Poem alleging transgender embitterment draws LGBT
By Pat Murphy
April 15, 2006
A poem publicly circulated Friday which ascribed bitterness sprung
from transgender status to a political opponent yesterday was
condemned by two local LGBT Democratic Clubs.
Emailed to San Francisco elected and community leaders, the poem
entitled 'Our Transfigured Robert' was penned by Residential Builders
Association (RBA) President Joe O'Donoghue.
It attacked SEIU 790 organizer Robert Haaland whose union is
opposing the Yes on D Laguna Honda Hospital ballot measure backed
by the RBA.
Haaland is a transgendered man, tenants advocate, and past president
of the Harvey Milk LGBT Club. O'Donoghue is a former labor organizer
who lends RBA financial and organizational assistance to political
Full text of the O'Donoghue prologue and poem is republished
followed by full response from leaders of the Milk Club and the
Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club. Both clubs will submit a joint
condemnation resolution to the San Francisco Democratic County
Central Committee, republished below.
The attachments are an opening salvo directed at a despicable
human being, a parasite who typifies the Left Wing Fascist mentality
of this city.
For over a decade at least, Robert Haaland has with impunity
vilified the R.B.A. and yours truly.
We chose to ignore she then, now he.
Recently Haaland decided to make the elderly, the frail and the
disabled residents at Laguna Honda the targets of his vitriolic
lies. Why he chose to oppose the reform measure we don't know.
But given his twisted mentality any rationale could suffice.
Extending his arrogance, Haaland also decided to push the envelope
and enter into what Sue Hestor stated was the RBA "pig pen"
with his confrontational politics of lies and deceit.
We have now for the first time accepted his arrogant challenge.
And since this fight is for the soul of the city, we see it as
lasting for a long, long time - - let the fight begin.
April 11, 2006
As I previously mentioned to you - I want to reciprocate for
all the niceties you've stated of me. It is therefore only proper,
that the world should know of your charitable greatness and your
unselfish contributions - "Mirabele dictu".
And since you've given new meaning to the aphorism "to give
is to take" and its inverse, "to take is to give",
we shall be pressing most vigorously, additional windfalls from
the General fund for you, Robbi .
Toward this end, I will be writing a creative narrative, "R.
Haaland, Thief or Good Samaritan?" follow up.
And Robbi, was it $130,000 settlement you got?
Please advise if otherwise, as this is the amount I will be using.-
As to the versification attached, looking forward to any corrections
you may have in mind
My regards to Josie; hope she's not chagrined that you are being
Joe O' Donoghue
Who is Robert Haaland?
A consummate petty player in the inner incestuous circle of S.F
politics, he is a persona who exerts on persons who abound in
deficiencies like himself, an influence, that far exceeds his
Additionally, his widely accepted super malignant ego, a heavy
load at any time, like that of a dead cockroach lays wasted, poisoned,
while companioned to an intellect so undersized, that it completely
lacks the necessary sparks that would compel or sustain any kind
There, frustrated and angry, Haaland , as is typical of him,
finds fault not in himself but in others, for the failures of
his unfulfilled ambitions - - a lost election, an academic failure,
a legal embarrassment.
Shrieking at these furtive shadows, some of which emerge as real,
Haaland undergoes more suffering as chokes he on the torment of
What remains of his shattered life is tossed and swished in the
fury of his now many, many hatreds, vendettas and ever frequent
de jour ejaculations.
OUR TRANSFIGURED ROBERT
When Eve was sent to test his grace
She brought to him a cherub face
A Jason personality
Of sweet and sour banality,
But angry at that form given
Haaland to vengeance was envy driven,
Dastardly acts was all he saw
As life a doomed synecdoche,
Searching for the what that's not
A solution lost in the Gordian knot,
With spirituality gone from sight
He seeks relief in power and might,
But since his id an abject trail
Expect from him puke rant and rail,
Now he plots, now he lies
Despite the failures, the harder he tries,
And as he opposes eliminating wrongs
The drug thugs sing this daily song,
"Beat the elderly and the frail
In the hospital that's worse than jail,
Local 790 their principles sold out
For greater power and greater clout,
Douse the ward with gasoline fire
The bureaucrats they with us conspire,
Hit a patient with a chair
Why the hell would 790 care,
Hit the patients in the head
Live they now in fear and dread,
Send us now another bum
This for us is so much fun,
Garbage in, seniors out,
Hail our transfigured political clout".
April 11, 2006
Copyright @ 2006
Joint Statement of the Alice B. Toklas and Harvey Milk LGBT
Democratic Clubs Regarding Transphobic Statement by Joe O'Donoghue
This week, Joe O'Donoghue, the president of the Residential Builders
Association, issued a poem entitled "Our Transfigured Robert."
The poem was an attack on Robert Haaland, and his employer SEIU
790, for their opposition to Proposition D on the June 6 ballot.
Proposition D would bar certain patients from residing at Laguna
Honda Hospital and is so poorly written that it may have the effect
of forcing the removal of Alzheimer's patients and patients with
Unfortunately, Mr. O'Donoghue did not limit his attack to the
merits of the proposition. Instead, he explained Haaland's advocacy
as "angry" and the result of "vengeance" and
"envy," all stemming from Haaland's status as a transgender
man unhappy with the "form" given to him.
The Alice B. Toklas and Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Clubs condemn
Joe O'Donoghue's blatantly transphobic political attack on Robert
Haaland. While Mr. O'Donoghue has the right to disagree with Haaland's
position on any particular issue, that does not justify attacking
or belittling Haaland for his transgender status. Mr. O'Donoghue's
attack on Haaland is the most offensive form of political speech:
speech designed to reduce an opponent's credibility based on the
opponent's status, be it race, national origin, disability, gender,
religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other status.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Mr. O'Donoghue
has ridiculed the LGBT community to achieve his political goals.
Last year, he mocked Mayor Gavin Newsom on the ground that the
Mayor was allegedly gay in light of his support for the LGBT community.
The Board of Supervisors rightly condemned him for that homophobic
Mr. O'Donoghue also has a long track record of harassing and attempting
to intimidate Debra Walker, an out lesbian, past president of
the Harvey Milk Club, and president of the Department of Building
There are many barriers preventing the transgender community from
fully engaging in the political, social, and economic life of
this City and the country generally. Unemployment in the transgender
community is more than 60%. Almost no transgender people hold
public office in the United States. There are only three transgender
public officials in San Francisco: Haaland (an elected member
of the Democratic County Central Committee), Cecilia Chung (a
Human Rights Commissioner), and Theresa Sparks (a Police Commissioner).
We, as a city, must encourage transgender people to be full participants
in our civic life. Yet, attacks like Mr. O'Donoghue's are designed
to achieve precisely the opposite: to make clear that successful,
effective transgender people who dare to oppose him will be promptly
"put in their place" through humiliation and intimidation.
We must oppose and speak out against this tactic.
Scott Wiener, co-chair, Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club
Rebecca Prozan, co-chair, Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club
Greg Shaw, president, Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club
Commissioner Theresa Sparks
Resolution of the San Francisco Democratic Party
WHEREAS the Democratic Party has been a champion of civil rights
for all people, including transgender people, and has taken a
strong stand against hate speech based on gender identity and
other forms of human diversity; and
WHEREAS the Democratic Party has sought to promote a political
environment in which people are treated with respect and dignity,
even in the heat of campaigns; and
WHEREAS Joe O'Donoghue recently issued a poem attacking Robert
Haaland for his opposition to Proposition D and based part of
that attack on Haaland's transgender status;
BE IT RESOLVED that the San Francisco Democratic Party condemns
Joe O'Donoghue for using anti-transgender hate speech in order
to advance a political agenda and to intimidate his opponents;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Democratic
Party urges all members of the San Francisco political community
to refrain from using hate speech to advance political agendas
and further urges Governor Schwarzenegger to sign Assemblyman
Leland Yee's legislation to ban candidates from attacking lesbian,
gay, bisexual, and transgender candidates based on their sexual
orientation or gender identity.
Submitted by Scott Wiener, Connie O'Connor, Catherine Dodd, Susan
Hall, Leslie Katz, Gerry Crowley, Michael Goldstein, David Campos.