Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Being Hypocritical About Hypocrisy

“Facta Non Verba”, Latin phrase translated to “Deeds Not Words”

A good friend of mine, longtime national trans activist Courtney Sharp sent me something amusing she got in her Email box from the Human Rights Campaign. It was an Action Alert letter with a title at the top saying “2008, the Year To Win”:

“Should a leading presidential candidate get away with ignoring the facts and going back on his word? Not on our watch.

Last month, Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mike Huckabee stood by his absurd 1992 comments that AIDS patients should have been "isolated" (it was common knowledge in 1992 that AIDS couldn't be spread by casual contact).

After a public outcry erupted, he agreed to meet with the mother of Ryan White, who died of AIDS in 1990. Now, more than a MONTH later, Huckabee is blatantly ignoring Ryan's mother, along with HRC and The AIDS Institute.

If we back down, he gets off scot-free. Make sure Huckabee knows Americans won't accept empty promises ….”

The letter goes on in incredulity over the prospect of having a presidential candidate who wishes to quarantine and ostracize those suffering from HIV, how he’s not only ignoring science but moving turning back the clock to an era of phobia, ignorance and discrimination. He even asks for support to coerce Huckabee to “honor his word.”

“You can believe it man its true.
Somewhere [Joe Solmonese] is laughing till he wets his pants ….” paraphrased from The Dirty Blvd, Lou Reed

Yes, to the transgender community this sounds like someone’s idea of a joke or maybe very clever satire. But lo and behold, it’s a legitimate letter even down to the signature from … HRC Exec. Director, Joe Solmonese.

Indeed, they sent this to a prominent transgender activist exactly four months to the day after Joe Solmonese’s now-infamous speech as keynote at Southern Comfort Conference (SCC) 2007 where he promised to not only support inclusive legislation but oppose legislation non-inclusive of gender identity.

Even less than four months ago, he reversed course and said he misspoke at SCC, but was still only going to actively support an inclusive bill, but not hold a position on a non-inclusive bill offered by Rep. Barney Frank.

And a little more than three months ago, HRC began actively lobbying for support for the non-inclusive bill (apparently divorcing Solmonese’s earlier comment about misspeaking-but-not-supporting).

This culminated in a House vote about two months ago in which HRC assisted Barney Frank on the “No” votes lining up against the sexual orientation bill by reminding the congress-critters that HRC will be noting their vote on their scorecard (which is used and widely disseminated before election season to their membership). So vote “No” out of principle because transgenders are left out – you get a black mark. Vote “Yes” for the bill – which intently leaves transgenders out and may offend some folks’ principles – and you get a gold star.

And all of this coming from HRC – an organization that even still to this day, even in the face of their recent legislative chutzpah, has the audacity to end the letter with a post-script “HRC has been working for months to put GLBT issues at the center of the presidential primaries.” They still refer to themselves as T – as in “inclusive of transgender.”

Indeed the congress-critters who voted for “inclusive” in principle are the ones who will suffer the risk of opposing HRC when they publish their “scorecard”. I swear I’m not making this up: it’s true.

Now HIV / AIDS is no laughing matter, and deserves respectful consideration from all candidates, and not cruel apathy towards those who contract and suffer from it. That Huckabee or any candidate would treat AIDS sufferers or any other segment of society as not worth any consideration and made to feel as worthless human beings is outrageous.

And yet, Rep. Barney Frank and HRC have no problems doing the same: dismissing the concerns, going back on their word or their board votes, treating the transgender community as not worth the trouble … worthless.

“’Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor … I’ll piss on ‘em’
That’s what the statue of bigotry says.
… Let’s club ‘em to death and get it over with
and just dump ‘em on the boulevard.” — The Dirty Blvd, Lou Reed

Hypocrites calling others’ hypocrisy hypocritical. I’m reminded of a quote Mara Keisling used to use frequently: “Isn’t life amazing?” Actually, amazing isn’t even the right word.

Astonishing! It’s truly astonishing that HRC believes memories are that ephemeral – at least transgender memories. They truly believe transgender are collectively dumber than a box of rocks.

Personally, I have no problems that they treat me that way. However, I’ll guaran-damn-tee you one thing! No matter what they do, no matter how cunningly they market, no matter whom in our community they decide to throw money at, I will never forget. Dumb as a box of rocks or not – their deeds, their legacy is indelibly etched in stone.

“Hypocrisy, arrogance, pride, anger, harshness, and ignorance; these are the marks of those who are born with demonic qualities.” — Bhagavad Gita

“The only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy.” — author, William Hazlitt

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