Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, gave a powerful, almost shocking keynote speech at the Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta this week. In the speech, he apologized for the organization’s past mistreatment of transgender people.
Griffin also announced HRC’s renewed commitment to trans equality, including a fully inclusive antidiscrimination bill, tackling antitrans violence, pushing for equal bathroom and public accommodations access, and opposing the “womyn-born-womyn” policy at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.
The link above includes the full speech, but here’s an excerpt:
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.
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.
Read the whole thing. Holy crap.