tori osborn calls it like she sees it

6a00e553deb6d988330105360453a2970b-250wiIf you don’t know who Tori Osborn is, you should.

The former executive director at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, she has some major LGBT advocacy street cred. Most recently she ran the progressive organization Liberty Hill Foundation and was a senior advisor to big-time marriage equality supporter Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles. 

Osborn has not been quiet about that fact that she found the No on Prop 8 campaign wanting, to say the least. But what’s really got her going these days is the lack of self-reflection from some of the people who ran the campaign about what went wrong. She doesn’t name names, but one can assume she’s directing her comments to the likes of Geoff Kors at Equality California and one of her successors at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center, Lorri Jean.

Here’s what Osborn has to say about the lack of what she calls “humility and self responsibility” in her recent blog posting, titled “Indictment.”


“Nobody has accepted responsibility for failure and stepped up to lead a coherent, community-wide discussion of where to from here.  As a result there is too much finger pointing, and a startling loss of credibility for established LGBT organizations and leaders.  Without a humble and truth-telling self-assessment, the energetic protest and proliferation of new young activists may well evaporate, or be too narrowly contained within one single–-if exciting–strand of the LGBT movement: web activism.  Or, inaccurate analysis will become set in stone and lead toward division rather than powerful motion forward.”

It’s a dire warning, but seems warranted. Hey, am I a web activist?


6 Responses to “tori osborn calls it like she sees it”

  1. 1 Cam
    November 21, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Look, the large group “The Human Rights Campaign” actually tried to prevent some of the gay marriage lawsuits from going foreward. They claimed that if we just sat on our hands and waited eventually everybody would just be fine. They wanted us to concentrate on ENDA, which they have been trying to pass for 10 years now. So if we had listened to them, we would not have marriage in Massachusetts, nor Marriage acceptance in New York, nor now in Ct. Look, I’m sure that Rosa Parks grandmother would have told her. “Rosa, don’t stir up trouble, things will be fine if you just sit back there and stay quiet. Don’t worry, eventually things will be different.

    So basically, these large groups, with their huge parties where everybody jostles to have their picture taken with Rosie O’Donnell and care more about what wine is served than about securing our rights are like grandparents. You can appriciate their lives without reliving them yourself. The people that can pay $2000 to go to an HRC dinner, aren’t concerned as much about the protections needed by a gay couple in West Virginia. they can pay lawyers to draw up contracts and take care of all that. So they also don’t mind that 98% of that money raised by HRC will go to paying off the mortgage on their gigantic new office building in downtown Washington, and on the inflated staff salaries they pay. Again, the times, they are a-changing, and these large organizations have been sitting on their heels living off our donations and doing nothing for far too long.

  2. November 21, 2008 at 8:52 am

    One of the reasons the 1993 March on Washington was such a success is because it was inclusive at all levels of organizing, planning and leadership. One of the reasons the 2000 March on Washington was a financial debacle was because it was not inclusive. The same folks with the same ideas from the 2000 March lead the charge for No on 8. When are they going to learn that if they leave the grass roots out, they lose?

  3. 3 steve-texas
    November 21, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Amen to Cam!

    I would equate HRC to the big three automakers. They make bad decisions (or worse, make no decisions) yet have the arrogance to seek more funding. I am also glad to see that someone has noticed what I have in DC. The HRC building in DC is so over-the-top!!

  4. 4 David
    November 21, 2008 at 10:15 am

    I was a member of the HRC “Federal Club” for over 10 years. Which means that I’ve been donating $2,400 a year for all that time. Which means that I have personally donated $24,000 to HRC over the past decade. But three weeks ago, I cancelled my membership in that organization.

    I have reached the conclusion that the goals and strategies of the people who run HRC are not in the best interests of the gay community. And I am not the only Federal Club member who has reached this conclusion.

    I am, however, on the lookout for another LGBT Political Action Committee to start donating to. One that better represents our needs and goals. Any advice??

  5. 5 Jennifer
    November 21, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    I am really looking forward to my next phone call solicitation for funds from HRC (Y’all can suck it!).

    I am sick and tired of gay organizations that refuse to allow gay people to speak for themselves. Sure, they give us a little .pdf guide of what to say (and more importantly, what not to say) to our neighbors — but for six months I watched my beautiful little family here in CA get dragged through the mud and they never, ever, stood up for us. “Protect the Children” — Hello!!! WTF?!?! What about MY children??!!

    Personally, I’m with David (and others, Andrew Sullivan, Wockner, etc…) who think it’s just time to let the HRC die. They are out of touch and more concerned with preserving the celebrity attendance at their galas.

    My personal favorite, for a few years now, as an alternative to HRC — The National Center for Lesbian Rights. Yes, they had a hand in the Prop 8 campaign too…but I don’t think that they were very responsible for the God-awful strategy. Bottom line, Shannon Minter and Kate Kendall have been at the forefront of a ton of successful LGBT cases. They’re not as high-profile as Lambda Legal (also good), though I think that’s changing…people are starting to associate them with “winning”…and for good reason. That’s where my two cents will be going.

  6. 6 Eric
    November 22, 2008 at 1:41 am

    Hey, don’t go putting down Rosa Parks’ grandma. Rosa was a fighter, and I’d bet her granny was too, to the extent her circumstances allowed.

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