Report: Staff at Largest LGBT Rights Group in U.S. Say Work Environment ‘Sexist,’ ‘White Men’s Club’

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The largest LGBT advocacy organization in the country has a diversity problem, according to a report on the work environment at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Leadership at HRC admitted Tuesday that a report conducted by The Pipeline Project and commissioned by HRC itself found that staff described the work environment at HRC as “judgmental,” “exclusionary,” “sexist,” and “homogenous,” writes Buzzfeed, which obtained a copy of the report.

Staff reportedly often described the organization’s environment as a “white men’s club,” said the report, adding that HRC has “an organizational culture rooted in a white, masculine orientation which is judgmental of all those who don’t fit that mold.”

“Trans” people in particular, notes the report, said that they “don’t feel safe to come out at HRC,” and they are “frequently misgendered with the wrong pronouns, after repeated corrections.”

“Disparate treatment toward women and those with ‘soft skills’ was frequently cited by staff — both men and women — and there is a sense that if you operate outside of that orientation, you will not be successful at HRC,” the report continued.

Workers at HRC participated in focus groups and surveys, and results revealed major problems within the organization that include how staff is treated—including those who are transgender—and concerns about whether HRC is actually committed to diversity and inclusion.

“Leadership culture is experienced as homogenous — gay, white, male,” the report indicated. “Exclusion was broad-based and hit all identity groups within HRC. A judgmental working environment, particularly concerning women and feminine-identified individuals, was highlighted in survey responses.”

“There is a general perception that current diversity efforts are not working and that there’s a lack of diversity understanding broadly,” the report observes. “A participant in a focus group noted, ‘A lot of folks are personally invested in diversity inclusion but their voices have been smothered or pushed away.’”

According to Buzzfeed, the report also indicates that 7 of 31 men who have been promoted at HRC have only worked there less than two years. By contrast, no women who have worked less than two years have been promoted.

HRC said they are addressing the issues presented in the report, and Buzzfeed notes they have now launched employee resource groups for “transgender and gender-expansive employees, people of color, women, bisexual employees, and remote employees.”

HRC describes itself as “the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.”


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