HRC expands Trans Advocacy while NCTE stumbles


Did the Human Rights Campaign just kick the NCTE to the curb? Or is their expansion into Trans advocacy an act of unequivocal L-G-B-stand with the T mercy?

Two facts.

  1. The NCTE just cut staff leaving a barebone skeleton crew of questionable viability and (by many accounts) questionable moral ethics.
  2. HRC just announced an all-encompassing ‘expansion’ into trans advocacy filling the void left by NCTE which will by their account, pick future trans advocates and train them to fulfill HRC program goals.
Screengrab / Trans Speak Magazine

The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) was born in battle in a land devoid of allies and refuge.

And while in it’s advocacy infancy NTCE was attacked unmercifully from within and outside the trans community.  Some things will never change.

And I was among those who attacked the Mara and the NCTE.

Photo/ planetransgender blogspot 2007

I was a young advocate who listened to my elders wistfully describe national advocacy groups that they started but had since fallen by the wayside.  Cental to their narrative was a perception that the NCTE had an unfair advantage. Mara Keisling was of questionable character, according to them, an HRC quisling, which of course made them the admirable underdogs.

I prescribed to this ideology mainly because it was cool and easy. I saw myself as a cutting edge blogger, a comrade, protesting HRC Black Tie fundraisers.

We protested boomboxes blaring, confronted by mounted police deployed by the monolithic Human Rights Campaign during the Barney Frank ENDA-GENDA debacle.

Yes we the few, the proud and brave brought HRC to their knees.

Related: Former staff penned open letter: This Is Why We Left the National Center for Trans Equality

HRC was and remains an organization in the crosshairs of discrimination which is focused on their own (LGB$) survivability, despite what you may have heard.

The NCTE didn’t do themselves any favors during that turbulent time remaining silent and uncommunicative to the greater trans community. And yes some things haven’t changed. Mara Kesling has not yet responded to requests for comment and there is no public statement addressing this issue.

What has changed?

We have or should have personally matured beyond our selfish indulgent self-pity years. We are no longer silent powerless victims. Thanks in part to Mara and HRC, we have a place and a say in the world.

BUT We need the NCTE!

New Orleans protest 2008

We need this group to finish its last transgender community survey.

HRC Advocacy or Assimilation?

The highly heralded and referenced 2015 trans survey or the NCTE wasn’t mentioned in HRC’s proclamation that they are now the preeminent trans advocacy group.

There are a lot of takes on what precluded the downsizing of the NCTE.
Some will contend its a natural occurrence in the advocacy world.
Some alleged racial bigotry permeated the NCTE championed by Mara herself.
Some said efforts to unionize were unfairly thwarted by management.
Some said that the NTCE was not friendly to physically challenged people.

I would like an answer to the lone comment posted on the HRC proclamation.

HRC NCTEI haven’t heard squat from the NCTE lately. They aren’t sought after anymore to comment by mainstream media. HRC is.

Did the HRC unceremoniously cut NCTE funding? Did the NCTE become overly dependant on the HRC for office space and salaries?

If so we have no one to blame but ourselves. I couldn’t pay for a week’s motel room let alone finance a small advocacy group in DC.

Perhaps its time we step up and contribute? Trump will put us in the grave and HRC may leave us under the bus if it comes down to the nitty-gritty.

We MUST stand on our own.

If you agree here is the Link to contribute to the NCTE.

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender


  1. Until such time as Blac Tie Fundraisers like DFW denounce Elizabeth Birch and this includes renaming the lifetime achievement award STRIPPING her ndsm from it they don’t deserve the trans communities support or recognition.


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