Well, looks like we can take the 'alleged' label off the incident that was described in yesterday's post about the SCOTUS rally because someone has come forward to comment on it.
That someone who has come forward is a biggie. It's Jerame Davis, the executive director of the National Stonewall Democrats.
Jerame wrote on his Facebook page Wednesday that he witnessed the incident, and the only flag out of the community affinity flags that was targeted for removal was the trans one.
HRC is mishandling this situation. While not directly, they are essentially calling me and John M. Becker liars when we were actually direct witnesses to all of this occurring, unlike the folks putting out the statement.
No other flags were asked to be removed from the shot. There were pride flags, American flags, and marriage equality flags all on display. I had a flag of my own. And at one point, organizers directed a person with a pride flag to block someone who was hijacking the media with pictures of dead young gays who were victims of discrimination.
It disappoints me greatly that HRC has chosen the circle-the-wagons-and-deny tactic once again when there were multiple witnesses to what happened. Shameful.
John M. Becker had this to say about it on his Facebook page.
Jerame and I attended the rally together and as he pointed out earlier today, both of us saw this happen. I cannot verify the word-for-word accuracy of the quote in this blog post as I was just out of earshot in that loud and exciting environment, but regardless of whether the words spoken were as blunt as the writer alleges or couched in nicer-sounding language, the sentiment and intent were unmistakable. This greatly dismayed me and others nearby, and we affirmed the flag holder and encouraged him to stand his ground. I'm so glad he did.
I'm sure the staffer was acting out of a misplaced sense of caution in that excruciatingly high-pressure environment -- and I'm equally sure it was not HRC's intent to exclude or deeply offend, but regardless of the circumstances, people *felt* excluded and *were* deeply offended. HRC really should apologize for this regrettable incident before it casts any larger a shadow on an otherwise beautiful event.
Instead, HRC is going into their standard playbook whenever they get caught dissing the trans community and it's witnessed by someone NOT from the trans community: deny it
“It is a not true to suggest that any person or organization was told their flag was less important than another – this did not occur and no HRC staff member would ever tolerate such behavior. To be clear, it is the position of the Human Rights Campaign that marriage is an issue that affects everyone in the LGBT community.
QNotes published the full statement in this Matt Comer article.
So in effect, HRC Communications Director Michael Cole-Schwartz is basically calling Jerame and John liars. Damn, I hope and pray somebody comes up with video from the rally for this.
But right now HRC, you have a problem. As I said in yesterday's post, you had zero room for errors, misspeaking, or mistakes and this incident is the equivalent of pouring gasoline on a smoldering fire. That white hot fire of anger, especially within the trans community with whom you had little to zero trust and credibility with anyway, is about to burn your organization in multiple ways.
You may be about to witness the restarting of HRC gala protests a la 2007-2008 by trans community activists and our allies in a city near you and another dropoff in donations, and that's just the opening salvos in how this kerfluffle could probably play out.
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