human rights campaign

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On Friday, February 14, actress Ellen Page speaks about the brave decision to live openly and authentically.

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. 

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We’re in awe of Ellen Page and her amazing speech yesterday. You must watch the whole thing.

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“It’s such an honor to be here at the inaugural Time to THRIVE conference. But it’s a little weird, too. Here I am, in this room because of an organization whose work I deeply admire. And I’m surrounded by people who make it their life’s work to make other people’s lives better— profoundly better. Some of you teach young people—people like me. Some of you help young people heal and to find their voice. Some of you listen. Some of you take action. Some of you are young people yourselves…in which case, it’s even weirder for a person like me to be speaking to you.

It’s weird because here I am, an actress, representing—at least in some sense—an industry that places crushing standards on all of us. Not just young people, but everyone. Standards of beauty. Of a good life. Of success. Standards that, I hate to admit, have affected me. You have ideas planted in your head, thoughts you never had before, that tell you how you have to act, how you have to dress and who you have to be. I have been trying to push back, to be authentic, to follow my heart, but it can be hard.

But that’s why I’m here. In this room, all of you, all of us, can do so much more together than any one person can do alone. And I hope that thought bolsters you as much as it does me. I hope the workshops you’ll go to over the next few days give you strength. Because I can only imagine that there are days—when you’ve worked longer hours than your boss realizes or cares about, just to help a kid you know can make it. Days where you feel completely alone. Undermined. Or hopeless.

I know there are people in this room who go to school every day and get treated like shit for no reason. Or you go home and you feel like you can’t tell your parents the whole truth about yourself. Beyond putting yourself in one box or another, you worry about the future. About college or work or even your physical safety. Trying to create that mental picture of your life—of what on earth is going to happen to you—can crush you a little bit every day. It is toxic and painful and deeply unfair.

Sometimes it’s the little, insignificant stuff that can tear you down. I try not to read gossip as a rule, but the other day a website ran an article with a picture of me wearing sweatpants on the way to the gym. The writer asked, “Why does [this] petite beauty insist upon dressing like a massive man?”

Because I like to be comfortable. There are pervasive stereotypes about masculinity and femininity that define how we are all supposed to act, dress and speak. They serve no one. Anyone who defies these so-called ‘norms’ becomes worthy of comment and scrutiny. The LGBT community knows this all too well.

Yet there is courage all around us. The football hero, Michael Sam. The actress, Laverne Cox. The musicians Tegan and Sara Quinn. The family that supports their daughter or son who has come out. And there is courage in this room. All of you.

I’m inspired to be in this room because every single one of you is here for the same reason.

You’re here because you’ve adopted as a core motivation the simple fact that this world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort to be less horrible to one another. If we took just 5 minutes to recognize each other’s beauty, instead of attacking each other for our differences. That’s not hard. It’s really an easier and better way to live. And ultimately, it saves lives.

Then again, it’s not easy at all. It can be the hardest thing, because loving other people starts with loving ourselves and accepting ourselves. I know many of you have struggled with this. I draw upon your strength and your support, and have, in ways you will never know.

I’m here today because I am gay. And because… maybe I can make a difference. To help others have an easier and more hopeful time. Regardless, for me, I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility.

I also do it selfishly, because I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain. I am young, yes, but what I have learned is that love, the beauty of it, the joy of it and yes, even the pain of it, is the most incredible gift to give and to receive as a human being. And we deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame and without compromise.

There are too many kids out there suffering from bullying, rejection, or simply being mistreated because of who they are. Too many dropouts. Too much abuse. Too many homeless. Too many suicides. You can change that and you are changing it.

But you never needed me to tell you that. That’s why this was a little bit weird. The only thing I can really say is what I’ve been building up to for the past five minutes. Thank you. Thank for inspiring me. Thank you for giving me hope, and please keep changing the world for people like me.

Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you.”

anonymous asked:

What's wrong with the Human Rights Campaign??

they have a general record of being terrible to the trans community

not allies to the undocumented queer community

they’re supporters of the military-industrial complex and some of their top donors are drone manufacturers

they considered backing a plan to privatize social security if gay couples could get benefits

they hire hedge fund managers who donate to republicans and make their money by preying on developing countries, and they’re perfectly cool with 

and like. more broadly speaking, they’re a gay rights group that only cares about marriage, which is SO FAR from being the most important issue to the queer community!! they don’t want to talk about homelessness, about suicide, about unemployment, about assault, about mental illness, about how our queerness intersects with race or income or ability level - the things that are literally killing us. gay marriage is an issue that only concerns folks who are privileged enough to be in a place where they’re able to get married. gay marriage doesn’t help the queer kids on the street, doesn’t help trans folks, doesn’t help people like me. 

i’m not here for any group that only caters to rich white gays, and i’m not here for assimilationists, i’m not here for activists who don’t challenge oppressive power structures, and i’m sure as hell not here for anyone who says they’re fighting for my human rights and leaves out the most vulnerable people in my community

To my queer friends struggling with a big decision today, share your truth at the *right* time, not just because there’s a national day for it. Be smart- you’re already honest and brave.

For those who are happily out and about, today’s a good excuse for a shindig!

(Here’s a handy infographic in case you’d forgotten how to laugh ;)

Today #BiHealthMonth highlights ways to support bisexual youth at home and in both schools and communities. The HRC’s Bi Youth Report provides several recommendations to improve the lives of bisexual youth, including:

  • Calling out biphobia and stereotypes about bisexuality when you see it
  • Using inclusive language in programs and services
  • Learning about bisexuality and issues affecting the bi community in order to effectively address the needs of bi youth
  • Inviting bisexual leaders to speak at LGBTQ+ events so that bi youth can see themselves represented and celebrated

What else can we do to improve the mental health and well-being of bisexual youth?

I’m here today because I am gay. And because… maybe I can make a difference. To help others have an easier and more hopeful time. Regardless, for me, I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility.

I also do it selfishly, because I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain. I am young, yes, but what I have learned is that love, the beauty of it, the joy of it and yes, even the pain of it, is the most incredible gift to give and to receive as a human being. And we deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame and without compromise.

Ellen Page comes out in a Human Rights Campaign speech