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HRC president delivers apology to transgender community for past divides

HRC president delivers apology to transgender community for past divides
Chad Griffin
Chad Griffin

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin has delivered a public apology to the transgender community for past mistreatment by the HRC, and “for the times that the transgender community has been underrepresented or unrepresented” by his organization.

Speaking Friday at the Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta, one of the nation’s largest conferences for the transgender community, Griffin acknowledged that the “HRC has done wrong by the transgender community.”

From his prepared remarks:

[D]espite all the progress the LGBT movement and HRC in particular have made on transgender issues in the past couple of years…

No matter how many brilliant, new transgender and allied board members, volunteer leaders and staff members are helping HRC broaden our work…

Despite every inclusive state non-discrimination bill we’ve fought for…

No matter how many thousands of hours and millions of dollars we put into the campaign for a fully inclusive ENDA…

There that divide was, for all to see. Plain as day.


So I am here today, at Southern Comfort, to deliver a message. I deliver it on behalf of HRC, and I say it here in the hopes that it will eventually be heard by everyone who is willing to hear it.

HRC has done wrong by the transgender community in the past, and I am here to formally apologize.

I am sorry for the times when we stood apart when we should have been standing together.

Even more than that, I am sorry for the times you have been underrepresented or unrepresented by this organization. What happens to trans people is absolutely central to the LGBT struggle. And as the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, HRC has a responsibility to do that struggle justice, or else we are failing at our fundamental mission.

The HRC has long been criticized by the transgender community for supporting a 2007 version of the Employment Non-Discrimintation Act (ENDA) which included sexual orientation as a protected category but not gender identity and expression.

In 2013, the HRC apologized for its treatment of transgender rights activists during rallies supporting marriage equality outside the U.S. Supreme Court when reports surfaced that an HRC staff member tried to keep activists carrying transgender and bisexual pride flags out of the scope of TV cameras.

The HRC is the largest LGBT civil rights advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the United States.

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