Calling out the HRC

Often being the kind of person who likes to give others the benefit of the doubt, part of me feels sorry for the HRC (Human Rights Campaign). They’re being blasted from the more progressive queers as well as the conservative gay uppercrust. But this sentiment doesn’t last overly long.

I’ve faced incredulity, snarkism and even anger from friends, colleagues and other members of queer activism or journalism for my vocal distrust of the HRC. But it is not that I think everything they do is bad or that all those who work for them don’t have gay best interests at heart. But, as an organization, I have always felt they had a narrow focus that hasn’t always benefitted the bulk of the queer population. And of course this is not an unbiased forum. This blog, written solely by me, is riddled with my opinion.

But none of this is new news. What is new is the idea of the HRC losing credibility on a grand scale. This article from In Magazine gives a very thorough breakdown of the flap currently surrounding the GBLT behemoth, and I think it’s about time we questioned them on this kind of scale. But as the organization is problematic so is the critique. It seems to be the conservative gay bloggers that are getting the most attention in pointing out the HRC’s flaws, and yet the liberal gay activists that seem to have some of the most legitamite complaints.

But whoever is in charge of this uprising I think it’s a positive step. One thing about being an activist or a political liberal I so value is the ability to critique ourselves and our own institutions. Without that it is easy to become a corrupt version of our inital well-intentioned selves. Internal dialogue makes progress and keeps us all honest. (I firmly believe in Jon Stewart’s example of this ideology when comparing Honest Abe Lincoln’s cabinet of varied opinions to our current Prez’s hard line of absolute agreement with his policies). The trick here is to make sure that our internal questioning doesn’t turn into internal squabbling and tear apart groups of people that, ultimately, are working toward similar goals.

For a bit of fun with your debate, check out the Jon Stewart snippet below:

Update: The Washington Blade weighs in as well and the beginning basically echos a lot of what I’m saying…

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