hrccarolinasIt seems HRC is always the recipient of some sort of criticism. It’s natural, really. Being such a big target leaves plenty of room for folks with darts. And you can always expect anti-HRC sentiment or other criticisms to be taken up a notch with their national or local fundraising dinners roll around.

Even I’m not blameless. In college I wrote a weekly opinions column for my campus paper, and in 2006 wrote about the national org’s choice to award Lance Bass.

But I’ve always been pleased with the HRC Carolinas Gala, whose organizers have always gone out of their way to make sure local North and South Carolinians are honored and recognized for their hard work, every day and on the ground, to achieve equality and raise awareness among their friends, family and local communities.  This year, I’m especially pleased with the group’s award choices. They’ll honor Greensboro’s Guilford Green Foundation, for which I served a brief stint as a board member. They’ll also honor Greensboro’s David Parker, a good friend of mine, and Charlotte youth Mary Elizabeth Lennon.

But other folks aren’t happy with how HRC is billing special guests for this year’s Gala in Raleigh, of which qnotes is a sponsor. writes:

What’s more of an enticement to buy your (one hundred seventy-five dollar) tickets to attend the Human Rights Campaign’s Feb. 27 Carolinas gala in Raleigh: That newly out actress Meredith Baxter will be available for photos, that voter fraud suspect Clay Aiken will take the stage, or HRC’s own president Joe Solmonese will appear as a, ahem, “special guest”?

Another, less-familiar blog has bigger criticisms:

Despite all the fuckups and all the mishandling of our movement they have the unmitigated gall to have yet ANOTHER fundraiser – The Human Rights Campaign’s Feb. 27 Carolinas gala in Raleigh, NC. And HRC President Joe Solmonese (of the $350k a year salary and $700.00 suits) has the NERVE to bill himself as a SPECIAL GUEST and bills himself as “creating successful initiatives to advance our vision of equality both in the Legislature and Congress”?  Have I missed something?  Has the HRC and Solmon-sleaze actually done something othert than fuck us up and we’ve become first class citizens FINALLY?  Maybe I was absent that day.  Or maybe its just more of HRC’s BULLSHIT and Solmon-sleaze’s megamanical ego.


What the critics often fail to recognize is all the hard work and dedication put into organizing local and state dinners by community members who really are making a difference at home. Dinner and state HRC steering committee members are involved in a plethora of other organizations and contribute to good and effective local and state groups.

I say, the focus on entertainers and “special guests” is over-blown. The real heroes are the folks organizing the Gala and their award recipients, folks whose work and dedication often go unrecognized.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

3 replies on “HRC: damned if they do, damned if they don’t”

  1. i’ll agree with you that many of the folks who help put on HRC’s endless dinners around the country are good people, and that they do much local work that benefits lots of people. but let’s not be blinded by the people working to make the gala fab.

    HRC rakes in at least $40 million annually through the dinners and other fundraising efforts, and we have so little to show for all the money they’ve raised.

    sure, it’s great to have the latest b-actress to come out appear at HRC’s dinners this year, but i’m tired of them. i’ve seen amanda bearse, anne heche, wanda sykes, george takei, and now meredith baxter come out of the closet, and get some red carpet time.

    when the heck are the dinners and the parade of b-celebs gonna produce some federal protections for gay people????????

  2. out of all the people to speak on the behalf of HRC why do we get Joe every year…

    Sorry to say I agree with Mpetrelis about the actresses who comes out the closet… they (she really haven’t done anything for us really…

    Also why support a gay Organization that is so willing to throw a part of our community under the bus so easily…

  3. When these bloggers actually turn off their computers, get off their butts, and go to D.C. for Lobby Day (this Thursday March 4 btw), I will actually pay attention to what they blog. Otherwise, it is just self-aggrandizing vitriol that serves no purpose. If the person hasn’t been to D.C. to help on Lobby Day and see what HRC actually does, then they really are just talking out of their you know what.

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