John M. Becker

Chad Griffin Apologies to Trans Community on Behalf of HRC

Filed By John M. Becker | September 05, 2014 2:20 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Chad Griffin, HRC, HRC's apology, Human Rights Campaign, trans vs. HRC, transgender community

chad-griffin-2013-nationaldinner-john.jpgIn a keynote address this afternoon to the Southern Comfort Conference -- one of the nation's largest trans conferences -- Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin formally apologized for his organization's turbulent relationship with and past mistreatment of the transgender community, and pledged to do better.

Griffin also committed the organization to leading the charge for an omnibus LGBT civil rights bill in the next session of Congress, and reiterated HRC's condemnation of the Michigan Womyn's Music Festivals anti-transgender policies.

Here's an excerpt of Griffin's speech, from The Advocate:

"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.

"I came here today in the hopes that we can begin a new chapter together. But I also came here to tell you the truth. We're an organization that is evolving. We may make mistakes. We may stumble. But what we do promise is to work with you sincerely, diligently, with a grand sense of urgency, listening and learning every step of the way.

"And I also want to be clear that I'm not asking you to be the ones to take the first leap of faith. That's our job. My mom taught me that respect isn't given, it's earned."

In his speech, Griffin discussed the scourge of anti-transgender violence, rightly labeling it a "national crisis." Griffin expressed solidarity with the trans community, remarking that attacks on transgender people are attacks on the entire LGBT movement. He ticked off a list of ways the Human Rights Campaign is working to expand its transgender equality work and uplift the lives and stories of transgender Americans -- and he asked the trans community to continue holding him, and HRC, accountable.

The full transcript of Griffin's prepared remarks is available at The Advocate; click here to read it in full.

Readers, what do you think of Griffin's apology today, and of the Human Rights Campaign's desire for a better, healthier, more productive relationship with the transgender community? Sound off in the comments section.

Photo by John Becker for The Bilerico Project.

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