The Human Rights Campaign
By Rashal G. Baz
The discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning
(“LGBTQ”) children in foster care is a reoccurring nightmare over many years.
Fortunately, national attention of this worrisome discrimination has grown and further
catalyzed organizations to advocate on behalf of LGBTQ foster care children. As an
example, the Human Rights Campaign (“HRC”), founded by Steve Endean in 1980, is the
largest civil rights organization that works for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender individuals, including foster care children.
Creation, Vision, and Mission
Understanding the power of change through legal means, the HRC Fund began as
one of the first gay and lesbian political action committees in the United States. The HRC
Fund initially focused on financially backing political candidates who supported gay civil
rights legislation. According to the HRC website, “the [HRC] Fund quickly rose to
prominence – after its first election cycle in 1982, the Fund was the 17th largest independent
political action committee in the United States.” Dropping ‘Fund’ from its name in 1995,
the HRC expanded its reach far beyond political lobbying work and launched focused
informative projects. The first of these developments included the “Workplace Project”
and the “Family Project,” both centered on public education of LGBTQ matters. The
expansion of HRC’s educational arm paved the transformation of HRC’s research,
communications, marketing, and public relations functions.
Covering problems with awareness and social policy affecting LGBTQ people, the
HRC represents a force of more than 1.5 million members and supporters nationwide.
Even as the HRC has shifted roles throughout the past three decades, they still maintain a
concentrated focus of advocacy. HRC’s current vision statement reads: “HRC envisions a
world where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are embraced as full members
of society at home, at work and in every community.” Further, HRC’s current mission
statement is built upon the promotion of the social welfare of the LGBTQ community by
inspiring people to end discrimination, promote public education, and achieve fundamental
fairness and equality for all. Facing many challenges and achieving significant victories
along the way, the HRC is using their wide network to cast a spotlight onto LGBTQ
problems affecting youth – particularly in foster care.