Why the Silence About the HRC Internal Report Matters

From the Sept. 14, 1989 issue of Bay Windows – coverage of the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which hardwired transphobia into federal anti-discrimination law (in the process, effectively erasing a small amount of trans-positive precedent under the Nixon-era Rehabilitation Act):



Now, here is basically the same item as it appeared about two weeks later in the Southern Voice:


The SoVo image might be difficult to make out, but look close.

Still, no matter how close you look, you will not see the quote from HRC(F)’s Steve Smith praising the anti-trans (which, do note, was not just anti-transvestite; it included anti-transsexual language) and anti-gay amendments by Jesse Helms and William Armstrong.

“By and large we’re quite please with it,” stated HRCF lobbyist Steve Smith of the Helms and Armstrong exclusionary amendments.  “Homosexuality and transvestism and bisexuality are not disabilities and we are very happy to hear that Sen. Helms has taken this position and we agree with him 100 percent.”

Readers of Southern Voice didn’t see the that in 1989.

That means that readers of Southern Voice had a decision made for them.

That decision meant that they didn’t get to see HRC(F) praising Jesse Helms after HRC(F) got what HRC(F) wanted – namely, a non-exclusion for AIDS.


How much of the SoVo readership, had it had the opportunity to read the Bay Windows version of the news item, would have had their opinion of HRCF – to become HRC six years later – sufficiently altered in the negative to significantly alter the historical trajectory that has led to HRC’s position as being both the LGBT community’s money vortex and the biggest practical obstacle to passage of federal LGBT anti-discrimination legislation?

I don’t know.

I do know that, as of this writing, the Washington Blade – “America’s Leading Gay News Source” – has not offered its readership (which, unlike in 1989, includes an internet component) any substantive coverage of the HRC Internal Report – a report which exposed the organization’s entrenched culture of misogyny and transphobia….

you know, pretty much everything that the trans community has been saying has been entrenched in HRC’s corporate DNA for two decades or more.

Historically, that will matter 25 years from now.

In all practical terms, it matters now.

What they decide not to report on, people (how many? I don’t know, but the number is higher than zero) cannot use in deciding how to view not just HRC but its critics…

you know, the people whose criticism of HRC was validated by the internal report.


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