Saturday, February 7, 2009
Here We Go Again: IFGE Elects HRC’s Allyson Robinson To The Board
The past few days I’ve been attending the IFGE Conference in suburban Virginia. As today was the Trinity Awards for the community, I made a point of attending. I was please to see folks get rewarded for their hard work – many times done out of pocket and unfunded.
During the announcements portion of the luncheon we heard the news of the newly-elected board at IFGE. Congratulations go out to all, and a special congrats to Bree Hartlage who will be the new board chair.
But then, at the end of the announced new board members for IFGE was a name that stopped me cold: Allyson Robinson. Shortly after I verified with board member Ethan St. Pierre: yes, this is the one employed by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). She is now on the board of IFGE.
This wasn’t just a blindside, but a gut-shot and a lead pipe to the back of the head! This one came out of nowhere. The same girl that some of these same folks were panning when HRC hired her about the “activist” tag they tossed around, the same one folks have stood warily away from for her obligatory HRC promotion and concerns about motivation is now the same one on the board of IFGE.
So now, HRC has established their first foothold in yet another trans organization, and is eyeing another trans conference opportunistically. While Allyson may not be a bad person (I don’t know), one thing I am fully aware of is HRC’s propensity for strategic placement with a distinct eye toward marketing and ultimately their own bottom line. They must continue finding ways to keep employing themselves and bring up the next crop of gay and lesbian activists and future leaders – you know, the things trans people have never been able to enjoy?
“Got moneys not looking for the cure.
Got moneys not concerned with the sick among the pure.
Got money, “let’s go dancing on the backs of the bruised.” — Head Like A Hole, Nine Inch Nails
Have we not learned anything from October 2007? Southern Comfort Conference was just over a year ago, and it seems we trans folks are willing to forgive and forget and offer and olive branch of trust once again. WHY? What did we do wrong in the build up leading to October, and subsequently when we were unceremoniously ditched by both Barney Frank and HRC. I mourn that our community is once again doing what will paint us as nothing but brain-dead dupes still too stupid to be aware of when we’re getting fleeced.
And please do not give me nor anyone else the crap that this was all Barney Frank and that HRC was solely an unwitting participant in this whole travesty! From 2005 on, this was the direction HRC was lobbying toward. NTAC held its tongue, practically biting through the damn thing after Lobby Days in May 2007 as we were preemptively “damage controlled” by Mara Keisling at Esprit Conference and after. We watched, waited, gave them every opportunity to make an unfettered decision, and HRC obscenely screwed us!
It reminds me of what I’d just finished writing about a week ago: how have we NOT learned our lessons? Where has HRC done anything that even smacks of change, much much less atone for the damage they’ve wreaked on the trans political scene? When has there been anything but this constant attempt to drive wedges, divide and conquer, ultimately crushing the trans community leadership and voice, then waiting around for the spoils of their war against trans people fighting for our own egalité?
“No you can’t take it.
No you can’t take it.
No you can’t take that away from me.” — Head Like A Hole, Nine Inch Nails
Now it’s the trans community, in the persona of IFGE, that wants to let bygones be bygones, amazingly undermining our own ability to even leverage HRC, and pry away any gains! What the hell has HRC ever done for trans activism to deserve favor? We’ve always been, and still continue to be dismissed, disrespected, disengaged, discredited, disempowered, crushed and dispensed to the four winds!
Now they’ve convinced yet another organization to allow them to worm their way in so that they may undermine the trans political leadership once again, with a particular eye toward what opportunity they may reap for themselves and their own on the backs of ours, and availing themselves of the tragedies of the trans community! I have two words to describe them: selfish greed!
For trans people who don’t genuflect and capitulate, showing them what they feel is proper deference, they will vindictively retaliate as always. So much for thinking there was a chance for change from them. That killed it!
It’s ironic that Lisa Mottet of NGLTF, one of the Trinity Award winners, mused that it was ashame that the trans community doesn’t work together, and how far too often we find ourselves at odds with each other. This followed on the heels of the HRC employee now a board member, with their long and consistent history. They not only can’t see things from a trans perspective – the absence of hope, the pervasive unemployment, the pulverized dreams, the constant betrayals – they refuse to! That was a nice try, but I’m not buying those words for half a second! I’m following what experience has taught numerous times – the only change came from our side, not theirs!
All day the organization and others onstage referenced Sylvia Rivera and her courageous fight. And yet, here we have something that’s not simply disrespecting her memory but is certainly sending her spinning in her grave. If she were alive, taking a look at the trans community’s predicament and with this discovery today, Sylvia would be absolutely furious!
For all the IFGE folks who say “oh, but this is different … it won’t happen to us,” all I can say is bone up on history. There’s nothing comprehensive about this: it’s isolating one thing, wedge here, wedge there, pry and pry until you break it loose, then grab the spoils. Back to their usual selves ….
“Bow down before the one you serve.
You’re going to get what you deserve.” — Head Like A Hole, Nine Inch Nails
It’s time to bloody up the waters, seriously! It’s time to expose these avaricious HRC folks for the greed, manipulation, and hateful disrespect they’ve always shown the community and continue wanting to purvey with impunity! We must find ways to take this to the press, to the straight community and out into the streets.
We must blast them until the truth is finally known and then continue blasting them until we even it up and everything is made right!
Until then, there is no such thing as “equal” when your trans! And I for one am sick of being “lesser than”!
“Head like a hole, black as your soul.
I’d rather die than give you control.” — Head Like A Hole, Nine Inch Nails
“Blood on the streets, blood on the rocks,
Blood in the gutter, every last drop!
You want blood? You got it!” — If You Want Blood, AC/DC