Saturday, May 16, 2009

PostHeaderIcon 2009 Human Rights Campaign Houston Gala

Very nice evening -- although a bit low-key from an entertainment standpoint, which I suppose is a sign of the times. (See tweets on the right.)


Mayor Bill White gave an uncharacteristically impassioned speech about being on the right side of change -- that those who stand in the way of equality and civil rights for GLBT people are on their way out. He started out the speech (accepting the HRC Political Courage Award) with a great quote, "I've received many awards for a variety of reasons. I hope that we get to a time where we no longer need to give awards for simply treating people with dignity and respect."

Christine Baranski was bright and funny and entertaining -- ably weaving her personal story into the theme of the evening.


The fund-raising aspect of the evening was particularly heavy-handed. The hard-press is somewhat understandable given the climate for non-profits -- and HRC did just recently lay a bunch of staff off and Solmonese did take a pay cut. My problem wasn't so much with the need to raise money -- that's what these events are for -- it's the continuing lack of acknowledgment by the national organization for how much money from Houston (and the other Texas chapters) carries HRC. A little nod of the head towards that would go a long way to perhaps opening up the wallets a bit more. (We expect a little more than a thank-you reciept as an ATM.)

Congratulations to Shell -- glad you could catch up to the rest of us. Irksome quote: "We didn't want to just put some language in our policies, but to take a careful approach..." or something along those lines. Somehow implying that its peer energy companies -- namely Chevron and BP America -- are just giving lip-service... Newsflash, Shell wouldn't have been able to make the transgender-inclusive changes to its policies without Chevron's sharing of data on our experience in implementing the policy back in 2005. (And the Transgender Guidebook that I authored.) But enough grousing. If it took them this long to get to where we were in 2005, I wonder if they'll be able to move quick enough to keep that 100% score on next-year's survey.

All in all, a fun evening -- I even picked up some trinkets for my Mom's birthday in the silent auction. It was especially nice to see "my peeps" from work all decked out in snappy attire.


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