This letter is in response to a recent story on Rick Garcia [August 30] entitled “How to Win Enemies and Influence People” by Jeffrey Felshman.
After reading the story we were dumbfounded by comments by Elizabeth Birch, head of Human Rights Campaign. She states, “There is no place in our movement for abuse, meanness, and a kind of overall style that doesn’t result in long-term coalition building, team building. There is no place in our movement for that.”
Was Ms. Birch speaking for the same Human Rights Campaign that had three members of Queer Nation Chicago removed from the Sheraton Hotel during OutVote ’96? The same Human Rights Campaign that thanked the Queer Nation members for countering antigay protesters during OutVote and then had us removed when we took HRC up on their offer to return later for a speaker plenary? The same HRC that ordered hotel security to remove us after we were denied entry by David Smith, HRC communications director, and as a result, one of our members is roughed up by hotel security and almost arrested?
And was this the same Elizabeth Birch who when confronted at the United in Victory event by Queer Nation members John Pennycuff and Robert Castillo about their treatment at OutVote, responded “judging by the way you’re acting, you probably deserved it”? The same Elizabeth Birch that when told by these QN members that there are people not very happy with HRC in Chicago responded with “Oooohh I’m trembling”? Was this the same Elizabeth Birch who responded rudely to an ACGLI member/HRC donor who wanted to talk to her about the way QN members were treated and threatened to write a letter to Mayor Daley about him?
Ms. Birch, there is no place in the queer (not just rich gays and lesbians) movement for abuse, meanness, and a kind of overall style that doesn’t result in long-term coalition building, team building. You should practice what you preach!
Queer Nation Chicago