Leaked HRC Memo Spells Out New Trans Strategy

Leaked HRC Memo Spells Out

New Trans Strategy


United ENDA bumper sticker

Will the strategy outlined in Marty Rouse’s memo enable HRC to overcome the divisions of the present..?

Over the course of the last few months, I’ve posted a great deal on VisibleVote08.com about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act(ENDA) and the role of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in its passage on Nov. 7. Today, I’m going to do something a bit different: I’m simply going to post without comment (editorial or otherwise) the news of an HRC memo that was leaked recently that spells out a strategy for transgender rights.

HRC’s Project Win Back is outlined in a memo by Marty Rouse, who in December 2005 left MassEquality to join HRC as its national field director. The memo is part analysis of the current situation of transgender activism in the U.S., part strategy outline. While it’s not quite clear to whom the memo is addressed, my guess is that Rouse is writing this for Joe Solmonese, HRC’s increasingly ENDA-controversial president, and the HRC board of directors.

“At this time, I believe that only HRC has the resources to help us get the message out to mainstream America,” Rouse writes. Rouse only implicitly acknowledges the ‘trust issues’ that have been greatly intensified by the ENDA debacle; the third of four steps that Rouse spells out is “to build trust through actions” and to demonstrate commitment (to transgender rights). “HRC has the political and financial clout to do all this,” Rouse writes. “We have two years to prepare for the next volley in Congress,” he concludes. “I think this would be a good start.”

But whether HRC can use the strategy outlined in Rouse’s memo to rebuild relationships with transgender activists and then go on to move transgender-inclusive or transgender-specific federal legislation remains to be seen.

This originally appeared as a blog post on VisibleVote08.com on 12.12.07.

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