Another anti-HRC rant

From the HRC website:

HRC envisions an America where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are ensured equality and embraced as full members of the American family at home, at work and in every community.

This is the HRC mission statement. It can be found on their website in the “about us” section. RANT is after the jump…

So, normally, this would be nothing to worry about…. seems fairly benign, right? But, I refer you to an earlier post about Sara Ahmed’s Queer Phenomenology and the idea that “straight” and the “straight line” is an inheritance of the “straight” family – that people become orientated to the “straight line” through an expectation of their families of origin that they will mature into adults and reproduce [hetero]sexually to continue the family line.

So let’s think about what it might mean to be “full members of the American family at home, at work, and in every community.” First of all, being a full member of the American family requires “straightness” or adherence to the “straight line” because that’s the expectation – see others’ work on compulsory heterosexuality, including, but not limited to, Adrienne Rich. Also, the term “American family” conjures images of june and ward cleaver and other 1950s housewives who popped heroine to keep up the appearance of being happy with their lives… this is not something I want to be a part of, necessarily.

Second, full members at home. Well, the “American family” at home is an interesting concept. In an age where almost everyone seems to be anti-immigrant, what does it mean to be “at home” in America? The attack on illegal immigrants has morphed into hatred of anyone Hispanic or Latina/o in the U.S. Is this acceptable? Is being a part of the American family “at home” something we really want to strive for when it is no longer about equality at all? If the LGBT rights movement is about equality and fairness and justice, then it must not only be about obtaining “civil rights” for some acceptable-looking and acceptable-acting LGBT people, but for all people, including non-LGBT people who are discriminated against. I’m not suggesting broadening the movement to the point that it is no longer recognizable as LGBT, but rather that as LGBTQ people we re-evaluate what it means to be “othered” in American society and consider whether we really want to fight to be a part of the mechanism that “othered” us in the first place.

Third, full members at work. This implies that in order to be a member of the American family, one must work, one must have a job, at least one, right? And it probably means you must have at least one full-time job with benefits, because otherwise, you aren’t really employed. according to a July 2008 Bureau of Labor Statistics Report, “Both the number of unemployed persons (8.8 million) and the unemployment rate (5.7 percent) rose in July. Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 1.6 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 1.0 percentage point.”

Additionally, “Over the month, the unemployment rates for adult men (5.3 percent) and whites (5.1 percent) edged up while the rates for adult women (4.6 percent), blacks (9.7 percent), and Hispanics (7.4 percent) were little changed.”

And all of these are just increases over the month of June – meaning what changed between June and July of 2008. This isn’t even over the course of 6 months or a year. Most sources estimate that around 2-4 percent of the population are LGBTQ, yet the current unemployment rate is 5.7 percent. Meaning, more Americans are out of work than they are LGBTQ. I don’t seem to be making this point clearly right now, but there’s something there that I  am incapable of expressing well right now.

The over-arching point is, though, that the “American family” is not entirely at work… at least 5.7 percent are unemployed, but this only counts people who are temporarily unemployed and officially registered as unemployed. This does not count people who are permanently out of the jobmarket.

I’m going to stop here, if anyone has anything to add, I would be very appreciative… leave it in the comments.


5 Responses to “Another anti-HRC rant”
  1. swandiver says:

    Whenever someone asks me what the HRC is (because heaven forbid a gay rights organization has GAY in it’s name), I always say it the gay NAACP. This is not just because of they both have a history of working for civil rights but because they both represent the elitist, assimulationist (sp?) wing of their respective movements. Expecting anything truly radical from either would be a mistake.

  2. I always explain the HRC as the assimilationist wing of the movement – but unfortunately, they’re not just a wing – they almost define the movement, and that, to me, is a problem. And the Human Rights Campaign is a name that should imply something more than just LGBT civil rights, and actually you can pretty much scratch the B and the T because the HRC will throw them under a bus anytime they can make some small bit of progress for “acceptable” Ls and Gs. Expecting anything radical from them is a mistake, and not one I’ll make, but since they are currently defining the movement in the mind of the public, not pointing out their flaws is also a mistake.


  3. anh says:

    my name is Anh and for my BA-Thesis I’m currently conducting a study about
    American Bloggers.

    I would like to invite you to participate in the survey.

    It will only take about 15 minutes and it’s completely anonymous.
    Just visit the following URL:

    Even if you don’t want to participate (or are not American), you can help
    me by posting the link in your blog and/or inviting others to take part.

    I greatly appreciate every survey completed 😉

    Thank you!

  4. libhomo says:

    The HRC doesn’t care about most lesbians and gays either. The only people who matter to the Champaign Fund are wealthy donors.

  5. how right you are – but at least they pretend where Gs and Ls are concerned…


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