An Open Letter to HRC

May 12th, 2008

An Open Letter to HRC

Dear HRC,

Many things have happened since Southern Comfort, 2007. Transgender people have been taken to extreme heights of hope and depths of despair, all in a very short time. Words flowed back and forth between both sides of the issue, many that were not very pleasant to hear. We said them and they filled pages and pages of blogs and web sites across the WWW. History will judge us all harshly when that time comes. Are we prepared for what will be found? We can only speak for ourselves, individually.

That is why I am writing this letter. I have to speak for myself, as an individual, and not as a so-called leader in the transgender community. I have struggled these past months; with images of disadvantaged trans people I have known flooding my mind. I need to start following the teaching of Jesus, because in His words I find comfort. I need to settle with you, HRC.

I discovered that in order for me to better serve Jesus and do what He has set before me, whatever that may be, I have to forgive those who have hurt me. I have resisted for a long time the need to forgive you, because the hurt is so very deep. I keep seeing Alice Johnston in my mind. Because HRC was not willing to fight for total equality, Alice felt she had no alternative but to take her own life. However, my Pastor reminded me that Alice is with God and she is now without worry. Yes, she is, and I forgive you.

I have carried my anger toward you for a long time and I have acted foolishly because of it. I cannot be expected to do something out of love for the transgender community if I carry around anger toward those who have hurt me. Anger and love cannot occupy the same space at the same time. It is against the laws of physics. It is also hypocritical to my faith.

I know that it will be difficult for some of my friends in the transgender community to understand why I am forgiving you. It is the risk I have to take if I am to be about justice, act mercifully and walk humbly with God. Each person has to settle this with their God in their own way, including any of you on the Board of HRC who saw fit to support removing us from equality. It is not my place to judge.

There will be times in the future where you will once again anger the transgender community. I cannot let those moments detract me from what I am doing and what I can do to help my community. The relevance of your organization has been minimized by the greater good of my community. My God will always guide my heart and my soul on the path of inclusion, no matter what the cost.

I only hope that all of us, the HRC Board included, can be shown a way to do justice that includes all the letters of our community. When you fall short, I will be there to remind you. When you step ahead, I will be there to honor you. I hope you will forgive me for my harsh words and judgment as I have forgiven you for excluding the people of my community from your process. I pray that one day, you too will see that equality is for all and not just for those who pass as “gender normal.”

So, I forgive you and I hope you have a peaceful life.

Monica F. Helms

Marietta, GA

7 Responses to “An Open Letter to HRC”

  1. Joni Christian Says:

    Amen.

  2. Zoe Brain Says:

    Forgiveness requires repentance, or at least remorse.

    Past actions we should forgive, but it’s difficult pre-emptively forgiving the future ones you know are coming.

    Remember, even He said “Go thou and Sin no more”. It wasn’t blanket absolution to continue without penalty or preventing anyone pointing out continuation of the Sin.

    I can’t cast the first stone, or for that matter, the millionth. But I’m not going to say the Emperor’s wardrobe is wonderful in the name of “Forgiveness”.

    A failing in me.

  3. Desiree' Sylvester Says:

    Dear Monica,

    I am a transgender who is active in the local HRC here in Orlando. I serve on the local diversity committee and have passed your blog onto both local and national HRC leadership.

    The good people in HRC here in Orlando has embraced the transgender cause long before the ENDA fiasco. They are my friends, and personally, I don’t turn my back on friends. I prefer to work within, heal wounds and make positive changes.

    I share in your prayer and from a pragmatic view, I see the very real need for HRC and the transgender community to find a way to heal these wounds and work together for the benefit of both parties.

    With love and respect,
    Desiree’ Sylvester

  4. ShannonB Says:

    Monica,
    Thank you. I think a lot of that needed to be said by a lot of us in the trans community, and I put myself at the top of that list. So long as we hold hardness in our heart, it hurts only us and keeps US from moving forward. I pray that your faith can truely help you let go of the anger and the sense of betrayal.

    You had Alice Johnston, and I had Naomi Adorable that I somehow wish I could have helped more. Someday I hope I can write my letter to Naomi as eloquently as you did the post for Alice. But for now, I am focusing not on what HRC did and didn’t do, but instead on the love that my God has for all of the oppressed in our community–gay and straight, trans, intersex, queer, and people of any color. I find that forgiving and forgetting is much easier when I am all about what God wants ME to be doing about it.

  5. Monica Helms Says:

    Joni – Thank you.

    Zoe – I have seen a lot of other comments from you on various subjects, and having a failing is not something I feel describes you. You have shown to be a wonderful person and anything you you feel lacking is just you being hard on yourself. We are, after all, the worst judges of our own characters.

    Shannon – I will keep Naomi in my prayers. She and Alice are watching over us. They will help us make our future tasks easier.

  6. Polar Says:

    Forgiveness might make you feel better, but corporations are not human, they don’t have feelings. I respect what you’re trying to say and do, but I can’t find it in my heart to forgive an organization (and Solmonese in particular) for HRC’s lies and betrayals, especially since I am absolutely certain that said lies and betrayals are continuing to happen. HRC is simply an enemy of the T community, just the same as FotF, High-Impact Coalition, and the Traditional Values Coalition. If HRC’s deeds indicate that they should be forgiven for their transgressions, I’ll cross that bridge then, but I expect to see swine in flight before then.

  7. Victoria Says:

    Dear Zoe and Polar:

    I agree 100% with you re: Solmonese and HRC, and I extend this outrage to Barney Frank, the architect of trans-excluding ENDA HR3685, and oither of their ilk. They are all equally reprehensible / culpable.

    Sincerely, Victoria

    http://home.nc.rr.com/victoriacd/index.shtml

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