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letters

Volume 16/Issue 2


[Editor's Note: Copies of the following letters were sent to Ambush in addition to recipient Robert Ripley, HRC Dinner Committee, 723 Esplanade Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70116]

Dear Robert,
After much consideration, I have decided to resign from the HRC Dinner Committee. I am unable to assist Sandy with the Silent Auction as I had hoped to do.

My decision is based on the refusal of HRC to include Transgender persons in the Mission Statement. I believe that if more individuals stand up for "rights for all", HRC will change the Mission Statement and will also enjoy a growth in membership.

I am also paying my Federal Club commitment in full and do not intend to renew my membership. I am embarrassed to be a member of an organization that is not inclusive. Hopefully, this will change in the near future.

I enjoyed serving with you. Yours very truly,
--Toni Pizanie


Dear Robert,
I have served on the local Human Rights Campaign's fundraising dinner committee since its inception, and I have done so with great pleasure. Therefore, it is only after much soul searching that I am compelled to resign from the executive committee of this wonderful event.

I can no longer reconcile the name of the organization, Human Rights Campaign, with a mission statement that does not include the transgendered and bisexual. National headquarters gives little indication that this situation will change anytime in the near future. In fact. I have received no acknowledgment of a personal communication to Elizabeth Birch over a year ago addressing this issue. Others here in New Orleans have suffered a similar lack of acknowledgment and basic courtesy.

History adequately illustrates that courtesy and cajoling do not bring about lasting social change, but rather in the words of Frederick Douglas that "power concedes nothing without a demand." My resignation is neither an attempt to cajole or demand, and it certainly has nothing to do with anyone personally involved with HRC at either the local or national level. I have been honored to work with everyone involved in the organization. My resignation is tendered with full recognition that the local dinner committee is charged solely with fundraising and not policy making. It is not the proper forum for demands to change policy, and I do not believe that its fundraising foundation should ever change. However, I believe that I can better follow my own conscience and beliefs by working to raise funds for the numerous local and national organizations that have already quickly and adequately addressed the issue of transgender and bisexual inclusion.

While this issue appears deceptively complex on the surface, the bottom line is simple and clear. First, we are all human. Second, a look back to the year 1969 reminds us that the transgendered provided the impetus for the modem day lesbian and gay movement. Third, we are all united as transgendered in that none of us operates in the socially sanctioned, traditional, and normative gender roles to which we were 'biologically born.'

While I hope that HRC will soon come to see clearly what is so readily apparent. I cannot continue to wait for them to 'catch up.' I must therefore devote my time and energy elsewhere, and I will encourage others with views similar to mine to do likewise. I fully recognize the inherent dangers of division in any social movement. and I have no wish to turn this into a 'divisive' issue. To potential charges of divisiveness, I must respond that I believe that HRC's lack of inclusion promotes an 'exclusive' air, and may be the true basis for any divisiveness surrounding this issue.

I hope and expect that my resignation will in no way interfere with our personal friendship. and I remain willing, as always, in the words of Urvashi Vaid, "to agree to disagree." Sincerely and with warm regards,
--Rick Cosgriff

[Letters and Comments should be sent to Ambush Letters, 828-A Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70116-3137
or email to webmaster@ambushmag.com]

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