Take some time to get to know the local communities who have been building bridges, winning and losing campaigns, and making a difference for generations. Enter these communities with humility and a beginner's mind. And please, please don't erase the rich history and culture of the queer South just because you finally started paying attention.
Last Thursday at the Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta, HRC President Chad Griffin apologized for all the problems between HRC and the trans community for which HRC had been responsible over the years. He was specific and demanded to be held accountable. These are words the trans community has never heard before from HRC, certainly not in public.
Our community's problem isn't with MichFest. If it became trans-inclusive tomorrow, the underlying problem would remain. It isn't even with the antifeminist nature of the trans-exclusionary radical feminists; if they quieted down tomorrow, the underlying problem would remain. The problem is the iceberg below, which no one wants to recognize.
If my gay colleagues choose to jettison ENDA, I'm willing to back off. But the question with which I am left is: Now what? Do we really expect that the House of Representatives, which won't even debate the version of ENDA with broad religious exemptions, will seriously consider a stricter amended one?
Believe it or not, right now some Republicans are working feverishly to get support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the GOP and try to pass it in the House in this session, with the dangerous religious exemption that caused LGBT groups to withdraw support. The irony here is off the charts.
Such is HRC's disdain for our community that they evidently used ringers at the New York City Pride Parade: fresh-faced 20-somethings who work for McCann, one of the largest ad agencies in the world. The largest -- and richest -- LGBT-rights group in the country could not be bothered to field a team for the largest LGBT-pride parade in the country.