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social sciences

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Human Rights Campaign (HRC)  
 
page: 1  2  

Coming Out Project

In the belief that only by coming out can glbtq people attain sufficient visibility to achieve equality, the Human Rights Campaign has promoted coming out as a political as well as a personal activity. On October 11, 1988, it celebrated the first National Coming Out Day to commemorate the anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington. Since then, October 11 has been an annual day of celebration and lobbying.

An extension of the organization's National Coming Out Day is its National Coming Out Project. This project, fronted by Candace Gingrich, promotes honesty and openness about being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or on campus, in the workplace, and in the community.

Sponsor Message.

HRC's Future

The Human Rights Campaign has emerged as the leading national organization that speaks out on behalf of glbtq concerns and interests. Its leaders--Steve Endean, 1980-83; Vic Basile, 1983-89; Tim McFeeley, 1989-95; Elizabeth Birch, 1995-2003; Cheryl Jacques, 2003-2005; and Joe Solmonese, 2005-2012--have been media-savvy coalition builders who have worked to ensure a voice for glbtq people in the corridors of power.

In March 2012, Chad Griffin, Los Angeles-based political strategist and a founder of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which sponsors the legal challenge in federal court to California's Proposition 8, was tapped to succeed Solmonese as head of the organization.

Griffin takes over HRC at a pivotal moment in the organization's history. Under Solmonese's leadership, it grew both in resources and in influence, yet it was been criticized for not being sufficiently attuned to the aspirations of the grassroots, especially for not challenge the Obama administration to move more decisively to secure equal rights.

During the first two years of the Obama administration, when the Justice Department was opposing gay rights in court and when the Democratic majority in Congress failed to move aggressively on gay-friendly legislation, critics accused HRC's leaders of having been co-opted by the Democratic Party and more interested in White House invitations than in holding the President and other politicians accountable for their failure to fulfill the promises they made in the 2008 election.

Many observers hope that Griffin will bring more aggressive leadership to the HRC. They note that despite Griffin's having been a major fundraiser for President Obama in 2008, he has been openly critical of the President's evolving position on marriage equality, calling Obama's support for states' rights on deciding who can marry "a step backwards."

Moreover, Griffin has demonstrated his ability to defy conventional thinking and take bold action. At a time when most glbtq legal groups cautioned against fighting for marriage equality in federal court, Griffin pressed ahead with his plan to challenge the constitutionality of Proposition 8 on grounds that could lead to a major victory in the Supreme Court of the United States.

Similarly, despite his deep connections in the Democratic Party, having served as a 19-year-old as a press assistant in the Clinton White House, Griffin has made a point of attempting to involve Republicans in the fight for marriage equality, most notably through engaging former Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson as co-counsel in the Proposition 8 case.

Claude J. Summers

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   Related Entries
  
social sciences >> Overview:  Anti-discrimination Statutes and Ordinances

Anti-discrimination statutes and ordinances have made a real difference in the lives of millions of glbtq individuals.

social sciences >> Overview:  Boycotts

Boycotts, the refusal to patronize companies or institutions, have in recent decades been organized by glbtq rights advocates to protest discriminatory practices and policies.

social sciences >> Overview:  Coming Out

"Coming out" is the revelation or acknowledgment that one is a member of a sexual minority, a process that is at once personal and social and often political.

social sciences >> Overview:  Deaf Culture

Members of the Deaf community, which defines deafness not as a disability but as a separate culture with its own vibrant vernacular, have organized an international support network of glbtq Deaf people.

social sciences >> Overview:  Domestic Partnerships

"Domestic partnership" is the generic term for a variety of forms of legal and institutional recognition of same-sex couples that fall short of same-sex marriage.

social sciences >> Overview:  Elected Officials

In the United States, glbtq candidates have achieved some significant successes at the ballot box in the last three decades, running for and winning local, state, and national elections.

social sciences >> Overview:  Gay Rights Movement, U. S.

The U.S. gay rights movement has made significant progress toward achieving equality for glbtq Americans, and in the process has become more inclusive and diverse, but much remains to be done.

social sciences >> Overview:  Hate Crimes

Hate Crimes are crimes towards persons or groups motivated by the victim's race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

social sciences >> Overview:  Holidays and Observances

Throughout the year, the glbtq community unites in pride and in protest, in recognition of a rich heritage and in hope for the future.

social sciences >> Overview:  Marches on Washington

Marches on Washington in support of the rights of glbtq people have been a significant part of the modern movement for equality.

social sciences >> Overview:  Miami and Key West

The site of contentious battles for glbtq rights, Miami is home to a vibrant glbtq community; as is Key West, which has a long tradition of celebrating diversity.

social sciences >> Overview:  New Right

The New Right, which emerged during the last two decades of the twentieth century, combines evangelical Christian morality with a political agenda in opposition to glbtq equality.

social sciences >> Overview:  Political Blogs

The explosion of political blogs has served to multiply greatly the number of voices    participating in glbtq activism and to expedite the transmission of political information to glbtq communities.

arts >> Overview:  Symbols

The various symbols of glbtq pride render marginalized communities visible and assert self-esteem in the face of discrimination and oppression.

social sciences >> Overview:  Workplace Discrimination

Although work remains to be done, the expansion of protection from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation stands as one of the significant accomplishments of the American lesbian and gay civil rights movement.

arts >> Amaechi, John

Closeted throughout his professional basketball career, John Amaechi is the first player from the National Basketball Association to acknowledge that he is gay; since coming out, he has become an eloquent spokesman for glbtq rights.

social sciences >> Apuzzo, Virginia

American activist Virginia Apuzzo has dedicated her life to gay and lesbian issues, including civil rights, health care, and the concerns of aging members of the glbtq community.

arts >> Batt, Bryan

Actor and designer Bryan Batt achieved fame playing a closeted advertising executive on television, but in his own life he has been active in affirming the naturalness of homosexuality.

arts >> Baxter, Meredith

Since coming out in 2009, actress Meredith Baxter, best known for her starring role in the ABC situation comedy Family Ties (1982-1989), has become a spokesperson for glbtq rights.

arts >> Bearse, Amanda

One of the first primetime television actors to come out publicly as a gay person, Amanda Bearse has developed a second career as a film and television director and has become an outspoken advocate of gay visibility.

social sciences >> Birch, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Birch, former executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, has been a visible and effective spokesperson on a wide array of issues of concern to the glbtq community.

social sciences >> Democratic Party (United States)

The American glbtq movement for equality has largely allied itself with the Democratic Party.

social sciences >> Empire State Pride Agenda

The Empire State Pride Agenda, which lobbies New York governments at both state and local levels for equal rights, is recognized as among the strongest statewide glbtq political organizations in the United States.

social sciences >> Endean, Steve

Steve Endean, one of the most important glbtq activists of the post-Stonewall era, stirred controversy within and outside gay politics in his conviction that "mainstreaming" the movement was the way for glbtq Americans to achieve equality.

social sciences >> Equality California (EQCA)

Equality California (EQCA) is one of the largest and fastest growing statewide glbtq advocacy and civil rights organizations in the United States.

arts >> Feinstein, Michael

American pianist and singer Michael Feinstein has had a lifelong fascination with the popular music of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

social sciences >> GetEqual

The direct action group GetEqual has gained attention by its bold action, including civil disobedience, on behalf of equal rights for glbtq people.

social sciences >> Gill, Tim

Founder of the Gill Foundation, computer entrepreneur and philanthropist Tim Gill has used his wealth to benefit the glbtq community.

social sciences >> Gingrich-Jones, Candace

Candace Gingrich-Jones, the half-sister of former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, serves as a spokesperson and Senior Youth Outreach Manager for the Human Rights Campaign.

social sciences >> Griffin, Chad

Chad Griffin co-founded the American Foundation for Equal Rights to sponsor a legal challenge to Proposition 8; in June 2012, he assumed the helm of the Human Rights Campaign.

social sciences >> Kuehl, Sheila James

Once best known as a youthful actor, Sheila James Kuehl is now a respected California state legislator and a vigorous advocate for glbtq rights.

social sciences >> Maloney, Sean Patrick

Long a champion of glbtq and progressive causes, Sean Patrick Maloney was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2012 to become the first openly gay U.S. Representative from New York state.

social sciences >> National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF)

The oldest continuously operating national glbtq interest group, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has played a significant role in the development of the glbtq movement for equal rights.

social sciences >> O'Leary, Jean

Jean O'Leary devoted her life to activism for gay and lesbian rights.

social sciences >> Proposition 8 (California)

Proposition 8, also known as the California Marriage Protection Act, was the ballot proposition that amended the California state constitution to ban same-sex marriage; after prolonged litigation in both state and federal court, it was finally struck down in June 2013.

social sciences >> Republican Party (United States)

The Republican Party of the United States has not been supportive of glbtq issues, despite the efforts of the Log Cabin Republicans.

social sciences >> Ride, Sally

Sally Ride made history as the first American woman in space when she flew as a mission specialist aboard Challenger in 1983; her lesbianism was not widely known until shortly after her death.

arts >> Takei, George

Best known for his role as Mr. Sulu on the cult-classic television series Star Trek and subsequent films, George Takei has, since coming out as a gay man, also been an articulate advocate for glbtq rights.

social sciences >> Tobias, Andrew

Financial writer Andrew Tobias, the author of the classic coming out memoir The Best Little Boy in the World (1973), was elected Treasurer of the Democratic Party in 1999.

social sciences >> Tyler, Robin

Charismatic performer and activist Robin Tyler has spent much of her life enmeshed in the struggle for gay and lesbian rights, from planning national marches to promoting same-sex marriage.


    Bibliography
   

Bailey, Mark. "Human Rights Campaign." Gay Histories and Cultures. George E. Haggerty, ed. New York: Garland, 2000.

Birch, Elizabeth. "The Human Rights Campaign: So Much More Than a Fund." HRC Quarterly (Fall 1995): 2-3. Human Rights Campaign.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Summers, Claude J.  
    Entry Title: Human Rights Campaign (HRC)  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated August 27, 2012  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/human_rights_campaign.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  
 

 

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