Sunday, October 06, 2013

HRC National Dinner for 2013 in Washington DC is biggest ever, while the real world outside is the most troubled ever, too

The Human Rights Campaign National Dinner for 2013 was held Saturday October 5, 2013 at the Convention Center in Washington DC.  About 3,000 people attended.  The program, which ended with a performance by the girl band of Sara Bareilles. One of her numbers at the end of the show came, I believe, from the film "Unfinished Song"; her music sounds familiar from Sirius XM The Blend. . 
 The was one change.  Vice President Biden did not appear; instead President Obama spoke remotely about equal marriage rights and also referred to the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in 2011.


HRC president Chad Griffin was introduced with his mother.
Actress Jennifer Lopez appeared to receive an Ally for Equality Award.
Proposition 8 attorneys David Olson and David Boles, and plaintiffs Sandy Steer, Kris Perry, Jeff Zarillo and Paul Katami appeared.

DOMA plaintiff Edie Windsor and attorney Robert Kaplan appeared to receive the National Equality Award.



There were a few references to the government shutdown during the evening, with references to ability to enforce hate crimes laws and assist PWA’s.
I had a conversation with someone in the State Department (remember, one of the worst offenders with LGBT witch-hunts in the early 1950’s).  I asked whether it was problem to send openly LGBT employees to hostile countries, as in the middle East or Africa.  Personnel usually stay and work in embassies when traveling, and host countries are responsible for security – although we know what happened in Libya.  The US does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea, Iran, Syria, or Sudan, which would four of the worst countries, but Uganda sounds bad.  He has not heard of cases where countries have looked at the Facebook or other web activity of foreign visitors in order to find pretexts to arrest them, and the State Department has not been concerned about this (that could apply particularly to Russia, with the upcoming Winter Olympics); yet, he admitted, this concern could well develop in the near future.  Countries can well block websites and certain social media (as does China, which blocks my doaskdotell).  But most social media sites are available in many gay hostile countries.  I find my own doaskdotell site has been available in Russia and in the Middle East.

HRC held the usual aggressive auctions and put on the usual pleas for even more donations.  People used their smart phones to enter silent auctions, but a few items received no bids (that would embarass the vendors).  There was a raffle of a Lexus, 

The talk was always about equality in conceptual and abstract terms.  I often get the impression that gay leadership ignores the cultural war still going on in much of the world.  There seems to be a belief among some “conservative” ideologues that a key to reducing government is to pressure or even compel people to become more involved in taking care of one another very personally within the “natural family” and immediate local neighborhood and “church fellowship”, transcending the way modern liberal society views personal responsibility for others as something that starts with having children (through “doing it”).    Of course, there is obvious circularity in this social conservatism.  But it seems that many people in "religious" rural America don't experience "being left alone" personally the way we do. 

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