HRC’s annual fundraising gala in New York City last weekend had some unlikely protesters. Not Westboro or any other antigay organizations, but rather ACT UP, the HIV/AIDS political advocacy group formed in the ’80s.
Specifically, ACT UP was seeking to raise awareness of what they feel is a shortcoming of HRC’s equality index used to rate Fortune 500 companies on their treatment of LGBT employees — that HIV issues aren’t properly incorporated into the scores.
Activists gathered outside the event at the Waldorf Astoria, where tickets went for a cool $475, to voice their message.
ACT UP explained their reasoning in more detail via their Facebook page:
HRC has created an LGBT equality index to score the Fortune 500 companies, but there’s no mention of HIV and the thousands of LGBT people with HIV in the workplace. We demand that HRC include several criteria to evaluate companies on their treatment of employees living with HIV, as well as their contributions to organizations and causes relate [sic] to reducing the incidence of HIV among LGBT Americans, particularly among the young. For over 30 years, too many have been fired, harassed, outed and discriminated against at work for having HIV. Also at this gala, many of the corporations that HRC will honor actively work against the interests of middle-class and poor Americans, including people with HIV. ACT UP denounces this frequent practice of ‘”pinkwashing” whereby corporations with policies and practices that undermine the people’s well-being are given positive publicity in exchange for maintaining LGBT-friendly (or just equal) workplaces. This is short-sighted and divisive. We demand that HRC develop other criteria that takes into account the impact of companies’ policies on every American, not just LGBT Americans.
Here are some photos from the protest:
h/t: Joe My God