Wednesday, April 15, 2009

LGBT Rights Activists Demand an End to "Hyatt Hypocrisy"

Unite the Fight contributor, Boo Jarchow, works for, writing mainly political and news columns, as well as for and other Regent Media companies. She is also a full-time activist in the fight for equality. To get involved, check out

At noon on Tuesday, there was a gathering of activists, workers, and labor leaders at the Andaz Hotel in West Hollywood to show support for marriage equality and the continued joining of forces of the labor unions and LGBT community. The Andaz was the chosen location because it is owned and operated by the Hyatt Corp. which also operates the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, owned by Doug Manchester. The Manchester Hyatt has been at the center of the battle for same-sex marriage since Doug Manchester donated $125,000 to making sure Prop 8 made it on the California ballot last November.

Cleve Jones, Rick Jacobs, John Cleary, John Duran, and several leaders in the activist community for LGBT rights met to make our demand to end the ‘Hyatt Hypocrisy’ by asking the Hyatt to publicly support marriage equality, and for Hyatt to sever all ties with Doug Manchester. The Andaz, and other Hyatt properties, make a lot of money from the gay community, and as Rick Jacobs said “therefore, has an obligation to stand for equality and against the bigotry shown by its business partner, Doug Manchester.”

It isn’t enough that he takes our money, but he has to take our rights as well? In this economy, we are all struggling, but I do not see how it benefits anyone to take rights away from others. Since the Andaz is part of West Hollywood, our gay home in Los Angeles, I agree with Cleve Jones in that we should not, and will not, boycott them, as it will just further hurt our own community.

It was great to be there with all these great leaders, putting our words into action and once again fighting for equality. It was a really great reminder that no matter how small an action may be, it still gets us closer to achieving equality and our rights in the future.

I know that the continued support of the labor unions for the LGBT community, and vice versa, is essential to our fight, and will be key to the success of both our community and the unions. We have to band together and support those people who support us, and this was definitely clear at our action at the Andaz.

The location of the Andaz being on Sunset Blvd meant that we had a lot of visibility from the surrounding business, people walking and driving by, but most importantly the tour buses that kept stopping right beside us, many of which asked what was going on. It is great to know that our message was not only sent to the Andaz, its management, and witnesses from our community, but to people from all over the country who do not get exposed to our struggle very often, if at all. Those people are a good number of the people we need to educate about what we aim to achieve.

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