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Protest Planned for HRC Fundraiser at the Uptown
October 2, 2008
by Jamie Tyroler

I recently wrote about boy/girlcotting various Human Rights Campaign events. HRC does not have a good record regarding the transgender communities — largely due to the campaign’s willingness to support a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that does not include protection for gender identity and expression. If you want to protest an HRC event and don’t want to travel far, you are in luck. 

The evening of Oct. 24, the local Human Rights Campaign chapter is holding its seventh annual Kansas City Comedy Night at the Uptown Theater, Broadway and Valentine. The doors open for the event at 8 p.m.

Comedians Bob Gautreau, Amy Tee and Mike Smith are scheduled to appear. A general admission ticket is $40. To sit at a table, admission is $125. Students can sit in the balcony with a $20 ticket. This event is sponsored by Stinson, Morrison,
& Hecker, a law firm, and Westrope, a commercial insurance wholesaler.

Organizers are in the early stages of planning to hand out flyers to people as they enter the theater, and I plan to be among those distributing them.   

The intent of this pamphleteering is not to dissuade people from attending a comedy show, but rather to educate and enlighten people about the policies of HRC. 

In addition to taking a troublesome position on the ENDA issue, HRC apparently has made some deceptive statements regarding their working with transgender organizations.  In August, Brad Luna, communications director for HRC, said that HRC is working alongside the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE).

Mara Keisling, NCTE executive director, issued a statement: “HRC continues to take a position on federal legislation that undermines the rights of transgender and other gender non-conforming people. So long as that is the case, NCTE will not work with HRC in any way that reinforces HRC’s inappropriate claim that they can speak for the very transgender people whose lives they are undercutting. While NCTE staff and board are occasionally invited by policy makers and others to attend meetings at which HRC staff is also represented and possibly being asked to speak for transgender people, that is the extent of our working relationship. We have asked HRC to stop misrepresenting our organizational relationship, and though they refuse to stop, we will continue to focus on the important work to be done and leave HRC to their irresponsible positions.”

If you are interested in joining us, feel free to bring signs. It will be a great way to start your weekend.

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