Why HRC's Equality Sign Made Me See Red
Last week, in support of gay marriage being argued before the Supreme Court (California's Prop. 8 and DOMA, specifically), a few million folks changed their Facebook profile photo to the red equal sign created by the Human Rights Campaign. (Me included, though with a Star Wars twist.) While it was heartening to see so much online support for the issue, it rankled at least one blogger (Clever Title TBA) who does, in fact, heartily support GLBT issues and the right to marry.
What she takes issue with is not the symbol but the source. In her scathing post, Why I almost defriended everyone who had an HRC logo as their profile photo this week, she sheds light on an organization she sees as deeply flawed:
Folks, the HRC is an organization run by rich white men. They have consistently chosen not to support trans rights. They have consistently silenced POC organizations and organizers. They have accepted donations from, and even honored, multi-billionaire corporations who have done more than their fair share to contribute to the unequal distribution of wealth and to systematic racialized and gendered oppression in the US. Their vision of “equality”—as obviously signaled by their logo—is not, and never has been, equality for all. It is equality for those who can afford it. It’s equality for those who can prove they are “just like everyone else,” who respect and embody gender normativity, middle class sensibility, and white supremacy. It’s equality for those who don’t care about coalitional politics, and who endorse both trickle down economics and trickle down civil rights.
So when I see a cascade of HRC logos as far as I can see, and then a ton of self-congratulatory back-patting on the internet, like way to go, internet America! You’ve seen the light! You’re finally making progress! I think about all the queer people of color, and the trans and genderqueer people, who are being told in no uncertain terms: your rights mean less than ours. Your alienation means less than our visibility. We’ll come back for you later. Wait your turn. Which, hmm, sounds like the same song that’s been sung ever since the HRC, and organizations like the HRC, essentially co-opted the possibility of a radical queer social movement and turned it into a mainstream machine for maintaining the status quo.
The post is englightening and offers several links that illustrate her point further. Whether you agree or not, it's important to go forward with eyes wide open.