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HRC apologizes for treatment of transgender, immigration rights activists

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Human Rights Campaign on Monday issued an apology for its treatment of transgender and immigration rights activists during rallies supporting marriage equality outside the U.S. Supreme Court last week.

The nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group had come under fire after reports that an unnamed HRC staff member had harassed an activist who was waving a transgender pride flag, asking him on several occasions to move or stop displaying the flag in order to keep out of the scope of TV cameras.

Courtesy C.d. Kirven

One report, by a companion activist who was waving the bisexual pride flag, said the HRC staffer told the activist, “this is about marriage equality, not the Trans community.”

In another complaint, a undocumented LGBT activist was asked to edit his speech to hide his immigration status.

Initially, the HRC denied the allegations, and said, “It is not true to suggest that any person or organization was told their flag was less important than another – this did not occur and no HRC staff member would ever tolerate such behavior.”

But on Friday, after Bilerico co-founder Jerame Davis reported that he witnessed the altercation, the United for Marriage Coalition (which includes the HRC), acknowledged the incidents and said “apologies are being made individually and collectively and we are working to make direct amends.”

Earlier Monday, HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz issued an additional apology, saying, “To be perfectly clear, HRC regrets the incidents and offers our apologies to those who were hurt by our actions. We failed to live up to the high standard to which we hold ourselves accountable and we will strive to do better in the future.”

The incident has reopened old wounds among longtime activists that the HRC has not been sympathetic to transgender issues.

In 2007, the HRC supported a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that excluded transgender individuals from the anti-discrimination bill.

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32 more reader comments:

  1. Inexcusable in the first place. What a bullshit campaign, claiming it stands for equality and then acting like transgender people and immigrants do not deserve equality.

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:04pm
  2. people on the front line made mistakes, errors in judgement – it happens. At least the management came out and apologized – hopefully it does not happen again.

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:05pm
  3. That’s right

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:05pm
  4. FINALLY

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:06pm
  5. At least they apologize I for one don, t understand transgenderdd

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:07pm
  6. oh look…a FREAKING BAND-AID FOR A GASH REQUIRING 2000000 STITCHES, the HRC are only G G G & G, NOT LGBT

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:07pm
  7. Mistakes do happen. This one was speedily adrees. Thanks HRC for the good work you do.

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:09pm
  8. that was fucked up

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:12pm
  9. Good. A Public Apology…now for the action that matches the promise made here.

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:13pm
  10. now I would like the HRC to apologize for its “neutral” stance with regards to Bush/Cheney war against Iraqi civilians. To this day , this organization has not taken a position about it.

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:14pm
  11. Well, THAT was disappointing! I am glad that they apologized, but it bothers me that they denied it first and that it looks as though there may be a pattern at work here. :/

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:15pm
  12. Wait… it’s April Fool’s Day

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:15pm
  13. Thats why I really don’t support the LGBT community because (not everybody in the community) but there is ALOT of discrimination to transgendered and race. I’m gay but sometimes I don’t feel as though the B and T (Bisexual and Transgendered) shouldn’t be in LGBT because the gay community treats Bisexuals and Transgenders like crap! Now thats the T!!! No one is perfect but this is proof that the gay and lesbian community has ALOT of issues within the community and its spilling out into the public, (mainstream society Heterosexuals ) otherwise the HRC wouldnt be announcing this. At least they apologize from their hearts, then again, How would I know if a transgendered called the HRC out on their $hit!?

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:16pm
  14. Nothing makes me more sick then those who have suffered discrimination and then turn around and are willing to discriminate against others. Discrimination is discrimination and we need to be inclusive of ALL!

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:24pm
  15. Gay Pride!!

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:25pm
  16. About time!

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:27pm
  17. I’m really pissed off but speechless right now! Hypocrisy thats what it is.

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:27pm
  18. @Ciera honestly I didnt understand it either until I thought about. I didnt choose to be gay duh. I thought about it and I believe in God and God doesnt make mistakes, in my opinion God is about LOVE JUDGEMENT & KNOWLEDGE. I believe God made transgendered people into who they really are if a guy was born a male but is a female inside I believe God did that for a reason because, Do you love your neighbor as yourself? These so called Christians swear they are loving and all that, yet transgendered are one if not the most hated people in the world, and lets just say a lot of Christians Muslims etc better get their act together.

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:35pm
  19. Immigrants do not deserve equality until they are legal. Sad that the two even go together.

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:42pm
  20. They can shove it!

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:43pm
  21. I used to really support you all but after this most recent media thing- I have no respect for you all at all! How could you possibly compare yourselves to immigrants. I am disapointed in you all! I will never support you again!

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:44pm
  22. I understand mistakes are made; however, it’s still sad that as a group who oppresses discrimination we also discriminate. If everyone who has ever been on the wrong side of justice united we’d be a lot closer at eradicating intolerance, injustice, and discrimination.

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:46pm
  23. Apologize? Isn’t it a bit late in the game, after taking so much money under false pretenses?

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:51pm
  24. I was very disappointed with them but it took some balls to aplogize and I give them props! EQUALITY FOR ALL!!!!

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 8:05pm
  25. Towleroad.com also points out the statements from the gay rights groups’ only came after the blog Transition Transmission demanded an apology for the flag removal incident. The Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project (QUIP) posted a video calling for an apology as well. HRC initially denied any wrongdoing.

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 8:13pm
  26. I applaud the effort but come on your HRC so why did the apology need to happen in the first place??? Why did the incident happen at all?? Shouldn’t the HRC be open and accepting and not have people who are willing to discriminate against other people??

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 8:31pm
  27. Keep those flags waving!!

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 8:41pm
  28. They are not getting one more dime of my money, nor will I promote them by displaying their logo. I will put my continued support behind the groups which are actually WORKING toward equality for LGBT persons……The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Lambda Legal.
    For a lobbying organization, HRC has done far less actual lobbying than they have fund-raising. Greedy eletists.

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 9:45pm
  29. Ciera, what don’t you understand? might I suggest checking out Transgender Education Network of Texas’ Facebook and website transtexas.org

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 11:11pm
  30. also transequality.org

    Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 11:14pm
  31. Who wrote the headline?

    Posted on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 5:39am
  32. They don’t mean it.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 8:29am