Help Wanted: Transgender Political Insider, No Experience Necessary – Will Train!
Need individual with a smiling face and a Can-Do Attitude! Personal Ambition a serious plus! Must take directions well. Must be able to learn public relations marketing from a gay and lesbian perspective (Marketing experience a huge plus) Must like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Gay and Lesbian Equality. Must possess ability and willingness to both raise funds or to be able to attract leads for fundraising for HRC. Can easily substitute a great personal story (author of an autobiography or esp. high-profile job loss, lawsuit or hate crime victim) for fundraising skills.
To be filled: Immediately.
Very competitive salary commensurate with other transgender activist salaries, plus perks! We are an EEOC employer. Only transgendered applicants, preferably white, docile and above-average income need apply.
Yes, the above is a satirical take on what’s actually happening right now. HRC is in desperate need of superficially plastering over the era of discontent in Transgender, and subsequently adjacent portions of the GLB community. They can’t be without a throw-down tranny to upkeep the façade of plausible deniability.
Since Mara Keisling’s tirade last month on both HRC and Joe Solmonese in the Gay City News, where she came right out and stated, “Yes, they totally abandoned us … but even worse was all the lies,” HRC’s been in motion. In an effort to keep the Transgender Community fractious and distracted with ourselves, HRC realized they needed a new leader – the next alpha-dog to bring to the fight.
While Keisling had served them well over the years marketing their agenda like no one before, over time she’s learned the reality. We all come into activism as clean slates, and for some awareness are stark and swift. For others, it’s an osmosis that takes time to gradually clarify. Now Mara sees what we ‘crazy naysayers’ were trying to warn her of six or seven years back and has taken her first steps to try to counter the HRC effect. HRC also realizes they need a replacement part for NCTE.
Thus we have Project Win-Back I wrote about in a previous blog. Word recently went out that Barney Frank was coordinating a joint effort to lobby congress with a handful of unnamed transgender community “business” leaders, ostensibly led by Susan Stanton, the Largo, Florida City Manager who was fired for transitioning. While HRC is not explicitly mentioned, it’s got their fingerprints all over it, while very deftly keeping a low profile.
“What I really need to do
Is find myself a brand new lover,
Somebody real nice to me
Who doesn't notice all the others.” — Brand New Lover, Dead Or Alive
So why does this signal HRC “looking for a new love”? For starters, Mara Keisling and NCTE is in Washington DC proper, well-experienced, and has even joint-lobbied with HRC for some time. That she’s not named as the lead on that effort would never occur if she were involved.
Additional reason to see a circumvention by HRC: In late 2001 and 2002, this is exactly what they did with Mara Keisling a year before ushering her in as the go-to transgender leader for HRC a scant year later. Riki Wilchins was still around, though out-of-favor with them. NTAC was around and certainly not swayable by the HRC marketing team. They needed a “transgender leader” that they could work with – one who passed their mettle. In 2002, Mara Keisling fit their bill and would eagerly circumvent. Five years down the road, and now it’s Mara and NCTE that HRC wishes to circumvent. At the moment, it appears to be Susan Stanton to fit their bill.
When you wake up tomorrow
You'll be all alone
Oh the love that we had
I have quickly outgrown — Brand New Lover, Dead Or Alive
As HRC sees it, they need to choose the transgender leader / liaison they feel most comfortable with. The key traits they seek in their transgender leaders are agreeability, docility and willingness to compromise. They cannot tolerate a leader becoming aware and actually challenging them. Mara’s now surpassed that threshold for them.
One thing strangely never occurs to HRC. How is it that they feel the right to anoint another community’s leadership?
Some years back, when Exec. Dir, Elizabeth Birch left, HRC board member (and a friend of mine) Tony Varona asked me for my opinion on who HRC should consider to replace her. I refrained from any opinion on that. I felt strongly then and still do today that we should not pressure or manipulate their community’s organization or who their community chooses for their leadership. It’s not our place. They, as should every community, must have the right to self determine and choose freely – good or bad. If they choose unwisely, tell them afterwards about why the choice is bad – but still allow them the right to choose.
Yet HRC has an addiction to meddling in trans affairs, tweaking and steering – sometimes quite heavy-handedly – our community. And it always blows up in their face, and the trans community becomes that much more resentful of them, and they still don’t seem to understand why – or perhaps want to ignore it. Why have a voice when we can have them decide what our voice will be?
As Jessica Xavier taught me in a phone conversation about six years ago, HRC is in the business of Political Management. It’s not about advocacy or civil rights as much as it is about ‘managing’ the sociopolitical environment to help mold public opinion favorable to the gay and lesbian rights agenda. They have not just a desire or an addiction to control, it’s in their very business description. It’s their job.
Therefore it’s easier to see why they feel need to choose our leaders for us, why they need to tell us what is inclusive language and how is the best way to achieve it, why they need to instruct us on what is politically feasible.
It’s not easier for us to take, much less accept. This is not only dismissive, but it’s flagrantly arrogant. Knowing their calculated nature, and watching their movement patterns, I’m relatively certain they intend to not only get their slate of items on their political agenda (yes, we’ll be left out), but then move to co-opt “transgender” and make it their next cottage industry in an effort to keep the paychecks and funding rolling in. As a bonus, they get more media face-time, and stand above us as self-envisioned heroes leading we hapless trans folk to our equality (and to craftily manage to assuage any former guilt).
So HRC will bring in a whole slew of fresh new transgender faces for the next wave. They can always find names like a Dana Beyer, Amanda Simpson, Susan Stanton or others with little to no awareness of, or a healthy disdain of trans history, willing to soak as would a sponge all the gospel HRC can impart. With enough personal ambition to put the blinders on and leave them on for as long as possible, they may even find another as effective as Mara was for them.
And Mara herself? HRC will keep her close by. They’ll relegate her to Riki Wilchins’ status and utilize her on one-off ventures – mostly as a reminder for the newest trans leaders to “stay in line,” the same way they’d pull Riki in to remind Mara of her place in the political world according to HRC.
It’s all to help HRC further their agenda while keeping the Trans community at bay, creating more opportunities for mistrusting our own and developing more self-loathing. And eventually, when the sponge becomes saturated and disgorging the water it soaked in, it’ll be time for HRC to look for a brand new one to replace it.
“Reality Bites … and sometimes those who reality’s bitten deserve every last bit of it.” — transgender activist Jessica Xavier, 2001