We’ll Come Back, Really….
July 15, 2008
Boycotts, hypocrisy, and the Christian Right’s favorite scare tactic
July 22, 2008

HRC’s Project Win Back, Part II

I recently wrote about the lead role the Human Rights Campaign took in the historic transgender hearings, and it looks as if their project win back strategy is coming to fruition. The Human Rights Campaign has hired ordained Baptist minister Allyson Robinson as their Associate Director of Diversity. Here’s Allyson in action:

The HRC website states that:

“This is a regular, full-time staff position reporting to the Chief Diversity Officer. The Associate Director of Diversity will lead the Human Rights Campaign and its volunteer base in creating and promoting awareness of transgender issues and ensuring that all program areas demonstrate measurable commitment to transgender equality and inclusion.”

Called for comment, Massachusetts transgender activist Ethan St. Pierre said of the hire:

“She seems very kind and innocent and I’m sure she’ll do the job that HRC has intended.”

I spoke briefly with Diego Sanchez about the recent hiring. He said that:

Allison is a great addition to the team. Under the direction Cuc Vu she’ll do a great job.”

Meghan Stabler told me that:

“Allyson is a good hire. She comes to the position knowing the challenges that lay ahead. Challenges that are not internal to HRC, but challenges that exist externally both with the broader community of LGBt, as well as specifically to the transcommunity. What she brings from her ministerial teachings, learnings, and just being out there, is being able to listen and feel the hearts of the people.”

Stabler also noted that:

“She’s not there just to drive things for HRC, she’s there as a trans individual, that just like so many of us, want to move towards an inclusive ENDA. I think the hiring of Allyson is a good approach, and that it’s worthy of note that the hiring of her was not in reaction to actions happening in San Francisco. It’s been in the works for a very long time.”

But some have not been as positive about the hiring. Blogger and activist, Autumn Sandeen said:

“The HRC changed their position on ENDA last fall regarding how inclusive an ENDA bill needed to be to receive their support. The organization hasn’t since changed it back to requiring parity for sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

Hiring a transgender woman without a corresponding change in the HRC’s political policies regarding full inclusion for all legislation the organization supports…Well, I think this hiring is going to be perceived by most transgender people as the HRC engaging in tokenism. If the HRC isn’t going to treat gender identity and expression as having the same level of legislative priority with sexual orientation, then how is a transgender employee at the HRC going to be perceived externally as an equal to the gay and lesbian employees at the HRC?

I personally don’t see how.”

Donna Cartwright added:

“I have nothing against Allyson Robinson, but it’s hard to see how she can reach out to the trans community, given HRC’s current policies on ENDA, as well as HRC’s historically weak record on trans representation on its board and staff.”

Regardless of how it is viewed,  this hiring is historic. HRC has never hired an openly transgender woman. It’s obvious that HRC is actively trying to refurbish its image in the transgender community.  What is still a question is how the community responds to that push.

  • Polar Bear

    [quote comment=””][quote comment=””]@ Regina:

    Can you name an transgender organization in Washington that doesn’t play with HRC? That’s the problem here, if you want to ditch HRC. They have the political influence and contacts and like it or not, they HAVE to be played with and through, if you go with the organizations that are there.[/quote][/quote]

    And that’s ultimately the problem. Ex-HRC aides work in many, many supportive offices on the Hill. They have actively kept T people isolated from Members of Congress for the over 10 years we have attempted to lobby.

    As for HRC’s new employee, I wish her luck. Where HRC is concerned, if one has no positive expectations, one can, then, avoid disappointment when nothing positive results. Any good that comes of this will be a pleasant surprise to me. I expect that she is safe and pleasant, will give nice talks at T conventions and HRC dinners, and will not be allowed any input on anything political.

  • Polar Bear

    [quote comment=””][quote comment=””]@ Regina:

    Can you name an transgender organization in Washington that doesn’t play with HRC? That’s the problem here, if you want to ditch HRC. They have the political influence and contacts and like it or not, they HAVE to be played with and through, if you go with the organizations that are there.[/quote][/quote]

    And that’s ultimately the problem. Ex-HRC aides work in many, many supportive offices on the Hill. They have actively kept T people isolated from Members of Congress for the over 10 years we have attempted to lobby.

    As for HRC’s new employee, I wish her luck. Where HRC is concerned, if one has no positive expectations, one can, then, avoid disappointment when nothing positive results. Any good that comes of this will be a pleasant surprise to me. I expect that she is safe and pleasant, will give nice talks at T conventions and HRC dinners, and will not be allowed any input on anything political.

  • Polar Bear

    [quote comment=””]@ Regina:

    Can you name an transgender organization in Washington that doesn’t play with HRC? That’s the problem here, if you want to ditch HRC. They have the political influence and contacts and like it or not, they HAVE to be played with and through, if you go with the organizations that are there.[/quote]

  • Polar Bear

    [quote comment=””]@ Regina:

    Can you name an transgender organization in Washington that doesn’t play with HRC? That’s the problem here, if you want to ditch HRC. They have the political influence and contacts and like it or not, they HAVE to be played with and through, if you go with the organizations that are there.[/quote]

  • Marti Abernathey

    @ Regina:

    Can you name an transgender organization in Washington that doesn’t play with HRC? That’s the problem here, if you want to ditch HRC. They have the political influence and contacts and like it or not, they HAVE to be played with and through, if you go with the organizations that are there.

  • Marti Abernathey

    @ Regina:

    Can you name an transgender organization in Washington that doesn’t play with HRC? That’s the problem here, if you want to ditch HRC. They have the political influence and contacts and like it or not, they HAVE to be played with and through, if you go with the organizations that are there.

  • Regina

    HRC’s Project Win Back, Part II

    Why would anyone in the T-Community be won back to HRC? History has indicated that the T- Community has been passed off by the HRC as disposable, or as a bargaining Chip. That Chip can be used ” for the Greater GOOD!” of the HRC’s main focus! Would it not be better to support organizations that exist already that support the T- Community? There has been more progress on T-issues by our own organizations! Ok the HRC has been very positive for the alternate community ( Other than the T’s) ! Should the T- Community reconnect to HRC? Is that not a bit like going back to an abusive partner? Each individual has to make their own choices! I personally can not be WON Back!

  • Regina

    HRC’s Project Win Back, Part II

    Why would anyone in the T-Community be won back to HRC? History has indicated that the T- Community has been passed off by the HRC as disposable, or as a bargaining Chip. That Chip can be used ” for the Greater GOOD!” of the HRC’s main focus! Would it not be better to support organizations that exist already that support the T- Community? There has been more progress on T-issues by our own organizations! Ok the HRC has been very positive for the alternate community ( Other than the T’s) ! Should the T- Community reconnect to HRC? Is that not a bit like going back to an abusive partner? Each individual has to make their own choices! I personally can not be WON Back!

  • Kathy

    Rory:

    It’s a bit late as this has been reported all over the place by now:

    http://www.hrc.org/10857.htm

    I’d have thought the quotes in Marti’s article from HRC Biz Council was confirmation. Two sources is considered within journalistic standards.

    Kathy

  • Kathy

    Rory:

    It’s a bit late as this has been reported all over the place by now:

    http://www.hrc.org/10857.htm

    I’d have thought the quotes in Marti’s article from HRC Biz Council was confirmation. Two sources is considered within journalistic standards.

    Kathy

  • Jenny

    “Robinson’s hiring has been applauded by leaders of the transgender community.”

    Who?

  • Jenny

    “Robinson’s hiring has been applauded by leaders of the transgender community.”

    Who?

  • Jenny

    “Robinson’s hiring has been applauded by leaders of the transgender community.”

    Who?

  • Rory

    Thanks for publishing the press release, Kathy. It wasn’t on the HRC web site as of this morning. Do you know who received it and when? There is no date on it, or the usual contact person for attribution or further information.

  • Rory

    Thanks for publishing the press release, Kathy. It wasn’t on the HRC web site as of this morning. Do you know who received it and when? There is no date on it, or the usual contact person for attribution or further information.

  • Kathy

    Kina hard to see where the long time actvism was – looks like she transitioned in 2007?

    And choosing Baylor would have precluded transitioning or supporting lgbt rights:

    Statement on Human Sexuality
    Baylor University welcomes all students into a safe and supportive environment in which to discuss and learn about a variety of issues, including those of human sexuality. The University affirms the biblical understanding of sexuality as a gift from God. Christian churches across the ages and around the world have affirmed purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm. Temptations to deviate from this norm include both heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior. It is thus expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching.

    The University encourages students struggling with these issues to avail themselves of opportunities for serious, confidential discussion, and support through the University Ministries Office.

  • Kathy

    Kina hard to see where the long time actvism was – looks like she transitioned in 2007?

    And choosing Baylor would have precluded transitioning or supporting lgbt rights:

    Statement on Human Sexuality
    Baylor University welcomes all students into a safe and supportive environment in which to discuss and learn about a variety of issues, including those of human sexuality. The University affirms the biblical understanding of sexuality as a gift from God. Christian churches across the ages and around the world have affirmed purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm. Temptations to deviate from this norm include both heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior. It is thus expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching.

    The University encourages students struggling with these issues to avail themselves of opportunities for serious, confidential discussion, and support through the University Ministries Office.

  • Kathy

    Rory:

    Allyson Robinson Named Human Rights Campaign Foundation Associate Director of Diversity

    Longtime activist, ordained minister Robinson to lead organization’s work on transgender issues

    WASHINGTON–The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the nation’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights group, today announced that Allyson Robinson has been named Associate Director of Diversity of the organization. Robinson, a longtime activist and ordained minister, will lead HRC and its volunteer base in promoting awareness of transgender issues and ensuring that all program areas demonstrate measurable commitment to transgender equality and inclusion.

    “I am delighted that Allyson Robinson has joined the HRC team and I am eager to begin the hard work of educating the public and our elected officials about transgender issues with her,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Allyson’s background of facilitating communication and fostering meaningful relationships make her the ideal person to fill this crucially important role.”

    “Advocacy to me means being a voice for the voiceless by ensuring their perspectives are heard and their needs fully considered,” said Allyson Robinson, the new HRC Associate Director of Diversity. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to join HRC at this crucial moment in its support of full inclusion for the transgender community, and look forward to working with HRC Steering Committees and in partnership with other fair-minded and LGBT-inclusive organizations to lead that effort nationally.”

    Allyson is a 1994 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she majored in physics. She received her Master of Divinity degree in theology, with a capstone emphasis in Social Justice, from Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary in 2007. Prior to her transition, she pastored congregations on two continents for nine years.

    Robinson’s hiring has been applauded by leaders of the transgender community.

    “Allyson is a committed activist for trans people and the people who love them,” said best-selling author Jenny Boylan. “A lot of work needs to be done to mend fences between HRC and the trans community, and Allyson, by dint of her dedication, compassion, and articulate insight, is the one to do it. I am sure her wisdom, poise, and humor will do well for all the members of our community, and I wish her all the best.”

    “Allyson is a great addition, and as someone who works closely with HRC nationally and locally, I’m delighted to add her energy to expand the quantity, quality and awareness of fully inclusive workplaces and to support our diversity initiatives in Boston,” said HRC Business Council and Steering Committee member Diego Sanchez.

    “Allyson comes to the position with my full support. Her ministerial teachings and learning, combined with her West Point training will be a great asset to HRC and the LGBT community where she will be able to listen to hearts and emotions of all people”, said Meghan Stabler, HRC Business Council and HRC Houston Steering Committee member. Stabler continued, “As a transgender person, she will be able to educate internally within HRC and externally with the community and allies on key issues, including HRC’s call for an inclusive ENDA.”

    Robinson was selected to be Associate Director of Diversity following a four-month national search.

    “The idea to create this new position came to life in spring 2007, just weeks into my new job. I envisioned strengthening HRC’s capacity to fulfill our stated commitment to transgender equality and inclusion,” said Cuc Vu, HRC Chief Diversity Officer. “Allyson now rounds out our diversity team and we will continue striving to meet our goals.”

    The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

  • Kathy

    Rory:

    Allyson Robinson Named Human Rights Campaign Foundation Associate Director of Diversity

    Longtime activist, ordained minister Robinson to lead organization’s work on transgender issues

    WASHINGTON–The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the nation’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights group, today announced that Allyson Robinson has been named Associate Director of Diversity of the organization. Robinson, a longtime activist and ordained minister, will lead HRC and its volunteer base in promoting awareness of transgender issues and ensuring that all program areas demonstrate measurable commitment to transgender equality and inclusion.

    “I am delighted that Allyson Robinson has joined the HRC team and I am eager to begin the hard work of educating the public and our elected officials about transgender issues with her,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Allyson’s background of facilitating communication and fostering meaningful relationships make her the ideal person to fill this crucially important role.”

    “Advocacy to me means being a voice for the voiceless by ensuring their perspectives are heard and their needs fully considered,” said Allyson Robinson, the new HRC Associate Director of Diversity. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to join HRC at this crucial moment in its support of full inclusion for the transgender community, and look forward to working with HRC Steering Committees and in partnership with other fair-minded and LGBT-inclusive organizations to lead that effort nationally.”

    Allyson is a 1994 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she majored in physics. She received her Master of Divinity degree in theology, with a capstone emphasis in Social Justice, from Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary in 2007. Prior to her transition, she pastored congregations on two continents for nine years.

    Robinson’s hiring has been applauded by leaders of the transgender community.

    “Allyson is a committed activist for trans people and the people who love them,” said best-selling author Jenny Boylan. “A lot of work needs to be done to mend fences between HRC and the trans community, and Allyson, by dint of her dedication, compassion, and articulate insight, is the one to do it. I am sure her wisdom, poise, and humor will do well for all the members of our community, and I wish her all the best.”

    “Allyson is a great addition, and as someone who works closely with HRC nationally and locally, I’m delighted to add her energy to expand the quantity, quality and awareness of fully inclusive workplaces and to support our diversity initiatives in Boston,” said HRC Business Council and Steering Committee member Diego Sanchez.

    “Allyson comes to the position with my full support. Her ministerial teachings and learning, combined with her West Point training will be a great asset to HRC and the LGBT community where she will be able to listen to hearts and emotions of all people”, said Meghan Stabler, HRC Business Council and HRC Houston Steering Committee member. Stabler continued, “As a transgender person, she will be able to educate internally within HRC and externally with the community and allies on key issues, including HRC’s call for an inclusive ENDA.”

    Robinson was selected to be Associate Director of Diversity following a four-month national search.

    “The idea to create this new position came to life in spring 2007, just weeks into my new job. I envisioned strengthening HRC’s capacity to fulfill our stated commitment to transgender equality and inclusion,” said Cuc Vu, HRC Chief Diversity Officer. “Allyson now rounds out our diversity team and we will continue striving to meet our goals.”

    The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

  • Rory

    I’ve scoured the HRC web site, and there is nary a mention of Allyson Robinson, a new hire, a job opening in the diversity office, transgender news about the staff, or any press releases about any of this.

    Is it suppose to be a secret? If so, it’s an odd way to reach out to the community. If not, how were we suppose to know about it?

    Also, did they recruit applicants from the trans community for this job? I wasn’t aware of any; but I’m hardly the be-all and end-all of the community. Again, if they’re expecting to get credit for adding a transperson to their staff, one might have expected extensive community recruiting so there would be a sense of participation or ownership with the hire.

    Rory

  • Rory

    I’ve scoured the HRC web site, and there is nary a mention of Allyson Robinson, a new hire, a job opening in the diversity office, transgender news about the staff, or any press releases about any of this.

    Is it suppose to be a secret? If so, it’s an odd way to reach out to the community. If not, how were we suppose to know about it?

    Also, did they recruit applicants from the trans community for this job? I wasn’t aware of any; but I’m hardly the be-all and end-all of the community. Again, if they’re expecting to get credit for adding a transperson to their staff, one might have expected extensive community recruiting so there would be a sense of participation or ownership with the hire.

    Rory

  • I suspect that the community will respond to actions, and only actions, at this point, as words from them mean about as much as those things falling out of horse’s rear end’s during parades…

    (… that is, yet another mess to clean up)

  • I suspect that the community will respond to actions, and only actions, at this point, as words from them mean about as much as those things falling out of horse’s rear end’s during parades…

    (… that is, yet another mess to clean up)