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Friday, March 2, 2012

HRC Appoints New Head

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 10:40 AM

And he's a cis-gendered, able-bodied, thin-privileged gay white man who has prioritized marriage. Chad Griffin is currently the president of the board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the group that launched the Prop 8 lawsuit despite the opposition of orgs like HRC. He is, by all accounts, a great guy—he understands the web and grassroots activism. He's politically connected, a Clinton White House vet and an Obama backer, but he isn't afraid to challenge the status quo and he seems capable of winning an argument and taking the fight to our enemies.

This is very good news.


Comments (33) RSS

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but does he do well at cocktail parties?
Posted by Frank Rizzo on March 2, 2012 at 10:45 AM · Report this
Well, it's good news for HRC, they've co-opted someone with a great reputation, doesn't mean anything changes within the walls of that establishment player.
Posted by Mugwumpt on March 2, 2012 at 10:45 AM · Report this
rob! 3
Indeed. But it remains to be seen whether he can bring a new culture to the HRC, or whether he's going to burn a lot of energy battling entrenched go-along-to-get-along types in the existing staff.

I wouldn't mind being able to get my old orange HRC ballcap out of storage, where it's been for the last ten years, and wear it again.
Posted by rob! on March 2, 2012 at 10:47 AM · Report this
Yo, Dano, you seen this yet????…

Posted by sgt_doom on March 2, 2012 at 10:55 AM · Report this
Over under on how long till he's glitterbombed? 6.5 days.
Posted by Chicago Fan on March 2, 2012 at 11:02 AM · Report this
I Hate Screen Names 6
Is "thin-privileged" seriously a categorization?

It's like some people are just incapable of outgrowing college.
Posted by I Hate Screen Names on March 2, 2012 at 11:41 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 7
Is he going to use their budget to buy amazing new furniture for their rather plush offices in Washington DC?
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on March 2, 2012 at 11:47 AM · Report this
Kevin_BGFH 8
I've been skeptical about the HRC since the late 80s when, having been a donor even as a poor college student, I had the opportunity to chat with a Board member and left feeling a little .. demotivated, shall we say?

But when I read this, I felt some cautious optimism. Jury is still out, to be sure, but I think this could be a good pick, and I have hopes that a lot of the people who've felt disenfranchised by and disillusioned with the HRC may feel better a year from now. I hope.
Posted by Kevin_BGFH on March 2, 2012 at 12:02 PM · Report this
what is cis-gendered?
Posted by bobbo on March 2, 2012 at 12:26 PM · Report this
Moderate 10
The race to the most-hyphenated in diversity orthodoxy is both hilarious and sad. It should be obvious that people of all sorts have important things to contribute, and that by excluding some arbitrarily, you weaken your own organization by screening yourself from qualified and competant people.

However, when you demand dogmatic 'diversity' you do exactly the same thing, except far worse, because by restricting yourself to a small subset of applicants who satisfy multiple hyphenations, you eliminate from your pool an enormous number of people, still highly 'diverse', and with them their talents.

Organizations which enforce "diversity" do so, in general, in every way but thought. Orthodoxy of opinion and politic remains. And with that, they become nothing more than ossified relics.
Posted by Moderate on March 2, 2012 at 12:45 PM · Report this
John Horstman 11
@6: Yes, how dare people identify categories of social privilege when they're not in college...

Identifying a category of privilege is not necessarily the same thing as asserting that it's a bad idea to be privileging a given group, though this is often the conclusion reached. I think there can be little doubt that thin people enjoy social privilege; whether thin people deserve social privilege is a different matter than whether they are ascribed social privilege. For example, in some contexts, I think it's entirely appropriate to privilege people who are more intelligent than others, or physically more powerful, or more skilled in some way. Likewise, I don't think that thin-privilege is inappropriate in all circumstances, though it is frequently enacted in irrelevant or unreasonable ways; for example, normatively-attractive people - thinness is part of normative beauty standards in contemporary USA culture - are perceived, on average, as more intelligent and better leaders than normatively-less-than-attractive people, irrespective of the relative intelligence and leadership capabilities of the people involved.

@9: Assuming that's a serious question, cis-gendered (or cisgendered) is a term coined to mark the previously unmarked category of people whose biological gender ascribed at birth 'matches' their normative social gender performativity and preferred embodied biological-gender identity. It's the opposite* of transgender(ed), however one is choosing to define "transgendered" in a given context.

*Intrinsic oppositional categories rely on a number of binary conceptualizations of identities, including gender, that have been disputed. Some hold that we should view gender, among other identity categories, as an continuum; others propose that we view gender as a constellation different behavioral and psychological factors. In a sense, though, cisgendered is still the opposite of transgendered, as it is literally and directly defined in opposition to 'transgendered'.
Posted by John Horstman on March 2, 2012 at 12:52 PM · Report this
Zebes 12

"In gender studies, Cisgender ( /ˈsɪsdʒɛndər/) is a class of gender identities where there is a match between an individual's gender identity and the behavior or role considered appropriate for one's sex." Compare to transgender.
Posted by Zebes on March 2, 2012 at 1:05 PM · Report this
Posted by BEG!/browneyedgirl65 on March 2, 2012 at 1:22 PM · Report this
BEG 14
OK, that ad for the "Wild" book? One of THE MOST IRRITATING ONES EVER! Christ on a crutch! (Yes, I've blocked it, but I'm also going to make a point of not ever getting that one because CHRIST ON A CRUTCH.)
Posted by BEG!/browneyedgirl65 on March 2, 2012 at 1:23 PM · Report this
@7 Hi there!

I'm an intern in those "plush offices in Washington."

Your entire statement is bullshit, unless they must hide all that nice furniture before the interns and employees come in at 9? The cubicles we work in, the conference rooms we have meetings in, the bathrooms we pee, and the kitchens we eat in are all unimpressive, and most of the chairs are stained with coffee.

What HRC office are you referring to? I'm pretty sure we only have this one building.
Posted by dakoneko on March 2, 2012 at 1:50 PM · Report this
...I must be late to the party. Could someone explain/link to an explanation of the skepticism being pointed at HRC?
Posted by The Eternal Noob on March 2, 2012 at 2:14 PM · Report this
julia in dc 17
@15 I visited HRC a few months ago and it seemed pretty fancy to me. Not any fancier than other large nonprofits in DC, but much nicer than my tiny nonprofit's office.
Posted by julia in dc on March 2, 2012 at 2:29 PM · Report this
I Hate Screen Names 18
@11: People outside of college generally have better things to do than sit around and mentally masturbate.

There are always-- always-- social distinctions between any two individuals. Growing up in the city vs. the country. Being raised by two parents or one. Being tall or short, cute or ugly, smart or dumb, etc. When the "privilege" tool is restricted to legally recognized and socially significant categories-- e.g., sex, race, sexual orientation-- I find it useful. But once someone starts talking about "thin privilege," I start thinking the whole paradigm is a exercise in stupidity. What's next: bald people talking about "hair privilege"?

College students seem to love this kind of identity categorization: it's part and parcel of the "finding yourself" conflict young adults go through. I've better things to do. If every single fucking distinction between people can be labeled "privilege," then I'm inclined to ditch the concept entirely.
Posted by I Hate Screen Names on March 2, 2012 at 2:31 PM · Report this
Eternal Noob,

There are these online tools with names like google and wikipedia that would enable you to do your own research in, like, five minutes. The HRC has been criticized for being too corporate and being more interested in expanding its own influence and not rocking the boat than fighting for equality. They have also made dubious decisions in the past, such as supporting Dubya's plan to privatize social security and endorsing Al D'Amato. My biggest problem with them is that they are the biggest and most well-financed gay rights organization in the country but they have nothing to show for it. They have been followers and not leaders. Most of the gay rights advances that have been gained in the last few years have been achieved without the support of the HRC, or, in some cases, like the Prop 8 Trial, over the direct objections of the HRC.

My biggest problem with the HRC is that they have behaved like meek, Uncle Tom house homos, just happy to be invited to the cocktail party. Hopefully, this new hire will bring a change.
Posted by mshawn on March 2, 2012 at 2:42 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 20
@15, What #17 said. I visited the offices about three years ago and for a non-profit they seem to spend more money on having a pretty office than most non profits while teenagers are killing themselves.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on March 2, 2012 at 3:12 PM · Report this
GoodOmens 21
Chad Griffin is cute.
Posted by GoodOmens on March 2, 2012 at 3:55 PM · Report this
Oh no! He's not morbidly obese! Must be thin-priveledged!
Posted by stephen.g on March 2, 2012 at 4:06 PM · Report this
Oh no! He's not morbidly obese! Must be thin-privileged!
Posted by stephen.g on March 2, 2012 at 4:06 PM · Report this
seandr 24
cis-gendered, able-bodied, thin-privileged gay white man

Yes, but he's also near-sighted, has an undescended testicle, was a late bed-wetter, and is allergic to peanuts, so life hasn't exactly been all shits and giggles for him.
Posted by seandr on March 2, 2012 at 4:35 PM · Report this
Being naturally pretty/handsome is a privilege. Being thin is not a privilege. It's something rewarding that you work on, like being well-read or good at your job. You want it, awesome, do it.
Posted by beccoid on March 2, 2012 at 4:41 PM · Report this
@ 20. So it must be true, since you visited three years ago. I know nothing, considering I work there. And HRC isn't just any non-profit. They are the largest non-profit in the 50 states, so if our stained sofas are "better" than your stained sofas, it could be because of the magnitude of this non-profit and the massive donations we get being the largest organization in the US. I here the offices of Task Force and Victory Fund are equally nice, but who cares about them, right? I think it's funny how you call out HRC on furniture and then talk about kids dying not being HRC's priority. You are discussing furniture when kids are dying, not HRC. Justin sayin. A lot of people like to hate on HRC for little to no reason at all.
Posted by dakoneko on March 2, 2012 at 5:42 PM · Report this
aureolaborealis 27
Talking of excitable youths: @15,26.

You go, guy/girl! Don't stand for this oppression! How dare they suggest your ass is resting on nice office furniture! Speak TRUTH to power!

Posted by aureolaborealis on March 2, 2012 at 6:12 PM · Report this
@19 Jsyk, I did google it but didn't find anything particularly coherent--just a lot of different issues that roughly clumped together under HRC's header. I was wondering if there was a particular scandal I'd missed in the blogosphere.
Posted by The Eternal Noob on March 2, 2012 at 7:18 PM · Report this
@15,26: Your loyalty to your employer is admirable, but you are young, and do not have a long memory. Lots of homos are still very pissed off that ten years ago the Board decided to spend $20 million on a new headquarters building. Whether it was the right decision or not (it wasn't), it was a PR disaster that HRC has yet to recover from.
That and the fact that HRC has a history of actively blocking progress on marriage and DADT.
[I'd add ENDA, but I have no direct personal knowledge of HRC's lobbying in that area, as I do for marriage and DADT.]
Posted by BABH on March 2, 2012 at 9:06 PM · Report this
@26 Hear, not here.

And I think you need to add a qualifier to one of your boasts. HRC is the largest non-profit in the 50 states? I think you mean to claim that HRC is the largest LGBT non-profit, right? For example, The Mayo Clinic, The Roman Catholic Church, and Harvard University are all, technically speaking, not-for-profit organizations, and I'm pretty sure any of them would dwarf the HRC.
Posted by Functional Atheist on March 2, 2012 at 11:41 PM · Report this
dakoneko @15 and @26: Are you familiar with the military concept of "teeth to tail ratio"? It's why HRC gets so much static. Basically, "teeth" is the part of the org that does what the org was designed to do, and "tail" is everything that isn't "teeth", with the thinking being that the most effective organizations have the highest proportion of teeth when compared to tail, and that whatever tail the org does have should be in service to the teeth and not off in some Weberian neverland where existence and growth of the tail is considered to be important in and of itself. (It's one reason, for example, that militaries try to close off their highest command ranks to people who have never led at the teeth end: it's a way of trying to ensure that the very purpose of the org -- rather than the mere existence of the org -- retains philosophical primacy within the org.)

Basically, HRC runs into so much static from gays and their straight allies because they are perceived as all tail and no teeth. I'm a foreigner who follows American politics the way some obsessives follow sports, and I can tell you honestly that I can never recall seeing any positive commentary about HRC from anywhere on the left blogsphere. It might behoove you to wonder how that came about -- and whether there's some valid cause for complaint -- rather than kvetching that your couches ain't as nice as everyone says.
Posted by seeker6079 on March 3, 2012 at 7:15 AM · Report this
"But once someone starts talking about "thin privilege," I start thinking the whole paradigm is a exercise in stupidity. What's next: bald people talking about "hair privilege"?"

Yes, inevitably, because that's how identity politics works on the Left.

The whole "Privilege" thing is the photo-negative of old-style majoritarian bigotry; it fetishizes being marginalized, outnumbered or some manner of "other" as signifying insight and authenticity and vilifies membership in various "oppressor" categories.

Of course, it only comes into play when the person in question is not toeing the line of PC politics and dogma.

You'll never hear the Privilege Police calling out some straight, white, handsome, able-bodied, trust-fun college boy standing around an Occupy protest with a Che t-shirt despite him being a perfect example of actual, you know, privilege.
Posted by BrainFromArous on March 5, 2012 at 10:29 AM · Report this
Looking For a Better Read 33
When I first saw this headline, I honestly thought "what was wrong with Hillary Rodham Clinton's original head?"
Posted by Looking For a Better Read on March 5, 2012 at 4:17 PM · Report this

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