoming changes in non profit tax laws due to become effective at the first of the year, HRC is engaged in an effort to become the Walmart of advocacy groups, attempting to absorb all others and stamp their name on any and all causes for brand recognition.

      I have always been skeptical of their commitment to the trans community, especially since they turned me down for two staff positions there for which I was eminently qualifed, and had letters of reference from prominent members of the trans political community. I love Donna Rose dearly, and had hope that her appointment to the board there would have a positive effect, and I know she did her level best, but in the long run, her inclusion was just an empty gesture of tokenism.

      There are those organizations that have a real commitment to our community, and they consist of members of our community with a vested interest in changing things for the better. They include the International Foundation for Gender Education, the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition. These are the groups who should be speaking for us, not a group of rich gay men.

      This post was edited by Katie Glover at June 13, 2013 5:35 PM BST
    • October 4, 2007 6:22 PM BST
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      Knew what HRC stood for, I was probably being a little too acerbic with my sarcasm. How can a human rights organisation blatantly exclude a section of society? That is up most hypocrisy, and how can they continue with any level of credibility? Hence my statement that they have brought themselves to disrepute.
    • October 5, 2007 4:42 AM BST
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      We don't need HRC to let our representatives know how we feel about ENDA. In fact, the more people who write directly to their representatives the better. How do we know that our concerns are even getting to their intended destination if we use the HRC interface. They are not to be trusted with our survival at stake. Use the following link to write directly to your congress representative and tell them to support an inclusive version of ENDA TODAY!

      See you at Hollywood and Vine at 0200 sharp, Wendy. You can catch a ride home on the back of Cyndi's Gold Wing.
    • October 4, 2007 6:33 AM BST
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      I'm somewhat confused by this because of the email I received today from Joe Solomonese of the HRC. It seems to be in contradiction to the claims that the HRC has abandoned T's. It appears to indicate an all out effort to gain votes for the glbt-inclusive version of the bill, including a delay in voting on the modified bill.


      "Late last week, House leaders announced their decision to change the language of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) so that it only includes sexual orientation and not gender identity. These House leaders have said that they do not have enough votes to move forward with the original fully-inclusive bill.

      We are profoundly disappointed by this move, and I want to explain our position and ask you to write your congress member today.

      Tell your representative we need an employment discrimination law that includes the entire GLBT community.

      Since 2004, the Human Rights Campaign's policy has been to only support civil rights legislation that is inclusive of gender identity - a policy that was reaffirmed by our Board of Directors in a vote on Monday night.

      That's why we fought tirelessly for - and won - Congressional approval for a hate crimes bill that includes gender identity, and have been working for years to pass an inclusive employment discrimination bill.

      This year we ramped up our lobby presence on the Hill, helped coordinate broad coalition efforts, and deployed our field team to more than 40 key congressional districts to mobilize unprecedented support for an inclusive ENDA. We secured the active support of corporate America, with more than 50 major companies joining our Business Coalition for Workplace Fairness. Our Religion and Faith Program was instrumental as well, giving voice to thousands of faith leaders across the country. We secured supportive editorials from a record number of newspapers, and with your help we generated hundreds of thousands of constituent contacts to members of Congress, through emails, phone calls, postcards, and thousands of hand-written letters.

      However, we're facing a stark reality. The House leadership and bill sponsors are moving forward with a non-inclusive ENDA - even without the full support of our community. They view this as the best opportunity this year to get a successful vote on legislation extending protections to the largest number of people.

      I want you to know we made every possible effort to avoid having a non-inclusive bill introduced and we did succeed in helping convince Congressional leaders to delay action on the new bill until later this month.

      We now have a window of opportunity to try and line up the votes we need to pass a fully-inclusive ENDA.

      We've delivered HRC's message to Congress, but I'm asking you today to send your own message. Your Representative must understand that supporters of equality will not rest until rights are extended to everyone in the GLBT community.

      Tell your Representative you stand behind legislation that will provide the same protections to all GLBT people.

      This has been a long battle. HRC first started the quest for ENDA in 1994. We've been pushing for an inclusive bill since 2004. This month, ENDA could pass the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in history.

      I implore you to take action today and to forward this message to your family and friends. Working together, I am confident we can pass historic civil rights legislation.

      Joe Solmonese
      Joe Solmonese

      Having trouble clicking on the links above? Simply copy and paste this URL into your browser's address bar to take action today:

      If you would like to unsubscribe from a specific Human Rights Campaign list, or update your account settings, you can visit your Subscription Management Page. Click here to remove yourself from all Human Rights Campaign lists."


      Can someone explain why the two documents above in this thread appear to be in total disagreement about the facts regarding ENDA?
    • October 4, 2007 9:02 PM BST
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      Your sarcasm was clear, Anyfer. I guess we are not considered human in the same way the African-American community was not considered human by 18th and 19th centurey slave owners. I guess that makes us "gender-niggers" to the rest of America. It's a shame that those, who have gotten or are getting their freedoms guaranteed by law, are reluctant to fight for the freedoms of those minorities who are still legitimate targets for abuse. "I've got mine so screw everyone else." Perhaps we should wear T shirts that say "FREE THE GENDER-NIGGERS" since uncomfortable phrases seem to get America's guilt. After all, the GLB community adopted "QUEER".

      I'll be on the corner of Hollywood and Vine for pick up at 0200 Saturday, Robyn.....if the cops don't bust me for soliciting. I will need a ride back to L.A. afterwards.

      Until the vote is over, however, I suggest we follow HRC's public lead and try to generate the votes we need in Congress. We have been given more time. Let's not just bitch. Let's use the time for demonstrations and encouraging our elected, political representatives to vote inclusive. Chicken can't hurt and it might help.

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