New Report on Race, Sexuality and Gender Aims to Create Space for Continued Dialogue
WASHINGTON – As part of Equality Forward, an ongoing diversity initiative focused on fostering a greater sense of connection and opportunity within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, released a new report today, “At the Intersection: Race, Sexuality and Gender”. The report is the culmination of an effort launched two years ago to reach out to LGBT people of color by surveying individuals from across the country in hopes of gaining a deeper understanding about the complexities at the intersection of race, sexual orientation and gender identity. The report and related resources are available at www.hrc.org/EqualityForward.
“The research and findings in ‘At the Intersection’ builds HRC’s cultural competency, helps us make true partnerships with communities of color and build a stronger, more inclusive movement,” said Human Rights Campaign Chief Diversity Officer Cuc Vu. “These issues are complex like our lives and the more we can learn from and understand each other, the better able we will all be to take part in the important work of advancing equality.”
The findings in the report echo previous research into the area of diversity by showing that more work must be done to promote racial diversity within larger LGBT communities, as well as sexual diversity within people of color communities. Some of the key findings include:
· Nearly all LGBT people of color say protections from violence and workplace discrimination are important; issues strong majorities of all Americans support in opinion polls. Violence and discrimination are also the most salient issues that connect three critical groups — non-LGBT people, communities of color and white LGBT communities.
· Religious attitudes are a major source of sexual prejudice. For LGBT people of color, many of whom are regular churchgoers, the conflict is acute. More than half of LGBT people of color interviewed feel treated like sinners by their ethnic and racial communities, and faith communities are among the places LGBT people of color feel least accepted;
· LGBT people of color view the world first from the point of view of race and gender. Most feel there is as much racism and sexism among LGBT people as there is among non-LGBT people, and racially motivated violence and discrimination are more prevalent than violence or prejudice based on sexual orientation;
· LGBT people of color are serious media consumers, but they do not find enough information or see accurate media representations of themselves;
“This report is a catalyst for the continuing conversations we all know are necessary to turn the reality of our diversity into inclusion of every member of the LGBT community,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “There are no simple ‘answers’ to the challenge of inclusion but creating a space where diverse voices can be a part of a dialogue presents opportunities for us to grow as a movement.”
The release of “At the Intersection” is the latest action in HRC’s Equality Forward initiative. In 2007, HRC partnered with 100 local and nationwide organizations in 25 cities to survey more than 5,000 people about their policy and issue priorities.
In conjunction with the release of the report, in the coming weeks, the Human Rights Campaign will promote conversation about the report’s findings through a series of blog posts at www.HRCBackStory.org. The weeklong series of Equality Forwardessays will promote the personal stories and voices of notable figures such as the first openly transgender U.S. Congressional Legislative Aide Diego Sanchez, “Noah’s Arc” actor Doug Spearman and Howard Ross, the founder and Chief Learning Officer of Cook Ross, Inc., a diversity and inclusion consulting firm.
HRC is also holding an online town hall on August 13th with commentators on race and sexuality. The online town hall will be an opportunity for members of the community and allies to discuss the findings of the report and hear the thoughts of the panel of commentators. More details on how to be part of the town hall and a confirmed list of commentators will be made publicly in the near future.
Trainings and presentations focusing on the report’s findings are being planned around the country. And in addition to the Equality Forward initiative, the Human Rights Campaign employs a portfolio of other successful programs and initiatives with the focus on reaching communities of color. A background document detailing this work is included below with this release.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
Below are some programs and initiatives of the Human Rights Campaign that support issues important to LGBT people of color.
· Advocating for protections from violence and discrimination
The Human Rights Campaign has been a leader in advocating for protections from violence and discrimination against LGBT people, priorities for LGBT people of color as well as issues majorities of all Americans support. HRC last week launched its “No Excuses” campaign, mobilizing its 750,000 members and supporters to meet directly with lawmakers in their local offices during the congressional summer recess. The meetings focus on key legislative priorities in the 111th Congress including:
Prohibiting workplace discrimination for the LGBT community by passing an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA);
Passing immigration reform that recognizes permanent same-sex couples and ends the painful separation of families;
Providing health benefits equally to the nearly 3 million federal government employees, including for same-sex domestic partners.
· ¡Ya Es Hora!,
HRC has joined ¡Ya Es Hora!, a coalition of faith, labor, media, and community-based organizations, to host volunteer citizenship workshops around the country as part of a civic engagement campaign aimed at providing immigrants with resources to apply for citizenship and to become active participants in U.S. democracy.
· Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program
In response to a swell of violence against LGBT students on Historically Black Colleges and Universities campuses, in 2002 HRC launched its HBCU program to educate and organize students, faculty and administrators in creating safe and welcoming campuses black LGBT youth.
· Partnership with California Faith for Equality
A key finding of “At the Intersection” is the impact religiously motivated prejudice has on LGBT people of color. This year HRC formed a strategic partnership with California Faith for Equality, a statewide group of 6,000 faith leaders established to educate, support and mobilize California's faith communities on LGBT equality. The partnership not only expands CFE's impressive work, but also ensures that California voters know that many people of faith support same-sex marriage.
· Resources for Coming Out in communities of color
Many people of color face challenges when they come out as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. To address these issues, the National Coming Out Project has developed resources on coming out in the African-American and Latino/a communities.