Posts Tagged ‘LGBT’

HRC — “Anti-Trans Violence Epidemic!”

November 25, 2019

This week a new report came across our desk, “A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in the United States in 2019,” produced by Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a large LGBTQ advocacy group headquartered in Washington, DC.

The HRC calls the document “…a distressing report honoring the at least 22 transgender people and gender non-conforming people killed in 2019 and detailing the contributing factors that lead to this tragic violence.” The implication is that these tragic deaths were all somehow hate-related, and definitely anti-Trans related, and some indeed were. Predictably, the Media picked up on the story and reprinted it faithfully, without vetting the claims.

Nobody should ever be a victim of crime, especially a hate crime or murder.

A closer look at the report shows that while it does indeed honor 22 people who died, it does little to “detail the contributing factors,” and even indulges in a little old fashioned fudging to inflate the numbers.

To be fair, the HRC is registered as a 501(c)(4) Social Welfare Organization with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as opposed to a 501(c)(3) “action organization,” like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and many other Hate Industry players. The only restrictions on 501(c)(4) organizations is that they “…must not be organized for profit and must be operated exclusively to promote social welfare.” As such, they are allowed to lobby lawmakers openly, whereas groups like the SPLC have to resort to more covert measures to protect their all-important tax-exempt status. More on the HRC to follow.

The report puts great emphasis on the facts that most of the people honored were Black trans women, under the age of 30 and living predominantly in the South. While these claims hold true for the people in the report, they are largely irrelevant compared to other factors.

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The repeated emphasis on race alone implies that racism was a leading factor in the deaths, but a simple Google search of the deceased and those arrested in connection with their deaths proves this claim to be patently unfounded.

Nothing sells as surely as claims of racism these days, though, and so the HRC and the Media are happy to imply.

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Homicides6Again, nobody should ever be a victim of crime, especially a hate crime or murder.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black homicide victims significantly outnumber all other groups, for a variety of reasons, regardless of gender identity. The vast majority of those charged in Black homicides tend to be Black as well.HomicideRatesUS

The HRC makes the case that age is a mitigating factor:

Age1

A review of homicide statistics from 2018 shows that people under the age of 35 make up the largest share of ALL victims in the US.

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The HRC report makes the case that geography may be a contributing factor, and here they may have a point, but not necessarily the one they are claiming.

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As the first pie chart indicates, the 2019 HRC report includes statistics going back to 2013, claiming more than 150 trans deaths over six years, or roughly 25 deaths per year.

The second pie chart indicates the population distribution for the US in 2018 and the third the LGBTQ distribution for the same year. The two charts are nearly identical, statistically, indicating a fairly uniform distribution of LGBTQ persons across all geographic locations.

A more telling graphic, and the 2019 report overall, indicates that many of the victims lived in large cities.

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Again, the HRC had to reach back six years to cobble together a statistic, but the mini-biographies of the 2019 victims show that many died in the cities listed above, as well as Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Montgomery, Memphis and Prince George’s County, Md. All of these locations have large Black populations and high annual homicide rates.

When your demographic group has far higher than average homicide rates and you choose to live in areas with far higher than average homicide rates, your odds of becoming a homicide victim become statistically higher.

Again, nobody should ever be a victim of crime, especially a hate crime or murder. We’re not “blaming the victims” here, We’re merely stating the obvious facts.

The HRC report implies that the 2019 victims died because of their transgender lifestyles, but a review of the cases indicates that, for the most part, their gender identity was not usually the motivating factor.

One exception to that rule is the fact that many transgender people, for a variety of socioeconomic reasons, are forced into the worlds of sex work and drug trafficking. The HRC report estimates that 13% to 36% of the victims may have engaged in sex work, though this figure may be conservative. The fact remains that street sex and drug dealing are highly dangerous activities.

Several of the victims were found shot to death in cars or isolated locations, late at night. While sex work is dangerous enough, transgender sex workers also run the risk of violence from johns who do not realize from the outset that the victim is transgender.

As we noted with the victims’ photos above, there is nothing to confirm that most of them died specifically for being transgender. One victim was killed while standing with a crowd of other people. Police say the shooter fired into the crowd from half a block away without targeting anyone specifically.

In a similar incident, Jordan Cofer, the only white and only transgender male listed in the report, was killed when his brother, Connor Betts, went on a shooting spree in Dayton in August, 2019, killing nine and wounding 27 more. Evidence showed that Betts had no political or racial motives for the attack. He was just a sick man who wanted to commit a mass shooting.

Another victim, described in the report as being homeless, was found in the charred remains of burned out abandoned house. Another was shot in a domestic dispute where her mother accused a man of stealing her tax refund check. John Booth, 61, allegedly pulled out a handgun and shot the victim, who was trying to defend her mother.

Jazzaline Ware, as even the HRC report mentions, died of natural causes and the report also notes that Jamagio Berryman did not identify as transgender, used he/him pronouns, and yet they too were added to the list to pad out the numbers.

So, if race and gender identity are not necessarily mitigating factors in the death of these transgender people, what is behind the Human Rights Campaign annual claim of an “epidemic” of transgender violent deaths?

As with the Southern Poverty Law Center and all Hate Industry “advocacy groups” the main purpose appears to be fundraising. There are tens of millions of donor-dollars to be gleaned by selling fear and outrage to well-meaning Progressives.

HRC online 2018 tax returns show that the organization started 2019 with 289 employees. Its president, Chad Griffin was paid $502,000 that year. Vice President Joni Madison was paid almost $302,000 and, oddly enough, Assistant Vice President Cathy Nelson pulled down $340,000. Thirteen other staffers, from lawyers to PR people to secretaries, are listed, all with six-digit salaries ranging from $262,000 to a paltry $190,000.

That’s a lot of overhead to cover, even before you pay the other 270 employees. That money has to come from somewhere.

Like the SPLC and other Hate Industry players, the Human Rights Campaign partakes in the popular “joint costs” canard, in which over $9 million dollars in fundraising costs were attributed to other departments. Some third-party fundraisers hired by the HRC took up to 84% of donations for themselves while several others charged way more than they took in, essentially keeping every dime they raised in the name of the HRC without the donors ever realizing it, a long-held SPLC practice.

Most of the HRC’s annual expenses go to lobbying lawmakers for pro-LGBT causes, which we do not have a problem with, per se. What concerns us is that, just like the SPLC’s exploitation of genuine hate crime victims, Heather Heyer of the Charlottesville riots, and “the Civil Rights Martyrs,” the Human Rights Campaign seems to have no qualms whatsoever in invoking the names of dead transgender victims and others in crass fundraising campaigns.

While nobody should ever be the victim of a crime, especially a hate crime or murder, an average of 25 victims a year, among a demographic of a million and a half estimated members does not an “epidemic” make. Among the 14,500 confirmed homicides in 2018, these unfortunates make up less than two-tenths of one percent.

The FBI gives the average US homicide rate at 5.1 victims per 100,000 citizens per year. Under that estimate, the Trans population of 1.5 million should see 77 homicides a year, as opposed to an average of 25, just for being American citizens.

The FBI gives the Black homicide rate at 20.4 victims per 100,000 per year. Under that estimate, the Black Trans population should see 308 homicides per year on average, just by virtue of being Black and young.

The National Weather Service estimates that 49 Americans are killed by lightning strikes each year across all demographics, meaning that the average transgender person is twice as likely to be struck by lightning than to be murdered for their gender identity.

As “epidemics” go, the HRC’s claims are pretty thin.

Watching the Watchdogs has added HRC to our watch list. Stay tuned.

 

SPLC — Anatomy of a Marketing Ploy

January 26, 2014

As mentioned in an previous post, the master fundraisers at the Southern Poverty Law Center have targeted the LGBT community in their latest marketing scheme. A little digging, very little digging, reveals just how flimsy this campaign really is from the get-go.

Visit the SPLC’s homepage and click on the “LGBT Rights” link on the left.

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The LGBT Rights page makes the following claim: “Our work on LGBT issues spans decades.” Really?

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If the SPLC has been fighting the good fight for the LGBT community “for decades,” why did they not even have an LGBT Rights page until 2011? Certainly there must be dozens of important LGBT cases to which the SPLC can point with pride.

Fortunately, the SPLC keeps a meticulous list of all of their court cases which one can access easily from their home page.

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They even provide a handy drop-down menu that sorts the cases by type.

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Sorting by LGBT Rights returns a total of 8 cases, which seems rather skimpy for a civil rights law firm that has been in business for nearly 43 years. Scrolling down to the oldest case, Hoffburg v. Alexander, we do indeed find that this case goes all the way back to 1980. Hoffburg, it turns out, wasn’t even the SPLC’s own case. It was an appeal filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

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Glancing up, however, we find that the next time the SPLC went to bat for the LGBT community was in 2011!

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Apparently, there were no cases of anti-LGBT civil rights violations worthy of the great institution’s note for 31 years!

In this case, the SPLC threatened to sue a high school if it didn’t allow two female students to march in a pep rally as the school’s Snow King and Queen. Fighting the good fight doesn’t come much harder than that.

Scrolling up the list, we find that it was only a few months after the pep rally case that the SPLC threatened to sue the same school district.

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The SPLC claims it was contesting a “gag policy” that prevented teachers from discussing LGBT issues in the classroom. The actual policy read that teachers could discuss LGBT issues at an age appropriate level, if the subject was germane to the class work and remained entirely neutral on the subject, neither endorsing or denigrating it.

Neutrality wasn’t good enough for the civil rights center, and so, having as much spare cash on hand as any other public school system facing a multimillion dollar law firm, Anoka-Hennepin simply gave in. Another hard fought legal battle that never went to court.

Higher up the list, we find Hill v. Public Advocate, the simple copyright infringement case of a New Jersey gay couple whose engagement photo was used in a Colorado political flier without their permission, or that of their photographer, who holds the copyright. None of the plaintiffs are indigent, the case is being handled by one of the premier intellectual property law firms in the business and the term “civil rights” never appears once in the complaint.

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Soon after Hill, the SPLC jumped on another non-civil rights case, Ferguson v. JONAH. In this case, a group of gay Jewish men in New York City are suing an organization that promised to “cure” their homosexuality.

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This is a classic fraud suit, no different than thousands of similar suits filed every day, and the case is being brought forward by one of the best fraud law firms in NYC, none of the plaintiffs are poor and, once again, the term “civil rights” never appears once in the actual complaint.

If there are no civil rights issues in these otherwise cut-and-dried civil suits that are being handled by some of the best lawyers in the business, what exactly does the SPLC bring to the table?

In a word: Publicity.

In return for this free publicity, the SPLC’s master Public Relations Guru, Mark Potok, can claim that his outfit is out there fighting for gay rights.

The most recent case, as of this writing and described in a previous post, is a perfect example of Mr. Potok’s cynical marketing ploy.

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In this case, Mr. Potok and Co. are suing a poor, mostly Black junior high school where a 16-year old 8th grader named Destin Holmes claims she was verbally and mentally abused because she is a self-described lesbian.

Let’s be crystal clear here, nobody, in any of these cases, deserves to be subjected to any form of discrimination by anyone at any time or any place. Those of us who have been through junior high are still all too well aware of the juvenile stupidity that goes on in those institutions, by both the students and the staff, and that in no way explains or justifies it.

Obviously, this is a bad situation that demands immediate investigation, but is bringing a federal law suit against one of the poorest performing schools in one of the poorest performing states the best way to fix the system?

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Or is it little more than another classic Potok-ian publicity stunt?

Ironically, the complaint against Magnolia Junior High makes no mention of the fact that, while 78% of the student body is non-white, and both the principal and assistant principal, who have been named as defendants, are African American, Ms. Holmes is white.

Can anyone imagine the SPLC overlooking those facts if the races were reversed?

Again, no one should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, but when you look the SPLC’s paltry LGBT cases, almost all of which only date back to 2011, how much bang are the donors getting for their donor bucks?

There was one major anti-gay organization that appeared to have flown below the SPLC’s radar for over a decade. In 2000, the Boy Scouts of America went to the U.S. Supreme court to protect their right to actively discriminate against gay Scouts and Scout Leaders (Boy Scouts of America et al. v. Dale), something it had done since its inception in 1910.

In 2002, the BSA issued a press release reaffirming its belief that “an avowed homosexual” lacked the “moral character” to be a Scout or Leader.

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The Southern Poverty Law center completely ignored this blatant anti-gay discrimination for over a decade. You will find no mention of the BSA’s discrimination on the SPLC’s web site until 2012, and, even then, that has to be possibly the most tepid response to a genuine “hate-group” in the SPLC’s entire history.

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SPLC co-founder Joe Levin was wheeled out of retirement to announce that “Twelve years ago, the Southern Poverty Law Center stopped participating in the Montgomery, Ala., United Way Campaign because the organization chose to fund the Boy Scouts of America.”

That was it? One of the “largest youth-serving organizations in America,” whose primary mission is to build the characters and mold the minds of millions of American boys, actively discriminates against gay men and boys for a century, and the best the SPLC, that bastion of LGBT rights, can come up with is to stop donating to the United Way and say absolutely nothing about it for twelve years??

But wait… it gets even better… Joe Levin continues:

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“DOESN’T INTEND TO ENCOURAGE BIGOTRY”??? Mr. Levin, the BSA took its case to the Supreme Court of the United States precisely to preserve its perceived right to discriminate. It doesn’t get any more intentional than the US Supreme Court!

Notice the softball language Mr. Levin uses when dancing around the hard facts: “Embraces anti-LGBT prejudice” and “Doesn’t intend to encourage bigotry.” Where is the SPLC’s patented “Hate Group” brand? The term never even appears in Mr. Levin’s pathetic apologia. Where was the SPLC’s multimillion dollar public relations machine for all those years? Can you imagine the pressure that could have been brought to bear against the BSA’s blatant discrimination?

[Update: On May 15, 2014, Joe Levin explained to MSNBC why the SPLC still doesn’t designate the Boy Scouts as a “hate group”:

“We don’t list the Boy Scouts (as a hate group,)” said Levin. “We only do that if we have a group that’s propagating known falsehoods associated with a particular person or group – in this case, the LGBT community. The Boy Scouts haven’t really done that.”

Of course not, Joe. Apparently, the BSA simply smeared all gays as immoral by accident.]

As it turns out, the BSA did reverse itself on its gay Scout policy effective Jan. 1, 2014. That decision was made based entirely on the protracted negative publicity campaign carried on by dozens of real LGBT support groups and major media outlets. The BSA’s Supreme Court decision still stands, but they finally gave in when public opinion turned on them and said that enough was enough. It was a movement in which the Southern Poverty Law Center’s role was precisely and exactly nothing.

And yet the SPLC has been fighting for LGBT rights “for decades,” right?

Well, not so much. Thanks to the magic of the Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine,” anyone can wander back in time to view millions of websites as they appeared in the past, going back to the year 2000. It can be slow, and sometimes cantankerous, but it’s always free and a little patience can pay off big dividends.

In 2009, the SPLC issued a downloadable version of its latest “Hate Map” fundraising tool (Note: the “Hate Map” always reflects the previous calendar year):

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A closer look at the icon key reveals an astonishing fact. There were no anti-LGBT “hate groups” as late as 2009. Not one.

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In fact, the first anti-LGBT “hate groups” do not appear on Mr. Potok’s all-encompassing “Hate Map” until 2011, forty years after the SPLC opened for business.

Furthermore, while the Hoffburg case appears chronologically on the latest version of the SPLC’s case docket list, right between Brown and Wilkins

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Thanks to the Wayback Machine, we find Ms. Hoffburg’s case, the case that allows the SPLC to crow that its “work on LGBT issues spans decades” is conspicuously absent from the 2010 case docket!

2010 Case Docket

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Hoffburg never made the case docket list in more than 40 years because the SPLC didn’t even consider it worthwhile.

Once the white millionaires who run the SPLC decided to target the LGBT community though, Mr. Potok had to come up with something to show that they had not totally ignored the issue since opening shop in 1971. Hoffburg wasn’t much, but no one in the media will follow the simple steps outlined in this post, so no one would ever know the difference.

Well-meaning donors sent Mr. Potok more than $40 million donor dollars in 2012 because they believe him when he cries “hate group” and they believe him when he says how dedicated the SPLC has been to fighting anti-LGBT discrimination “for decades.” As usual, some simple, primary fact-checking of the SPLC’s own documents proves, once again, that Mr. Potok’s claims are meaningless.

Yet again, nobody should suffer discrimination due to their orientation, and any effort is better than none, but suing poor public school districts over pep rallies and yearbook pictures is pretty low-hanging fruit for an alleged “civil rights” law firm with nearly a quarter-billion dollars in cash on hand.

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If you want to contribute to a non-profit that has truly been in the fight against LGBT discrimination you need only do a little homework and ignore Mark Potok’s latest fundraising ploy.

SPLC — More LGBT Pandering

December 19, 2013

As the Southern Poverty Law Center’s traditional donor base grows older and fewer people buy into the SPLC’s perennial “hate group” hype, the fundraisers in Montgomery have set their sights on a younger, often-Progressive and often-affluent LGBT demographic.

Earlier this year, Watching the Watchdogs noted how the SPLC was involved in two ham-fisted publicity stunts featuring LGBT plaintiffs in New York and New Jersey.

One case was a simple copyright infringement case where a political group in Colorado used a gay couple’s engagement photo in its literature without permission from the couple or the photographer, who holds the copyright to the photo.

The other case involved former clients of counseling outfit that promised Jewish men that it could “cure” them of their homosexuality. Basically, a cut-and-dried malpractice suit.

In both cases, the plaintiffs were not indigent and the actual cases were being handled by two of the top copyright and malpractice law firms in the NYC area. The term “civil rights” does not appear in either complaint filed by the SPLC, which is not even licensed to practice law in either state.

All the SPLC brings to those cases is publicity, and they will spin that publicity into donor-gold by the hands of their long-time Public Relations guru, Mark Potok.

This week’s court filing continues the SPLC’s newest fundraising scheme, pandering to the LGBT community, as well as one its older favorites, suing impoverished school districts in the Deep South.

Pretty low-hanging fruit for one of the nation’s “leading civil rights organizations,” but the media, and therefore the donors, will lap it up, as usual.

On December 17, 2013, the SPLC filed a law suit against Magnolia Junior High and the Moss Point School District on behalf of Destin Holmes, a 17-year-old, self-described lesbian who claims she was bullied and harassed by students and staff at the school “on account of her gender expression and sexual orientation.”

Obviously, nobody deserves to be bullied or harassed for any reason in any setting, and just as obviously, nearly everybody DOES get bullied and harassed in the special corner of Hell known as junior high. That in no way makes Ms. Holmes’ ordeal any less painful, but it should be considered in order to keep the case in perspective.

Ms. Holmes states that she was harassed every day by students, faculty and even administrators, who would call her names like “dyke,” “dyke-ass freak” and “lesbian” and make comments about her clothing. It also did not help that Ms. Holmes was 15 or 16 when she began her 8th grade year, making her stand out even more.

Again, nobody should ever be bullied, but as junior high school fare goes, is this really a job for a multimillion-dollar law firm with more than a quarter-billion dollars in cash on-hand?

Magnolia Junior High School is typical of the kind of target the SPLC prefers to go after: Southern and impoverished.

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Interestingly, the SPLC is making no mention of the fact that Ms. Holmes is white, while the majority of her classmates, the assistant principal and principal, LaJuna and Durand Payton, (both of whom are named in the complaint as making repeated homophobic slurs against Ms. Holmes), are black.

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Can anyone seriously imagine the SPLC ignoring this fact if the races were reversed?

The law suit is already buzzing around the Blogosphere and is getting big press in the LGBT media, its intended audience. No doubt Mr. Potok is rubbing his hands in anticipation of yet another record donation year, one that will top the $40 million tax-free donor-dollars he ballyhooed last year.

Hopefully, the LGBT community will be savvy enough to figure out that it is being carefully targeted by the white millionaires who run the SPLC.

In the end, the school district will concede defeat. Scarce budget dollars will be reallocated to create sensitivity training for everyone and who knows, it may actually turn junior high students into rational human beings. It could happen.

Again, nobody should be bullied or harassed. We wish Ms. Holmes the best in her freshman year at high school, another teenage milestone that has never been known for its humanity.


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