Two signs which summarize the feelings of the protesters

Two signs which summarize the feelings of the protesters

More than a hundred protestors gathered Saturday in San Francisco to object to the Human Rights Campaign‘s stance on gender identity.

The protestors picketed the HRC’s annual fundraising dinner to protest the organization’s efforts to remove gender identity protections from legislation that would add sexual orientation to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Clad in a variety of outfits ranging from street clothing to over-the-top drag to camp gear, wearing make up, fake mustaches, boys and girls dressed as boys, as girls, gays, lesbians, transgendered and gender inspecific, the group claimed a unified purpose: express just how much they felt betrayed by the HRC’s action, a move they argued is opposed by over 350 local, statewide and national LGBT advocacy organizations.

Organizer Hunter Hargrave arrives for the event

Organizer Hunter Hargrave arrives for the event

The event quickly developed into more than ordinary civil disobedience. The “Left OUT Party:A Genderfal Gay-la” elicted a festive mode among individuals who oscillated between the role of protestor and entertainer. At times, it was difficult to determine one from the other.

“Some may say that incrementalism is a smart and sound strategy political strategy, but we don’t think that throwing the transgender community under the bus in the name of incrementalism really what the LGBT community is all about,” explained Left OUT organizer Hunter Hargrave.

Some HRC dinner invitees smiled in acknowledgement of the protest, which handed out flyers supporting a united position on the ENDA and encouraging invitees of the $300 event to partake in the picketing.

Watch speech by City Attorney Dennis Herrera

Watch speech by City Attorney Dennis Herrera

Watch speech by Supervisor Tom Ammiano

Watch speech by Supervisor Tom Ammiano

The counter-party was organized by a coalition of queer progressive organizations, including Pride at Work, And Castro for All, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, the Trans March, the SF Labor Council, the Queer Youth Organizing Project and the Lou Sullivan Society/FTM International. Protestors were treated to speeches by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who was honored by the Left OUT party as a local hero for his work in ending the ban on same-sex marriage in the California Courts, as well as City Supervisor Tom Ammiano.

Mila Ponder, host of transition issues podcast Trans-Ponder.com, said she found out about the event at San Francisco’s annual Gay Pride weekend in June, where supporters were handing out flyers. Other people who attended learned about the event through word of mouth or networking sites like Facebook.

In addition to Herrera, other honors as “2008 Human Rights Heroes” were presented to State Assemblyman Mark Leno, Police Commission President Theresa Sparks, National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Miller, San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Duffy and San Francisco Labor Council Executive Director Tim Paulson

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