In an internal report commissioned by HRC and obtained by BuzzFeed, employees of the nation's largest LGBT rights group described the organization as a "judgmental", "homogenous", "exclusionary" and "sexist" "white men's club." The report indicates that HRC values and promotes white, male individuals who are perceived as masculine over those that are female, transgender or feminine-identified.
“One of the most frequent concerns that rose was the sense of an organizational culture rooted in a white, masculine orientation which is judgmental of all those who don’t fit that mold,” the report states in summarizing its survey findings. “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.”
That perception is also borne out in the experience of minority employees, according to the report, summarizing survey responses at one point as follows: “More than half of multiracial and Latino people and 83% of genderqueer people feel they are not treated equally based on their identity.”
From the focus groups, the report details criticism from younger staff and female staff about their contributions not being valued. In a listing of comments made, one staffer said, “Younger staff in particular are exploited and not rewarded financially.” Another said, “Straight women and lesbians get sexist treatment from gay men at HRC.”
Also according to the report, "1 in 5 staff believe 'diversity and inclusion' is not a necessary part of the group’s work and values." Moreover, there exists a "general perception…that current diversity efforts are not working and that there’s a lack of diversity understanding broadly."
Transgender employees face surprising hurdles at HRC, with the report stating that transgender persons are "frequently misgendered with the wrong pronouns, after repeated corrections.”
“Like many organizations and companies throughout our country, HRC has embarked on a thoughtful and comprehensive diversity and inclusion effort with the goals of better representing the communities we serve — and hiring, nurturing and retaining a workforce that not only looks like America but feels respected and appreciated for the hard work they do every day.” […]
“As we fully anticipated, the report flagged problem areas that the organization has already begun to tackle aggressively,” Griffin said in his statement. “We’ll continue to address them, one by one, as any serious organization recognizing these challenges would.”
You can read more excerpts from the report over at BuzzFeed.