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Monday, July 28, 2008

Controversy Grows As Woman, 63, Alleges Assault at HRC Fundraiser

Protesters have dogged the Human Rights Campaign, which bills itself as the largest LGBT advocacy organization in the country, regarding the exclusion of gender identity from federal employment protections. HRC has courted controversy by reneging on promises to include gender identity in the federal Employment Non-Discrimination bill. Other LGBT organizations have decried HRC's stand, and fundraisers in each city have been greeted by protests and refusal of some public officials to attend. HRC's response to the dissenters has grown increasingly forceful.

Over the weekend, a woman attending an HRC fundraiser in San Francisco, Catherine Cusic, vice-president of the Harvey Milk Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Democratic Club, alleges that she was forcefully seized by security personnel as she distributed flyers to other attendees. The woman, 63, describes being accosted by several security men, who twisted her arm behind her back and knocked her to the ground. She says she was then lifted off the floor and carried out into the street, despite her protestations that she would leave on her own. She received severe-looking contusions from the assault. The full story, with pictures, is here: http://happening-here.blogspot.com/2008/07/security-goons-oust-older-lesbian-from.html HRC has yet to respond to the allegations. This is sure to generate more controversy regarding the issue of excluding gender identity from federal protections.

Here is more on the story: http://www.bilerico.com/2008/07/elderly_transwoman_dragged_screaming_fro.php#more

Michelangelo Signorile interviewed Ms. Cusic on his OutQ Sirius radio program on Wednesday, July 30. Ms. Cusic commented on the published reports of witnesses indicating that she was yelling and throwing leaflets around the room prior to being removed. She indicated that she began yelling when she was seized by the wrists and arm-twisted, and that her leaflets went flying for the same reason. However, she noted that the witnesses would not have been able to see the events clearly because the enormous room was quite dark at the time of the incident.

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