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An open letter from Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club

by Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club (info [at]
A open letter from Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club to the LGBT communities and their allies regarding Human Rights Campaign
An open letter to the LGBT community & our allies, from the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club

June 12, 2008 -

After much consideration by our board and members, it is with regret that we write this letter announcing our decision to forgo this year's Human Rights Campaign (HRC) dinner in San Francisco, scheduled for July 16, 2008. We also encourage others in the LGBT community and our allies to forgo HRC’s gala event this year, due to HRC’s ongoing refusal to advocate for federal legislation that protects all Americans from discrimination based on gender identity and expression – as well as sexual orientation.

At the end of the last century, the LGBT community arrived at a consensus: that the full membership of the LGBT community would be honored and embraced, regardless of differences among us, be they based upon race, class, gender, gender identity and expression, or other factors. What was once called a "gay" community in the past, now self-defines, and is known internationally, as the LGBT community. United, the LGBT community works diligently to ensure that all LGBT community members are protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression.
It is especially important that our leading civil rights institutions, like HRC, uphold our shared commitment to diversity and inclusion, and lead our movement in a responsible and forward-looking manner.

Unfortunately, last Fall HRC betrayed its own legacy and values, and betrayed the LGBT community, when the organization’s leadership reversed its long-standing commitment to inclusive legislation, suddenly advocating passage of a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that, for sake of expediency, deliberately excluded gender identity and expression protections. This cynical move left millions of Americans vulnerable to gender discrimination in employment, and implied that, while discrimination based on sexual orientation was unacceptable, bias and intolerance based on gender identity or expression were negotiable. Even worse, HRC’s leadership made its decision in secret, breaching its collaboration with every other national LGBT organization, including PFLAG, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Stonewall Democrats, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Transgender Law Center, and over 350 other national, state, and local LGBT organizations – including the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club.

Since that time, HRC has made little effort to reverse course on this issue. HRC’s Executive Director, Joe Solomonese, now asserts that his prior statements about HRC’s unwavering commitment to inclusion were simply "misstatements". In fact, even to this day, HRC remains uncommitted to introduction of an inclusive employment non-discrimination bill – even though Congress must introduce an entirely new bill during its next session in January 2009.

As the nation's oldest LGBT Democratic club, Alice and its members are deeply committed to inclusion within our community, and expect other LGBT organizations to uphold this commitment as well. While we have supported HRC in the past and look forward to doing so in the future, in light of the above we cannot in good conscience support this year’s HRC gala fund raiser and, regrettably, feel compelled to ask our fellow San Franciscans, also, to forgo the HRC gala this year – until such time as HRC reaffirms its commitment to inclusion, especially with respect to introduction and passage of an inclusive employment non-discrimination bill.

Particularly at this point in time, it is important that we support LGBT organizations working actively, on all of our behalf, against non-discrimination and for full equality – and especially those organizations working for passage of an inclusive ENDA. Instead of attending this year's HRC event, we kindly ask that you consider investing in an explicitly trans inclusive organization, such as the Transgender Law Center, or any of the 350+ other local, state, and national organizations working toward this end (listed at

Many thanks for your time, attention, and continued commitment to diversity and inclusion in our community.

Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club
Add Your Comments
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Mon, Jun 16, 2008 9:33AM
(a reply to old timer)
Mon, Jun 16, 2008 5:15AM
Sun, Jun 15, 2008 10:59AM
Sat, Jun 14, 2008 12:25PM
old time SF gay guy
Sat, Jun 14, 2008 10:36AM
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