So, my friend asked me this the other day and at first, I looked at her like she was crazy. I’m a queer feminist and you’re asking me how I feel about HRC?
Then I saw why they’d asked the question: HRC’s endorsement of Clinton for the 2016 election. Being English, I’d not been following the election closely – I have enough to focus on with the EU referendum.
This is the response that I sent to her and I wanted to share it here.
I think HRC helps shine a light on social justice issues worldwide and has done for over 35 years. It is incredibly well-known and has a great reach across the world; their same-sex marriage logo had incredible influence over social media.
It is not infallible, HRC has its problems:
- endorsement of politicians who oppose reproductive rights, affirmative action or those who have no proven track record of LGBT support
- endorsement of Clinton over Sanders for 2016 presidential nominee; according to their own equality index Clinton’s support for LGBT rights comes in at 89% rather than Sanders’ 100%
- stance on ENDA bill which provided protection on sexual orientation but not gender identity
One of the politicians did clarify their support of LGBT rights afterwards but it seems like an act of saving face. The other politician endorsed ENDA, which has its own problem; HRC did say that they only supported the version of ENDA posed at the time because it did provide LGB protections and they would be able to use it to build a stronger law which would protect transpeople. I can understand this because although the bill was not fully inclusive, it takes time to change attitudes and laws.
To sum up, HRC has flaws which make it imperfect but so does every social justice organisation. It is important that we scrutinise these criticisms because they pose a threat to full equality. This should not stop HRC’s operations; it just shouldn’t be the only organisation fighting for equal rights.