In response to a report that found staff members at the Human Rights Campaign felt the organization was a “white men’s club,” the largest LGBT civil-rights organization in the country has released its employee demographic data.
The staff data was sent to BuzzFeed after the site obtained a report commissioned by HRC last fall that quoted employees saying the organization had a “culture rooted in a white, masculine orientation which is judgmental of all those who don’t fit that mold.”
The stats, also sent to Fusion on Thursday, show 52 percent of HRC employees are male and about 70 percent of the staff is white. Transgender and what HRC referred to as “gender expansive” employees make up 4.7 percent of staffers.
“I see femophobia – feminine men and women are not considered as important,” an HRC employee said during surveys conducted last fall by The Pipeline Project, a human resources group.
|Two Races or More||3%|
Transgender HRC employees are frequently mis-gendered with the wrong pronouns, even after repeated corrections, the report also claimed.
“In addition to expanding our programmatic work that reaches more diverse communities from transgender Americans to those living with HIV to LGBT people living in the Deep South, we’re proud of the fact that our staff today largely reflects the diversity of the communities we serve,” HRC President Chad Griffin wrote in a statement sent to Fusion. (See Griffin’s full statement below.)
African-Americans make up 13 percent of HRC employees, according to the data; Latinos made up seven percent; and Asians made up three percent of employees.
The internal HRC report obtained by BuzzFeed found people of color generally work in “staff support” and that "there is no continuous effort to have any training or work done on diversity and inclusion."
The findings illustrate a common understanding of diversity across the nation. Hiring people of color but not addressing other structural and cultural issues in the organization doesn’t automatically result in equal opportunity.
HRC has devoted resources to many of the marriage-equality fights across the country that have led to the 37 states where, today, gay marriage is legal. But some LGBT advocates say that’s exactly the problem for an organization that calls itself the human-rights campaign.
“It seems weddings are more important than the homosexual dying in Louisiana because he can't get meds,” read a statement issued by the HIV-rights activist group ACT Up in January.
More than half of multiracial and Latino HRC employees and 83 percent of genderqueer people said they felt like they are not “treated equally based on their identity.” All races reported feeling ignored.
The report noted more than a third of all whites who are promoted are promoted three or more times, while all other races (except Asian Americans) were rarely promoted more than two times.
At the request of a spokesperson, HRC president Chad Griffin’s statement is published in its entirety below.
Like many organizations and companies throughout our country, HRC has embarked on a thoughtful and comprehensive diversity and inclusion effort with the goals of better representing the communities we serve — and hiring, nurturing and retaining a workforce that not only looks like America but feels respected and appreciated for the hard work they do every day.
Diversity and inclusion work is never an end, it’s always a journey and while it’s clear that we have a long way to go on that journey as an organization – and as a movement — the important and indisputable facts are that we realized the need for change, that we have done a significant amount of self-examination and reflection, and that we have put plans in place that are resulting in positive changes.
One element of this process was for HRC to proactively bring in outside experts to work with our staff to measure the workplace climate and offer recommendations on how it could be improved. The fact that the organization embraced self-examination of this kind means that we’re committed to improvement. As we fully anticipated, the report flagged problem areas that the organization has already begun to tackle aggressively. We’ll continue to address them, one by one, as any serious organization recognizing these challenges would.
In addition to expanding our programmatic work that reaches more diverse communities from transgender Americans to those living with HIV to LGBT people living in the Deep South, we’re proud of the fact that our staff today largely reflects the diversity of the communities we serve.
|Two Races or More||3%|
The organization is clearly committed to positive change. As the research phase of this effort was getting underway, I was appearing before Southern Comfort to offer a full-throated apology to the trans community on behalf of HRC. There should be no doubt that this entire effort is intentional and part of a continuous cycle of improvement.
Viewed alone, this report doesn’t reflect the entirety of our journey or our commitment to diversity. We’re proud of the progress we’ve made and are fully committed to doing better.