Human Rights Campaign: Don't Silence Transgendered and Immigrant People
There have been troubling reports that HRC staff members at the recent rally for marriage equality in Washington DC told transgendered activists that "marriage equality is not a transgender issue" and requested that Jerssay Arredondo, a representative of the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project (QUIP), not mention his immigration status.
This type of behavior is unacceptable for an organization whose mission is to work "to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality." Our community is diverse, and HRC has a duty to provide space for all of us to speak - not to attempt to silence some of us.
Marriage equality affects heterosexual transgendered people whose legal gender does not match their identity and affects transgendered people who are also lesbian, gay, or bisexual. The issue of legally recognized marriage takes on particular significance for immigrant LGBT people as an issue that can help LGBT immigrants stay with the people they love.
This is a fight for all LGBT people and our allies. HRC claims to represent all of us. You have a moral obligation to live up to that claim. We therefore urge HRC to take the following actions:
1) Speak to the rally attendees who witnessed the incidents to find out what happened rather than dismissing the complaints.
2) Issue a public apology to the rally participants who were affected and the transgendered and queer immigrant communities in general
3) Make a public commitment to support the civil rights of the entire LGBT community, including transgendered people and queer immigrants. This includes supporting the right to speak out at HRC events. HRC must enforce a policy of never requesting that we closet aspects of ourselves for political reasons.
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