There’s plenty more where that video of Ric Grenell calling President Trump the “most pro-gay president” ever came from.
Six more, in fact, according to Charles Moran, managing director of Log Cabin Republicans, whose organization produced the first video, and continues to shrug off assertions it inaccurately maligns Joe Biden as anti-LGBTQ and trumpets President Trump as a hero to the community.
“We’ve got about another six videos in the hopper,” Moran said in an interview Tuesday. “Not Ric, but other people who are gay conservatives and then lending their voice to our effort, articulating their message.”
Grenell, who as Trump’s former acting director of national intelligence hold the distinction of being the first openly gay Cabinet member, was the star of the first video, but Moran said the upcoming six videos will be different.
Some will be of notable LGBTQ conservatives, some will be a montage of the larger LGBTQ conservative community, Moran said.
“We’ve actually sourced a larger community of gays and lesbians and encouraged gay conservatives to actually send us video of them being outspoken on telling their stories about what it’s been like for them to try to present an opposing viewpoint in their friend circles, or on campuses or in their social networks,” Moran said.
But Moran is keeping mum about the identities of the participants. When asked who exactly would be featured in the final videos, Moran said he doesn’t have a final list of participants.
It’ll be a tough act to follow — both in terms the slick presentation of the Grenell video and its visibility. The Grenell video had 6 million views as of Tuesday, Moran said. That’s in no small part a result of Trump himself retweeting out the video last week, saying the praise he received from Grenell was his “great honor.”
Grenell in the video makes the case Trump is an ally the LGBTQ community and Biden has worked to harm it, despite long records from both suggesting the opposite is true.
“There are millions of patriotic gay Americans who are sick of being told to sit down and shut up by those who want control us, those who are afraid of our voice,” Grenell says in the video, hinting at more videos to come from Log Cabin.
The videos are part of the new Outspoken project — a new media platform Log Cabin is gearing up to launch the same week as the Republican National Convention takes place.
A few recent posts on the Outspoken website criticize the left for coming after gay YouTube personality Randy Rainbow for 10-year-old jokes about race and gender, hail the establishment of Trump Pride as an official Trump campaign project and lambast the Human Rights Campaign for snubbing Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to endorse her Democratic challenger Sara Gideon.
The project, Moran said, is intended to be a forum not only for gay conservatives, but also the “larger LGBT community to engage with conservatives and Republicans,” who have said their voices are being silenced in cancel culture.
“We knew that the one common theme that we as LGBT conservatives have had is that, especially over the last four years of President Trump’s administration, is we believe that the left has actually tried to cancel our voices,” Moran said. “We talk about cancel culture, we talk about diminishing diversity and thought and it just kind of became clear that we needed to create that space for gay conservatives to have a voice to get that voice out there.”
Although the idea was conceived before the coronavirus epidemic hit, Moran said, the project will have additional value now that traditional spaces are closed and virtual engagement is needed.
Moran also said the OutSpoken project has become essential “as the LGBT left has become more intolerant.”
“There’s this thought if you have an opposing viewpoint from the status quo, you are canceled, your voice is not there, it is not justified, it is not allowed,” Moran said.
One short-term goal of the project is to aid in efforts to re-elect Trump, but beyond that, Moran said, Outspoken will continue to serve as a voice for Log Cabin and gay conservatives who feel they’re being silenced.
“We have not actually had a national digital experience,” Moran said. “That is that something lacking in our portfolio in Log Cabin Republicans since really the birth of the internet. We’ve had a website, we have Facebook pages, but we’ve not actually had something for people to engage.”
Meanwhile, Log Cabin has renewed its D.C. presence opening a new office and hiring three staffers: Alex Walton will direct operations, Steven Allen will manage its chapters throughout the country and Ross Hemminger, will direct field operations.
It’s not the same as the creative team behind OutSpoken, which Moran said is largely done through independent contractors, including Editor-in-Chief Chadwick Moore as well as videographers, researchers and graphic designers.
Moran, however, said OutSpoken is part of Log Cabin as an independent expenditure and wouldn’t necessarily be separate from the work of the D.C. staff.
“I don’t keep separate hour billable logs between what my contractors do and whether or not they’re doing things for Log Cabin,” Moran said. “We put out things for Fourth of July, and other content pieces. The Ric Grenell video actually went out under the Log Cabin Twitter account, not the OutSpoken one, so it’s all interchangeable.”
Asked if Log Cabin will continue its mission as an LGBTQ advocacy group, Moran said “it’s not necessarily changed,” but not a lot is happening in terms of legislation.
“There’s not a lot of legislation moving right now,” Moran said. “One of the bills that we endorsed and supported was the Fairness for All Act by Congressman Chris Stewart of Utah. That’s stalled out right now and we called out the fact that Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in the House did not take into any kind of consideration Republican viewpoints or at least talk to Republicans before moving forward with the Equality Act.”
Moran also said he was involved behind the scenes in the Food & Drug Administration’s recent decision to ease restrictions on blood donations from gay men by requiring a period of three months abstinence before making a donation, as opposed to the previous policy that required 12 months of abstinence.
How exactly is Log Cabin doing all this? The organization is known for having a modest budget not exactly conducive to producing slick videos like the kind featuring Grenell or a media platform with multiple contributions.
“As you know, I’m a fundraiser, and I’m good at what I do,” Moran said when asked for an explanation.
Moran said Log Cabin put together a plan among the board members after engaging with Republican staff on Capitol Hill., gay conservatives in Hollywood and right-of-center media influencers.
“A number of us kind of cooperatively put our heads together to figure out what was this gonna look like and how should we build an operation like this,” Moran said, adding after the plan was developed it was off to the donors, who provided the money to lift the project off the ground.
Log Cabin endorsed Trump for re-election last year, a turnabout after declining to endorse him in 2016, but Moran denied there was any quid pro quo of exchanging an endorsement for this additional funding.
“Literally, 11 months went by between the endorsement and launching this project,” Moran said. “So, more than anything, the endorsement was a catalyst for us to actually say let’s do something, we don’t have to sit around and wait on what are we going to do, endorse or not endorse.”
Another pro-Trump group that seeks to engage a similar demographic as Log Cabin, and would have the resources to put together a video as sophisticated as Grenell’s is Turning Point USA, the Charlie Kirk-founded student activist group. Grenell has ties to the group and spoke at one of its events encouraging students to support Trump over the summer in Florida.
Moran praised Turning Point USA and said he took inspiration from its “avant garde, edgy style” in producing the video, although ultimately it’s a separate organization.
“There’s like some really good edgy content and I think the Republican Party is finally realizing they got to do digital networking,” Moran said. “It’s how successful Republicans engage with Millenials and the younger demographic.”
Moran flat-out denied Turning Point USA was using Log Cabin as a shell to shill its message. When asked if Turning Point USA was contributing resources to Log Cabin, Moran said, “No. Oh, God, no.”
Turning Point USA, for its part, is denying any involvement in creating the Grenell video, although a spokesperson did praise it.
“I agree the video was well done, but Turning Point USA did not contribute any resources,” Andrew Kolvet, a Turning Point USA spokesperson said.
But progressive LGBTQ advocates are lambasting the Grenell video for distorting Biden’s — and Trump’s — record. That criticism will likely continue with additional videos Log Cabin produces and the Outspoken project.
On one hand, for example, the video talks about Biden’s vote as a U.S. senator in the 1990s for the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, on the other it says Trump is the first president to come into office supporting same-sex marriage. It doesn’t mention Biden’s remarks in favor of marriage equality on “Meet the Press” in 2012, which was a catalyst for legalization of same-sex marriage, nor anything about Trump running his 2016 campaign in opposition to same-sex marriage before saying he was “fine” with it after his election.
Referencing a 1974 quote from Biden about his “gut reaction” that gay people would be a security risk if given clearances, Grenell says upon his appointment as acting director of national intelligence Biden “must have been terrified” and criticizes Biden for saying nothing about it, ignoring questions at the time about whether Grenell had the right experience for the job.
On the other hand, the video praises Trump for a global initiative to decriminalize homosexuality and recognition for it during a speech before the United Nations, but says nothing about Trump professing he was unfamiliar with it when a reporter asked about it in the Oval Office.
The video ignores the Trump administration’s anti-LGBTQ actions, which have been widely reported. Among them are the transgender military ban, arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court LGBTQ people shouldn’t be covered under federal civil rights law, opposing the Equality Act and siding with taxpayer-funded religious child welfare agencies seeking to refuse placement into LGBTQ homes.
Grenell also completely ignores the transgender community, which has faced the brunt of the Trump administration’s attacks, instead referring to gay and lesbian people.
For the video’s distortions, Glenn Kessler, a fact-checker at the Washington Post, said Grenell was making an “absurd claim” Trump is pro-gay and awarded the video the dubious honor of “Four Pinnochios” — essentially calling Grenell’s account of Biden and Trump’s record a lie.
Moran, however, discounted criticisms of the video, saying everything Grenell said was factually accurate and a matter of public record.
“Joe Biden has a 40+ year history voting against LGBTQ-equality legislation and running for vice president in public opposition of marriage equality,” Moran said, “It’s there, in the Congressional Record. His statements are there, in the vice-presidential debates on the screen for all to see. Donald Trump has supported equality as a businessman, as a philanthropist, as a candidate for president and now as president, and has not shied away from his commitment to our community as he runs for re-election.”
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Honoring the legacy of New Orleans’ 1973 UpStairs Lounge fire
Why the arson attack that killed 32 gay men still resonates 50 years later
On June 23 of last year, I held the microphone as a gay man in the New Orleans City Council Chamber and related a lost piece of queer history to the seven council members. I told this story to disabuse all New Orleanians of the notion that silence and accommodation, in the face of institutional and official failures, are a path to healing.
The story I related to them began on a typical Sunday night at a second-story bar on the fringe of New Orleans’ French Quarter in 1973, where working-class men would gather around a white baby grand piano and belt out the lyrics to a song that was the anthem of their hidden community, “United We Stand” by the Brotherhood of Man.
“United we stand,” the men would sing together, “divided we fall” — the words epitomizing the ethos of their beloved UpStairs Lounge bar, an egalitarian free space that served as a forerunner to today’s queer safe havens.
Around that piano in the 1970s Deep South, gays and lesbians, white and Black queens, Christians and non-Christians, and even early gender minorities could cast aside the racism, sexism, and homophobia of the times to find acceptance and companionship for a moment.
For regulars, the UpStairs Lounge was a miracle, a small pocket of acceptance in a broader world where their very identities were illegal.
On the Sunday night of June 24, 1973, their voices were silenced in a murderous act of arson that claimed 32 lives and still stands as the deadliest fire in New Orleans history — and the worst mass killing of gays in 20th century America.
As 13 fire companies struggled to douse the inferno, police refused to question the chief suspect, even though gay witnesses identified and brought the soot-covered man to officers idly standing by. This suspect, an internally conflicted gay-for-pay sex worker named Rodger Dale Nunez, had been ejected from the UpStairs Lounge screaming the word “burn” minutes before, but New Orleans police rebuffed the testimony of fire survivors on the street and allowed Nunez to disappear.
As the fire raged, police denigrated the deceased to reporters on the street: “Some thieves hung out there, and you know this was a queer bar.”
For days afterward, the carnage met with official silence. With no local gay political leaders willing to step forward, national Gay Liberation-era figures like Rev. Troy Perry of the Metropolitan Community Church flew in to “help our bereaved brothers and sisters” — and shatter officialdom’s code of silence.
Perry broke local taboos by holding a press conference as an openly gay man. “It’s high time that you people, in New Orleans, Louisiana, got the message and joined the rest of the Union,” Perry said.
Two days later, on June 26, 1973, as families hesitated to step forward to identify their kin in the morgue, UpStairs Lounge owner Phil Esteve stood in his badly charred bar, the air still foul with death. He rebuffed attempts by Perry to turn the fire into a call for visibility and progress for homosexuals.
“This fire had very little to do with the gay movement or with anything gay,” Esteve told a reporter from The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I do not want my bar or this tragedy to be used to further any of their causes.”
Conspicuously, no photos of Esteve appeared in coverage of the UpStairs Lounge fire or its aftermath — and the bar owner also remained silent as he witnessed police looting the ashes of his business.
“Phil said the cash register, juke box, cigarette machine and some wallets had money removed,” recounted Esteve’s friend Bob McAnear, a former U.S. Customs officer. “Phil wouldn’t report it because, if he did, police would never allow him to operate a bar in New Orleans again.”
The next day, gay bar owners, incensed at declining gay bar traffic amid an atmosphere of anxiety, confronted Perry at a clandestine meeting. “How dare you hold your damn news conferences!” one business owner shouted.
Ignoring calls for gay self-censorship, Perry held a 250-person memorial for the fire victims the following Sunday, July 1, culminating in mourners defiantly marching out the front door of a French Quarter church into waiting news cameras. “Reverend Troy Perry awoke several sleeping giants, me being one of them,” recalled Charlene Schneider, a lesbian activist who walked out of that front door with Perry.
Esteve doubted the UpStairs Lounge story’s capacity to rouse gay political fervor. As the coroner buried four of his former patrons anonymously on the edge of town, Esteve quietly collected at least $25,000 in fire insurance proceeds. Less than a year later, he used the money to open another gay bar called the Post Office, where patrons of the UpStairs Lounge — some with visible burn scars — gathered but were discouraged from singing “United We Stand.”
New Orleans cops neglected to question the chief arson suspect and closed the investigation without answers in late August 1973. Gay elites in the city’s power structure began gaslighting the mourners who marched with Perry into the news cameras, casting suspicion on their memories and re-characterizing their moment of liberation as a stunt.
When a local gay journalist asked in April 1977, “Where are the gay activists in New Orleans?,” Esteve responded that there were none, because none were needed. “We don’t feel we’re discriminated against,” Esteve said. “New Orleans gays are different from gays anywhere else… Perhaps there is some correlation between the amount of gay activism in other cities and the degree of police harassment.”
An attitude of nihilism and disavowal descended upon the memory of the UpStairs Lounge victims, goaded by Esteve and fellow gay entrepreneurs who earned their keep via gay patrons drowning their sorrows each night instead of protesting the injustices that kept them drinking.
Into the 1980s, the story of the UpStairs Lounge all but vanished from conversation — with the exception of a few sanctuaries for gay political debate such as the local lesbian bar Charlene’s, run by the activist Charlene Schneider.
By 1988, the 15th anniversary of the fire, the UpStairs Lounge narrative comprised little more than a call for better fire codes and indoor sprinklers. UpStairs Lounge survivor Stewart Butler summed it up: “A tragedy that, as far as I know, no good came of.”
Finally, in 1991, at Stewart Butler and Charlene Schneider’s nudging, the UpStairs Lounge story became aligned with the crusade of liberated gays and lesbians seeking equal rights in Louisiana. The halls of power responded with intermittent progress. The New Orleans City Council, horrified by the story but not yet ready to take its look in the mirror, enacted an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting gays and lesbians in housing, employment, and public accommodations that Dec. 12 — more than 18 years after the fire.
“I believe the fire was the catalyst for the anger to bring us all to the table,” Schneider told The Times-Picayune, a tacit rebuke to Esteve’s strategy of silent accommodation. Even Esteve seemed to change his stance with time, granting a full interview with the first UpStairs Lounge scholar Johnny Townsend sometime around 1989.
Most of the figures in this historic tale are now deceased. What’s left is an enduring story that refused to go gently. The story now echoes around the world — a musical about the UpStairs Lounge fire recently played in Tokyo, translating the gay underworld of the 1973 French Quarter for Japanese audiences.
When I finished my presentation to the City Council last June, I looked up to see the seven council members in tears. Unanimously, they approved a resolution acknowledging the historic failures of city leaders in the wake of the UpStairs Lounge fire.
Council members personally apologized to UpStairs Lounge families and survivors seated in the chamber in a symbolic act that, though it could not bring back those who died, still mattered greatly to those whose pain had been denied, leaving them to grieve alone. At long last, official silence and indifference gave way to heartfelt words of healing.
The way Americans remember the past is an active, ongoing process. Our collective memory is malleable, but it matters because it speaks volumes about our maturity as a people, how we acknowledge the past’s influence in our lives, and how it shapes the examples we set for our youth. Do we grapple with difficult truths, or do we duck accountability by defaulting to nostalgia and bluster? Or worse, do we simply ignore the past until it fades into a black hole of ignorance and indifference?
I believe that a factual retelling of the UpStairs Lounge tragedy — and how, 50 years onward, it became known internationally — resonates beyond our current divides. It reminds queer and non-queer Americans that ignoring the past holds back the present, and that silence is no cure for what ails a participatory nation.
Silence isolates. Silence gaslights and shrouds. It preserves the power structures that scapegoat the disempowered.
Solidarity, on the other hand, unites. Solidarity illuminates a path forward together. Above all, solidarity transforms the downtrodden into a resounding chorus of citizens — in the spirit of voices who once gathered ‘round a white baby grand piano and sang, joyfully and loudly, “United We Stand.”
Robert W. Fieseler is a New Orleans-based journalist and the author of “Tinderbox: the Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation.”
New Supreme Court term includes critical LGBTQ case with ‘terrifying’ consequences
Business owner seeks to decline services for same-sex weddings
The U.S. Supreme Court, after a decision overturning Roe v. Wade that still leaves many reeling, is starting a new term with justices slated to revisit the issue of LGBTQ rights.
In 303 Creative v. Elenis, the court will return to the issue of whether or not providers of custom-made goods can refuse service to LGBTQ customers on First Amendment grounds. In this case, the business owner is Lorie Smith, a website designer in Colorado who wants to opt out of providing her graphic design services for same-sex weddings despite the civil rights law in her state.
Jennifer Pizer, acting chief legal officer of Lambda Legal, said in an interview with the Blade, “it’s not too much to say an immeasurably huge amount is at stake” for LGBTQ people depending on the outcome of the case.
“This contrived idea that making custom goods, or offering a custom service, somehow tacitly conveys an endorsement of the person — if that were to be accepted, that would be a profound change in the law,” Pizer said. “And the stakes are very high because there are no practical, obvious, principled ways to limit that kind of an exception, and if the law isn’t clear in this regard, then the people who are at risk of experiencing discrimination have no security, no effective protection by having a non-discrimination laws, because at any moment, as one makes their way through the commercial marketplace, you don’t know whether a particular business person is going to refuse to serve you.”
The upcoming arguments and decision in the 303 Creative case mark a return to LGBTQ rights for the Supreme Court, which had no lawsuit to directly address the issue in its previous term, although many argued the Dobbs decision put LGBTQ rights in peril and threatened access to abortion for LGBTQ people.
And yet, the 303 Creative case is similar to other cases the Supreme Court has previously heard on the providers of services seeking the right to deny services based on First Amendment grounds, such as Masterpiece Cakeshop and Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. In both of those cases, however, the court issued narrow rulings on the facts of litigation, declining to issue sweeping rulings either upholding non-discrimination principles or First Amendment exemptions.
Pizer, who signed one of the friend-of-the-court briefs in opposition to 303 Creative, said the case is “similar in the goals” of the Masterpiece Cakeshop litigation on the basis they both seek exemptions to the same non-discrimination law that governs their business, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, or CADA, and seek “to further the social and political argument that they should be free to refuse same-sex couples or LGBTQ people in particular.”
“So there’s the legal goal, and it connects to the social and political goals and in that sense, it’s the same as Masterpiece,” Pizer said. “And so there are multiple problems with it again, as a legal matter, but also as a social matter, because as with the religion argument, it flows from the idea that having something to do with us is endorsing us.”
One difference: the Masterpiece Cakeshop litigation stemmed from an act of refusal of service after owner, Jack Phillips, declined to make a custom-made wedding cake for a same-sex couple for their upcoming wedding. No act of discrimination in the past, however, is present in the 303 Creative case. The owner seeks to put on her website a disclaimer she won’t provide services for same-sex weddings, signaling an intent to discriminate against same-sex couples rather than having done so.
As such, expect issues of standing — whether or not either party is personally aggrieved and able bring to a lawsuit — to be hashed out in arguments as well as whether the litigation is ripe for review as justices consider the case. It’s not hard to see U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, who has sought to lead the court to reach less sweeping decisions (sometimes successfully, and sometimes in the Dobbs case not successfully) to push for a decision along these lines.
Another key difference: The 303 Creative case hinges on the argument of freedom of speech as opposed to the two-fold argument of freedom of speech and freedom of religious exercise in the Masterpiece Cakeshop litigation. Although 303 Creative requested in its petition to the Supreme Court review of both issues of speech and religion, justices elected only to take up the issue of free speech in granting a writ of certiorari (or agreement to take up a case). Justices also declined to accept another question in the petition request of review of the 1990 precedent in Smith v. Employment Division, which concluded states can enforce neutral generally applicable laws on citizens with religious objections without violating the First Amendment.
Representing 303 Creative in the lawsuit is Alliance Defending Freedom, a law firm that has sought to undermine civil rights laws for LGBTQ people with litigation seeking exemptions based on the First Amendment, such as the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.
Kristen Waggoner, president of Alliance Defending Freedom, wrote in a Sept. 12 legal brief signed by her and other attorneys that a decision in favor of 303 Creative boils down to a clear-cut violation of the First Amendment.
“Colorado and the United States still contend that CADA only regulates sales transactions,” the brief says. “But their cases do not apply because they involve non-expressive activities: selling BBQ, firing employees, restricting school attendance, limiting club memberships, and providing room access. Colorado’s own cases agree that the government may not use public-accommodation laws to affect a commercial actor’s speech.”
Pizer, however, pushed back strongly on the idea a decision in favor of 303 Creative would be as focused as Alliance Defending Freedom purports it would be, arguing it could open the door to widespread discrimination against LGBTQ people.
“One way to put it is art tends to be in the eye of the beholder,” Pizer said. “Is something of a craft, or is it art? I feel like I’m channeling Lily Tomlin. Remember ‘soup and art’? We have had an understanding that whether something is beautiful or not is not the determining factor about whether something is protected as artistic expression. There’s a legal test that recognizes if this is speech, whose speech is it, whose message is it? Would anyone who was hearing the speech or seeing the message understand it to be the message of the customer or of the merchants or craftsmen or business person?”
Despite the implications in the case for LGBTQ rights, 303 Creative may have supporters among LGBTQ people who consider themselves proponents of free speech.
One joint friend-of-the-court brief before the Supreme Court, written by Dale Carpenter, a law professor at Southern Methodist University who’s written in favor of LGBTQ rights, and Eugene Volokh, a First Amendment legal scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, argues the case is an opportunity to affirm the First Amendment applies to goods and services that are uniquely expressive.
“Distinguishing expressive from non-expressive products in some contexts might be hard, but the Tenth Circuit agreed that Smith’s product does not present a hard case,” the brief says. “Yet that court (and Colorado) declined to recognize any exemption for products constituting speech. The Tenth Circuit has effectively recognized a state interest in subjecting the creation of speech itself to antidiscrimination laws.”
Oral arguments in the case aren’t yet set, but may be announced soon. Set to defend the state of Colorado and enforcement of its non-discrimination law in the case is Colorado Solicitor General Eric Reuel Olson. Just this week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would grant the request to the U.S. solicitor general to present arguments before the justices on behalf of the Biden administration.
With a 6-3 conservative majority on the court that has recently scrapped the super-precedent guaranteeing the right to abortion, supporters of LGBTQ rights may think the outcome of the case is all but lost, especially amid widespread fears same-sex marriage would be next on the chopping block. After the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against 303 Creative in the lawsuit, the simple action by the Supreme Court to grant review in the lawsuit suggests they are primed to issue a reversal and rule in favor of the company.
Pizer, acknowledging the call to action issued by LGBTQ groups in the aftermath of the Dobbs decision, conceded the current Supreme Court issuing the ruling in this case is “a terrifying prospect,” but cautioned the issue isn’t so much the makeup of the court but whether or not justices will continue down the path of abolishing case law.
“I think the question that we’re facing with respect to all of the cases or at least many of the cases that are in front of the court right now, is whether this court is going to continue on this radical sort of wrecking ball to the edifice of settled law and seemingly a goal of setting up whole new structures of what our basic legal principles are going to be. Are we going to have another term of that?” Pizer said. “And if so, that’s terrifying.”
Kelley Robinson, a Black, queer woman, named president of Human Rights Campaign
Progressive activist a veteran of Planned Parenthood Action Fund
Kelley Robinson, a Black, queer woman and veteran of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, is to become the next president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s leading LGBTQ group announced on Tuesday.
Robinson is set to become the ninth president of the Human Rights Campaign after having served as executive director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund and more than 12 years of experience as a leader in the progressive movement. She’ll be the first Black, queer woman to serve in that role.
“I’m honored and ready to lead HRC — and our more than three million member-advocates — as we continue working to achieve equality and liberation for all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people,” Robinson said. “This is a pivotal moment in our movement for equality for LGBTQ+ people. We, particularly our trans and BIPOC communities, are quite literally in the fight for our lives and facing unprecedented threats that seek to destroy us.”
The next Human Rights Campaign president is named as Democrats are performing well in polls in the mid-term elections after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, leaving an opening for the LGBTQ group to play a key role amid fears LGBTQ rights are next on the chopping block.
“The overturning of Roe v. Wade reminds us we are just one Supreme Court decision away from losing fundamental freedoms including the freedom to marry, voting rights, and privacy,” Robinson said. “We are facing a generational opportunity to rise to these challenges and create real, sustainable change. I believe that working together this change is possible right now. This next chapter of the Human Rights Campaign is about getting to freedom and liberation without any exceptions — and today I am making a promise and commitment to carry this work forward.”
The Human Rights Campaign announces its next president after a nearly year-long search process after the board of directors terminated its former president Alphonso David when he was ensnared in the sexual misconduct scandal that led former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign. David has denied wrongdoing and filed a lawsuit against the LGBTQ group alleging racial discrimination.
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