I am a fan of Dustin Lance Black.
He represents what is right with the LGBT community. He is talented, smart, easy on the eyes, and fights for equality.
That said, I take issue with his attack today on the Human Rights Campaign. The award-winning screen-writer of Milk inexplicably teamed up with the Log Cabin Republicans to berate HRC for its plan to turn the late Harvey Milk’s camera shop into a retail store and Action Center. According to Black in a joint statement with the (gag) Log Cabin Republicans:
“Harvey Milk spent the last years of his life fighting not only for rights for gays and lesbians across the nation, but also against the idea that the only way to achieve those rights is to lobby the government and financially support so-called ‘straight allies’. Harvey believed the best way to secure our rights was through grassroots action, coalition building and the election of LGBT people to office at all levels of government. He encouraged people to come out of the closet and be vocal about who they were and why they deserved full equality, not partial equality or crumbs. For the HRC leadership, which still advocates a piecemeal, wait-and-see approach to try and co-opt and profit from Harvey’s legacy is an outrage.”
It is disappointing to watch Black throw a petty little tantrum that is unworthy of his honorable reputation. If he does not like HRC that is his prerogative. However, the answer is to start an organization of his own, not take underhanded swipes at our nation’s largest LGBT group.
As Black must know, real estate is quite pricey on San Francisco’s Castro Street. The alternative to HRC running this store is to have a bland chain outlet take over the space that offers no value to the LGBT community. At least HRC has an action center, where people can make a difference by reaching out to their elected officials.
Black’s cheap shot was made worse by his teaming up with the Log Cabin Republicans. Here is what the Log Cabinites said in a press release:
“HRC has proven time and again that its main goal is not to advance rights for LGBT Americans but to raise funds amongst the LGBT community for Democratic candidates,” stated LCRSF president Dan Brown. “Harvey Milk supported both Republican and Democratic candidates throughout his life, and continually sought to reach consensus on both sides of the aisle for the benefit of us all. He tried to get everyone involved in fighting for their rights, whether by volunteering, lobbying, protesting, running for office, talking to friends, coworkers and family, and yes, even fundraising. If HRC, as the largest LGBT rights organization by funding, took a page from Harvey’s book rather than relying on empty promises from elected officials that rarely materialize, then we would be much closer to full equality than we currently are.”
This statement is offensive and factually inaccurate. The Human Rights Campaign has endorsed many Republicans over the years, even at the price of alienating much of its liberal base. The only reason that HRC has not embraced more members of the GOP is that they are so crappy on LGBT rights that they are not worthy of support. Since the Log Cabin Republicans were formed, the GOP has lurched right and embraced extremists from Pat Buchanan to Sarah Palin. What the hell has this group done to shift the overall direction of the Republican Party so its candidates can be supported by HRC?
Wake up call: The leading Republican presidential candidates so far are Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney. I would love the Log Cabin Republicans to explain exactly how their wonderful party came to support such wing-nuts and exactly how a sane group like HRC is expected to endorse these “conservative” clowns.
Indeed, the biggest problem the LGBT movement currently has is that we have absolutely no leverage with Democrats. Why are we in this conundrum? Clearly, it is because the Republican Party is so abominable that we rarely have but one choice on the ballot — the Democrat.
Before I hear the Log Cabin Republicans whine about HRC, I want to see these Uncle Marys pave the way by making the Republican Party more friendly towards LGBT Equality. When Log Cabin recruits and puts forth viable candidates that can actually be endorsed, we can begin an honest discussion. Until then, they are just blowing smoke where the sun don’t shine.
As for Black, he ought to pick his fights and friends more carefully. Right now he is a hero. I would hate to see his moral authority erode by getting bogged down in community infighting when he ought to keep his eye on the ball by battling our real enemies — most of whom happen to be Republicans.
HRC should be applauded for their brilliant marketing move, as well as keeping the Harvey Milk store in the hands of LGBT activists.